Timeline of Human History V: 2000-Present

This is the fourth (and last) part of a four-part Timeline of Human History.  To see the other parts, click on the following links:
Timeline of Human History I: Prehistory-1499
Timeline of Human History II: 1500-1799
Timeline of Human History III: 1800-1899
Timeline of Human History IV: 1900-1999

2000

  • Israel ends its occupation of Lebanon.
  • The Second Intifada begins between Palestinians and Israel.
  • Zimbabwe’s Parliament votes to allow seizure of white-owned farms by blacks without compensation.
  • The International Space Station becomes operational (US; Russia).
  • The Human Genome Project announces its first draft of the human genome (US).
  • The Netherlands becomes the first nation to legalize same-sex marriage.
  • Fado em Mim, an album by Mariza (Portugal).
  • In the Mood for Love, a film by Wong Kar-Wai (China).

    Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung in Wong Kar-Wai's In the Mood for Love.

    Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung in Wong Kar-Wai’s In the Mood for Love.

2001

  • On September 11, Al Qaeda terrorists hijack four planes and crash them into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., killing 3,000 people (US).

    September 11, 2001 - New York City.

    September 11, 2001 – New York City.

  • The US invades Afghanistan and overthrows the Taliban.
  • Assassination of Congo President Laurent-Désiré Kabila (Dem. Rep. of Congo).
  • George W. Bush becomes 43rd president of the United States.
  • Right wing media magnate Silvio Berlusconi becomes Italian Prime Minister.
  • The Human Genome Project and Celera Genomics jointly publish their sequencing of the human genome (US).
  • Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger launch the Wikipedia website (US).
  • Tony Fadell, Michael Dhuey and Jonathan Ive at Apple invent the iPOD (US).
  • After 76 victories and 7 championships, American race car driver Dale Earnhardt dies in a crash at the Daytona 500 (US).
  • The Corrections, a novel written in English by Jonathan Franzen (US).
  • Austerlitz, a novel written in German by W.G. Sebald (Germany).
  • Band of Gypsies, an album by Taraf de Haïdouks (Romania).
  • Spirited Away, a film by Hayao Miyazaki (Japan).

    A still image from Spirited Away.

    A still image from Spirited Away.

  • Mulholland Drive, a film by David Lynch (US).

    A still image from Mulholland Dr.

    A still image from Mulholland Drive.

  • Falling Man, a photograph by Richard Drew (US).

    The Falling Man.

    The Falling Man.

  • Claude E. Shannon dies.

2002

  • East Timor achieves independence as the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste.
  • UN troops bring end to rebellion by Saybana Sankoh and the Revolutionary United Front, ending 11-year civil war in Sierra Leone.
  • Deposed Sierra Leone President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah is again elected president.
  • Jonas Savimbi is killed and UNITA becomes a political party, ending 26-year Angolan civil war.
  • US establishes the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.
  • Chinese basketball player Yao Ming is drafted by the Houston Rockets (US).
  • The Library of Alexandria, designed by Snøhetta (Egypt).

    Another view of the new Alexandria library.

    A view of the new Alexandria library.

  • Marsyas, a sculpture by Anish Kapoor (UK).

    Marsyas (installation at Turbine Hall).

    Marsyas (installation at Turbine Hall).

  • Cidade de Deus (City of God), a film by Fernando Meirelles (Brazil).

    A still image from City of God.

    A still image from City of God.

  • Far From Heaven, a film by Todd Haynes (US).

    Julianne Moore and __ in Todd Haynes' Far From Heaven.

    Julianne Moore and Dennis Haysbert in Todd Haynes’ Far From Heaven.

  • Habla Con Ella (Talk to Her), a film by Pedro Almodóvar (Spain).

    A still image from Talk to Her.

    A still image from Talk to Her.

  • Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, an album by Wilco (US).
  • The Rising, an album by Bruce Springsteen (US).

    The cover of Bruce Springsteen's album The Rising.

    The cover of Bruce Springsteen’s album The Rising.

  • Stephen Jay Gould dies.

2003

  • The US invades Iraq and overthrows Saddam Hussein and the Ba’ath Party.
  • War begins in the Darfur region of Sudan.
  • End of Second Congo War, which caused the deaths of more than five million people.
  • The crew of Space Shuttle Columbia is killed during reentry (US).
  • Peter Brown discovers Homo floresiensis (nicknamed ‘Hobbit’), a hominid species that lived between 95,000 and 17,000 years ago (Indonesia).

    A reconstruction of a Homo floresiensis female at the National Museum of Natural History.

    A reconstruction of a Homo floresiensis female at the National Museum of Natural History.

  • Belgium legalizes same-sex marriage.
  • They Marched into Sunlight, a historical work written in English by David Maraniss (US).
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, a novel written in English by Mark Haddon (UK).
  • Lost in Translation, a film by Sofia Coppola (US).

    Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray in Lost in Translation.

    Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray in Lost in Translation.

  • American Splendor, a film by Shari Springer Berman (US).

    Paul Giamatti and Hope Davis in American Splendor.

    Paul Giamatti and Hope Davis in American Splendor.

