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Arab SpringAnnexation of Crimea by the Russian FederationIslamic State of Iraq and the LevantBrexitParis AgreementSmartphoneObergefell v. HodgesBlack hole
From left, clockwise: Anti-government protests during the Arab Spring; Crimea is annexed by Russia in 2014; ISIS perpetrates terrorist attacks and captures territory in Syria and Iraq; climate change awareness and the Paris Agreement; the first image of a black hole; same-sex marriage becomes legal in many countries; increasing use of digital and mobile technologies; rises in populism including the UK voting to leave the EU.
Millennium: 3rd millennium

The 2010s (pronounced "twenty-tens" or "two thousand [and] tens", shortened to "the '10s"[1][2]) was a decade of the Gregorian calendar that began on 1 January 2010 and ended on 31 December 2019.

The decade began amid a global financial crisis and subsequent international recession dating from the late 2000s. The resulting European sovereign-debt crisis became more pronounced early in the decade and continued to affect the possibility of a global economic recovery. Economic issues, such as austerity, inflation, and an increase in commodity prices, led to unrest in many countries, including the 15-M and Occupy movements. Unrest in some countries – particularly in the Arab world – evolved into socioeconomic crises triggering revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, and Bahrain as well as civil wars in Libya, Syria, and Yemen in a widespread phenomenon commonly referred to as the Arab Spring. Shifting social attitudes saw LGBT rights and female representation make substantial progress during the decade, particularly in the West and parts of Asia and Africa.

The United States continued to retain its global superpower status while an assertive China, along with launching vast economic initiatives and military reforms, sought to expand its influence in the South China Sea and in Africa, solidifying its position as a potential superpower; global competition between China and the U.S. coalesced into a "containment" effort and a trade war. Elsewhere in Asia, the Koreas improved their relations after a prolonged crisis and the War on Terror continued as Osama bin Laden was assassinated by U.S. forces in a raid on his compound in Pakistan as a part of the U.S.'s continued military involvement in many parts of the world. The rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant extremist organization in 2014 erased the borders between Syria and Iraq, resulting in a multinational intervention that also saw the demise of its leader. In Africa, South Sudan broke away from Sudan, and mass protests and various coups d'état saw longtime strongmen deposed. Meanwhile, the European Union experienced a migrant crisis in the middle of the decade and the historic United Kingdom EU membership referendum followed by withdrawal negotiations during its later years. Russia attempted to assert itself in international affairs annexing Crimea in 2014.

Information technology progressed, with smartphones becoming widespread. The Internet of things saw substantial growth during the 2010s due to advancements in wireless networking devices, mobile telephony, and cloud computing. Advancements in data processing and the rollout of 4G broadband allowed data and information to disperse among domains at paces never before seen while online resources such as social media facilitated phenomena such as the Me Too movement and the rise of slacktivism and online call-out culture. Online nonprofit organization WikiLeaks gained international attention for publishing classified information on topics including Guantánamo Bay, Syria, the Afghan and Iraq wars, and United States diplomacy. Edward Snowden blew the whistle on global surveillance, raising awareness on the role governments and private entities have in mass surveillance and information privacy.

Global warming became increasingly noticeable through new record temperatures in different years and extreme weather events on all continents. The CO2 concentration rose from 390 to 410 PPM over the decade. At the same time, combating pollution and climate change continued to be major concerns, as protests, initiatives, and legislation garnered substantial media attention. Particularly, the Paris Agreement (2015) was adopted and a global climate youth movement was formed. Major natural disasters included the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, the Nepal earthquake of 2015, the 2018 Sulawesi earthquake and tsunami, and the devastating hurricanes Washi (Sendong), Sandy, Bopha (Pablo), Haiyan (Yolanda), Harvey, Irma, Maria, Florence, Michael, and Idai.

Superhero and animated films became box office leaders, with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Frozen and Despicable Me franchises being the most prominent of that decade. Cable providers saw a decline in subscriber numbers as cord cutters switched to lower cost online streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and Disney+. Globalism and an increased demand for variety and personalization in the face of music streaming services such as Spotify created many subgenres. Dance, hip-hop, and pop music surged into the 2010s, with EDM achieving mass commercial success. Digital music sales topped CD sales in 2012. The video game industry continued to be dominated by Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft; Minecraft became the best-selling game of all time. The best-selling book of this decade was Fifty Shades of Grey.

Politics and conflicts[edit]

Major conflicts[edit]

The prominent wars of the decade include:

International wars[edit]

Name Start date End date Description
Israeli–Palestinian conflict 14 May 1948 Ongoing Conflict between Jewish and Arab communities in Israel and the West Bank have been ongoing since 1948.[3] After Israel occupied the West Bank, it began making settlements there, which has been an obstacle to the peace process.[4] Tensions also remained high as Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, has been launching rockets and cross-border raids into Israeli territory, which Israel has responded with force.[5]
War on Terror 11 September 2001 Motivated by the September 11 attacks, the United States and other governments started a large scale effort to eliminate terrorism.[6] With support from NATO, the United States invaded Taliban-controlled Afghanistan and overthrew the government.[7] Two years later, on the pretext that the government of Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction,[8] the United States and a coalition of partners invaded Iraq and overthrew Hussein,[9] after which the U.S. occupied the country.[10] However, insurgencies remained active in both countries, long after the invasions.[11]
2011 military intervention in Libya 19 March 2011 31 October 2011 Following United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, a NATO-led coalition launched an air campaign against Muammar Gaddafi's government in the Libyan Civil War.
Russian military intervention in Ukraine 20 February 2014 Ongoing After the fall of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, Russian soldiers took control of strategic positions in the Ukrainian territory of Crimea and subsequently annexed the region after a controversial referendum.[12] In the months that followed, demonstrations in Donbass escalated into an armed conflict between the government of Ukraine and Russia-backed separatist forces.
International military intervention against ISIL 13 June 2014 In late 2013, a terrorist organization called the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant began making rapid advances and territorial gains in Iraq and Syria. It captured Mosul in June[13] and made Raqqa its capital.[14] Various international coalitions were formed to help fight the militants.[15][16] By December 2017, ISIL had lost much of its former territory.
Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen 26 March 2015 During the Yemeni Civil War, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and other countries invaded parts of Yemen in order to depose the Houthi-controlled government.
Turkish involvement in the Syrian Civil War 24 August 2016 During the Syrian Civil War, Turkey invaded parts of northern Syria in order to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and the Syrian Democratic Forces.
2018 Armenian–Azerbaijani clashes 20 May 2018 27 May 2018
2019 India–Pakistan border skirmishes 26 February 2019 22 March 2019 The Indian Air Force launches airstrikes on purported terrorist camps in Muzaffarabad and Chakothi areas of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, and Balakot in mainland Pakistan, leading to said standoff.
The war-torn ruins of Donetsk International Airport in late December 2014
In red: the area controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) proto-state in December 2014
Devastation in Mosul's old city after recapture from ISIL in 2017

Civil wars[edit]

Name Start date End date Description
Colombian Armed Conflict 27 May 1964 Ongoing Fighting between the Colombian government, left-wing guerrillas, and various paramilitary factions had been ongoing since 1964. However, at the start of the decade, only two major groups remained, FARC and ELN.[17] Since 2012, both groups have been in peace talks with the government, with FARC and the government signing a ceasefire in 2016.[18]
War in North-West Pakistan 16 March 2004 Since 2004, Pakistan has been fighting an insurgency by various armed militant groups in the country.[19] The violence has killed almost 57,000 people since,[20] with over 3 million more affected.[21] By 2014, however, casualties from terrorist and militant attacks had dropped by around 40%.[22]
Insurgency in Paraguay 27 August 2005 Since 2005, Paraguay has been fighting an insurgency by various armed militant groups in the country, including the Paraguayan People's Army, the Armed Peasant Association and the Army of Marshal López. At least 82 people have died in the conflict.
Mexican Drug War 11 December 2006 Following a rise in criminal violence as a result of drug trafficking in the country, Mexican President Felipe Calderón declared a war on drugs in December 2006.[23] Since the start of the war, the death toll from drug violence had sharply increased.[24] Arrests of key cartel leaders led to increasing violence as cartels fought for control of trafficking routes into the United States.[25][26][27]
War in Somalia 31 January 2009 In 2009, Al-Shabaab, an Islamist militant group, began waging an insurgency against the newly formed Transitional Federal Government. In 2011, the federal government captured Mogadishu[28] and subsequently retook several towns across the country.[29] Since then, the government has attempted to clean out the remaining Al-Shabaab strongholds with help from AMISOM soldiers.[30]
Boko Haram insurgency 26 July 2009 The Boko Haram insurgency began when the jihadist rebel group started an armed rebellion against the government of Nigeria.[31] In 2015, the group pledged alliance to ISIL.[32] It has since been called the world's deadliest terrorist group.[33][34]
Northern Mali conflict 16 January 2012 In January 2012, a rebellion by Tuaregs in Northern Mali began. After Malian president Amadou Toumani Touré was ousted in a coup d'état, Tuaregs captured Northern Mali,[35] and declared it to be the independent state of Azawad.[36] However, shortly afterward, various Islamists groups took over Northern Mali from the Tuaregs and imposed sharia law on the region.[37]
South Sudanese Civil War 15 December 2013 22 Febuary 2020
Iraqi Civil War 1 January 2014 9 December 2017 The civil war began with the conquest of Fallujah, Mosul, Tikrit and major areas of northern Iraq by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Various nations provided aid in the form of airstrikes, troops and intelligence.[38][39] On 9 December 2017, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced victory over ISIL,[40] though others warned to expect ISIL to continue the fight by other means.[41]
Second Libyan Civil War 16 May 2014 Ongoing Following the factional violence that engulfed Libya after the fall of Muammari Gaddafi, a second civil war broke out among rival factions seeking control of the territory and oil of Libya. The conflict at the beginning was mostly between the House of Representatives (HoR) government that was controversially elected in 2014, also known as the "Tobruk government"; and the rival General National Congress (GNC) government, also called the "National Salvation Government", based in the capital Tripoli, established after Operation Odyssey Dawn and the failed military coup.
Yemeni Civil War 19 March 2015 Preceded by a decade-long Houthi insurgency,[42] the Yemeni Civil War began between two factions: the then-incumbent Yemeni government, led by Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, and the Houthi militia, along with their supporters and allies. Both claim to constitute the Yemeni government.[43]
Philippine Drug War 30 June 2016 Following a rise in criminal violence as a result of drug trafficking in the country, since Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte was inaugurated on 30 June 2016. It has caused 3,000 deaths.[44]
Marawi crisis 23 May 2017 23 October 2017
Anglophone Crisis 9 September 2017 Ongoing
Islamist insurgency in Mozambique 5 October 2017
Iraqi insurgency 9 December 2017
War in Catatumbo January 2018
French Rafale fighter jets operating over Mali in 2013 during the Northern Mali Conflict
Peshmerga T-55 tank outside Kirkuk on 19 June 2014. Iraqi Kurdistan played a significant role in combatting ISIL during the Iraqi Civil War
Saudi and Emirati soldiers in Yemen, June 2016. Saudi Arabia intervened in the Yemeni Civil War in 2015

Revolutions and major protests[edit]

Successful revolutions and otherwise major protests of the decade include, but are not limited to:

