In the Star Trek universe, 1996 is noteworthy for several events:
At the end of the Eugenics Wars on Earth, Khan Noonian Singh and roughly 96 other Augments (genetically enhanced 'supermen') fled in the DY-100 class sleeper ship S.S. Botany Bay. There were, of course, later found by Kirk aboard the USS Enterprise (TOS episode 'Space Seed' and revisited in the film The Wrath of Kahn)
Though roughly a quarter of the Earth was controlled by the Augments during the wars, the US was largely unaffected, as is apparent when the USS Voyager visits 1996 Earth (Voyager episode 'Future's End') where they prevent computer mogul Henry Starling from accidentally destroying the future with a 29th century timeship.
Still talking Star Trek, 1996 is also the year that Earth scientists discovered the first microscopic evidence of life on Mars, and the year that Phineas Tarbolde of Canopus Planet wrote his very famous sonnet Nightingale Woman, presumable with the help of Onaya.