A Look Back – The Major Events That Have Shaped the 21st Century

A Look Back – The Major Events That Have Shaped the 21st Century

As the first quarter of the 21st century approaches, the world has undergone significant changes. Some are cause to celebrate, and others are not. This article reflects on the major events that have shaped and are still shaping this century.

In the year 2000, the world celebrated the arrival of the new Millennium despite the unfounded fear that the Y2K computer bug would cause widespread destruction.

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In 2001, The USA was targeted by Al-Qaeda, an Islamic terrorist group, in a series of four planned terrorist attacks, which destroyed the World Trade Centre Twin Towers. As a result, there was a war in Afghanistan and in 2003, a combined military operation was launched to invade Iraq, marking the beginning of the Iraq War. The prolonged war removed Saddam Hussein from power.

In 2004, Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook while attending Harvard University. The success of the social media and networking platform went on to have 1 billion users in 2012 and 2 billion users worldwide in 2017.

In 2005, London saw a coordinated series of terrorist attacks involving suicide bombers, targeting commuters during the morning rush hour, impacting the city’s public transportation systems. The attacks resulted in the death of 56 and 700 injuries.

In January 2007, Steve Jobs, CEO and co-founder of Apple, launched the iPhone on the stage of Macworld. The iPhone went on to transform the personal smart gadget and mobile phone industry.

Also, in 2007, the world was struck by the most severe economic crisis since the 1930s Great Depression. As a result, in the U.S., the unemployment rate rose to over 10%, GDP declined by 4.3%, and at one point, the S&P 500 was down 57% from its pre-crisis highs. Similar problems in the U.S. were seen across the globe.

In 2008, Barack Obama was elected as the 44th President of the United States, defeating John McCain in the presidential election and making history as the first African American President.

In 2010, In reaction to oppressive governments and poor living conditions, demonstrations in Tunisia led to similar uprisings across the Middle East, which became known as the ‘Arab Spring’.

On the 2nd of May 2011, following a 10-year search, a team of United States Navy SEALs in Pakistan successfully eliminated Osama bin Laden, the leader of the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization.

The Syrian Civil War erupted in 2011 as a result of popular discontent with the rule of the Ba’athist Syrian Arab Republic, under the leadership of President Bashar al-Assad, and its allies.

In the year 2013, the global community bid farewell to Nelson Mandela, former South African prisoner, president and renowned anti-apartheid leader and advocate for peace.

In 2013, the detonation of two bombs during the Boston Marathon resulted in the death of three individuals and caused injuries to approximately 264 others.

After being shot in 2012 by the Tehrik-e-Taliban, In 2014, Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafazi became the youngest person ever to receive a Nobel Prize for her efforts in fighting against the oppression of children and advocating for the universal right to education for all children.

In 2015, Greece made history by becoming the first developed nation to default on its $1.7 billion payment to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The crisis was largely the result of systematic tax evasion and structural problems.

In 2015, the USA officially legalized same-sex marriage in all fifty states and overturned all state bans on same-sex unions.

In 2015, Queen Elizabeth II achieved the record of being the longest-serving monarch in the history of Britain.

In November 2015, Paris was hit with a series of terrorist attacks, with explosions caused by suicide bombers outside the Stade de France and the massacre at the Bataclan theatre, which killed 90 people.

In 2016, the British public voted 52%-48% to leave the EU in the Brexit referendum, ending a more than 40-year membership.

In 2016, the American people elected Donald Trump as their 45th President. Widely seen as the most divisive and polarizing President in history.

In 2018, Apple, the technology giant, achieved a major achievement by becoming the first publicly traded company with a market value of $1 trillion.

2020 saw the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. A year later, The World Health Organization estimated that as many as 10 percent of the world’s population had contracted COVID, and by the end of the year, approximately 1.7 million people had died from the virus, although the true total was likely to be much higher.

2021 started with Supporters of the defeated US President Donald Trump storming the Capitol building on January 6th during the certification of Joe Biden as President. The attack followed a speech given by Trump urging his supporters to march on the Capitol. The attack resulted in the death of 5 people and 174 police officers injured.

Russia initiated a military operation in Ukraine on 24 February 2022, with troops entering the country from the north through Belarus, east from Russia, and south from Crimea. According to President Putin, this was a “special military operation” aimed at protecting the people of Donbas and demilitarizing and denazifying Ukraine. He denied any plans of occupying Ukrainian land or using force to impose their will. However, over the past two years, Russian forces have launched a full-scale attack on Ukraine.

On October 7, 2023, Hamas carried out a major attack on Israel, codenamed “Operation Al-Aqsa Flood,” which was the most destructive attack since the country’s independence. The attack involved launching over 2,200 rockets in a span of 20 minutes and sending at least 1,500 militants into Israel through multiple entry points. The result was a death toll of approximately 1,200 people, including families in kibbutzim and attendees of an outdoor music festival. Most of the victims were civilians.

Looming in the wings is 2024, a live-wire year for democracy: America enters possibly one of the most critical presidential election periods in modern history, while Russian President Vladimir V. Putin will likely walk, not run, to his fifth term in his country’s presidential elections.

The year 2024 is significant for the multitude of elections taking place globally. Approximately 64 nations, representing almost half of the world’s population, will have the opportunity to vote. This includes eight of the top ten most populated countries. Furthermore, the European Union conducted elections for the European Parliament in June. Whilst In the United States, the presidential election between Trump and Biden is anticipated to be one of the most consequential in recent times.`);

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