Event Date Country Events
Kyrgyz Revolution of 2010 6 April 2010 – 14 December 2010 Kyrgyzstan Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev fled Bishkek amid fierce anti-government riots as the opposition seized control. [45]
Occupy Wall Street and the Occupy movement 17 September 2011 – c. 2013 United States Hundreds of protesters marched into the financial district of Wall Street in New York City, beginning the Occupy Wall Street movement. [46]
Rojava revolution 19 July 2012 – ongoing Autonomous Administration of North and East SyriaSyria A sub-conflict of the Syrian Civil War.
Euromaidan and the 2014 Ukrainian revolution 21 November 2013 – 23 February 2014 Ukraine Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych fled the country following violent protests in the capital, Kyiv. The opposition-controlled Verkhovna Rada voted to remove him as president. [47]
Abkhazian Revolution 27 May 2014 – 1 June 2014 AbkhaziaGeorgia (country) In a quick turn of events, the President of the breakway republic, Alexander Ankvab, was ousted from power after the government building was stormed.[48]
2014 Burkinabé uprising 28 October 2014 – 3 November 2014 Burkina Faso
2015–16 protests in Brazil 15 March 2015 – 31 July 2016 Brazil In 2015 and 2016, a series of protests in Brazil denounced government corruption and the presidency of Dilma Rousseff, being the largest popular mobilizations in the country since the beginning of the "New Republic". [49]
Burundian unrest (2015–18) 26 April 2015 – 17 May 2018 Burundi Burundi faces unrest as President Pierre Nkurunziza sought a third term in office, resulting in hundreds killed and thousands more fleeing the country. [50]
2018–19 Gaza border protests 30 March 2018 – 27 December 2019 IsraelState of Palestine Protests against the Blockade of the Gaza Strip, with 183 protesters killed.[51]
2018 Armenian revolution 31 March 2018 – 8 May 2018 Armenia Various political and civil groups led by member of parliament Nikol Pashinyan staged anti-government protests in Armenia. Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan resigned on 23 April 2018. Nikol Pashinyan was elected Prime Minister on 8 May 2018. [52][53]
Yellow vests movement 17 November 2018 – ongoing France France experiences its worst civil unrest since the protests of 1968 due to the yellow vests movement. Protests in Paris morph into riots, with hundreds of people injured and thousands arrested. Over 100 cars are burned and numerous tourist sites are closed. [54]
Sudanese Revolution 19 December 2018 – 12 September 2019 Sudan Amid mass protests, Omar al-Bashir is deposed as President of Sudan in a coup d'état, after nearly 30 years in office. [55]
2019–20 Hong Kong protests 9 June 2019 – ongoing Hong KongChina Mass protests take place in Hong Kong against an extradition bill that many observed would subject Hong Kong residents and those passing through the city to de facto jurisdiction of Chinese Communist Party courts. Despite Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam announcing the bill to be "dead" after weeks of mass protests, waves of localized demonstrations continued, some resulting in violent clashes between police, pro-democracy activists, local residents, and Triad members. [56][57]
2019 Ecuadorian protests 3 October 2019 – 14 October 2019 Ecuador 2019 Latin American protests: On 3 October 2019, taxi, bus and truck drivers came out in protest against the planned fuel subsidy abolition and austerity measures announced by President Lenín Moreno. The government seat was relocated from Quito to Guayaquil and a state of emergency was declared following violent protests. [58]
2019 Chilean protests 14 October 2019 – 18 March 2020 Chile 2019 Latin American protests: On 14 October 2019, a period of mass protests and violent unrest began in Chile. The protests were initially in response to a fare hike on the Santiago Metro, but the scope of the protestors' demands has since expanded. [59]
2019 Bolivian protests 21 October 2019 – 21 November 2019 Bolivia 2019 Latin American protests: Following a disputed election, protests forced Evo Morales, the president since 2006, to resign and flee to Mexico.[60] The new president, Jeanine Áñez, continued to face opposition from pro-Morales protestors.[61]
Concerns over social and economic inequality, greed, corruption and the influence of corporations on government led to the rise of the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011
Algerian protesters gather during the 2019 "Smile Revolution"

Arab Spring[edit]

The Arab Spring was a series of anti-government protests, uprisings, and armed rebellions that spread across much of the Islamic world in the early 2010s. It began in response to oppressive regimes and a low standard of living, starting with protests in Tunisia.[62][63] In the news, social media has been heralded as the driving force behind the swift spread of revolution throughout the world, as new protests appear in response to success stories shared from those taking place in other countries. In many countries, the governments have also recognized the importance of social media for organizing and have shut down certain sites or blocked Internet service entirely, especially in the times preceding a major rally.[64] Governments have also scrutinized or suppressed discussion in those forums through accusing content creators of unrelated crimes or shutting down communication on specific sites or groups, such as through Facebook.[65]

Name Start date End date Description
Tunisian Revolution 18 December 2010 14 January 2011 Amidst anti-government protests, Tunisia's president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali dissolved the government, declared a state of emergency and resigned from office. [66]
Egyptian revolution of 2011 25 January 2011 11 February 2011
2011 Bahraini uprising 14 February 2011 18 March 2011 Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, King of Bahrain, declared a three-month state of emergency as troops from the Gulf Co-operation Council were sent to quell the civil unrest. [67]
Libyan Civil War 15 February 2011 13 October 2011 Facing protests against his 42-year rule, Muammar Gaddafi refused to step down and sent in the military to brutally quell protests.[68][69] As a result, many army units defected to the opposition and protests soon turned into an armed rebellion.[70] With international help, the rebels captured Tripoli,[71] and eventually Sirte, Gaddafi's hometown and last outpost, where he was killed.[72]
Syrian Civil War 15 March 2011 Ongoing Protests erupted in Syria against President Bashar al-Assad's rule, with police and the army sent in to crack down on protesters.[73][74] They later morphed into war after army officers defected to the opposition, forming the Free Syrian Army (FSA).[75] The war allowed for Islamic extremist groups like Al-Nusra Front and ISIL to temporarily take control of vast amounts of territory.
The Arab Spring saw mass unrest in the Arab world early in the decade:
  Government overthrown multiple times
  Government overthrown
  Civil war
  Protests and governmental changes
  Major protests
  Minor protests   Other protests and militant action outside the Arab world
Protesters in Tahrir Square during the Egyptian revolution of 2011.
Anti-Ghaddafi fighters celebrate during the Libyan Civil War.
Territorial changes of the Syrian Civil War, October 2011 – March 2019.

Nuclear proliferation[edit]

P5+1 and Iranian negotiators meeting in Geneva for the interim agreement on the Iranian nuclear programme (2013)

Terrorist attacks[edit]

Montage of the November 2015 Paris attacks. Islamic terrorism in Europe spiked following the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in 2014.
The ruins of buildings destroyed in the 14 October 2017 Mogadishu bombings, which killed over 500 people.

The most prominent terrorist attacks committed against civilian populations during the decade include, but are not limited to:

Event Date Country Deaths Injuries Ref.
2010 Lakki Marwat suicide bombing 1 January 2010 Pakistan 105 100+ [92]
2010 Moscow Metro bombings 29 March 2010 Russia 40 102 [93]
2011 Mumbai bombings 13 July 2011 India 26 130+ [94]
2011 Norway attacks 22 July 2011 Norway 77 319+ [95]
2011 Mogadishu bombing 4 October 2011 Somalia 100 110+ [96]
Boston Marathon bombing 15 April 2013 United States 3 264 [97]
Zamboanga City siege 9 September 2013 Philippines 220 70 [98]
Westgate shopping mall attack 21 September 2013 Kenya 67 175 [99]
2014 Kunming attack 1 March 2014 China 35 143
May 2014 Ürümqi attack 22 May 2014 China 43 90
Camp Speicher massacre 12 June 2014 Iraq 1,566 [100]
2014 Sydney hostage crisis 15 December 2014 Australia 3 18 [101]
2014 Peshawar school massacre 16 December 2014 Pakistan 148 114 [102]
2015 Baga massacre 3–7 January 2015 Nigeria 150+ [103]
January 2015 Île-de-France attacks 7–9 January 2015 France 20 22 [104]
2015 Sana'a mosque bombings 20 March 2015 Yemen 142 351 [105]
Garissa University College attack 2 April 2015 Kenya 152 79 [106]
2015 Ramadan attacks 26 June 2015 Various 403 336+ [107]
12 November 2015 Lebanon 43 240 [108]
2015 Ankara bombings 10 October 2015 Turkey 109 400+ [109]
2015 Metrojet crash 31 October 2015 Russia 224 [110]
November 2015 Paris attacks 13 November 2015 France 131 413 [111]
2015 San Bernardino attack 2 December 2015 United States 14 22 [112]
2016 Brussels bombings 22 March 2016 Belgium 35 300+ [113]
Orlando nightclub shooting 12 June 2016 United States 49 53 [114]
2016 Istanbul airport attack 28 June 2016 Turkey 45 236 [115]
July 2016 Baghdad bombings 3 July 2016 Iraq 340 246 [116]
2016 Nice truck attack 14 July 2016 France 87 434 [117]
2016 Berlin truck attack 19 December 2016 Germany 12 56 [118]
2017 Istanbul nightclub shooting 1 January 2017 Turkey 39 70 [119]
2017 Westminster attack 22 March 2017 United Kingdom 6 49 [120]
2017 St. Petersburg Metro bombing 3 April 2017 Russia 15 64 [121]
2017 Stockholm truck attack 7 April 2017 Sweden 5 14 [122]
2017 Camp Shaheen attack 21 April 2017 Afghanistan 140+ 160+ [123]
Manchester Arena bombing 22 May 2017 United Kingdom 22 59 [124]
2017 London Bridge attack 3 June 2017 United Kingdom 11 48 [125]
2017 Barcelona attacks 17–18 August 2017 Spain 16 152 [126]
14 October 2017 Mogadishu bombings 14 October 2017 Somalia 587 316 [127]
2017 New York City truck attack 31 October 2017 United States 8 12 [128]
2017 Sinai mosque attack 24 November 2017 Egypt 311 122 [129]
2018 Strasbourg attack 11 December 2018 France 5 11 [130]
Christchurch mosque shooting 15 March 2019 New Zealand 51 49 [131]
2019 Sri Lanka Easter bombings 21 April 2019 Sri Lanka 269 500+ [132]
2019 El Paso shooting 3 August 2019 United States 22 24 [133]
December 2019 Mogadishu bombing 28 December 2019 Somalia 85 140+ [134]

Political trends[edit]

International relations[edit]

BRICS, a supranational economic cooperative comprising five major emerging national economies—Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa—grew to represent over 3.1 billion people, or about 41 percent of the world population by 2015.