  • Speakerboxx/The Love Below, an album by Outkast (US).
  • Elephant, an album by The White Stripes (US).
  • Welcome Interstate Managers, an album by Fountains of Wayne (US).
  • Yol Bolsin, an album by Sevara Nazarkhan (Uzbekistan).

    The cover of Yol Bolsin, an album by Sevara Nazarkhan.

    The cover of Yol Bolsin, an album by Sevara Nazarkhan.

  • Edward Teller, ‘father of the hydrogen bomb’, dies.

2004

  • A magnitude 9.2 earthquake in the Indian Ocean off Indonesia and the resulting tsunami kill 280,000 people in 14 countries.
  • NATO and the European Union expand to include much of former Soviet bloc.
  • The Kurdish separatist group PKK resumes armed conflict in Turkey.
  • Massachusetts becomes the first US state to legalize same-sex marriage.
  • Mark Zuckerberg and his team launch the Facebook website (US).
  • The Boston Red Sox baseball team wins the World Series for the first time since 1918 (US).
  • Michel Virlogeux and Norman Foster design the Millau Viaduct, the world’s tallest bridge (France).

    The Millau Viaduct is the tallest bridge in the world.

    The Millau Viaduct is the tallest bridge in the world.

  • Taipei 101, designed by C.Y. Lee, opens (Taiwan).

    Taipei 101 incorporates some architectural details of the traditional Chinese pagoda.

    Taipei 101 incorporates some architectural details of the traditional Chinese pagoda.

  • Norman Foster designs 30 St Mary Axe (‘the Gherkin’) in London (UK).

    The shape of Norman Foster's London skyscraper has led to the nickname, "The Gherkin."

    Norman Foster’s London skyscraper has acquired the nickname, “The Gherkin.”

  • The Seattle Central Library, designed by Rem Koolhaas and Joshua Prince-Ramus (US).

    Seattle Central Library.

    Seattle Central Library.

  • Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, a novel written in English by Susanna Clarke (UK).
  • Cloud Atlas, a novel written in English by David Mitchell (US).
  • Sideways, a film by Alexander Payne (US).

    Alexander Payne's Sideways.

    Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church in Alexander Payne’s Sideways.

  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a film by Michel Gondry (US).

    Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

    Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

  • Million Dollar Baby, a film by Clint Eastwood.
  • How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, an album by U2 (Ireland).
  • American Idiot, an album by Green Day (US).
  • Van Lear Rose, an album by Loretta Lynn(US).

    The cover of Van Lear Rose, an album by Loretta Lynn.

    The cover of Van Lear Rose, an album by Loretta Lynn.

  • Francis Crick dies.
  • Death of Ronald Reagan.

2005

  • An earthquake in Kashmir kills 80,000 (India; Pakistan).
  • Hurricane Katrina kills nearly 2000 people along Gulf of Mexico (US).
  • Israel withdraws from Gaza.
  • The Youtube video sharing website is launched (US).
  • Canada and Spain legalize same-sex marriage.
  • The US crashes a space probe into Comet Tempel I.
  • The Kyoto Protocol for greenhouse gas emissions goes into effect.
  • Mike Brown and his team discover Eris, a dwarf planet orbiting our sun (US).

    A diagram showing the location of Eris in our solar system.

    A diagram showing the location of Eris in our solar system.

  • Danica Patrick becomes the first woman to lead the Indy 500 auto race (US).
  • The Gates, an art installation in Central Park, New York, by Christo and Jeanne-Claude (US).

    A view of The Gates.

    A view of The Gates.

  • The Matter of Time, a series of eight sculptures by Richard Serra, is unveiled at the Guggenheim Bilbao (Spain).

    The Matter of Time.

    The Matter of Time.

  • The Year of Magical Thinking, a memoir written in English by Joan Didion (US).
  • Never Let Me Go, a novel written in English by Kazuo Ishiguro (UK).
  • Caché, a film by Michael Haneke (France).

    Juliette Binoche and Daniel Auteuil in Michael Haneke's Caché.

    Juliette Binoche and Daniel Auteuil in Michael Haneke’s Caché.

  • Munich, a film by Steven Spielberg (US).

    A still image from Steven Spielberg's Munich.

    A still image from Steven Spielberg’s Munich.

  • Hans Bethe dies.
  • Maclyn McCarty dies.
  • Charles David Keeling dies.
  • Jack Kilby dies.
  • Death of Rosa Parks.
  • Death of Pope John Paul II.

2006

  • Montenegro becomes an independent nation.
  • Israel invades Lebanon.
  • Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf becomes the first elected female African head of state.

    Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

    Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

  • South Africa legalizes same-sex marriage.
  • French soccer player Zinedine Zidane headbutts Italy’s Marco Materazzi during the World Cup finals in Berlin (Germany).
  • The Omnivore’s Dilemma, a book about food written in English by Michael Pollan (US).
  • The Emperor’s Children, a novel written in English by Claire Messud (US).
  • Pan’s Labyrinth, a film by Guillermo del Toro (Mexico).

    A still image from Pan's Labyrinth.

    A still image from Pan’s Labyrinth.

  • Das Leben der Anderen (The Lives of Others), a film by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (Germany).

    Ulrich Mühle in The Lives of Others.

    Ulrich Mühle in The Lives of Others.

  • United 93, a film by Paul Greengrass (US).

    A still image from Paul Greengrass's United 93.

    A still image from Paul Greengrass’s United 93.

  • The Greatest, an album by Cat Power (US).
  • Modern Times, an album by Bob Dylan (US).
  • Ys, an album by Joanna Newsom (US).

    Joanna Newsom performing in 2006.

    Joanna Newsom performing in 2006.

2007

  • Riots break out in Kenya following an election result that many believe was fraudulent.
  • Assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto (Pakistan).
  • Virginia Tech student Seung-Hui Cho shoots and kills 32 people at the school before committing suicide (US).
  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, a novel written in English by Junot Díaz (US).
  • Then We Came to the End, a novel written in English by Joshua Ferris (US).
  • Tree of Smoke, a novel written in English by Denis Johnson (US).
  • J.K. Rowling publishes Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the final book in the Harry Potter series (UK).
  • There Will Be Blood, a film by Paul Thomas Anderson (US).

    Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood.

    Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood.

  • No Country for Old Men, a film by the Coen Brothers (US).

    Javier Bardem in the Coen Brothers' No Country for Old Men.

    Javier Bardem in the Coen Brothers’ No Country for Old Men.

  • Back to Black, an album by Amy Winehouse (UK).

    Amy Winehouse.

    Amy Winehouse.

  • Wátina, an album by Andy Palacio (Belize).
  • Theodore Maiman dies.

2008

  • Cyclone Nargis kills 133,000 in Myanmar.
  • Kosovo declares independence.
  • Failure of US financial institutions triggers global economic crisis.
  • War in Gaza between Israel and Palestinians.
  • Barack Obama becomes the first African-American to be elected US President.

    Official Presidential Portrait of Barack Obama in 2009.

    Official Presidential Portrait of Barack Obama in 2009.

  • American swimmer Michael Phelps wins eight gold medals at the Beijing Summer Olympics (China).
  • Beijing National Stadium (the ‘Birds’s Nest’), designed by Herzog & de Meuron, opens for the Summer Olympics (China).

    The Bird's Nest was the home for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

    The Bird’s Nest was the home for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

  • Unaccustomed Earth, a novel written in English by Jhumpa Lahiri (US).
  • Netherland, a novel written in English by Joseph O’Neill (Ireland/US).
  • WALL-E, a film by Andrew Stanton (US).

    A still image from Pixar's Wall-E.

    A still image from Pixar’s Wall-E.

  • Milk, a film by Gus Van Sant (US).

    Sean Penn in Gus Van Sant's Milk.

    Sean Penn in Gus Van Sant’s Milk.

  • Santigold, an album by Santigold (US).
  • Fleet Foxes, an album by Fleet Foxes (US).
  • Dear Science, an album by TV on the Radio (US).

    TV on the Radio performs on the Tonight Show in 2008.

    TV on the Radio performs on the Tonight Show in 2008.

2009

  • Government forces defeat the Tamil Tigers, ending the 26-year Sri Lankan civil war.
  • Analog broadcast television in the US ends on June 12.
  • After his Airbus 320 hits a flock of geese and loses engine power, Captain Chesley B. Sullenberger lands the plane on New York’s Hudson River; all passengers and crew survive (US).

    US Airways flight 1549 floating in the Hudson River in New York.

    US Airways flight 1549 floating in the Hudson River in New York.

  • Norway and Sweden legalize same-sex marriage.
  • Jamaican athlete Usain Bolt sprints 100 meters in 9.58 seconds at the Berlin World Championships, breaking his own world record (Germany).
  • Wolf Hall, a novel written in English by Hilary Mantel (UK).
  • Lark and Termite, a novel written in English by Jayne Anne Philips (US).
  • The Hurt Locker, a film by Kathryn Bigelow (US).

    A still image from Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker.

    A still image from Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker.

  • A Serious Man, a film by Joel & Ethan Coen (US).

    A still image from A Serious Man.

    A still image from A Serious Man.

  • Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, an album by Phoenix (France).
  • Veckatimest, an album by Grizzly Bear (US).

    The cover of Veckatimest, an album by Grizzly Bear.

    The cover of Veckatimest, an album by Grizzly Bear.

  • Norman Ernest Borlaug, Green Revolution pioneer, dies.
  • Death of Michael Jackson.

2010

  • A magnitude 7.0 earthquake kills 158,000-223,000 people in Haiti.
  • Rescuers dig 16-year-old Darlene Etienne out of a collapsed building in Port-au-Prince, 15 days after the earthquake (Haiti).
  • The eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano creates an ash cloud so large that it grounds air traffic over much of Europe (Iceland).
  • Self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi triggers Arab Spring (Tunisia).
  • Massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico from an offshore BP rig (US).
  • Iceland, Portugal and Argentina legalize same-sex marriage.
  • Three stranded Spanish climbers are rescued by helicopter at 22,900 feet altitude on Annapurna (Nepal).
  • The University of Connecticut women’s basketball team wins its 90th consecutive game in three seasons (US).
  • Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, is completed in Dubai (United Arab Emirates).

    Dubai now boasts the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa.

    Dubai now boasts the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa.

  • The opening of a retaining wall in Harlingen marks the completion of the 50-year-long Delta Works project (The Netherlands).
  • Siddhartha Mukherjee publishes The Emperor of All Maladies, an English language history of cancer (US).
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, a scientific biography written in English by Rebecca Skloot (US).
  • The Warmth Of Other Suns, a historical work written in English by Isabel Wilkerson (US).
  • A Visit From The Goon Squad, a novel written in English by Jennifer Egan (US).
  • Freedom, a novel written in English by Jonathan Franzen (US).
  • The Social Network, a film by David Fincher (US).

    Jesse Eisenberg in The Social Network.

    Jesse Eisenberg in The Social Network.

  • Black Swan, a film by Darren Aronofsky (US).

    Natalie Portman in Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan.

    Natalie Portman in Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan.

  • My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, an album by Kanye West (US).
  • The Suburbs, an album by Arcade Fire (Canada).

    The cover of Arcade Fire's album The Suburbs.

    The cover of Arcade Fire’s album The Suburbs.

2011

  • The magnitude 9.0 Tohoku earthquake and resulting tsunami cause a meltdown at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant and the deaths of 16,000 people (Japan).
  • South Sudan becomes an independent nation.
  • Arab Spring revolutions succeed in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, with uprisings in Yemen and Bahrain.
  • The Syrian Civil War begins.
  • Occupy Movement protests begin.

    occupy-movement

    An Occupy protest march in New York City.

  • US forces kill Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
  • Fidel Castro leaves Cuban government due to poor health.
  • End of US-Iraq War.
  • Death of Kim Jong-Il and ascension of his son Kim Jong-un as Supreme Leader of North Korea.
  • Kelly Slater, age 39, becomes the oldest person to win the American Surfing Professionals men’s world champion title (US).
  • The Marriage Plot, a novel written in English by Jeffrey Eugenides (US).
  • The Tree of Life, a film by Terence Malick (US).

    tree of life

    A still image from Terence Malick’s The Tree of Life.

  • A Separation, a film by Asghar Farhadi (Iran).

    A-Separation

    A still image from A Separation.

  • Bon Iver, Bon Iver, an album by Bon Iver (US).
  • Bad as Me, an album by Tom Waits (US).
  • 21, an album by Adele.

    adele

    The cover of Adele’s album 21.

  • Lynn Margulis dies.
  • Simon van der Meer dies.

2012

  • Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani teenager who spoke out on education for girls, survives a terrorist shooting (Pakistan).

    malala

    Malala Yousafzai after recovering from her gunshot wound.

  • Aung San Suu Kyi is elected to Parliament (Myanmar).

    Aung San Suu Kyi in 2011.

    Aung San Suu Kyi in 2011.

  • Denmark legalizes same-sex marriage.
  • The Higgs boson is detected in the Large  Hadron Collider at CERN (Switzerland).
  • Swiss tennis player Roger Federer wins a record-breaking 17th Grand Slam title.
  • The hydroelectric Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River is fully operational (China).
    three-gorges-dam
  • Bring up the Bodies, a novel written in English by Hilary Mantel (UK).
  • Behind the Beautiful Forevers, a work of non-fiction written in English by Katherine Boo (India).
  • Zero Dark Thirty, a film by Kathryn Bigelow (US).

    A still image from Zero Dark Thirty.

    A still image from Zero Dark Thirty.

  • Amour, a film by Michael Haneke (France).

    Emmanuelle Riva in Michael Haneke's Amour.

    Emmanuelle Riva in Michael Haneke’s Amour.

  • Channel Orange, an album by Frank Ocean (US).
  • Kendrick Lamar’s album good kid, m.A.A.d. city (US).
  • Neil Armstrong dies.

2013

  • The Chelyabinsk meteor hits Russia.

    The Chelyabinsk meteor.

    The Chelyabinsk meteor.

  • Military coup in Egypt deposes elected Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.
  • The PKK Kurdish separatists announce a unilaterial cease-fire and begin negotiations with the Turkish government.
  • France and Brazil legalize same-sex marriage.
  • The Neanderthal Genome Project sequences the genome of Homo neanderthalensis (Germany).
  • Life after Life, an English-language novel by Kate Atkinson (UK).
  • Tenth of December, stories written in English by George Saunders (US).
  • 12 Years a Slave, a film by Steve McQueen (US/UK).

    A still image from 12 Years a Slave.

    A still image from 12 Years a Slave.

  • Before Midnight, a film by Richard Linklater (US).
  • Inside Llewyn Davis, a film by Joel & Ethan Coen (US).

    Oscar Isaac in the Coen Brothers' Inside Llewyn Davis.

    Oscar Isaac in the Coen Brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis.

  • Yeezus, an album by Kanye West (US).
  • Random Access Memories, an album by Daft Punk (France).

    The cover of Daft Punk's album Random Access Memories.

    The cover of Daft Punk’s album Random Access Memories.

  • Trouble Will Find Me, an album by The National (US).
  • Frederick Sanger dies.
  • Death of Nelson Mandela.

2014

  • Russia invades Ukraine and annexes Crimea.
  • The US restores diplomatic relations with Cuba.
  • The European Space Agency lands the Rosetta space probe on Comet 67P.
  • The Kepler Space Telescope identifies the first exoplanet similar to Earth in size with an orbit within the habitable zone of another star (US).
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel, a film by Wes Anderson (US).

    A still image from The Grand Budapest Hotel. Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight.

    A still image from The Grand Budapest Hotel. Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight.

  • Boyhood, a film by Richard Linklater (US).

    A still image from Boyhood.

    A still image from Boyhood.

  • LP1, an album by FKA Twigs (UK).

    The cover of LP1, an album by FKA Twigs.

    The cover of LP1, an album by FKA Twigs.

  • 1989, an album by Taylor Swift (US).

2015

  • A 7.8 magnitude earthquake near Gorkha, Nepal kills over 8,000 on April 25.
  • Refugees from Syria and other Middle Eastern countries escaping war and deprivation flood into Europe.
  • An investigation into corruption at FIFA leads to arrests of several officials.
  • Volkswagen is discovered to have cheated on emissions tests of its diesel vehicles.
  • In January, ISIS terrorists kill 17 people in Paris in reaction to anti-Islamic material in Charlie Hebdo magazine.
  • In February, Iran-supported Houthi rebels capture Yemen’s capital and drive President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi into exile, leading Saudia Arabia and a coalition of Arab states to intervene in Yemen’s civil war.
  • The suicidal pilot of a Germanwings aircraft flies the plane into a Swiss mountain on March 24, killing all 150 aboard.
  • On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that it is unconstitutional to ban same-sex marriage.
  • Greeks elect an anti-austerity prime minister in January, and vote to reject the EU’s proposals on July 5, but by July 13, Greece accept the EU’s demands.
  • On July 14, 2015, Iran, China, France, Russia, UK, US, Germany and the EU reach agreement on Iran’s nuclear program.
  • An economic slowdown leads China to devalue its currency in August, causing the Chinese stock market to plunge.
  • At least 2,236 pilgrims died in a crowd crush in Mina, Mecca on September 24.
  • On September 28, NASA announces the strongest evidence yet that Mars has liquid water.

    This digitally enhanced image of the Martian surface shows evidence of flowing water.

  • On September 30, Russia Intervenes on the side of President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian Civil War.
  • On October 31, a bomb possibly planted by ISIS brings down a Russian passenger airliner over the Sinai, killing all 224 people on board.
  • In November, ISIS strikes again in Paris, killing 130 in multiple coordinated attacks.
  • Tensions rise between Russia and Turkey after Turkish F-16s shoot down a Russian fighter in Turkish air space on November 24.
  • On December 2, a husband and wife who pledged allegiance to ISIS, kill 14 people in a mass shooting in San Bernardino, California.
  • In the December 12, 2015 Paris Agreement, 195 countries agree to take action to curb climate change.
  • In movies, Carol and Inside Out are critics’ favorites.
  • The year’s most highly regarded books are A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara, and Between the World and Me, by ­Ta-­Nehisi Coates.
  • Most highly praised music releases are Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly and Sufjan Stevens’ Carrie & Lowell.

2016

  • Earthquakes kill 350 in Ecuador and 247 in Italy.
  • Colombia reaches peace agreement with rebel FARC group after 50 years of fighting.
  • Amid scandals, Brazil removes President Dilma Rousseff from office.
  • The war in Syria continues, with Assad’s forces, with Russian support, retaking Aleppo, causing huge numbers of civilian casualties.
  • A failed military coup in Turkey is followed by a purge of suspected anti-government rebels.
  • Controversial vigilante mayor Rodrigo Duterte becomes president of the Philippines.

    Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte. Photo by Dondi Tawatao/REUTERS.

  • North Korea detonates first hydrogen bomb and continues to test missiles.
  • UK votes to leave European Union in Brexit referendum vote.
  • Russia interferes in U.S. presidential election in favor of Donald Trump.
  • Republican Donald Trump wins the U.S. presidency in a surprise victory over first-ever female nominee, Democrat Hilary Clinton.
  • Iran severs diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia after the Saudis execute Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr.
  • Roman Catholic Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill meet in Cuba, the first meeting between leaders of the two churches in almost 1000 years.
  • Terrorists attacks in Brussels, Belgium (34 killed), Nice, France (84 killed) and Orlando, Florida, US (49 killed).
  • After the death of Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, President Obama nominates Merrick Garland but the Republican-controlled Senate refuses to consider the nomination.
  • The release of the Panama Papers reveals the ways the wealthy avoid paying taxes.
  • The Zika virus becomes a major health threat in South and Central America and the southern United States.
  • After voters reject his political reform plan, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi resigns.
  • Mother Teresa is canonized as a Roman Catholic saint.
  • Scientists using the orbiting Kepler telescope discover 1284 new planets, nine of which might be able to support life
  • Cuban revolutionary leader and president Fidel Castro dies at age 90.
  • Most critically-acclaimed movies: Moonlight, Manchester by the Sea and La La Land.
  • Critics’ favorite recordings: David BowieBlackstar; Beyoncé Lemonade; Frank Ocean Blonde.
  • Best-reviewed books: The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead; Homegoing, by Yaa GyasiSwing Time, by Zadie Smith; When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul KalanithiBarkskins, by Annie Proulx; Evicted, by Matthew Desmond; and The Gene: An Intimate History, by Siddhartha Mukherjee.

2017

    • In August and September, major hurricanes Harvey (Texas, US); Irma (Caribbean islands; Puerto Rico & Florida, US); and Maria (Puerto Rico, US) cause significant loss of life and property.
    • Wildfires in California (US) and across the globe are the second worst in recorded history.
    • North Korea increases its missile and nuclear testing in defiance of United Nations sanctions.
    • Iraq announced that it had defeated the Islamic State (ISIS) but the group still survives in Syria and commits terrorist attacks elsewhere in the world.
    • Donald Trump is inaugurated as the 45th US president. During his first year in office, he recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, withdraws from the Paris Climate Agreement, and bans immigration from several Muslim-majority countries.
    • The Trump Administration is under investigation for colluding with Russia to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.
    • After militants from the Rohingya population ambush armed security forces, Myanmar launches a military crackdown on the Muslim minority group; over 650,000 Rohingyas flee to neighboring Bangladesh.
    • Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe resigns after 37 years of rule.
    • The UK reaches a ‘divorce’ agreement with the European Union.
    • Spain’s Catalonia region votes for and declares independence, but Spanish authorities reject the move, suspend the region’s autonomy and exert control.
    • Awareness of women’s rights issues in the US was highlighted by the massive women’s marches following Donald Trump’s inauguration and the outing of powerful and famous men who have committed sexual assault and harassment through the #metoo movement.
    • Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman takes steps toward creating a more moderate Islamic state.
    • Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Bahrain and Yemen sever diplomatic ties with Qatar due to its support of terrorism.
    • Moderate, pro-Europe candidate Emmanuel Macron defeats right-wing candidate Marine LePen to become president of France.
    • Scientists’ observations of the collision and merger of two neutron stars provides evidence of gravitational waves and supports theories about the creation of heavy elements.
    • An iceberg measuring 2,200 square miles detaches from the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica.
    • Most critically-acclaimed movies: Get Out (Jordan Peele); Lady Bird (Greta Gerwig); Call Me by Your Name (Luca Guadagnino); and The Florida Project (Sean Baker).
    • Critics’ favorite recordings: Damn, by Kendrick Lamar; Ctrl, by SZA; Melodrama, by Lorde; and Masseducation, by St. Vincent. 
    • Best-reviewed books: Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders; Exit West, by Mohsin Hamid; Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann; and Hunger, by Roxane Gay. 

