20 historical events from 2000 to 2020 that shaped the new millennium

20 historical events from 2000 to 2020 that shaped the new millennium

Many things have happened in the world over the past few decades. However, some past events cannot be forgotten due to their magnitude, significance, and effects on today’s happenings. Find out which historical events from 2000 to 2020 have defined the new millennium.

Historical events from 2000 to 2020
Selective focus photography of a brown wooden bookshelf. Photo: pexels.com, @enginakyurt (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Which historical events from 2000 to 2020 have had unforgettable impacts on people’s lives today? While some events are remembered for their positive impact, others are unforgotten due to their adverse effects. Here is a compilation of key historical events in the past two decades.

Major historical events from 2000 to 2020

While there have been many historical events since 2000, some are worth recognising as they have far-reaching impacts on society and the economy. Here is a look at events in the 2000s and 2010s that are considered impactful.

1. Mississippi River black sludge disaster (2000)

On 11 October 2000, one of the worst-ever environmental disasters happened in Kentucky. Approximately 300 million gallons of black coal sludge busted out of a mountainside after a dam collapsed into the Big Sandy River. The spillage damaged over 100 miles (160 km) of streams and killed millions of aquatic creatures. The coal also contaminated water supplies in many communities.

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2. New York City attack (2001)

Historical events from 2000 to 2020
The lower Manhattan skyline features the World Trade Center in New York City, USA. Photo: Sparwassar
Source: Getty Images

Al Qaeda committed multiple coordinated terrorist attacks in the USA on 11 September 2001. Nineteen terrorists hijacked four commercial planes en route to California.

Two of the hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Centre Twin Towers in New York City and another plane into the Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia. The fourth plane, headed to Washington D.C., crashed into a field following passenger protests. Approximately 3,000 people died.

3. The Gujarat Earthquake (2001)

The Gujarat Earthquake, also known as The Bhuj earthquake, occurred on 26 January 2001. The earthquake’s epicentre was 9 km (5.5 mi) south-southwest of the village of Chobari, in Bhachau Taluka. It had a magnitude of 7.7 or 6.9 on the Richter scale and a depth of 17.4 km (11 mi).

The earthquake affected India and Pakistan, killing more than 20,000 people and injuring over 167,000 people. It also damaged thousands of valuable properties, including buildings.

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4. Introduction of Euro currency (2002)

things that have happened since 2000
Euro notes. Photo: unsplash.com, @ibrahimboran
Source: UGC

In January 2002, the European Union adopted the Euro as their currency. 12 of the 15 member states of the EU started using the currency, but the U.K. did not adopt it as it contemplated exiting the EU.

Today, the European Union has expanded and has about 27 countries. Out of the 27, 19 countries have adopted the currency. It is the second most traded currency after the dollar.

5. Establishment of the International Criminal Court (2002)

The International Criminal Court (ICC), based in The Hague, Netherlands, was created on 1 July 2002. The international court is the first of its kind with the authority to try people worldwide. It tries people charged with war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, and other international crimes.

6. Invasion of Iraq (2003)

The Iraq War is among the major events since 2000 that impacted world politics. Approximately one year after the 9/11 attacks, the US, UK, Australia, and Poland invaded Iraq.

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According to the US, they aimed to disarm Iraq with weapons of mass destruction and liberate Iraqis from Saddam Hussein’s regime. There were divided opinions among the great powers on the Iraq War, with countries such as Germany, Russia and China saying it was uncalled for.

7. Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami (2004)

On 26 December 2004, an underwater earthquake in the Indian Ocean caused a huge tsunami wave reaching 30 metres (100 feet) tall. The tsunami caused extensive destruction of properties and killed approximately 230,000 people, making it one of the deadliest in history. It affected 14 countries.

8. Death of the Pope (2005)

Pope John Paul II died on 2 April 2005. He was the first Polish pope in history and a non-Italian pope since the 16th century. He served the Catholic church since 1978. His canonisation came in 2014 after the pontification of Francis.

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9. Guimaras oil spill (2006)

This is one of the worst environmental disasters in the history of the Philippines. On 11 August 2006, an oil tanker, MT Solar 1, sank in the Philippine beaches of Guimaras and Negros in the Panay Gulf.

The tanker had more than 2 million gallons of bunker fuel. Over 500,000 gallons of oil spilt into the gulf, negatively affecting three of the five municipalities of Guimaras Island.

