April 20, 2010: An explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico causes the biggest marine oil spill in history.
Source: Encyclopedia Britannica
May 2, 2010: The European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund sign off on a €110 million bailout of Greece, to save the EU country from default.
Source: The Guardian
June 27, 2010: The FBI arrests 10 Russian spies caught living deep undercover in the United States.
Just days later, the group was taken to Vienna, Austria, where they were turned over to Russian authorities in exchange for four Russian nationals accused of being double agents, The Guardian reported at the time.
December 17, 2010: The suicide of a Tunisian street vendor serves as a catalyst for the Arab Spring.
Tarek el-Tayeb Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire outside the local governor’s office when government authorities confiscated his wares, according to The New York Times.
The incident caused revolutionary protests in Tunisia, and the toppling of the government within a month. Similar protests broke out in several other North African and Middle Eastern countries, including Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and Syria.
January 28, 2011: “Two and a Half Men” star Charlie Sheen enters rehab, a day after the actor was rushed from his home to the hospital for abdominal and chest pains, according to CBS Los Angeles.
Sheen, who had been in an out of rehab multiple times in his life up until that point, according to USA Today, went on the “Today” show just a few weeks later and said that Alcoholic Anonymous doesn’t work on people like him, people with “tiger blood.”
He was subsequently fired from his hit TV show. Four years later it would emerge that Sheen was HIV positive.
February 11, 2011: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resigns under pressure from revolutionaries, giving up the seat he had held for three decades.
Anti-government protests in Egypt broke out a month earlier, as part of the larger Arab Spring, Al Jazeera reported. When Mubarak resigned, the military took control of the government.
Amnesty International said that at least 840 people were killed in the protests that transpired over 18 days.
Mubarak was put on trial for the protester deaths, but acquitted in 2017, according to Al-Ahram.
March 2011: Civil war breaks out in Syria after military defectors create the Free Syrian Army, to combat those loyal to President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
Protests had broken out in Syria after police tortured teenagers caught making anti-regime graffiti, according to Mother Jones.
March 11, 2011: An earthquake in Japan causes the second-worst nuclear accident in history.
The Great Sendai Earthquake of 2011 caused a tsunami in Japan’s northeastern Fukushima prefecture. That tsunami in turn damaged backup generates at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which went into partial meltdown, prompting the government to order the evacuation of nearly 50,000 residents, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica.
April 29, 2011: 3 billion people tune in to watch Britain’s Prince William marry college sweetheart Kate Middleton in a ceremony at Westminster Cathedral in London
Source: The New York Times
May 14, 2011: Dominique Strauss-Kahn, head of the International Monetary Fund, is pulled off a Paris-bound flight in New York and charged with sexually assaulting a hotel maid.
Three months later, prosecutors decided to drop the case after they lost faith in the credibility of the accuser, Nafissatou Diallo, The New York Times reported at the time.
Strauss-Kahn has always maintained that he did not rape Diallo, but in 2012 he settled with the hotel worker for an undisclosed sum after she sued him for sexual assault, according to The Guardian.
July 22, 2011: A right-wing Christian extremist kills 77 people — most of them children — in attacks on Oslo, Norway, and the nearby island of Utoya.
In August 2012, the attacker was sentenced to 21 years in prison, the maximum possible sentence since Norway doesn’t have the death penalty, according to CNN.
July 23, 2011: Grammy Award-winning singer Amy Winehouse, 27, is found dead at her home in north London.
Though the troubled songstress had released just two studio albums in her career, the second, “Back to Black,” was a critical and popular success. Rolling Stone ranks it #451 on its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
A coroner later determined the singer’s cause of death was from drinking too much alcohol, according to the BBC.
September 17, 2011: The Occupy Wall Street movement begins with about 1,000 people protesting in downtown Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park.
The group’s main issue was the power and influence held by the richest Americans.
The group held the park for about three months before police kicked them out on November 15. By then, similar protest camps had been started in other cities across America, according to The Week.
October 20, 2011: Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is captured and killed by revolutionaries, bringing an end to his 42-year regime.
Source: Al Jazeera
November 7, 2011: Michael Jackson’s doctor, Conrad Murray, is found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in connection to the late singer’s overdose death.
Source: The New York Times
July 20, 2012: A shooter opens fire at a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight,” in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12 people and injuring dozens of others.
The shooter was later sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
September 11, 2012: US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans are killed after a mob storms the US mission in Benghazi, Libya.
October 22, 2012: After being accused of conducting an elaborate doping scheme, American cyclist Lance Armstrong is stripped of his seven Tour de France medals and banned from cycling competitions for life.
He initially denied the accusations before telling Oprah Winfrey in 2013 that they were true.
October 29, 2012: Superstorm Sandy causes widespread death and damage, especially in the Northeastern US.
Source: Business Insider
November 6, 2012: Voters in Colorado and Washington vote to legalize recreational marijuana, becoming the first states in the US to do so.
Nine other states have since followed suit, from Alaska to Maine.
March 13, 2013: Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio is elected pope, becoming the first South American to lead the Roman Catholic Church. He assumes the name Pope Francis.
April 15, 2013: Two pressure cooker bombs explode at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring more than 250 others.
Brothers Tamerlan, 26, and Dzokhar Tsarnaev, 19, initially escaped the scene, and the city of Boston was effectively shut down for days as law enforcement teams hunted for the bombers.
Tamerlan was killed in a shootout with police four days later. A wounded Dzokhar was arrested later that morning, after seeking shelter in a dry-docked boat.
Two years later, Dzokhar was sentenced to death for his role in the bombings.
May 16, 2013: The now-defunct news site Gawker publishes a video showing Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack.
Ford initially refuses to step down, and his increasingly bizarre behavior over the coming weeks and months make international headlines.