2018

  • The night of January 30-31 saw a Super Blue Blood Moon for the first time since 1866 (a total lunar eclipse during the second full moon of the month while the moon was at its closest point to Earth)
  • South Korea hosts the Winter Olympics at PyeongChang in February.
  • In February, a mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida leaves 17 dead. Other deadly mass shootings in the US include another school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas (10 killed) in May; an October shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue that left 11 dead; and a shooting at a bar in Thousand Oaks, California (23 killed) in November.
  • On March 24, hundreds of thousands of people joined the March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C. and 900 other cities around the world, protesting gun violence and mass shootings and calling for stronger gun control laws.
  • China amends its constitution in March to remove term limits, making Xi Jinping “President for Life.”
  • In March, Vladimir Putin wins election to a fourth six-year term as Russia’s president.
  • In April, Miguel Diaz-Canel becomes president of Cuba after Raúl Castro steps down.
  • In April, the Trump Administration implements a controversial family separation policy at the Mexican border, causing 2,300 children to be taken from their parents. After protests, the policy is rescinded in June.
  • On April 14, in response to a suspected sarin gas attack on rebel-held Douma by the government of Syria in the Syrian Civil War, the US, the UK and France launch air strikes against government targets.
  • On April 27, the leaders of North and South Korea meet for an historic summit in Pyongyang and agree to an official end of the Korean War.
  • Cuban Air Flight 972 crashes shortly after take-off near Havana, Cuba, in May, killing 112 people.
  • The US withdraws from the Iranian nuclear agreement in May; in June, the US withdraws from the UN Human Rights Council; and in October, the US withdraws from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in protest over allegations of Russian violations.
  • UK’s Prince Harry marries Meghan Markle, a divorced, biracial American actress on May 19.
  • On May 20, Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro is reelected for a second six-year term in what many countries (including the US, the EU, and the Organization of American States) claim is a sham election.
  • On May 25, an overwhelming majority of Irish voters choose to repeal the country’s ban on abortion.
  • The US and North Korean leaders meet in their first summit in June to discuss denuclearization, but little concrete is accomplished.
  • In July, France wins the FIFA World Cup, which is held in Russia.
  • Japan and the European Union sign an Economic Partnership Agreement in July that creates an open trade zone covering 30% of global trade.
  • After nationwide protests, the government of Saudi Arabia lifts the ban on women driving on June 24. The concession did not stop the Saudis from prosecuting the protestors, however.
  • The 12 boys on a Thai soccer team and their coach are rescued in July after spending almost three weeks in a flooded cave.
  • In July, the US begins a trade war with China by imposing tariffs on Chinese goods. In December, the countries agree to a truce in the war.
  • The 20-year conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea finally ends with the signing of a peace deal in July.
  • Following a series of cybersecurity scandals, including the sale of personal data from 50 million users to Cambridge Analytica, Facebook suffers a one-day, $109 billion drop in its market value in July.  
  • The Morandi Bridge in Genoa, Italy collapses in August, killing 43.
  • In August, Apple, Inc. becomes the first publicly traded company to reach $1 trillion in value.
  • Arizona Senator and war hero John McCain dies on August 25.
  • In August NASA launches the $1.5 billion Parker Solar Probe, which will study our Sun, its corona and solar wind at close range.
  • In September, the Indian Supreme Court strikes down a law criminalizing homosexual activity.
  • Far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro wins Brazil’s presidential election in October.
  • In October, Canada legalizes the sale and recreational use of marijuana.
  • On October 2, Saudi dissident and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi is murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, triggering a diplomatic crisis. The CIA concludes that the murder was ordered by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
  • On October 6, despite credible allegations that he sexually assaulted women while in high school and college, Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is narrowly approved by the US Senate in a 50-48 vote.
  • The powerful Category 5 hurricane Michael hits the southeastern US in October, killing 46.
  • In October, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a special report on global warming that warns that the Earth will warm by 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit by 2040 and that “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” are needed to reduce the threats.
  • In November, several US government agencies issue a National Climate Assessment Report predicting severe damage to the US economy by climate change, including a huge increase in heart-related deaths.
  • In response to reports of a large caravan of migrants coming to the US-Mexico border, President Trump deploys nearly 6,000 active-duty military troops to the border in November.
  • In the November mid-term US elections, the Democrats take back control of the House of Representatives.  The election includes several historic firsts and records including: the most women ever elected to Congress, the election of the first Muslim women, the first Native American women, and the first openly bisexual senator.
  • In November, former president George H.W. Bush dies at the age of 94.
  • 2018 was the most destructive wildfire season ever in California, and culminates in November with the Camp Fire, which kills nearly 90 people in the northern California town of Paradise.
  • In December, the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize is awarded jointly to Congolese gynecologist Denis Mukwege, who works with victims of rape, and Yazidi assault survivor Nadia Murad “for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.”
  • Yellow Vest protests over economic conditions continue in France, developing into riots during the week of December 1-8. On December 10, President Emmanuel Macron promises to raise the minimum wage.
  • On December 12, British Prime Minister Theresa May survives a no confidence vote in Parliament, despite her inability to negotiate a Brexit deal with the EU that can win approval from the House of Commons.
  • The most highly-regarded books of 2018 are: There There, by Tommy Orange; Circe, by Madeline Miller; The Largesse of the Sea Maiden: Stories, by Denis JohnsonFrederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, by David W. Blight; Educated: A Memoir, by Tara Westover; Heavy: An American Memoir, by Kiese Laymon; and American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin, by Terrance Hayes.
  • The best-reviewed musical recordings of 2018 are: Janelle Monáe – Dirty Computer; Mitski – Be the CowboyKacey Musgraves – Golden Hour; and Pusha T – DAYTONA.
  • Critically-acclaimed films of 2018 include: Roma (Mexico/US, Alfonso Cuarón); If Beale Street Could Talk (US, Barry Jenkins); Burning (South Korea, Chang-dong Lee); and The Favourite (Ireland/UK/US, Yorgos Lanthimos).

