2002 (MMII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar, the 2002nd year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 2nd year of the 3rd millennium and the 21st century, and the 3rd year of the 2000s decade.
After the September 11 attacks of the previous year, foreign policy and international relations were generally united in combatting al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. The United States especially was a leading force in combatting terrorist groups. 2002 also saw the signing and establishment of many international agreements and institutions, most notably the International Criminal Court, the African Union, the Russian-American Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty, and the Eurozone.
The global economy, partly due to the September 11 attacks, generally stagnated or declined. Stock indices, such as the American Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Japanese Nikkei 225 both ended the year lower than they had started. In the later parts of 2002, the world saw the beginning of a SARS epidemic, which would go on to affect mostly China, Europe, and North America.
Prominent deaths in 2002 included world leaders Hugo Banzer, John Gorton, Fernando Belaúnde and Ne Win. The British royal family in particular saw two major funerals, that of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and Princess Margaret. The year witnessed the passing of film figures Chuck Jones, Billy Wilder, María Félix and Rod Steiger; and musicians Layne Staley, John Entwistle and Joe Strummer. 2002 also marked the births of actors Jenna Ortega and Finn Wolfhard, as well as athletes Pedri and Emma Raducanu.
The world population on January 1, 2002, was estimated to be 6.272 billion people, and it increased to 6.353 billion people by January 1, 2003. An estimated 134.0 million births and 52.5 million deaths took place in 2002. The average global life expectancy was 67.1 years, an increase of 0.3 years from 2001. The rate of child mortality was 7.05%, a decrease of 0.27pp from 2001. 26.85% of people were living in extreme poverty, a decrease of 1.40pp from 2000.
The number of global refugees was approximately 12 million at the beginning of 2002, but it declined to 10.3 million by the end of the year. Approximately 2.4 million refugees were repatriated in 2002, of which 2 million were Afghan. 293,000 additional refugees were displaced in 2002, primarily from Liberia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Somalia, Ivory Coast, and the Central African Republic.
There were 31 recognised armed conflicts in 2002, a net decrease from the previous year: seven conflicts ended in 2001, while conflicts in Angola, Congo, and Ivory Coast began or resumed in 2002. The deadliest conflicts in 2002 were those in Burundi, Colombia, Kashmir, Nepal, and Sudan. Among developed nations in 2002, national defense shifted toward counterterrorism after the September 11 attacks and the invasion of Afghanistan the previous year. Conflicts in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Israel, and the Philippines were directly related to countering Islamic terrorism.: 87
The Colombian conflict escalated after far-left insurgents occupied demilitarized zones and kidnapped Íngrid Betancourt, effectively ending peace talks. The insurgents began bombing cities, and over 200,000 Colombians were displaced by the conflict in 2002.: 91–92
The Nepalese Civil War escalated in 2002, with casualties approximately equaling the combined totals from 1996–2001; half of this increase was civilian casualties, as civilians were targeted by both the Nepali government and the communist insurgents.: 88–89 Chechen insurgents in Russia escalated their attacks during the Second Chechen War, destroying a Russian Mil Mi-26 in August and causing a hostage crisis in Moscow.: 93–94 The Second Liberian Civil War also escalated, causing widespread displacement of civilians.: 90
Conflicts that saw some form of resolution in 2002 include the Eelam War III in Sri Lanka, which was halted with a ceasefire agreement on February 24,: 98 and the Angolan Civil War, which was resolved in April with a ceasefire between the Angolan government and UNITA.: 89 Internationally brokered peace talks advanced in the Second Sudanese Civil War,: 102 some factions of the Somali Civil War,: 106 and the Second Congo War, with the latter producing an agreement on December 17 to create a Congolese transitional government.: 100–101 Afghanistan underwent its first year without direct military conflict in over two decades, though sporadic attacks were carried out by the Taliban insurgency and Al-Qaeda.: 256 An agreement was reached with the government of Burundi and the CNDD-FDD on December 3, but the other major faction in Burundi, the Palipehutu-FNL, did not participate in peace talks.
