recent history

Recent History

Recent History Timeline of Notable Events

No list of historical events can ever be complete and will inevitably be subjective but we’re open to suggestions so please share any events in recent history you feel should be included (or removed) and we’ll consider your feedback carefully.

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Year/sCategory TagsRecent History, Notable Events since the Millennium
2000 – 2005War, PoliticsSecond Intifada in Israel and Palestine.
2001TerrorismOn the morning of September 11, 2001 Islamic suicide bombers belonging to the al-Qaeda terrorist group flew hijacked airplanes into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington. Nearly 3,000 people died.
2001WarWar against terrorism. On 7th October “Operation Enduring Freedom” begins in Afghanistan.
2002Finance1st January: The Euro was introduced as a means of payment in 12 European countries: Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain.
2003WarThe US invades Iraq on 20th March 2003 without UN approval.
2004DisasterOn Boxing day, 26th December, one of the largest tsunami in recent history, triggered by an undersea earthquake in the Indian Ocean, hits Indonesia, Thailand and Myanmar. A total of 230,000 people, including many tourists, lost their lives.
2004 – 2007TerrorismTerrorist attacks on railway stations in Madrid (2004) and London (2007).
2005PeopleGerman Joseph Ratzinger elected as the new Pope Benedict XVI.
2006SportItaly are the (soccer) football world cup champions for the fourth time.
2008EconomyBad real estate loans in American lead to a global economic crisis.
2009PeopleBarack Obama elected 44th US President on 20th January. Israeli troops march into the Gaza Strip on 27th January.
2009HealthSwine flu with the H1N1 virus hits killing many people worldwide.
2010 – 2012EconomySovereign debt crisis in Greece burdens European and global economy. After Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Italy and Spain can no longer service their debt (Euro crisis).
2010SportSpain are the (soccer) football world cup champions for the first time.
2010 – 2012RevolutionArab Spring. On 17th December 2010 protests in Tripoli following a greengrocer immolates himself. Riots spread from there like wildfire to Egypt (25th January 2011), Yemen (27th January 2011), Libya (18th February 2011) and Syria in early 2012.
2011 -2014 DisasterAfter an earthquake on 11th March, in which nearly 16,000 people lost their lives, the Fukushima nuclear power plant suffers a core meltdown. Radioactivity escapes contaminating people, animals and nature and even today continues to leak radiation.
2011Terrorism22nd July. A right-wing terrorist unleashes a bloodbath on the Norwegian island of Utøya. After igniting a bomb in Oslo, he attacks a youth camp on the island and shoots 69 people dead.
2011WarCivil war breaks out in Libya, as a result of the Arab Spring. Autocrat Gaddafi was assassinated in Sirte on 20th October 2011.
2012 – 2014WarCivil war begins in Syria (also as a result of the Arab Spring) with many victims and an uncertain outcome.
2012PeopleBarack Obama is re-elected as USA president on 7th November, defeating Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
2013TerrorismBomb at the Boston Marathon. On 15th April three spectators are killed by the explosion. The two assassins are found days later. One dies during the arrest.
2013DisasterCollapse of a textile factory in Bangladesh killis over 1100 people.
2013PeopleQueen Beatrix of The Netherlands abdicates in favour of her son Willem-Alexander. His coronation as king takes place on 30th April.
2013WhistleblowerEurope-wide eavesdropping scandal. “Whistleblower” Edward Snowden reports on the eavesdropping and espionage methods of the US intelligence agencies CIA and NSA. Chancellor Merkel’s phone was also bugged for some time.
2013PeopleA new king is crowned in Belgium. King Philippe takes office on 21st July.
2014SovereigntyCrimea declares independence from Ukraine and joins the Russian Federation which has lead to ongoing instability in eastern Ukraine and beyond.
2014TerrorismApril 14, Chibok, Nigeria. At 1 a.m. rebels of the terrorist group Boko Haram kidnap over 200 girls between the ages of 16 and 18.
2014PeopleThe Spanish King Juan Carlos I announces his abdication on June 2 after a reign of 38 years. His son Felipe becomes the new King of Spain.
2014WarA new Gaza war begins in early July. Over the next 7 weeks (until August 26), Israelis forces fly air strikes on Gaza killing more than 2,000 Palestinians.
2014SportGermany win the (soccer) football world cup champions for the fourth time.
2014MysteryFlight MH17 is hit by a missile in Eastern Ukraine and crashes. All 298 passengers die, many of them Dutch. The missile was allegedly launched by pro-Russian rebels.
2014HealthIn the second half of the year, the highly contagious Ebola virus breaks out in some West African countries (including Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone). By the end of the year, some 7,500 people die of the virus.
2014EqualityOn August 9, the unarmed black youth Michael Brown is shot by a white police officer in Ferguson (Missouri, USA). It leads to riots that continue on account of more racist police actions as well as the acquittal of the police officer.
2014TerrorismThe Islamic terror militia IS (Islamic State) brutally attacks Kurds in northern Iraq and Syria. People flee in panic to Turkey and other neighboring countries.
2014ProtestAt the end of September, 43 student demonstrators are killed and abducted in the Mexican city of Iguala. The mayor, the police and a local drug mafia are all in connivance probably the culprits.
2015TerrorismParis. On January 7, radical Islamist fanatics storm the satirical magazine “Charlie Hebdo” office and shoot 12 people, including 10 employees (cartoonists & copywriters) and two policemen. Worldwide, millions of people show solidarity with the victims with the slogan: “Je suis Charlie”.
2015DisasterOn March 24, a German Wings Airbus smashes into the French Alps. 150 people, including 70 Germans die. The plane took off in Barcelona, destination Dusseldorf. It transpired only later that not a technical failure, but the co-pilot’s suicide caused the crash.
2015DisasterDevastating earthquake in Nepal on April 25. More than 7,500 people are killed, including mountaineers and hikers in the Himalayas.
2015Migration In spring and summer, the number of refugees heading to Europe and particularly to Germany increases dramatically. Nearly 2 million war and economic refugees (mainly from Africa, Syria, Afghanistan and the Balkans) cross the Mediterranean or Hungary to Europe.
2015CorporateDuring the IAA (International Motor Show) Volkswagen’s image gets a few cracks. VW engineers rigged measurements of exhaust emissions for diesel vehicles in America. None of the managers admit to knowing anything about it. As a result, the shares lose nearly 50% of their value and VW boss Winterkorn resigns.
2015TerrorismFriday the 13th: In the evening of November 13, eight IS terrorists murder over 130 unarmed passersby in various Paris locations, including coffee-house guests and concert visitors at Club Bataclan. The terrorists fire at random into the dancing crowd before blowing themselves up.
2016TerrorismA further suicide bomb attack involving four IS-terrorists takes place at Brussels airport and in a subway on March 22 killing 35 people.
2016Politics23rd June 2016: The Brexit EU referendum was held. The UK voted to leave by a narrow margin (51.9% to 48.1%). The impact on recent history across Europe and worldwide remains to be seen.
2017Politics, EnvironmentDonald J Trump was inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States on 20th January 2017. The radical changes to US foreign policy and “putting America first” have already impacted worldwide.
2017PoliticsFollowing the 2016 Brexit referendum result the UK activated Article 50 which means the UK will leave the EU on Friday, 29th March 2019.
2017PoliticsNorth Korea conducts a series of apparently successful nuclear tests and intercontinental ballistic missile tests despite UN sanctions.

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