China was increasingly called a superpower in the early 2010s, including at the 2011 meeting between President Hu Jintao and United States President Barack Obama. China overtook the U.S. as the world's largest trading nation, filing the most patents, expanding its military, landing its lunar rover Yutu on the moon (ending a four-decade lack of lunar exploration) and creating China's Oriental Movie Metropolis as a major film and cultural center. China was projected to have the world's largest economy by 2018 with an estimated GDP per capita equal to the U.S. by the late 2050s.[135] In 2018, global military spending reached the highest it has been since 1988, late Cold War levels, largely fueled by increased defense spending by China and the United States, whose budgets together accounted for half of the world's total military spending.[136] In 2019, the Lowy Institute Asia Power Index, which measures the projections of power in the Indo-Pacific, called both China and the United States the superpowers of the 21st century, citing immense influence in almost all eight indexes of power.[137][137]

Along with China, a Vladimir Putin-led Russia also steadily increased its defense spending and continued to modernize its military capabilities throughout the decade, including the development of the T-14 Armata main battle tank and the fifth-generation Sukhoi Su-57 jet fighter. Russia also flexed its power projection capabilities, particularly demonstrated during the 2014 annexation of Crimea and its interventions in eastern Ukraine and the Syrian Civil War; Wagner Group had a significant presence in both conflicts. Russia also notably waged information warfare campaigns against its geopolitical foes, including interfering in the 2016 U.S. elections via hacking and leaking emails of U.S. political party leadership and by spreading disinformation via the Internet Research Agency. Other alleged Russian intelligence operations included the Skripal poisonings and the Montenegrin coup plot, both of which were attributed by some to the Unit 29155 organization. Collectively, these activities—and the Western-led efforts to combat the influence of Russian oligarchs and political interests—have been referred to as the Second Cold War.

The European Union went through several crises. The European debt crisis caused severe economic problems to several eurozone member states, most severely Greece. The 2015 migration crisis led to several million people entering the EU illegally in a short period of time. There was a significant rise in the vote shares of several eurosceptic parties, including the League in Italy, Alternative for Germany, and the Finns Party in Finland. As a result of a referendum, the United Kingdom became the first member state in the EU's history to initiate proceedings for leaving the Union.


Socio-political polarization increased as conservatives and social liberals clashed over the role and size of government and other social, economic and environmental issues in the West. In the United States, polls showed a divided electorate regarding healthcare reform, immigration, gun rights, taxation, job creation, and debt reduction.[138] In Europe, movements protesting increasing numbers of refugees from Islamic countries developed, such as the English Defence League and Pegida.[139][140] The trend of polarization in the West was partially influenced by the prevalence of identity politics, both left-wing and right-wing, among activist movements.[141] Beginning around 2011, far-left and progressive concepts such as combating social inequality and partaking in the progressive stack proliferated notably among feminist and social justice groups, particularly in North America and Western Europe.[142][143] Around the middle of the decade, phenoms such as white nationalism, identitarianism and emboldened feelings of nativism saw a marked reemergence among far-right discourse in the West.[144] There were also increased calls for egalitarianism, including between the sexes,[145] and some scholars assert that a fourth wave of feminism began around 2012, with a primary focus on intersectionality.[146][147]

Antiestablishment politics[edit]

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and United States President Donald Trump in 2019. Both leaders are emblematic of a wave of neo-nationalist and globalization-weary conservative populism in the second half of the decade.

Populism in politics saw a widespread surge throughout the decade, with many politicians and various political movements expressing populist sentiments and utilizing populist rhetoric.[148][149] This included conservative wave phenomenon in Latin America and neo-nationalist fervor in Europe and North America. The 2019 European Parliament election saw the highest voter turnout in two decades and saw relatively moderate center-right and center-left parties suffer significant losses to less moderate far-right, environmentalist, and both pro-EU and eurosceptic parties, who made notable gains.[150] Notable examples of 2010s populist movements included the Tea Party movement,[151] Occupy Wall Street,[152] Brexit,[153] Black Lives Matter,[154] and the alt-right.[155][156] Examples of populist country leaders were just as extensive, with Donald Trump,[157] Narendra Modi,[158] Andrés Manuel López Obrador,[159] Hugo Chávez,[160] Matteo Salvini,[161] Jair Bolsonaro,[162] Rodrigo Duterte,[163] Boris Johnson and others, left and right-wing, described as such.

Related to the rise of populism and protests movements was the decline of traditional political parties. In Europe, pasokification described the loss of vote share experienced by traditional center-left or social democratic parties. In France, specifically, the collapse of traditional parties was especially notable, with Emmanuel Macron's La République En Marche! winning a majority in its first election in 2017.

Center-left, neoliberal and traditional social democratic parties often lost their vote share to more socialist or democratic socialist alternatives, especially in Europe. This happened most completely in Greece, where PASOK was replaced by Syriza as the main left-wing party. Other far-left parties which rose in prominence included Podemos in Spain and La France Insoumise in France. In the two-party systems of the English-speaking world, these challenges mainly came from within the established parties of the left, with Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Party and Jeremy Corbyn in the Labour Party pushing for more left-wing policies.

The political establishment was also challenged in many countries by protest movements, often organised through new social media platforms. These included the various Arab Spring protests, the Occupy movement, and the yellow vests movement. These culminated in the worldwide Protests of 2019.

Democracy and authoritarianism[edit]

Countries which democratized fully or partially during the decade included Angola, which reformed under João Lourenço;[164] Armenia, which went through a revolution;[164][165] Ecuador, which reformed under Lenín Moreno;[164] Ethiopia;[164][165] and Malaysia, where the ruling party lost the first election since independence.[164][166]

Long-term dictators ousted from power included Muammar Gaddafi of Libya (after 42 years),[167] Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe (37 years),[168] Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen (33 years),[169] Omar al-Bashir of Sudan (30 years),[170] Hosni Mubarak of Egypt (29 years),[171] and Ben Ali of Tunisia (23 years).[172]

Democratic backsliding occurred in countries such as Hungary,[173] Venezuela,[174] and Turkey.[175]

The Arab Winter refers to the resurgence of authoritarianism, absolute monarchies and Islamic extremism[176] evolving in the aftermath of the Arab Spring protests in Arab countries.[177] The term "Arab Winter" refers to the events across Arab League countries in the Mid-East and North Africa, including the Syrian Civil War,[178][179] the Iraqi insurgency and the following civil war,[180] the Egyptian Crisis,[181] the Libyan Crisis and the Crisis in Yemen.[182] Events referred to as the Arab Winter include those in Egypt that led to the removal of Mohamed Morsi and the seizure of power by General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in an anti-Muslim Brotherhood campaign.[183]


Sitting world leaders such as Hugo Chávez, Muammar Gaddafi, Kim Jong-il, Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, Lech Kaczyński, Islam Karimov and Tunisia's first freely elected president, Beji Caid Essebsi, all died in office, as did former leaders Fidel Castro, Lee Kuan Yew, Nelson Mandela, Margaret Thatcher, Robert Mugabe, Giulio Andreotti, Francesco Cossiga, Jacques Chirac, Helmut Schmidt, Helmut Kohl, Mohamed Morsi, Ariel Sharon, Shimon Peres, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Václav Havel, Malcolm Fraser, Bob Hawke, B. J. Habibie, Yasuhiro Nakasone, Alan García, Jorge Rafael Videla, Néstor Kirchner, Fernando de la Rúa, Patricio Aylwin, Itamar Franco, Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and George H. W. Bush.

Prominent political events[edit]


Coups d'état against ruling governments during the decade include:

Event Date Country Ref.
Nigerien coup d'état 18 February 2010 Niger [184]
Malian coup d'état 21 March 2012 Mali [185]
Guinea-Bissau coup d'état 12 April 2012 Guinea-Bissau [186]
Egyptian coup d'état 3 July 2013 Egypt [187]
Thai coup d'état 22 May 2014 Thailand [188]
Yemeni coup d'état 21 September 2014 Yemen [189]
Turkish coup d'état attempt 15 July 2016 Turkey [190]
Zimbabwean coup d'état 14 November 2017 Zimbabwe [191]
Gabon coup d'état attempt 7 January 2019 Gabon [192]
Sudanese coup d'état 11 April 2019 Sudan [193]
Amhara coup d'état attempt 22 June 2019 Ethiopia [194]

The following tables of events is listed by the region and by chronological order. The prominent political events include, but are not limited to:


Event Country Date Description References
2011 South Sudanese independence referendum South Sudan 9 July 2011 A referendum was held in Southern Sudan on whether the region should remain part of Sudan. An overwhelming majority voted in favour of separation and formed the new country of South Sudan. [195]
Death of Nelson Mandela South Africa 5 December 2013 Nelson Mandela, anti-apartheid activist and President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, died. [196]
2014 Tunisian presidential election Tunisia 21 November 2014 Beji Caid Essebsi won the first regular presidential election following the Tunisian Revolution against outgoing president Moncef Marzouki. He became Tunisia's fifth president and first freely elected head of state in the Arab world. [197]
2015 Nigerian general election Nigeria 29 March 2015 Muhammadu Buhari was elected President of Nigeria, the first time the opposition ever won an election against an incumbent and the first ever peaceful transfer of power in the country. [198]
2016 Gambian presidential election The Gambia 1 December 2016 Adama Barrow was elected President of The Gambia, defeating long-time President Yahya Jammeh and ending more than 22 years of authoritarian rule. [199]
Resignation of Jacob Zuma South Africa 14 February 2018 Jacob Zuma resigns as President of South Africa, after nine years in power. [200]
Resignation of Abdelaziz Bouteflika Algeria 2 April 2019 Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigns as President of Algeria amid widespread protests, after nearly two decades in office. [55]
Khartoum massacre Sudan 3 June 2019 Security forces of the Transitional Military Council, the military junta ruling Sudan following the ousting of Omar al-Bashir, massacre over 100 people at a sit-in protest amid mass protests in Khartoum. The massacre prompts the African Union to suspend Sudan's participation until civilian rule is reestablished in the country. [201][202]
2019 Tunisian presidential election Tunisia 13 October 2019 Conservative academic Kais Saied wins more than 70% of the votes, defeating businessman Nabil Karoui. He became Tunisia's sixth president and second freely elected head of state in the Arab world. [203]