The only direct conflict between nations in 2002 was the India–Pakistan standoff in Kashmir, beginning in late 2001. This conflict was primarily one of brinkmanship, with the threat of nuclear warfare.: 88 Riots in Gujarat and suicide bombings in Jammu further escalated tensions.: 87 The two countries stood down in May.: 88
The Second Intifada continued in 2002 between the Israel Defense Forces and Palestinian paramilitary groups with an escalation in violence. Palestinian suicide bombings became coordinated to maximize the number of civilian casualties, while the Israeli military killed approximately twice as many Palestinians in retaliation.: 73 In response to the suicide bombings, Israel carried out Operation Defensive Shield in March.: 413 Under this operation, Israel occupied much of West Bank,: 413 and it and briefly held Palestinian president Yasser Arafat under house arrest.: 95 The Battle of Jenin was particularly destructive, with the United Nations finding both parties to be irresponsible regarding collateral damage.: 96
The Documenta11 exhibition took place in Kassel, Germany, contributing to the early movement of art globalization with its focus on experimental and documentary works from developing nations. Critically acclaimed paintings in 2002 include The Upper Room, a collection of paintings by Chris Ofili based on a drawing of a monkey by Andy Warhol, and Dispersion, an abstract work by Julie Mehretu.
The highest-grossing films globally in 2002 were The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and Spider-Man. The highest-grossing non-English film was Hero (Mandarin), the 28th highest-grossing film of the year. Film was marked by several unexpected successes and failures in 2002, including the underwhelming performances of a Star Wars film, a James Bond film, and a Disney film, and the word-of-mouth success of My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Critically acclaimed films from 2002 include Adaptation, Far from Heaven, and Talk to Her.
Music sales in 2002 amounted to about 3 billion units, a decline of 8% from 2001. CD albums remained the dominant form of music, making up 89% of the market. DVD music sales increased by 40%, while cassette tape music sales decreased by 36%. Pop music saw a major decline in 2002 as it was overtaken by country music and hip hop music. Globally, the best-selling albums in 2002 were The Eminem Show by Eminem, Let Go by Avril Lavigne, and the Elvis Presley greatest hits album ELV1S: 30 No. 1 Hits. The best-selling non-English album was Mensch (transl. Human) by German singer Herbert Grönemeyer, the 29th best-selling album overall.
Critically acclaimed video games released in 2002 include Eternal Darkness, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Metroid Prime, Metroid Fusion, and Super Mario Sunshine. Medal of Honor: Allied Assault was influential in the war-based first-person shooter genre with its portrayal of grand cinematic battles. 2002 was the final year of traditional survival horror before it was overtaken by action-based survival horror games in franchises such as Resident Evil.
The 2002 Winter Olympics were held in Salt Lake City, with Norway winning the most gold medals. Allegations that a figure skating judge was bribed to favor Russia in a figure skating event led to France and Russia both receiving gold medals in the event. In boxing, the Lennox Lewis vs. Mike Tyson was preceded by a scuffle during a press conference. Lennox Lewis went on to defeat Mike Tyson. In American football, the Tuck Rule Game between the New England Patriots and the Oakland Raiders became a national controversy after officials cited the obscure tuck rule to challenge a pass by Tom Brady.