His term as mayor came to an end on November 30, 2014, after he dropped out of the race to deal with a cancer diagnosis. But he still won for city councilor of his old constituency with 58% of the vote. He served just two years in that role before dying at the age of 46 in March 2016.
May 6, 2013: Three women who had been missing for about a decade are rescued from the Cleveland, Ohio, home of Ariel Castro.
Amanda Berry, 27, Gina DeJesus, 23, and Michelle Knight, 32, had each disappeared between 2002 and 2004. They finally escaped after Berry kicked down a screen door and yelled at a neighbor to call 911, according to CBS News.
Castro, 53, later pleaded guilty to several charges to avoid the death penalty, only to die by suicide in his cell a month later.
June 6, 2013: The Guardian and the Washington Post publish stories based on information leaked to them by government contractor Edward Snowden.
Snowden flees the country and is eventually allowed asylum in Russia.
July 6, 2013: “Glee” star Cory Monteith is found dead in a Vancouver, British Columbia, hotel room after succumbing to a drug and alcohol overdose.
Source: USA Today
July 7, 2013: Scottish tennis player Andy Murray becomes the first British man to win Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936.
July 13, 2013: The Black Lives Matter movement begins after George Zimmerman is acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges in the shooting death of black teen Trayvon Martin.
On February 26, 2012, Zimmerman shot dead Martin because he thought he was an intruder in his Sanford, Florida, neighborhood. But Martin lived in the same neighborhood and was just returning home after a trip to the convenience store to buy an iced tea and candy. The incident caused national outrage over the treatment of black people, especially black boys.
July 22, 2013: Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, gives birth to a baby boy named Prince George, who becomes third in line to the British throne, behind his father and grandfather.
Source: Business Insider
December 5, 2013: Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s trailblazing first black president, dies at the age of 95.
Source: Business Insider
February 1, 2014: Dylan Farrow writes an essay describing how her father, director Woody Allen, molested her as a child. Allen was never charged and denies the allegation.
The accusation against Allen wasn’t new, but it was the first time that his daughter had spoken publicly to give her side of the story.
February 2, 2014: Academy Award-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman dies at the age of 46 from a drug overdose.
Source: The New York Times
February 18, 2014: A 39-year-old Jimmy Fallon starts his tenure as host of “The Tonight Show”.
Source: The New York Times
March 8, 2014: Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 mysteriously vanishes off radar while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew on board.
Parts of the Boeing 777 would later wash up on islands off the southeastern coast of Africa, but not the fuselage.
March 25, 2014: Actress Gwyneth Paltrow announces her separation from her Coldplay frontman husband Chris Martin on her blog Goop, saying they have decided to “consciously uncouple”.
Source: Harper’s Bazaar
April 2014: The Flint water crisis begins as the Michigan city tries to cut costs by getting their water from the Flint River instead of getting it from Detroit.
Doctors would later tell residents to stop using the water after finding high lead levels in children’s blood.
March 23, 2014: The World Health Organization reports that there has been an outbreak of Ebola in Guinea, the start of the largest outbreak of the virus in history.
The virus spread as far as the US, after a man infected with the virus flew to Dallas in October and got sick after landing. He later died, and two nurses became infected while treating him but recovered.
There was another scare when a medical aide worker became infected with the virus after returning to New York City from Guinea.
Seven other people were flown to the US to get treatment for the virus, most of whom were medical workers. Of those seven, six survived and one died.
When Guinea was finally Ebola-free in June 2016, more than 28,600 people had contracted the disease, and 11,325 died.
February 1, 2015: The New England Patriots win Super Bowl XLIX thanks to an interception with just seconds left in the game.
With just 25 seconds left in the game, the Seattle Seahawks looked on track to overtake the Patriots.
At New England’s one-yard line, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson decided to throw the ball instead of rush, and the Patriots’ undrafted rookie Malcolm Butler intercepted it. The Patriots won the game 28-24.
May 2015: An outbreak of the Zika virus spreads to Brazil, and eventually moves its way up into Central America and the Caribbean.
Women are warned to be careful traveling to these regions since there is a connection between the virus and babies being born with microcephaly, an issue where a baby’s head is abnormally small, according to the World Health Organization.
Adding to the fears, scientists discover that the virus can be passed through sex, as well.
June 6, 2015: Joyce Mitchell, a worker at the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York, helps two convicted murderers escape.
David Sweat and Richard Matt spent nearly three weeks on the run. Matt was later killed in a shootout with police, while Sweat was shot and survived, according to CNN.
October 8, 2016: The Washington Post publishes a video from a 2005 interview between “Access Hollywood” host Billy Bush and Donald Trump, in which the latter said he can grab women “by the p—y” because he’s a star.
Source: Washington Post
November 3, 2016: The Chicago Cubs break the Billy Goat curse and win their first World Series in 108 years.
The Billy Goat curse haunted the team since 1945, when William “Billy Goat” Sianis bought a ticket for himself and his goat Murphy for Game 4 of the Cubs’ World Series game against the Detroit Tigers, according to NBC News.
When the two were kicked out of the stadium for Murphy’s smell, Sianis reportedly said, “Them Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more!”
October 2017: Famous men are culled in the #MeToo movement.
The outrage encourage other people in Hollywood and other industries to speak out about sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace.
April 13, 2018: The US, Britain, and France conduct air strikes against Syria in response to President Bashar al-Assad’s suspected use of chemical weapons on citizens in a civil war gripping the country.
“These are not the actions of a man,” Trump said of the suspected chemical attack, according to The New York Times. “They are crimes of a monster instead.”
The conflict in Syria began in 2011, and still rages on today.
October 2, 2018: Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi is murdered inside the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul.