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What Were the Biggest Events of 2011

Aerial photo of Minato, devastated by both the earthquake and subsequent tsunami

2011 was a year when a lot happened, and the headlines kept bursting with one news story after the other. Be it the Arab Spring uprising or an end to the years of a manhunt by the killing of Osama bin Laden, 2011 was the year of disasters. Besides the human-made disasters and violent uproars globally making headlines that year, the most devastating natural disaster that shook the whole world with massive destruction in Japan topped the news.

Here are some of the biggest events of 2011 recapped for you.

1. Tsunami Hits Japan

Devastation after the tsunami in Rikuzentakata, Iwate, Japan

Earth shook with about 9.0 magnitude, triggering a massive tsunami that hit the coast of Japan in March 2011. The destruction brought upon by this powerful earthquake sent tremors down everyone’s spine, even if they watched it from a faraway country. The tsunami destroyed everything in its path – including tall buildings, boats, and trees – and forced millions of people to seek higher ground.

If this mammoth destruction was not enough to bring the country’s deplorable situation up in every major headline, the earthquake triggering the tsunami also devastated a nuclear plant. The Fukushima Daiichi facility in Japan was severely damaged by the strong tremors and resulted in the meltdown of the reactors.

This devastation was considered worse than the Chernobyl one, in the year 1986. The reactor incurred grave damages and consequently released radiation into the air and also contaminated the seawater. The country prepared itself for the long-term impacts of this nuclear disaster as nuclear radiation is known to have grave long-term consequences.

2. Ten-year Manhunt of the 9/11 Mastermind Came To An End

Osama bin Laden at about 40 years of age in 1997

Osama bin Laden was killed by the elite team of the US navy known as Seal Team Six on May 2, 2011. The Arab fugitive – claimed to be the mastermind behind the tragedy of the Twin Towers in New York – was being hunted for ten years. Osama bin Laden, the leader of a terrorist group, Al-Qaeda, was surrounded by the US navy’s elite team in one of his prime hiding spots in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

This brought an end to the decade-long hunt of the leader who designed the fatal attack of 9/11. However, the country whose land he was found was elusive about his whereabouts initially. This air attack and its resultant killing of the infamous terrorist was one of the biggest triumphs of Obama’s administration.

3. Hosni Mubarak’s Resignation

a picture of over 1 million people in Tahrir Square demanding the removal of the regime and for Mubarak to step down

Nearly about 30 years of the reign of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt came to an end in the year 2011. This major historical event was claimed to have triggered by numerous revolts across the Middle East. The self-immolation of a poor and oppressed merchant in Tunisia took a toll and enraged the people enough that they took it to the streets.

Streets of Cairo and other major cities were flooded with rebels as they chanted and demanded the end of Hosni Mubarak’s rule. The army pledged to bring in peace in the country and regain its stability.

4. Tornado in the US

Aerial view of tornado damage in Trenton, Georgia

The USA also had its fair share of natural disasters in the year 2011. One of the deadliest and most powerful tornado outbreaks in the history of the country, the Southern, Midwestern, and Northeastern states of the country incurred deadly damage on April 27. The tornado took the life of approximately 346 people. The whole college town of Tuscaloosa looked like a severely torn disaster zone.

Another mile-wide tornado hit the city of Joplin, Missouri. Almost 150 people were killed, and hundreds of homes were destroyed. Also, this year made the whole country brace for the prospective damages of Hurricane Irene. Though the storm weakened before it hit the country, it still cost 20 precious lives.

5. Terror Attacks in Norway

View of Oslo city after July 2011 bombing

Regarded as the deadliest attack in the country since World War Two, two simultaneous terror attacks in Norway in July 2011,shook its people to the core. Otherwise regarded as one of the most peaceful countries in the world with almost minimal crime rate, the attacks happened in Oslo, the capital of Norway. Anders Breivik, the far-right terrorist, is blamed for the attacks on the Labor Party youth camp.

6. Riots in England

Stand-off between rioters and police in Croydon

Following the ill-fated shooting of Mark Duggan by the police in Tottenham, a series of riots broke out in London and spread across the whole country of England between 6 and 11 August 2011. Theviolent protestors took to streets condemning the police for shooting a man dead only because he was suspected of having a gun. The country barred damages to public property worthy of up to 200 millioneuros.

7. Steve Jobs Put to Rest

Steve Jobs shows off the iPhone 4 at the 2010 Worldwide Developers Conference

Steve Jobs’ name surfaced to the top of every news bulletin twice during the year 2011. First, Jobs resigned from his role as CEO of Apple. Later on, the news of Jobs having pancreatic cancer circulated with an iconic statement from the founder of Apple. According to him, if he ever felt like he was unable to perform his duties as the CEO diligently, he would resign, and that day had come. Also, the second time round he made to the news was when he passed away later that year on October 5.

8. Colonel Gaddafi Was Assassinated

Gaddafi at the 12th African Union conference in 2009

What marked one of the history’s main events (considering what counts major in your prospective), Libya’s deposed leader, Muammar Gaddafi, was assassinated by the rebels. The army coup had toppled Gaddafi’s reign, and he had been on the run. The rebels were reported to have caught him and shot him to death on October 20, 2011.

9. A Decade-long War in Iraq Ends

A Marine Corps M1 Abrams tank patrols Baghdad after its fall in 2003

It was also in the year 2011 that the US announced its decision to pull out its military troops from Iraq – putting a formal end to the war. The US troops were at war with the Iraqi militants for quite a long time. Though no one knows the actual number of people killed in this war, some reports claim that there were about half a million deaths as a result of this war.

10. Royal Wedding

Wedding of Prince William of Wales and Kate Middleton

Not all the things happening in 2011 were gloomy, and the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton at the Westminster Abbey proved so. Providing relief from the gloomy news headlines, the Royal Wedding was followed by millions of people in England as well as around the world.

Final Words

This was the wrap up of the year 2011. Though this article could not cover all the things that took place around the world in the said year, the events mentioned above were worthy enough of shaping history. From the killing of Muammar Gaddafi to the targeted attack on one of the world’s biggest and most-wanted fugitives Osama bin Laden, the world had its share of history-shaping events. The saddest of all was the disaster that struck Japan and wiped out most of the country.

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