International trade increased by 1.9% in 2002, correcting from a decrease in 2001.: 11 Most countries experienced only limited growth of output and employment in the year, and economic policy within the largest economies focused primarily on combating inflation.: 1 The gross world product increased by 1.7%, the second lowest growth in a decade after that of 2001.: 2 Most developed nations began 2002 in a budget surplus and ended in a deficit.: 8 Growth was focused in the first half of the year before tapering in the second half: 35 as stock markets entered into a downturn. The early 2000s recession began to stabilize in the final months of the year.: 1 Particularly affected was AOL-Time Warner, with its stocks losing 65% of their value by the fall.: 100
The price drops associated with the September 11 attacks persisted for several months into 2002.: 7 Latin American economies with large deficits were severely affected by lower prices, limiting export growth and preventing capital from entering the region, requiring further increases to the deficit.: 3 The region overall saw a negative GDP in 2002.: 4 Imports grew significantly in East Asia, with China competing with the United States as one of the largest export markets for other countries in the region.: 12 Imports in Latin America and Africa decreased compared to the previous year.: 13
Several companies in the United States underwent major scandals in 2002, including the WorldCom scandal that led to what was then the largest bankruptcy in American history, and accounting scandals emerging from the previous year's Enron scandal. Others included the ImClone stock trading case and fraud cases at Adelphia and Tyco. These scandals brought the arrests of several high profile executives.: 92–93
Environment and weather
2002 was the second hottest year on record, exceeded only by 1998. There was below average precipitation in 2002, with droughts in Australia, northern China, India, and western United States. Heavy rains in late 2002 caused significant flooding in eastern Asia and central Europe.: 77 A major oil spill took place off the coast of Galicia, Spain, when the MV Prestige ruptured and sank.: 87 The deadliest earthquake in 2002 was a 6.1-magnitude earthquake that struck northern Afghanistan on March 25, killing approximately 1,000 people.
The 2002 Atlantic hurricane season saw 12 named storms, a near-average number. Most of them were relatively minor, with only 4 four becoming hurricanes, of which two attained major hurricane status. The season's activity was limited to between July and October, a rare occurrence caused partly by El Niño conditions. The two major hurricanes, Hurricane Isidore and Hurricane Lili, both made landfall in Cuba and the United States, and combined were responsible for most of the season's damages and deaths. The 2002 Pacific typhoon season entailed a typical number of typhoons, but they were above average in intensity with 46% of typhoons reaching "intense strength". Typhoon Rusa was the deadliest typhoon in 2002, killing at least 113 people in South Korea.
Brazil, Lesotho, and Senegal established democracy in 2002 through the acceptance of fair elections, while Bahrain and Kenya moved toward democracy through the strengthening of political institutions. Democracy was disestablished in Ivory Coast and Togo following mass political violence and unfair elections, respectively.: 14 Afghanistan underwent significant liberalization under a transitional government, particularly in the capital of Kabul, though distant regions of the country remained oppressed by warlords.: 15 Civil rights also increased following the end of conflicts in Angola, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Macedonia.: 15–16 Turkey lessened its restrictions on the country's Kurdish population in 2002.: 16
U.S. President George W. Bush defined an "axis of evil" in an address in January, naming Iran, Iraq, and North Korea as foreign adversaries. Increasing tensions between Iraq and the United States became a major geopolitical issue in 2002 amid suspicions that Iraq had resumed its production of weapons of mass destruction. The United Nations delivered an ultimatum for Iraq to comply with weapons inspections in late 2002. This dispute, as well Hussein's involvement with terrorist groups amid the War on Terror, an invasion of Iraq by the United States was widely expected.: 66–71
The United Kingdom held a Golden Jubilee celebration for Queen Elizabeth II, marking fifty years as the monarch.: 78 The prosecution of former Yugoslavian Slobodan Milošević was delayed, and the genocide portion of the charges against him was dropped.: 86
In Latin America, the great depression in Argentina continued into 2002, causing significant political turmoil. Venezuela also underwent political crisis with an attempted coup against President Hugo Chávez in April and a national strike against his administration later in the year. Brazil elected the leftist president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in response to the economic instability.: 86
Science and technology
Major biological advances in 2002 include the discovery of small RNA, the genome sequence for indica rice, the genome sequences for malaria carriers anopheles gambiae and plasmodium falciparum, understanding of TRP channels in taste, understanding of the role of light in a circadian rhythm, the 3D imagery of cells, and the discovery of a potential human ancestor from millions of years before the present.
61 successful and four failed space launches took place in 2002. NASA launches included the Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager, the Aqua research satellite, and a Polar Operational Environmental Satellite. Study with the Cosmic Background Imager revealed a more detailed image of cosmic background radiation, and telescopes were able to counteract the scattering effect of Earth's atmosphere through adaptive optics.