2019

  • Wildfires in the Amazon rainforest reach record proportions.
  • Hurricane Dorian kills 70 (with over 200 still missing) in The Bahamas.
  • A volcano erupts on White Island in New Zealand, killing 20.
  • A proposed extradition bill sparks widespread protests and violence in Hong Kong.
  • The U.S. House of Representatives impeaches President Donald Trump for abuse of power after he withholds aid from Ukraine in an attempt to obtain negative information on his political rival.
  • The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team wins the World Cup for the fourth time.
  • A fire partially destroys Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.
  • The leaders of North Korea and the U.S. meet twice, and President Donald Trump becomes the first sitting U.S. president to enter North Korea.
  • After the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, killing 157, all Boeing 737 Max aircraft are grounded.
  • China lands an unmanned space probe on the dark side of the moon.
  • Scientists from the Event Horizon Telescope project announce the first ever image of a black hole, located in the centre of the M87 galaxy.
  • After failing to obtain a deal on Brexit, UK Prime Minister Theresa May resigns, to be replaced by Boris Johnson.
  • Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex welcomed their first child, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, who is currently seventh in line to the British throne.
  • Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg became the face of climate change activism: she led thousands in protest marches; spoke to the United Nations; and was designated Time Magazine’s Person of the Year.
  • Venezuela enters a presidential crisis as Juan Guaidó and the National Assembly declare incumbent President Nicolás Maduro “illegitimate”; Guiadó declared himself president of Venezuela, but Maduro refused to step down. In April, an attempted uprising against Maduro fails.
  • In April, Japanese Emperor Akihito formally stepped down after a 30-year reign, ending the Heisei era and becoming the first Japanese monarch in some 200 years to abdicate. Akihito’s son Naruhito succeeded him on the Chrysanthemum Throne, marking the start of the Reiwa imperial era.
  • ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi died in a U.S. special forces operation.
  • An Ebola epidemic killed over 2,000 people in Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • The Republic of Macedonia renames itself the Republic of North Macedonia, officially ending a decades-old dispute with Greece.
  • In October, NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir exit  the International Space Station, becoming the first to complete an all-female spacewalk.
  • A series of bomb attacks occur at eight locations in Sri Lanka leaves 259 people dead.
  • Anti-Muslim terrorist attacks at two mosques in New Zealand leave 51 dead.
  • Mass shootings in El Paso, Texas (22 dead) and Dayton Ohio (10 dead) during a 24-hour period in August. El Paso shooter allegedly motivated by hatred of immigrants.
  • In India, a landslide win for Narendra Modi and his right wing BJP party; rescinding of autonomy for Kashmir and Jammu; controversial new citizenship law that prefers non-Muslim immigrants; also, Pakistan-India tensions increase.
  • The best-reviewed musical recordings of 2019 are: Lana Del ReyNorman Fucking Rockwell!; Billie EilishWhen We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?; FKA Twigs – MAGDALENE; and Tyler, The Creator – IGOR.
  • The most highly-regarded books of 2019 are: Say Nothing: A True Story Of Murder And Memory In Northern Ireland, by Patrick Radden Keefe; Trick Mirror: Reflections On Self-Delusion, by Jia Tolentino; The Yellow House, by Sarah M. Broom; Trust Exercise, by Susan Choi; On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, by Ocean Vuong; Ducks, Newburyport, by Lucy Ellmann; Normal People, by Sally Rooney; The Nickel Boys, by Colson Whitehead; Fleishman Is In Trouble, by Taffy Brodesser-Akner.
  • The most critically-acclaimed films of 2019 are: The Irishman (US, Martin Scorsese); Parasite (South Korea, Bong Joon-ho); Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (US/UK, Quentin Tarantino); and Marriage Story (US/UK, Noah Baumbach).

2020

    • A pandemic caused by a novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 spreads across the globe, killing millions of people and infecting many more (including Donald Trump).  Safety measures to reduce the spread of the disease, including lockdowns, quarantines, and mask mandates, cause economic recession and some backlash. Late in the year, the arrival of vaccines offers hope.
    • In American politics, the Senate acquits President Donald Trump after he was impeached by the House.
    • Trump loses re-election to Democrat Presidential candidate Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris, the first ever woman, Black and South Asian vice-president. The high voter turnout sets records.
    • In January, a U.S. drone strike kills Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, elevating tensions.
    • The U.S. brokers peace deals between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
    • The killing of George Floyd in police custody in Milwaukee leads to nationwide Black Lives Matter protests.
    • Australia and the western U.S. experience devastating wildfires.
    • The U.K.’s Brexit from the European Union becomes official in January.
    • Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announce they would “step back” from the British royal family on January 8.
    • Basketball star Kobe Bryant and his daughter die in a helicopter crash.
    • Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite becomes the first foreign-language film to win the Academy Award for best motion picture.
    • Movie producer Harvey Weinstein is found guilty of sex crimes.
    • In August, a fire in a waterfront warehouse in Beirut, Lebanon ignites a cache of ammonium nitrate, causing an explosion that killed nearly 200 people and injured more than 6,000.
    • Liberal Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies, giving Donald Trump the opportunity to replace her with conservative Amy Coney Barrett.
    • Computer hackers target American public figures in a bitcoin scam in July.
    • U.S. government computers are subject to a massive cyberattack, likely coming from Russia.
    • China, the United Arab Emirates and the U.S. all launch unmanned space missions to Mars.
    • U.S. and Japanese probes land on asteroids and collected dust and rocks to bring back to Earth.
    • In January, Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 is shot down by the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards after taking off from Tehran, killing 176 people.
    • The best-reviewed musical recordings of 2020 are: Fiona Apple – Fetch the Bolt Cutters; Run the Jewels – RTJ4; Taylor Swift – Folklore; Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher; Waxahatchee – Saint Cloud; and Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia. 
    • The most highly-regarded books of 2020 are: Hamnet, by Maggie O’Farrell; Homeland Elegies, by Ayad Akhar; The Vanishing Half, by Brit Bennett; Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, by Isabel Wilkerson; Vesper Flights, by Helen Macdonald; and African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle & Song, edited by Kevin Young.
    • The most critically-acclaimed films of 2020 are: Small Axe: Lovers Rock (UK, Steve McQueen); First Cow (US, Kelly Reichardt); Never Rarely Sometimes Always (US/UK. Eliza Hittman); Nomadland (US, Chloé Zhao); Collective (Romania, Alexander Nanau); and Mank (US, David Fincher).

This is the conclusion of the Timeline of Human History.  To start again at the beginning, click on the link below:
Timeline of Human History I: Prehistory-1499

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