10. The iPhone (2007)

Major events since 2000
New Apple iPhone 15 displayed on a screen on the launch day inside Apple Omotesando, Tokyo flagship store. Photo: Stanislav Kogiku
Source: Getty Images

The introduction of Apple’s iPhone is one of the major things that have happened since 2000. The iPhone provided a better experience than other smartphones at the time, as it came with a camera, music player, and advanced communication software. The Time magazine named it Invention of the Year in 2007.

11. Great Recession (2008)

Lehman Brothers, an American global financial firm, filed for bankruptcy on 15 September 2018. This was the largest bankruptcy in the U.S. since the company had taken too many risks in the subprime mortgage market. Its downfall marked the first significant signal of the Great Recession, a period of a general decline of national economies.

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12. The first black US president (2009)

Barack Hussein Obama became the first black US president on 20 January 2009. His election as president is among the most significant historical events in the last 20 years. He was elected for the second term from 2012 to 2017. Even though he faced many challenges, one of his most notable achievements is Obamacare, which provided essential health to many citizens.

13. Icelandic ash cloud (2010)

Beginning on 20 March 2010, a series of volcanic eruptions in Eyjafjöll, Iceland, emitted massive ash into the atmosphere. The Icelandic ash cloud impaired visibility and interfered with air travel in Europe.

As a result, European airspace was shut, causing the largest airspace shutdown since World War II. Approximately 107,000 flights were cancelled, affecting millions of travellers.

14. Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami (2011)

The Great East Japan Earthquake, also known as the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, occurred on 11 March 2011. It had a magnitude of 9.0 with a depth of 29 km (18 mi). Approximately 20,000 people died, and several others were injured. The earthquake also caused a nuclear accident.

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15. Arab Spring (2011)

The Arab Spring is one of the most significant events in the past 20 years that affected many Arab countries in the early 2010s. The period saw multiple anti-government protests, revolutions, and armed rebellions. It started in Tunisia and was later experienced in other Arab countries, including Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Syria, and Bahrain.

16. Malaysia Airline disasters (2014)

Major events in the last 20 years
A plane in the sky. Photo: pexels.com, @pixabay
Source: UGC

On 8 March 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 vanished mid-air on its way to Kuala Lumpur International Airport. It is one of the deadliest airline disasters in Malaysia, as 227 passengers and 12 crew members were presumed dead.

On 17 July 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down by Russian forces as it passed over Eastern Ukraine. Fifteen crew members and 283 passengers died.

17. Facebook goes public (2012)

Facebook has been quite popular among social media users since it was founded in 2004. It went public on 18 May 2012, making it the first social media network to float its shares publicly. Its share price was valued at $38.

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18. Trump becomes US President (2016)

On 8 November 2016, Donald Trump won the US presidential election, becoming the 45th president of the US. He defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton and was inaugurated on 20 January 2017. His tenure lasted one term, and it was marred with multiple controversies, including fake news, which were termed alternative truths.

19. Brexit (2018)

The Great Britain voted to leave the European Union in a referendum dubbed Brexit. After two years, in 2020, the European Union countries approved the Exit Agreement and other relations between the EU and the UK. The UK exited the EU after approximately five decades of being a member.

20. Emergence of COVID-19 (2019)

Things that have happened since 2000
Digital generated image of different variants of virus cells against a black background. Photo: Umar Shankar Sharma
Source: Getty Images

The coronavirus pandemic is among the major events in the last 20 years that significantly affected the world. The disease started in 2019 in China, and the World Health Organisation declared it a global pandemic on 12 January 2020. It led to movement restrictions and disruption of services with significant economic effects.

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Numerous events occurred between 2000 and 2020, shaping various aspects of the world in many ways. The historical events from 2000 to 2020 have influenced how people live today and impacted the world economy and politics.

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Naomi Karina (Lifestyle writer) Naomi Karina has been a digital content writer for more than two years. She joined the Legit team in August 2022. She graduated Bachelor of Commerce from KCA University in 2012. She also holds a Higher Diploma in Human Resources from the IHRM and a Diploma in Marketing from Kenyatta University. She is a content creator who enjoys writing about various topics such as biographies, entertainment and business. In 2023, Naomi finished the AFP course on Digital Investigation Techniques. She expanded her skills in 2024 by undertaking the Google News Initiative course.

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