Below is a snap shot of some of the headlines that took place across in the world in 2011. 2011 surely was an eventful year with most events evoking sadness and worry across the globe, with the occasional glimpse of hope. But more importantly is the positive turn around we are willing to put in to those moments that were unfortunate, the aid that flew across Japan, or never turned their back on Kenyan families. It’s the spirit of willing to move forward and loaning one another a hand that’s made 2011 different.

Here are some events that hit global headlines that are n0t ranked in order of devastation, importance or personal opinion, but are simply moments that have been perceived to ‘ shape’ the history of 2011.
  1. The Tohoku Tsunami was the worst disaster in Japan since World War II.

Image Credits: カタカナディアン – Katakanadia

The deadly tsunami and earthquake left 15,841 people confirmed dead. Beginning with a massive 9.0 magnitude earthquake, Northern Japan was terribly shaken causing an even more devastating tsunami. Fukushima reactors were also damaged causing radiation leaks and long-term evacuations. The above image was taken four months after the tsunami and still you can see the deep scar that this unfortunate natural disaster has left. Imagine the scene beforehand, before considerably being cleaned up, filled with debris and fright.

2. The Death of Osama Bin Laden

Image Credit: k-ideas

After a nine and a half year manhunt, American commandos found and killed Osama Bin laden in a compound north of Islamabad, Pakistan. His death was announced in May by the White House.

3. New Zealand Receives its worse Earthquake in History

Image Credit: Shazster

A 6.3 magnitude struck near Christchurch in New Zealand, causing the loss of 155 lives with hundreds left injured. Streets no longer look like homes and settlements but have been replaced by graveyards of smashed and destroyed buildings. Around 26,000 homes of Christchurch, New Zealand’s second largest city, was left without power as the shaking damaged switches causing a blackout.  The cost of repairing the city after February’s disaster has been put at NZ$20bn (£10 billion).

4. Mass Protests in Tahrir Square saw the expelling of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak

Image Credit: Monz

It all began when Egyptians started protesting against President Hosni Mubarak’s government in January. Access to the internet and mobile phone networks were cut off. Finally after months of devastation, deaths, losses of livelihood and injuries derived from protests, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak resigns, resulting in a military council taking power and promising elections.

5. Somalia and Kenya were hit by a devastating Drought and Famine

Image Credit: Zoriah

Much of the Horn of Africa including Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti, was struck in the summer by one of the worst droughts in 60 years. In Somalia, where a harsh conflict has depleted the country’s food supplies over decades, the drought hit with a particularly devastating impact. Tens of thousands of Somalis have died of malnutrition-related causes; and three million Somalis have been left in urgent need of aid.

The two parts of southern Somalia where famine was declared are controlled by Al Shabab,  a violent Islamist group that is aligned with Al Qaeda, who forced out Western aid organisations in 2010. It was only until the scale of the catastrophe erupted rapidly did they invite aid grounds back in, but few returned due to the complications and dangers of dealing with such violent members.

6. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs lost his battle with Cancer

Image Credit: ميـسـآء بنت عبـدالـلـﮧ ツ

Mr Jobs at the age of 56 passed away after suffering from pancreatic cancer for seven years. Since founding Apple in 1976 with Steve Wozniak and Ronal Wayne, Mr Jobs has inspired thousands with his ideas, innovation and creativity enriching many lifestyles in one way or another.

7 . The Arrival of Giant Pandas to the UK after 17 years

Image Credits: Martin Third Av’n

The UK’s only pair of giant pandas celebrated their first Christmas in Scotland this year! The adorable pair Tian Tian and Yang Guana (Sunshine and Sweetie) have been getting used to their new home in snowy Scotland since December 4th 2011. The pair arrived from Ya’an reserve in Chengdu, China in a 777 aircraft, nicknamed ‘FedEx Panda Express” which carefully transported them to their new adventure in panda-friendly- designed crates and a beautifully painted aircraft.

Once the pandas had settled and were ready for their public display, thousands of excited faces flocked to visit the two eight-year old giant looking cuddly toys. Edinburgh zoo are proud to announce the pandas new home for the next ten years, in a conservation approach to hold a successful breeding pair that may successfully produce cubs during their stay. After a long seventeen year wait for the glimpse of a giant panda in the UK we must thank China for loaning us such majestic species.

8. North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il died after a heart attack

Image credits: DTN News

North Korean leader Kim Jong-II died of a heart attack at the age of 69, sending millions of North Koreans engulfed in a desperate sadness as they openly wept in Pyongyang.

The dictator had a vivid life with many wild moments including banning the World Cup from being broadcasted in North Korea unless the national team had won and banning cigarettes across the country after being told he had to quit smoking in 2007. Kim was not one to spend discipline alone.

9. Clarification that all United States Troops will depart Iraq

Image Credit: The U.S. Army

President Barack Obama announced in December that all remaining U.S troops will leave Iraq by the end of 2011. It is finally goodbye to the end of the war that deeply divided the nation, left almost 4,500 American solders dead and an expensive investment of $800 billion.

10. 470 inmates escape from a prison in Southern Afghanistan

Image Credits: The Wall Street Journel

Escaping through a tunnel dug by the Taliban hundreds of meters long, 470 inmates break out from Kandahar prison. Since the escape, only 12 have been captured.  The escape tunnel (360m) had taken five months to extract. Starting from a rented house that were friends of the Taliban, the tunnel led right through to a prisoner’s cell from the inside, bypassing the security checkpoints.

11. Britain celebrates the fairytale-like royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton

Image Credit: Beacon Radio

The couple, who met at St. Andres University, were not only declared husband and wife on their wedding day but were also made the duke and duchess of Cambridge. Dedicating their vows to one another on the balcony of Buckingham palace was certainly a royal moment that touched thousands.

12. Riots across Britain’s Capital – London

Image Credits: Sven Loach

Two nights of rioting spread through London’s Tottenham neighbourhood, following protests that started over the death of a local man, Mark Duggan who was shot by a policeman during an arrest.  The two nights of rioting resulted in the damage and collapse of several shops, buildings and cars. It wasn’t long before the wave of riots spread to local districts including Hackney, Lewisham and Peckham, causing further looting from shops and cars and injuring officers. Over 215 people were arrested from the riots.

Any more events in history that you feel should make the list of 2011? Then drop a comment and let the world know what you think.


  • Sven loach

    You’ve chosen some excellent images, and I was most honoured to be amongst them . And, a lot of websites seem to do wonky things to my images so I was glad to see here that this wasn’t the case. You’ve chosen 12 very interesting events in the maddest of years on record, and you’ve articulately explained them.

  • Sharon Davis

    Hi Emma,

    Thanks for the link to the article – a good read. Have shared it with friends.

    Best wishes,