Event Country Date Description References
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act United States 23 March 2010 President Barack Obama signs the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law, marking a major reform of the U.S. health insurance and health care systems. [204]
2010 Brazilian presidential election Brazil 31 October 2010 Dilma Rousseff was elected as the first female President of Brazil. [205]
2010 Midterm elections and Tea Party movement United States 2 November 2010 The Republicans become the dominant party with a majority of the seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and gain seats in the U.S. Senate. This was seen as due to a tide of Libertarian support amongst the U.S. populace exemplified in the Tea Party. [206]
2011 Canadian federal election Canada 2 May 2011 Stephen Harper, leader of the Conservative Party, is re-elected in Canada's federal election, with a majority government. [207]
2011 Argentine general election Argentina 23 October 2011 Front for Victory candidate and President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner wins a second term as President of Argentina, defeating Socialist candidate Hermes Binner by 54% of votes. [208]
Impeachment of Fernando Lugo Paraguay 22 June 2012 On 21 June the Chamber of Deputies voted 76 to 1 to impeach Lugo, and the Senate removed him from office the following day, by 39 votes to 4, resulting in Vice President Federico Franco, who had broken with Lugo, becoming president. [209]
2012 Mexican general election Mexico 1 July 2012 Enrique Peña Nieto won the Mexican general election, bringing the Institutional Revolutionary Party back to prominence for the first time since 2000. [210]
2012 United States presidential election United States 6 November 2012 Barack Obama was re-elected President of the United States, defeating Republican nominee Mitt Romney. [211]
Death of Hugo Chávez Venezuela 5 March 2013 Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez died at the age of 58 after governing the country for 14 years. [212]
Obergefell v. Hodges United States 26 June 2015 Same-sex marriage was legalized in all 50 U.S. states due to a landmark decision by the Supreme Court of the United States. [213]
2015 Canadian federal election Canada 19 October 2015 The Liberal Party, led by Justin Trudeau, won Canada's federal election, defeating the Conservative Party in the country's longest election in a century. [214]
2015 Argentine general election Argentina 22 November 2015 Cambiemos candidate and Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri became the President of Argentina, defeating Front for Victory candidate Daniel Scioli via ballotage by 51% of votes
2015 Venezuelan parliamentary election Venezuela 6 December 2015 The Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) won majority seats of the Venezuelan National Assembly, defeating the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and its wider alliance, the Great Patriotic Pole (GPP) for the first time since 1999. [215]
Impeachment of Dilma Rousseff Brazil 12 May 2016 The Brazilian Senate votes to open the impeachment process against President Dilma Rousseff and suspend her from office while the trial takes place, as the Vice President, Michel Temer, assumes the presidential powers and duties as Acting President of Brazil. [216]
2016 United States presidential election United States 8 November 2016 Republican nominee Donald Trump was elected the 45th President of the United States, defeating former U.S. Secretary of State and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. He became the first President without prior diplomatic or military experience. [217][218]
Death of Fidel Castro Cuba 25 November 2016 Former President of Cuba and revolutionary leader Fidel Castro dies at the age of 90. [219]
2017 Venezuelan constitutional crisis Venezuela 29 March 2017 The Supreme Tribunal of Justice of Venezuela took over legislative powers of the National Assembly and removed its members' immunity, most of whom belonged to the opposition. The decision was reversed a few days later following domestic and international condemnation of the court's actions. [220]
Inauguration of Miguel Díaz-Canel Cuba 19 April 2018 Miguel Díaz-Canel is sworn in as President of Cuba, marking the first time since 1959 that Cuba has had a president other than Fidel or Raúl Castro.
2018 Mexican general election Mexico 1 July 2018 Andrés Manuel López Obrador won the historic Mexican general election, bringing the National Regeneration Movement for new prominence for the first time without any political rule like Institutional Revolutionary Party and National Action Party.
2018 Brazilian general election Brazil 28 October 2018 Jair Bolsonaro was elected President of Brazil, marking the first time that the country is ruled by the far-right since the start of the New Republic in 1985. The election also interrupted 4 victories of the Workers' Party in a row. [221]
Death of George H. W. Bush United States 30 November 2018 Former president of the United States George H. W. Bush dies at the age of 94. [222]
Venezuelan presidential crisis Venezuela 10 January 2019 On 10 January 2019, the opposition-majority National Assembly declared that incumbent Nicolás Maduro's 2018 reelection was invalid and declared its president, Juan Guaidó, to be acting president of the nation. Maduro's government states that the crisis is a "coup d'état led by the United States to topple him and control the country's oil reserves." [223]
2019 Peruvian constitutional crisis Peru 30 September 2019 On 30 September 2019, President Martín Vizcarra dissolved the Congress of Peru on 30 September 2019. Congress responded by declaring Vizcarra's presidency suspended and appointed Vice President Mercedes Aráoz as interim president, moves that were largely seen as null and void. [224]
2019 Canadian federal election Canada 21 October 2019 Justin Trudeau, leader of the Liberal Party, is re-elected in Canada's federal election, albeit with a minority government. [225]
2019 Argentine general election Argentina 27 October 2019 Peronist candidate Alberto Fernández of Frente de Todos is elected President of Argentina, defeating President Mauricio Macri of Juntos por el Cambio by 48% of votes.
2019 Bolivian political crisis Bolivia 10 November 2019 Bolivian president Evo Morales resigns following 19 days of protests after the disputed 2019 Bolivian general election and following calls for his resignation by the military. [226]
Impeachment of Donald Trump United States 18 December 2019 United States president Donald Trump is impeached by the House of Representatives on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. [227]
Miguel Díaz-Canel (left) with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in March 2015. Díaz-Canel became the first president of Cuba to not be of the Castro family since Osvaldo Dorticós
The Venezuelan Crisis saw hyperinflation and climbing hunger, disease, crime and death rates in Venezuela along with massive emigration from the country and escalating unrest


Event Country Date Description References
2010 Myanmar general election Myanmar 7 November 2010 Thein Sein was elected President of Myanmar, the first civilian President of the country since 1962. [228]
Death of Kim Jong-il North Korea 17 December 2011 Supreme Leader Kim Jong-il of North Korea died after governing the country for 17 years. His son, Kim Jong-un, succeeded him. [229]
2012 Japanese general election Japan 26 December 2012 The Liberal Democratic Party, led by Shinzō Abe, won a landslide victory in Japan's general election. [230]
North Korea and weapons of mass destruction North Korea 11 March 2013 The Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un of North Korea broke all peace pacts with South Korea and started a new nuclear weapons plan, inflaming tensions on the Korean Peninsula. [231]
2014 Indian general election India 12 May 2014 The Bharatiya Janata Party, led by Narendra Modi, won a landslide victory in India's general election, the first time a single party gained a majority on its own since 1984. [232]
2014 Indonesian presidential election Indonesia 9 July 2014 Joko Widodo won Indonesia's presidential election, becoming the first president to not be from the country's political elite or military. [233]
Pope Francis's visit to the Philippines Philippines 18 January 2015 An estimated 6 to 7 million attended the Concluding Eucharistic Celebration in Manila on the Feast Day of Santo Niño de Cebú, ending the 5-day apostolic and state visit of Pope Francis in the Philippines, the largest papal crowd in history. [234]
Death of King Abdullah Saudi Arabia 23 January 2015 Abdullah, the King of Saudi Arabia from 2005 to 2015, died and was succeeded by King Salman. [235]
Death of Lee Kuan Yew Singapore 23 March 2015 Founding Prime Minister of Singapore who ruled from 1959 to 1990, highly regarded as the founding father of the nation, died from pneumonia at the age of 91. [236]
India–Bangladesh enclaves India Bangladesh 6 June 2015 India and Bangladesh officially ratified their 1974 agreement to exchange enclaves along their border. [237]
2016 Taiwanese general election Taiwan 16 January 2016 Tsai Ing-wen was elected President of Taiwan, the first woman to hold the position. [238]
2016 Philippine presidential election Philippines 9 May 2016 Rodrigo Duterte was elected President of the Philippines. [239]
Death of Bhumibol Adulyadej Thailand 13 October 2016 Bhumibol Adulyadej, the King of Thailand from 1946 to 2016, died and was succeeded by his son, Vajiralongkorn. [240]
Impeachment of Park Geun-hye South Korea 10 March 2017 South Korean President Park Geun-hye is impeached by the Constitutional Court of Korea in a unanimous decision, terminating Park's presidency. South Korean Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn assumes power following the ruling. [241]
2017 South Korean presidential election South Korea 9 May 2017 Moon Jae-in was elected the 12th President of South Korea, originally scheduled to take place later in the year, the election was moved to early May following the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye. [242]
2018 Malaysian general election Malaysia 9 May 2018 The opposition-led Pakatan Harapan coalition, led by former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, secures a parliamentary majority in the Malaysian Parliament, ending the 61-year rule of the Barisan Nasional coalition and leading to the pardon of Anwar Ibrahim. [243][244]
2018 North Korea–United States Singapore Summit North Korea United States 12 June 2018 United States President and North Korea's Supreme Leader, Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, formally meet, the first time any leader of their respective countries met. [245]
Abdication of Muhammad V of Kelantan Malaysia 6 January 2019 Muhammad V of Kelantan abdicates the federal throne as the 15th monarch of Malaysia, making him the first Yang di-Pertuan Agong to do so. [246]
2019 North Korea–United States Hanoi Summit North Korea United States 27–28 February 2019 United States President and North Korea's Supreme Leader, Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, formally meet, the second time any leader of their respective countries met. [247]
Kim–Putin meetings North Korea Russia 25 April 2019 North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un meets with Russian president Vladimir Putin on Russky Island after being invited to hold talks. [248]
Abdication of Akihito Japan 30 April 2019 Akihito, the Emperor of Japan from 1989 to 2019, abdicated and was succeeded by his son, Naruhito. [249]
2019–20 Persian Gulf crisis Iran United States 5 May 2019 The Persian Gulf region saw tensions between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran escalate in mid-2019. The crisis saw oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz sabotaged and seized, drone shootdowns, and efforts by the U.S. and United Kingdom to pursue military patrols to protect shipping in the gulf. [250]
2019 Koreas–United States DMZ Summit South Korea North Korea United States 30 June 2019 United States President, North Korea's Supreme Leader and South Korea's President, Donald Trump, Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in, formally meet at an impromptu summit at the Korean Demilitarized Zone. The summit saw the first time a sitting U.S. president stepped into North Korea since the Korean War.
In 2013, China launched the ambitious Belt and Road infrastructure initiative, with over 150 countries announcing participation by the end of the decade.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump meet during the first North Korea–United States summit in Singapore, June 2018
Women to drive movement: Women's rights in Saudi Arabia made progress when women were allowed to drive in the kingdom in 2018.


Event Country Date Description References
Resignation of Silvio Berlusconi Italy 16 November 2011 The longest-serving Prime Minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi, resigned in November 2011, after a sexual allegation scandal, a financial crisis and public protests. The economist Mario Monti was appointed new Prime Minister, at the head of a technocratic cabinet. [251]
Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II United Kingdom 6 February 2012 Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her Diamond Jubilee, which marked the 60th anniversary of her accession. [252]
2012 French presidential election France 22 April 2012 François Hollande was elected as the new President of France, becoming the first socialist president of the country in 17 years. [253]
Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and Papal inauguration of Pope Francis Vatican City 28 February – 13 March 2013 Benedict XVI resigned as pope, the first to do so since Gregory XII in 1415, and the first to do so voluntarily since Celestine V in 1294. On 13 March, after a papal conclave, Jorge Mario Bergoglio is inaugurated as Pope Francis, the first Jesuit pope, the first pope from the Americas, and the first non-European Pope in over 500 years. [254][255]
Death of Margaret Thatcher United Kingdom 8 April 2013 Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990, died. [256]
2013 Italian presidential election Italy 20 April 2013 Amid growing financial tensions, Italian President Giorgio Napolitano was re-elected, the first ever Italian president to be re-elected. Napolitano appointed Enrico Letta Prime Minister, at the head of a grand coalition. [257]
Annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation Ukraine 18 March 2014 Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine following an internationally unrecognized referendum on the status of the region. [258]
2014 Scottish independence referendum Scotland 18 September 2014 In a referendum called by the governing Scottish National Party, Scotland voted to remain in the United Kingdom, with 55.3% of votes against independence while 44.7% voted in favour. [259][260]
Abdication of Juan Carlos I of Spain Spain 19 June 2014 King Juan Carlos I of Spain abdicated in favour of his son, Felipe VI. [261]
2015 Irish constitutional referendums Republic of Ireland 23 May 2015 The Republic of Ireland voted to legalize same-sex marriage, becoming the first country to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote. [262]
Adoption of the Paris Agreement United Nations 12 December 2015 A historic agreement aimed at keeping global warming below 2 °C compared to pre-industrial levels and reducing greenhouse gas emissions is adopted by all 195 UNFCCC member states. [263]
2016 United Kingdom European Union membership referendum United Kingdom 23 June 2016 In a referendum held in the United Kingdom on whether or not to continue being a member of the European Union, 52% of voters chose to leave it. Prime Minister David Cameron announced his resignation afterwards, being succeeded by Theresa May. [264][265]
2016 Austrian presidential election Austria 4 December 2016 Independent green Alexander Van der Bellen narrowly beat the far-right Freedom Party of Austria candidate Norbert Hofer in a repeat of the 2016 Austrian presidential election after the first election was annulled. [266]
2017 French presidential election France 7 May 2017 En Marche! candidate Emmanuel Macron was elected the President of France, replacing incumbent Hollande and defeating National Front candidate Marine Le Pen in the second round of voting. Macron is the youngest president in the history of the French Fifth Republic. [267]
Death of Helmut Kohl Germany 16 June 2017 Helmut Kohl, former Chancellor of Germany from 1982 to 1998 (of West Germany 1982–1990 and of the reunited Germany 1990–1998), dies at the age of 87. [268]
2017 Spanish constitutional crisis Spain 6 September 2017 Political conflict sparks between the Spanish and the Catalan governments over the 2017 Catalan independence referendum. It still went ahead, with 91% of voters supporting independence within Catalonia, with unionists and Spain opposing the vote. On 27 October, Catalonia declares independence from Spain but it is not recognized by any sovereign nation, while Madrid imposes direct rule for 6 months.[269] [270]
2018 Italian general election Italy 4 March 2018 The centre-right alliance, in which the right-wing populist League emerged as the main political force, won a plurality of seats in the Chamber of Deputies and in the Senate, while the anti-establishment Five Star Movement became the party with the largest number of votes. After months of negotiations, the two populist parties, M5S and League, formed a government. [271][272]
2018 Russian presidential election Russia 18 March 2018 Presidential elections were held in Russia on 18 March 2018. Incumbent Vladimir Putin won reelection for his second consecutive (fourth overall) term in office with 77% of the vote. [273]
2019 European Parliament election European Union 23–26 May 2019 The first European Parliamentary election following the European migrant crisis and Brexit saw large anti-establishment gains by the Greens-European Free Alliance and by Right-Wing Eurosceptic Parties within Identity and Democracy and European Conservatives and Reformists, such as League in Italy, Alternative for Germany, and National Rally in France. Other populist gains were seen in the success of the Brexit Party in the United Kingdom and the Five Star Movement in Italy. [274]
2019 Conservative Party leadership election United Kingdom 7 June – 22 July 2019 The Conservative Party of the United Kingdom voted for Boris Johnson to be the party's new leader and prime minister following the resignation of Theresa May on 24 May 2019, the party's first contested leadership election since 2005. [275]
2019 United Kingdom general election United Kingdom 12 December 2019 After an extended period of political deadlock over how to proceed with leaving the European Union an early general election took place in the United Kingdom in which the pro-withdrawal Conservative party won a sizeable majority of seats effectively guaranteeing Brexit would make place in January the following year. [276]
28 February 2014: following the removal of pro-Russian Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych from office, Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine
Syrian and Iraqi refugees arriving in Greece. In the 2010s Europe had been severely affected by a huge migration from Africa and Middle East

World leaders[edit]


Assassinations and attempts[edit]

Prominent assassinations, targeted killings, and assassination attempts include:

Date Description
1 January 2011 Reynaldo Dagsa, Philippine Barangay official from Caloocan, was assassinated by two men during New Year's Eve.[277]
8 January 2011 Federal judge John Roll and 5 others were killed and 13 more were injured in a shooting near Tucson. The apparent target, U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, was critically injured in the head.[278]
2 May 2011 Osama bin Laden, the founder and leader of the militant Islamist group Al-Qaeda, was killed in a targeted killing in Abbottabad, Pakistan in an operation conducted by a team of United States Navy SEAL commandos.[279]
15 August 2011 Esmael Mangudadatu, Governor of Maguindanao, was a victim of a car bomb in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat. Two people were killed, including a Maguindanao board member, while six others were wounded.[280]
30 September 2011 Anwar al-Awlaki, a senior talent recruiter, planner and spiritual leader of al-Qaeda, was killed in a targeted killing in the northern al-Jawf province of Yemen, using two US Predator drones fired Hellfire missiles.[281]
20 October 2011 Muammar Gaddafi, Libya's ousted leader, was shot to death in Sirte.[282]
4 September 2012 Pauline Marois, Premier-designate of Quebec, escaped death during her victory speech after Richard Henry Bain opened fire at the Metropolis in Montreal, killing one person and critically injuring another.[283]
9 October 2012 Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani women's rights activist, was the victim of an assassination attempt by the Taliban in Pakistan.[284]
6 February 2013 Chokri Belaid, Tunisian opposition leader of the Democratic Patriots' Unified Party, was fatally shot.[285]
22 May 2013 Lee Rigby, a British Army soldier who was killed by Islamic extremists with links to Al-Qaeda, the first such attack by the group in the United Kingdom since 2005.[286]
25 January 2015 Zulkifli Abdhir, suspected member of Jemaah Islamiyah, was killed in a police operation in Mamasapano, Philippines.[287]
27 February 2015 Boris Nemtsov, Russian physicist, statesman and opposition politician, was assassinated on the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge, Central Moscow, Russia, within sight of the Kremlin.[288]
5 March 2015 Mark Lippert, United States Ambassador to South Korea, was rushed into hospital after he was attacked by a knife-wielding man identified as Kim Ki-jong at a restaurant attached to Sejong Center in downtown Seoul.[289]
26 August 2015 Alison Parker and Adam Ward, news reporter and camera operator of CBS affiliate WDBJ of Roanoke, Virginia, were shot and killed on live television during an interview in Moneta, Virginia.[290]
1 March 2016 Aid al-Qarni, Islamic Muslim scholar, author and activist, was shot injured in an assassination attempt in Zamboanga City in the Philippines.[291]
16 June 2016 Jo Cox, British MP, was shot and stabbed to death by a Neo-Nazi white supremacist[292] in Birstall, England. She was the first British MP assassinated in over a quarter of a century and the first female politician in Britain to be assassinated.[293]
19 December 2016 Andrei Karlov, the Russian ambassador to Turkey, was killed in a gun attack at an art gallery in Ankara.[294]
1 January 2017 Emmanuel Niyonkuru, the Burundian environment minister, was shot dead in the nation's capital, Bujumbura.[295]
13 February 2017 Kim Jong-nam, eldest son of the late Kim Jong-il, was assassinated by two women in Malaysia with a VX nerve agent.[296]
14 June 2017 Republican congressmen were fired upon by 66-year-old James T. Hodgkinson, a left-wing activist from Illinois, during practice ahead of the annual Congressional Baseball Game in Alexandria, Virginia. Congressman Steve Scalise was shot in the hip, American lobbyist Matt Mika was shot multiple times, legislative aide Zach Barth was shot in the calf and Capitol Police officer Crystal Griner sustained a gunshot wound in the ankle. Only Hodgkinson died, in a shootout with 4 police officers.[297]
16 October 2017 Isnilon Hapilon, Emir of ISIL in Southeast Asia and leader of Abu Sayyaf, was killed in a military operation in Marawi City, which rescued 17 hostages.[298]
4 March 2018 Sergei Skripal, a former Russian double agent, was poisoned alongside his daughter Yulia in the city of Salisbury with a Novichok agent.[299]
2 July 2018 Antonio Halili, the former Mayor of Tanauan, Batangas, was assassinated by an unidentified gunman while attending a flag raising ceremony together with around 300 government employees and newly elected barangay officials.[300]
2 October 2018 Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi Arabian dissident and journalist for The Washington Post, was assassinated in the Saudi Arabian consulate by the Saudi Government in Istanbul, Turkey.[301][302]
October 2018 Cesar Sayoc sends sixteen homemade pipe bombs to various critics of president Donald Trump, including Democratic party members, the CNN world headquarters, and actor Robert De Niro. All packages are infiltrated.
22 December 2018 Rodel Batocabe, Philippine party–list representative, was assassinated in a gift giving event for senior citizens in Daraga, Albay.[303]
13 January 2019 Paweł Adamowicz, Polish Mayor of the city of Gdańsk, was stabbed during a live charity event in Gdańsk by a former inmate. He died the following day.[304]
14 September 2019 U.S. President Donald Trump confirmed that Hamza bin Laden, the son of Osama bin Laden, had been killed in a United States counterterrorism operation in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region, after he was placed on the SDT list in January 2017.[305]
27 October 2019 Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIL, was killed during a raid by U.S. special forces in northwestern Syria.[306]


Non-natural disasters[edit]


Event Date Country Description References
Ethiopian Airlines Flight 409 25 January 2010 Ethiopian Airlines Flight 409 crashed into the Mediterranean Sea shortly after take-off from Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport, killing all 90 people on board. [307]
2010 Polish Air Force Tu-154 crash 10 April 2010 Russia Polish President Lech Kaczyński and dozens of Polish government and military officials were among 96 people killed when their plane crashed near Smolensk, Russia. [308]
Afriqiyah Airways Flight 771 12 May 2010 Libya Afriqiyah Airways Flight 771 crashed on a runway at Tripoli International Airport in Libya, killing all but one of the 104 passengers and crew. [309]
Air India Express Flight 812 22 May 2010 India Air India Express Flight 812 overshot the runway at Mangalore International Airport in India, killing 158 people, with eight surviving. [310]
Airblue Flight 202 28 July 2010 Pakistan Airblue Flight 202 en route from Karachi to Islamabad crashed in the Margalla Hills near Islamabad, killing all 152 aboard, becoming the deadliest air crash in Pakistan's history. [311]
Dana Air Flight 992 3 June 2012 Nigeria Dana Air Flight 992 crashed in the Nigerian city of Lagos, killing all 153 people aboard. 10 people on the ground also perished. [312]
Asiana Airlines Flight 214 6 July 2013 United States Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crashed at San Francisco airport killing 3 and injuring 181 people. [313]
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 8 March 2014 Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 vanished en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The bulk of the plane is still missing, with all 239 people on board presumed dead. The first remains of the aircraft were found on 29 July 2015, after they washed ashore on Réunion Island. [314][315]
Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 17 July 2014 Ukraine Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine and crashed near the Ukrainian-Russian border, killing all 298 people on board, making it the deadliest airliner shoot down in history. [316]
Air Algérie Flight 5017 24 July 2014 Mali Air Algérie Flight 5017 crashed in southern Mali, killing all 116 passengers and crew. [317]
Indonesia AirAsia Flight 8501 28 December 2014 Indonesia AirAsia Flight 8501 crashed in the Java sea after an attempt to avoid heavy thunderstorms, leaving all 162 people dead. [318]
Germanwings Flight 9525 24 March 2015 France Germanwings Flight 9525 crashed in the French Alps, killing all 150 on board. [319]
2015 Indonesian Air Force Lockheed C-130 Hercules crash 30 June 2015 Indonesia A Lockheed C-130 Hercules operated by the Indonesian Air Force crashed into a crowded residential neighborhood in Medan shortly after take-off from Soewondo Air Force Base, killing 143 people including 22 on the ground, making it the deadliest crash in Indonesian Air Force peacetime history. [320]
Metrojet Flight 9268 31 October 2015 Egypt Metrojet Flight 9268, an Airbus A321 airliner en route to Saint Petersburg from Sharm el-Sheikh, crashes near Al-Hasana in Sinai, killing all 224 passengers and crew on board. [321]
LaMia Flight 2933 29 November 2016 Colombia A chartered Avro RJ85 plane carrying 77 people, including the Chapecoense football team, crashes near Medellín, Colombia. Six of the passengers survived. The 2016 Copa Sudamericana Finals were suspended, and Atlético Nacional, Chapecoense's to-be opponents, gave them the trophy out of respect. [322]
2016 Russian Defence Ministry Tupolev Tu-154 crash 25 December 2016 Russia A Tupolev Tu-154 crashes near Sochi, Russia, killing all 92 people on board, including 64 members of the Alexandrov Ensemble. [323]
Iran Aseman Airlines Flight 3704 18 February 2018 Iran Iran Aseman Airlines Flight 3704 crashes in the Zagros Mountains, en route from Tehran to Yasuj. All 65 passengers and crew members perish. [324]
Cubana de Aviación Flight 972 18 May 2018 Cuba Cubana de Aviación Flight 972 crashes shortly after take-off near José Martí International Airport in Havana, killing 112 and leaving only one survivor. [325]
Lion Air Flight 610 29 October 2018 Indonesia Lion Air Flight 610 crashes off the coast of Java, with 189 passengers on board. [326]
Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 10 March 2019 Ethiopia Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, a Boeing 737 MAX 8 bound for Nairobi, crashes shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa killing all 157 people on board. [327]
Aeroflot Flight 1492 5 May 2019 Russia Aeroflot Flight 1492 makes a hard landing, causing fire and partial destruction at Sheremetyevo International Airport, Moscow, killing 41 of the 78 people on board. [328]


Event Date Country Description References
2010 Copiapó mining accident 13 October 2010 Chile Thirty-three miners near Copiapó, Chile, were trapped 700 metres (2,300 feet) underground in a mining accident in San José Mine, before being rescued after surviving for a record 69 days. [329]
2013 Savar building collapse 24 April 2013 Bangladesh An eight-story factory building collapsed in the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, killing 1,129 people and injuring over 2,000 more, becoming the deadliest structural failure in history. [330]
2015 Tianjin explosions 12 August 2015 China Two explosions occurred within 30 seconds of each other at a container storage station at the Port of Tianjin in the Binhai New Area of Tianjin, China, killing at least 173. [331]
Mecca crane collapse 11 September 2015 Saudi Arabia A crane toppled over at Mecca, killing 111 people, weeks before the official Hajj pilgrimage. [332]
2015 Mina stampede 24 September 2015 Saudi Arabia A stampede during the Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, killed at least 2,236 people, making it the deadliest Hajj disaster in history. [333]
Bento Rodrigues dam disaster 5 November 2015 Brazil An iron ore tailings dam in Bento Rodrigues, a subdistrict of Mariana, Brazil, suffered a catastrophic failure, causing flooding and at least 17 deaths. At least 16 people have been injured. This incident has been described as the worst environmental disaster in Brazil's history. [334][335][336]
Tham Luang cave rescue 23 June – 10 July 2018 Thailand Twelve boys and their football coach are rescued from the flooded Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Thailand, following a 17-day ordeal that gained worldwide attention. [337][338]
Ponte Morandi Collapse 14 August 2018 Italy Part of the Morandi Bridge collapses after a violent storm in Genoa, Italy, causing 43 fatalities. Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio and transport minister Danilo Toninelli blame private company Autostrade per l'Italia. [339][340]
Tlahuelilpan pipeline explosion 18 January 2019 Mexico A gasoline pipeline exploded in the town of Tlahuelilpan, in the Mexican state of Hidalgo. The blast killed at least 135 people and injured dozens more. Mexican authorities blamed fuel thieves, who had illegally tapped the pipeline. [341]
2019 Xiangshui chemical plant explosion 21 March 2019 China A major explosion at a chemical plant in Xiangshui, Jiangsu, China, kills at least 64 people and injures more than 600 others. Its powerful impact registered as an artificial earthquake. [342]


Event Date Country Description References
Comayagua prison fire 14–15 February 2012 Honduras A fire at the National Penitentiary in Comayagua, Honduras killed 361 people. [343][344]
2012 Dhaka garment factory fire 24 November 2012 Bangladesh 117 people were confirmed dead in a garment factory fire, and over 200 were injured, making it the deadliest factory fire in the nation's history.
Kiss nightclub fire 27 January 2013 Brazil 242 people were killed in a fire at a nightclub in Santa Maria, Brazil. [345]
Ghost Ship warehouse fire 2 December 2016 United States 36 were killed in an artists' live-and-work collective in an Oakland, CA accident due to substandard wiring.
Grenfell Tower fire 14 June 2017 United Kingdom A fire ignited by a faulty refrigerator in a London council estate tower block spread to almost the entirety of the building causing 72 deaths and over 70 injuries. [346][347]
2018 Kemerovo fire 25 March 2018 Russia At least 64 people die in a fire at a shopping and entertainment complex in the Russian city of Kemerovo. [348]
2018 Valencia, Venezuela fire 28 March 2018 Venezuela At least 78 people die in a fire in the police headquarters of Valencia, Venezuela. [349]
National Museum of Brazil fire 2 September 2018 Brazil A fire destroys the National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro. No one was injured, but 90 percent of the collection was destroyed. [350][351]
February 2019 Dhaka fire 20 February 2019 Bangladesh A major fire in Dhaka, Bangladesh kills at least 78 people. [352]
Notre-Dame de Paris fire 15 April 2019 France A major fire at the Notre-Dame Cathedral destroyed most of its roof, and its upper walls were severely damaged; extensive damage to the interior was prevented by its stone vaulted ceiling, which largely contained the burning roof as it collapsed. 3 injuries were reported, but there were no confirmed deaths. [353]


Event Date Country Description References
Costa Concordia disaster 13 January 2012 Italy The Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia hit a reef and partially capsized off the coast of Isola del Giglio, Italy, killing 32 people. [354]
Sinking of MV Sewol 16 April 2014 South Korea South Korean ferry MV Sewol capsized while en route to Jeju, killing 295 people, mostly secondary school students from Danwon High School. [355]
Sinking of Dongfang zhi Xing 1 June 2015 China The river cruise ship Dongfang zhi Xing capsized in the Yangtze River after being hit by a waterspout, killing 442 people, making it the deadliest maritime disaster in China's peacetime history. [356]
Sinking of MV Nyerere 20 September 2018 Tanzania The MV Nyerere capsizes on Lake Victoria, killing at least 227 passengers. [357]


Event Date Country Description References
Deepwater Horizon oil spill 20 April 2010 United States An explosion on BP's Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig, operating in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana, left eleven crewmen dead and resulted in a fire that sank the rig and caused a massive oil spill, becoming the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. [358][359]
Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster 11 March 2011 Japan A magnitude 9.0 earthquake off the coast of Sendai caused a tsunami that severely damaged the Fukushima Daiichi and Fukushima Daini nuclear power plants. The damage resulted in the worst nuclear disaster since the Chernobyl disaster, contaminating the entire area. [360][361]
Flint water crisis 25 April 2014 United States The U.S. city of Flint, Michigan's water source was changed from the treated Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to the Flint River, where officials had failed to apply corrosion inhibitors. This decision led to the water being contaminated by lead and eventual nationwide outrage about an alleged coverup. [362][363]

Natural disasters[edit]

Earthquakes and tsunamis[edit]

Event Date Country Description References
2010 Haiti earthquake 12 January 2010 Haiti A 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti, causing widespread destruction in Port-au-Prince. Haitian authorities believe that the disaster killed between 200,000 and 250,000 people and over three million more were affected by the quake. The earthquake was the deadliest disaster in the decade. [364][365]
2010 Chile earthquake 27 February 2010 Chile An 8.8 magnitude earthquake occurred in Chile, triggering a tsunami across the Pacific and killing 497. One of the largest earthquakes in recorded history, this rare megathrust earthquake likely shifted Earth's axis and slightly shortened its days. [366][367][368]
2010 Baja California earthquake 4 April 2010 Mexico A 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit Mexicali and Baja, killing three and injuring more than two hundred. US border towns in Imperial Valley, California were affected. [369]
2010 Yushu earthquake 13 April 2010 China A 6.9 magnitude earthquake occurred in western China, killing at least 2,200 and injuring more than 12,000. [370][371]
February 2011 Christchurch earthquake 22 February 2011 New Zealand A 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck Christchurch, New Zealand, killing 185 people. [372]
2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami 11 March 2011 Japan A 9.0 magnitude earthquake hit near Sendai, Japan. It created a 30 feet (9.1 m) high tsunami, leaving 15,893 dead, 2,565 missing and over 150,000 displaced. It was the largest earthquake to hit Japan in 140 years. [373][374][375]
2011 Van earthquake 23 October 2011 Turkey A 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck the Turkish city of Van, leaving over 604 dead and thousands more injured. [376]
April 2015 Nepal earthquake 25 April 2015 Nepal A massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nepal killed at least 8,857 people and injured tens of thousands more.It is the worst disaster to hit Nepal in decades. [377][378][379]
May 2015 Nepal earthquake 12 May 2015 Nepal A second major earthquake hit Nepal, measuring 7.3 on the moment magnitude scale, killing 218 more people. [380]
2016 Ecuador earthquake 16 April 2016 Ecuador A 7.8 earthquake struck near Muisne, Ecuador, killing over 673 people and displacing at least 25,000 more. [381]
August 2016 Central Italy earthquake 24 August 2016 Italy A 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck Central Italy near Norcia, 75 km (47 mi) southeast of Perugia and 45 km (28 mi) north of L'Aquila, in an area near the tripoint of the Umbria, Lazio, and Marche regions. At least 299 people have been left dead. [382]
2017 Central Mexico earthquake 19 September 2017 Mexico A 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck near the city of Puebla. Coincidentally, it was also the 32nd anniversary of the 1985 Mexico City earthquake, which was commemorated with a national seismic alert drill, just two hours before the real earthquake struck, which left 360 dead and over 6,000 injured. [383]
2018 Sulawesi earthquake and tsunami 28 September 2018 Indonesia A magnitude 7.5 earthquake hits Sulawesi, Indonesia, causing a tsunami that kills at least 2,256 people and injures more than 540 others. [384]
2018 Sunda Strait tsunami 22 December 2018 Indonesia A tsunami hits the Sunda Strait, Indonesia, killing at least 430 people and injuring nearly 1,500. [385]
2019 Peru earthquake 26 May 2019 Peru An 8.0 magnitude earthquake struck in Loreto Region, Peru, killing 2 people and injures more than 30 others. [386]
2019 Albania earthquake 26 November 2019 Albania A 6.4 magnitude earthquake hits Albania near the cities of Durrës and Tirana, killing 51 people and injuring over 3,000 others. [387]

Tropical cyclones[edit]

Event Date Country Description References
Typhoon Megi 18 October 2010 Philippines Typhoon Megi, known in the Philippines as Super Typhoon Juan, hit the Philippines, killing at least 69 and causing US$709 million in damage. [388]
Tropical Storm Washi 16 December 2011 Philippines Tropical Storm Washi, known in the Philippines as Tropical Storm Sendong, caused catastrophic damage on the Philippine island of Mindanao. More than 1,000 died and thousands were injured or missing. [389]
Hurricane Sandy 25 October 2012 Various Hurricane Sandy caused immense destruction in Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and the United States, leaving at least 233 dead. It became the largest Atlantic tropical storm ever. [390]


Typhoon Bopha 2 December 2012 Philippines Typhoon Bopha, known in the Philippines as Typhoon Pablo, struck the Philippines, killing at least 650 people and leaving millions more homeless. [392]
Typhoon Haiyan 7 November 2013 Philippines Typhoon Haiyan, known as Super Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines, hits the Philippines, killing at least 6,000 people, with a thousand more still missing, making it the deadliest typhoon to ever hit the Philippines. [393]
Hurricane Joaquin 28 September 2015 – 7 October 2015 United StatesCubaThe BahamasBermudaTurks and Caicos Islands Hurricane Joaquin was a powerful tropical cyclone that devastated several districts of the Bahamas and caused damage in the Turks and Caicos Islands, parts of the Greater Antilles, and Bermuda. [394]
Typhoon Melor 13 December 2015 Philippines Typhoon Melor, known in the Philippines as Typhoon Nona, hits the Philippines, killing 42 and causing $136 million in damages. [395][396]
Cyclone Winston 20 February 2016 Fiji Cyclone Winston struck Fiji, killing 44 people and causing $1.4 billion in damages, making it the costliest tropical cyclone in South Pacific history. [397]
Hurricane Matthew 28 September 2016 – 9 October 2016 United StatesCubaHaitiJamaicaDominican RepublicThe Bahamas Hurricane Matthew caused catastrophic damage and a humanitarian crisis in Haiti, as well as widespread devastation in the southeastern United States. The deadliest Atlantic hurricane since Hurricane Stan in 2005, it caused extensive damage to landmasses in the Greater Antilles, severe damage in several islands of the Bahamas and was responsible for 603 fatalities. [398]
Hurricane Harvey 23 August 2017 United States Hurricane Harvey slams into southeastern Texas after reorganizing over the Gulf of Mexico, causing catastrophic flooding and billions in damages. It became the first major hurricane to make landfall in the United States since Hurricane Wilma in 2005. Total damage from the hurricane was estimated at $125 billion, making it the costliest natural disaster ever in the United States, tied with 2005's Hurricane Katrina. [399][400]
Hurricane Irma 30 August 2017 – 16 September 2017 Antigua and Barbuda

Cuba United States

Hurricane Irma, an extremely powerful and catastrophic Cape Verde-type hurricane, the strongest observed in the Atlantic since Wilma in 2005 in terms of maximum sustained winds. It was the first Category 5 hurricane to strike the Leeward Islands on record. The storm caused catastrophic damage in Barbuda, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin, Anguilla, and the Virgin Islands as a Category 5 hurricane. [401][402]
Hurricane Maria 16 September 2017 – 3 October 2017 Puerto RicoDominica Hurricane Maria is regarded as the worst natural disaster on record in Dominica, and caused catastrophic damage and a major humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico. The third costliest Atlantic hurricane to date, it caused catastrophic damage and thousands of fatalities across the northeastern Caribbean, compounding recovery efforts in areas still damaged from Hurricane Irma just two weeks prior. [403][404]
Typhoon Mangkhut 15 September 2018 Philippines Typhoon Mangkhut, known in the Philippines as Typhoon Ompong, hits northern Luzon, triggering deadly landslides and killing at least 95 people. [405][406]
Hurricane Michael 7 October 2018 – 16 October 2018 United StatesCuba Hurricane Michael was the first Category 5 hurricane to strike the contiguous United States since Andrew in 1992. In addition, it was the third-most intense Atlantic hurricane to make landfall in the contiguous United States in terms of pressure, behind the 1935 Labor Day hurricane and Hurricane Camille of 1969. It was the first Category 5 hurricane on record to impact the Florida Panhandle, and was the fourth-strongest landfalling hurricane in the contiguous United States, in terms of wind speed. Michael was responsible for 74 deaths. [407]
Hurricane Dorian 24 August 2019 – 10 September 2019 The Bahamas United States Hurricane Dorian was one of the strongest Atlantic hurricanes in years, and also is tied as the strongest landfalling Atlantic hurricane since the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane. Dorian also became the worst natural disaster in all of the Bahamas' history, killing over 73 people and causing over 4.68 billion USD in damage, with 3.4 billion USD of damage in The Bahamas alone after the storm stalled over Grand Bahama at incredible Category 5 intensity. The storm also caused 1.2 billion dollars of damage in the United States after making landfall near Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. [408]


Event Date Country Description References
2011 Super Outbreak 25–28 April 2011 United StatesCanada A tornado outbreak in the United States and Canada killed 324 people across six states. At 360 tornadoes, it was the largest and one of the deadliest tornado outbreaks in United States history. [409]
21–26 May 2011 tornado outbreak sequence 21 May 2011 United States Another U.S. tornado outbreak took place over six days. 178 people were killed, most of which occurred in Joplin, Missouri after an EF5 tornado swept through the city, killing 158 people and injuring at least 1,150. [410]
2019 Nepal tornado 31 March 2019 Nepal A tornado struck the Bara and Parsa districts of Nepal, killing 28 and injuring 1,176 people. It is the first officially recorded tornado in Nepalese history. [411]

Floods, avalanches, and mudslides[edit]

Event Date Country Description References
2010 Pakistan floods July 2010 Pakistan Flooding occurred in Pakistan after record monsoon rains, killing at least 1,600 people, thousands were rendered homeless, and more than thirteen million people were affected. Estimates from rescue service officials suggest the death toll might have reached 3,000. [412][413][414]
January 2011 Rio de Janeiro floods and mudslides 11 January 2011 Brazil Floods and mudslides killed 903 people across the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. [415][416]
2013 Alberta floods 19 June 2013 Canada Massive flooding occurred in Alberta, becoming the province's worst flooding in decades. [417]
2014 Southeast Europe floods 13–27 May 2014 Serbia

Bosnia and Herzegovina



Between 13 and 18 May 2014 a low pressure cyclone designated "Tamara" and "Yvette" affected a large area of Southeastern and Central Europe, causing floods and landslides. Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina suffered the greatest damage.as the rain was the heaviest in 120 years of recorded weather measurements. At least 86 people were killed and hundreds of thousands had been forced from their homes. Assessments of damage range up to 3.5 billion euros for Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
2015 Afghanistan avalanches 24 February 2015 Afghanistan An avalanche killed 310 people and wounded over 129 in Panjshir Province, Afghanistan. [418]
2015 South Indian floods 8 November 2015 India Heavy rainfall generated by the annual northeast monsoon affected the Coromandel Coast region of the South Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. More than 500 people were killed and over 1.8 million people were displaced. With estimates of damages and losses ranging from nearly ₹200 billion (US$3 billion) to over ₹1 trillion (US$14 billion), the floods were the costliest to have occurred in 2015, and were among the costliest natural disasters of the year. [419]

Volcanic eruptions[edit]

Event Date Country Description References
2010 eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull 20 March 2010 Iceland Eruptions of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland caused unprecedented disruption to international air travel, rendering transatlantic flight impossible and closing airways across much of Europe. The event was the largest air traffic shut-down since World War II. [420]
2010 eruptions of Mount Merapi Early November 2010 Indonesia Mount Merapi erupted in Indonesia, killing 353 people and grounding flights across Southeast Asia, becoming the largest eruption from the mountain in a century.
2018 lower Puna eruption 3 May 2018 United States A lava flow erupted in Hawai'i from Kīlauea's east rift zone, causing much damage and resulting in evacuation orders.
2018 Volcán de Fuego eruption 3 June 2018 Guatemala Volcán de Fuego erupted in Guatemala, killing at least 190 people, the deadliest eruption in Guatemala since 1929.
2019 Whakaari/White Island eruption 9 December 2019 New Zealand Whakaari/White Island, an active stratovolcano off the east coast of New Zealand's North Island, erupted, killing 20 people. [421]

Droughts, heat waves, and wildfires[edit]

Event Date Country Description References
2011–17 California drought December 2011 – March 2017 United States The state of California suffered through a water drought for the most part of the decade, affecting the way how Californians showered, use their drinking water, and even some of their electricity. [422]
2015 Indian heat wave 24 May 2015 India A heatwave in Southern India resulted in over 2,500 deaths. [423]
2015 Pakistani heat wave 20 June 2015 Pakistan A related heatwave hit neighbouring Pakistan, killing over 2,000 people in Karachi alone. [423]
2016 Fort McMurray wildfire 1 May 2016 Canada A wildfire began southwest of Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. On 3 May, it swept through the community, destroying more than 2,400 homes and buildings and forcing the largest wildfire evacuation in Alberta's history. The wildfire is the costliest disaster in Canadian history. [424][425]
2018 Camp Fire 8–25 November 2018 United States A wildfire began in Northern California that eventually became the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history to date. It was also the deadliest wildfire in the United States since the Cloquet fire in 1918, and among the list of deadliest wildfires, it was the sixth-deadliest U.S. wildfire overall, killing 85 people and injuring 17. [426][427]
2019 Amazon rainforest wildfires January 2019 – October 2019 Brazil Bolivia
Peru Paraguay
The 2019 wildfires season saw an unusual surge in the number of fires occurring in the Amazon rainforest and other parts of the Amazon biome contained within the countries of Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Peru during the 2019 Amazonian tropical dry season. [428][429]
2019–20 Australian bushfires August 2019 – June 2020 Australia The 2019 Australian bushfire season arrived in the wake of heavy droughts across the country, with fires covering the east coast including the metropolitan confines of Sydney. So far there have been 6 fatalities and hundreds of properties destroyed. Subsequent smoke has covered the city of Sydney, causing toxic air pollution. [430][431]


Greece and Eurozone's rise of debt in the early years of the decade
The weighted capital city residential property price index, produced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, since 2003
A man and a delivery robot waiting at a pedestrian crossing in Redwood City, California, United States. E-commerce spurred advancements in drone delivery and transformed parts of the services and retail sectors

The 2010s began amidst a global financial crisis that started in the late 2000s. A sovereign-debt crisis in Europe began in early 2010, and the Greek government admitted that it was having difficulties servicing its large sovereign debt. In the summer and fall of 2011, bond yields for Italy and Spain spiked above 6 percent.[432] By 2015 bond rates had returned to normal ranges across Europe, save for Greece, which accepted another, even more stringent bailout package. The size of the European Financial Stability Facility was increased from €440 billion to €2 trillion.[433] Despite the Eurozone debt crisis, the American Dow Jones Industrial Average had its longest stretch of gains since the late 1990s tech boom.[434] However, economic issues, including inflation and an increase in commodity prices, sparked unrest in many lower-income countries. In some countries, particularly those in the Arab world, political unrest evolved into socioeconomic crises, resulting in the Arab Spring.

In 2010, China became the second largest global economy, surpassing Japan.[435] Japan also saw a rating downgrade the following year due to debt burden.[436] In August 2011, the S&P downgraded the United States' credit rating from triple AAA to AA-plus following a debt ceiling crisis.[437] Also in 2011, a Gallup poll found that more than half of Americans believed the country was still in a recession.[438] In June 2015, the Shanghai Stock Exchange lost a third of the value of A-shares within one month, an event known as the 2015–16 Chinese stock market turbulence. India became the fastest growing major economy of the world in 2015, surpassing China.[439] In 2018, as the U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates, fears of a yield curve inversion preceding a potential U.S. recession sent inflation higher in several emerging markets, including Argentina, where interest rates hit 40% and an International Monetary Fund bail out was issued.[440] In 2019, Singapore supplanted the United States as the world's most competitive economy, with the U.S. dropping to third, behind Hong Kong.[441]

As a result of the global recession, many central banks instituted a zero interest-rate policy, or close to it.[442] Another form of monetary stimulus was that of quantitative easing. The resulting flood of market liquidity caused a rise in asset prices.[443] As a result, for example, US stock prices reached record highs.[444] Another concequence has been the rise in housing prices in many major world cities.[445] Some of the cities which recorded the most dramatic rises included Sydney, San Francisco, Vancouver, and Auckland.[446]

Global oil production in 2014 reached a historic peak, reaching 93 million barrels/day.[447] In 2018, partially due to a shale boom, the United States overcame Russia and Saudi Arabia in becoming the world's largest crude oil producer, the first time since 1973.[448] Around the year 2017 is a period seen by some economists as being the new peak of a "goldilocks economy".[449] The International Monetary Fund's April 2019 World Economic Outlook stated, "After peaking at close to 4 percent in 2017, global [economic] growth remained strong, at 3.8 percent in the first half of 2018, but dropped to 3.2 percent in the second half of the year."[450]

In 2018, United States President Donald Trump announced he would put into place new tariffs on some Chinese products, starting the 'US-China Trade War', an economic conflict involving the world's two largest economies. Trump said the reasoning for the trade war is to punish China for 'unfair' trade practices, such as the appropriation of jobs and the theft of American intellectual property. China responded with tariffs of its own, and a cycle began, escalating the conflict to the situation faced today. As part of his 'America First' policy, Trump also announced new tariffs were being placed on countries around the world for various products such as steel and aluminum, which has drawn some economic retaliation.

By the end of the decade, in North American and some Western European domestic economies, consumer-level purchasing habits had shifted significantly, a partial consequence of the Great Recession's impact on discretionary incomes and a shifting breadwinner model. The so-called "retail apocalypse" had commenced as consumers increasingly resorted to online shopping and e-commerce, accelerating the decline of brick-and-mortar retail and the continued decline of indoor shopping malls. The transitioning retail industry and popularity of online shopping facilitated economic phenomena such as bricks and clicks business models, pop-up and non-store retailing, drone delivery services, ghost restaurants, and a quickly maturing online food ordering and delivery service sector.[451][452] This was only further perpetuated by the rise in cryptocurrency throughout the decade, such as Bitcoin. By May 2018, over 1,800 cryptocurrency specifications existed.[453]

In the same vein as cryptocurrency, the trend towards a cashless society continued as non-cash transactions and digital currency saw an increase in favorability in the 2010s. By 2016, only about 2 percent of the value transacted in Sweden was by cash, and only about 20 percent of retail transactions were in cash. Fewer than half of bank branches in the country conducted cash transactions.[454] A report published during the final year of the decade suggested that the percentage of payments conducted in cash in the United Kingdom had fallen to 34% from 63% ten years earlier.[455] The 2016 United States User Consumer Survey Study claimed that 75 percent of respondents preferred a credit or debit card as their payment method while only 11 percent of respondents preferred cash.[456]

Science and technology[edit]

These are the most significant scientific developments of each year, based on the annual Breakthrough of the Year award of the American Association for the Advancement of Science journal Science.

Cyber security and hacking[edit]

Cyber security incidents, such as hacking, leaks or theft of sensitive information, gained increased attention of governments, corporations and individuals.

Edward Snowden, former NSA employee who revealed a large number of global surveillance programs.
Jürgen Mossack, co-founder of Mossack Fonseca, which shut down in light of revelations from the Panama Papers.
Event Date Description
Afghan War documents leak 25 July 2010 WikiLeaks published more than 90,000 internal U.S. military logs of the War in Afghanistan. The documents revealed numerous cover-ups and absence of trials for captured or killed Taliban members by the coalition.[468]
Stuxnet August 2010 A malicious computer worm was responsible for causing substantial damage to Iran's nuclear program. Although neither country has admitted responsibility, the worm is now generally acknowledged to be a jointly built American-Israeli cyberweapon.[469]
Iraq War documents leak 22 October 2010 WikiLeaks disclosed nearly 392,000 U.S. Army field reports of the Iraq War, the largest leak in the history of the U.S. military. It documented multiple cases of misconduct, abuse of power against civilians and other war crimes by U.S. authorities in the country.[470]
The Offshore leaks April 2013 A report disclosed details of 130,000 offshore accounts, with some observers calling it one of the biggest hit against international tax fraud of all time. The report originated from the Washington D.C. investigative journalism nonprofit, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).[471]
Global surveillance disclosures (2013–present) 5 June 2013 Edward Snowden leaked files through the Guardian newspaper detailing National Security Agency (NSA) privacy policies, including PRISM, the NSA call database, and Boundless Informant.[472]
Office of Personnel Management data breach 5 June 2015 The Office of Personnel Management of the U.S. government announced that it was hacked, resulting in a massive data breach, stealing information of around 21.5 million people.[473] The attack was suspected to have originated from China but it remains unclear if it was or not.[474]
2016 Bangladesh Bank heist 4 February 2016 The Bangladesh Bank became a victim of theft after hackers attempted to steal US$951 Million from its account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.[475] The hackers failed to steal the attempted amount but still got away with $81 million, which was diverted to the Philippines, making it one of the largest bank heists in history.[476]
Panama Papers 3 April 2016 11.5 million confidential documents were leaked from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca that detailed financial and attorney–client information of more than 214,488 offshore companies. The leaks revealed information of various prominent figures being involved in hidden financial dealings within tax havens and companies doing business with terrorist organizations and governments under international sanctions.[477]
Yahoo! data breach 22 September 2016 Yahoo Inc. reported that account information for up to 500 million users in 2014 had been hacked, compromising personal data from the accounts, including names, addresses, passwords, telephone numbers and possibly encrypting other information.[478]
October 2016 Dyn cyberattack 21 October 2016 A currently unknown attacker launches multiple distributed denial-of-service (DDos) attacks on networks operated by DNS provider Dyn, making numerous sites difficult or impossible to access for a period of time, including Twitter, Reddit, Netflix, Spotify, The New York Times, BBC News, and PayPal. The Department of Homeland Security opens an investigation.[479]
WannaCry ransomware attack 12 May 2017 A large cyberattack infected more than 230,000 computers in 150 countries, demanding ransom payments in the cryptocurrency bitcoin in 28 languages. The attack spread by multiple methods, including phishing emails and on unpatched systems as a computer worm. The attack was described by Europol as unprecedented in scale, affecting large companies such as Telefónica and parts of Britain's National Health Service.[480]
Paradise Papers 5 November 2017 A set of 13.4 million confidential electronic documents relating to offshore investments. The documents originate from the offshore law firm Appleby, the corporate services providers Estera and Asiaciti Trust, and business registries in 19 tax jurisdictions. At 1.4 terabytes in size, this is second only to the Panama Papers, it is the second biggest data leak in history.[481]

Health and society[edit]

AIDS, a pandemic responsible for killing over 30 million people since its discovery in the early 1980s, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, became a treatable condition, though by the end of the decade only two cases had been cured.[482] With good treatment patients can generally expect normal lives and lifespans. However, as of 2011 only some 5 million of the 12 million afflicted had access to such treatment.[483]

During the 2010s, social changes included increases in life expectancy and falls in birth rate leading to larger proportions of population's being elderly. Putting pressure on pension and other social security programs in developed nations. The environment became a topic of greater public concern around the world.[484] Many parts of the world moved towards greater acceptance of LGBT people often including the legalisation of same-sex marriage. Whilst the internet took an ever greater role in entertainment, communication, politics and commerce, especially for younger people and those living in wealthier countries. In 2011, the world population reached seven billion people.[485]


Superhero films became box office leaders, especially with the Marvel Cinematic Universe whose Avengers: Endgame became the highest-grossing film of all time, grossing over $2.7 billion worldwide, followed by Avengers: Infinity War, The Avengers and Black Panther while Frozen, Incredibles 2 and Frozen II became the three highest-grossing animated films of all time. Brave became the first film to use the Dolby Atmos sound format. Cable providers saw a decline in subscriber numbers as cord cutters switched to lower cost online streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu. Globalism and an increased demand for variety and personalization in the face of music streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music created many subgenres. Dance, hip-hop, and pop music surged into the 2010s, with EDM achieving mass commercial success. Digital music sales topped CD sales in 2012. The video game industry continued to be dominated by Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft; Minecraft became the best-selling game of all time. The best-selling book of the decade was Fifty Shades of Grey, having sold 15.2 million copies worldwide.[486]

See also[edit]


The following articles contain brief timelines which list the most prominent events of the decade:



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  2. ^ Fletcher, Damien (1 January 2010). "What should we call the decade after the noughties?". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
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  31. ^ Adama Nossiter (27 July 2009). "Scores Die as Fighters Battle Nigerian Police". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  32. ^ "Nigeria's Boko Haram pledges allegiance to Islamic State". BBC News. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  33. ^ Pisa, Katie; Hume, Tim (19 November 2015). "Boko Haram overtakes ISIS as world's deadliest terror group, report says". CNN. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  34. ^ "Global Terrorism Index 2015" (PDF). Institute for Economics and Peace. November 2015. p. 41. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  35. ^ Daniel, Serge (4 April 2012). "Mali junta denounces 'rights violations' by rebels". AFP. Archived from the original on 1 February 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
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  37. ^ Zoe Flood. "Trouble in Timbuktu as Islamists extend control". Retrieved 26 June 2016.
  38. ^ "Who Else, Besides Americans, Are Flying Fighter Jets in Iraq?". Slate. Archived from the original on 12 November 2014. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
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  40. ^ Mostafa, Nehal (9 December 2017). "Iraq announces end of war against IS, liberation of borders with Syria: Abadi". Iraqi News. Retrieved 13 January 2019.
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  44. ^ Yap, Clarissa Batino Cecilia (3 August 2016). "Duterte to Push Ahead With Name-Shame in Drug War as Deaths Rise" – via www.bloomberg.com.
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  46. ^ "Hundreds of protesters descend to 'Occupy Wall Street'". money.cnn.com. 17 September 2011. Retrieved 17 September 2011.
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  484. ^ "Global Concern about Climate Change, Broad Support for Limiting Emissions". Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project. 5 November 2015. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  485. ^ "Population seven billion: UN sets out challenges". BBC News. 26 October 2011. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
  486. ^ "These are the 10 best-selling books of the decade". Literary Hub. Retrieved 18 July 2020.

External links[edit]

  • Media related to 2010s at Wikimedia Commons