- January – Operation Enduring Freedom – Philippines: The Philippines and the United States begin a joint operation to combat Jihadist groups in the Philippines.
- January 1
- January 6 – The Boston Globe publishes results of an investigation leading to the criminal prosecutions of five Roman Catholic priests and bringing widespread attention to the sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy.
- January 17 – Mount Nyiragongo erupts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, displacing an estimated 400,000 people.
- January 18 – The Sierra Leone Civil War comes to a conclusion with the defeat of the Revolutionary United Front by government forces.
- January 27 – 2002 Lagos armoury explosion: Explosives are set off accidentally in Lagos, Nigeria, causing widespread fires and a human stampede. Over one thousand people are killed, and thousands are left homeless.
- February 3 – 2002 Afyon earthquake: A 6.0 magnitude earthquake strikes Afyonkarahisar Province, Turkey, killing 41 people and damaging thousands of buildings.
- February 6 – Queen Elizabeth II of the Commonwealth realms celebrates her Golden Jubilee, marking 50 years since her accession to the thrones of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
- February 8–24 – The 2002 Winter Olympics are held in Salt Lake City, Utah.
- February 12 – The trial of Slobodan Milošević, the former president of Yugoslavia, begins at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague.
- February 14 – The State of Bahrain is declared a constitutional monarchy and becomes the Kingdom of Bahrain.
- February 19 – NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey space probe begins to map the surface of Mars using its thermal emission imaging system.
- February 20 – 2002 El Ayyat railway accident: A train fire in El Ayyat, Egypt kills at least 370 people.
- February 22
- UNITA guerrilla leader Jonas Savimbi is killed in clashes against government troops led by Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos in Moxico Province, Angola.
- The government of Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tigers agree to a ceasefire, temporarily ending the Sri Lankan Civil War. It would last until the resumption of hostilities in 2008.
- February 27 – A mob attacks a train near Godhra, India, killing approximately 59 people. The state of Gujarat breaks out into riots, including the Gulbarg Society massacre on February 28 that kills approximately 69 people.
- March – 2002–2003 conflict in the Pool Department: The Ninja militia attacks government forces in the Republic of the Congo, triggering a long-term conflict.
- March 1 – The Envisat environmental satellite is launched, with its purpose being the recording of information on environmental change.
- March 2 – Switzerland votes in favor of a referendum to join the United Nations, challenging a long-held tradition of neutrality and isolationism.
- March 2–10 – Afghan and coalition troops carry out Operation Anaconda in the Shah-i-Kot Valley, the largest combat operation against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban to that point.
- March 11 – A fire at a girls' school in Mecca, Saudi Arabia kills 15 students. The deaths are attributed to Islamic religious police that prevented the girls from leaving because their dress did not comply with Islamic standards of modesty.
- March 25 – 2002 Hindu Kush earthquakes: A 6.1 magnitude earthquake strikes Nahrin, Afghanistan, killing 800 people and leaving 10,000 homeless.
- March 27 – A Palestinian suicide bomber kills 30 people and injures 140 others at a hotel in Netanya, Israel.
- March 29 – In response to increasing terrorist attacks by Palestinians, Israeli initiates Operation Defensive Shield, a large-scale counter-terrorism operation in the West Bank.
- April 1
- April 2 – Siege of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem: Israeli forces besiege the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem when militants take shelter there. The siege will last for 38 days.
- April 3–8 – Battle of Nablus: Israeli forces occupy Nablus, Palestine.
- April 4 – A peace agreement is made to end the Angolan Civil War.
- April 11
- Llaguno Overpass events: a shootout takes place between the Caracas Metropolitan Police and pro-government Bolivarian Circles in central Caracas, Venezuela, near the presidential Miraflores Palace, causing 19 deaths and injuring 127 people. The military high command refuse President Hugo Chávez's order to implement the Plan Ávila as a response to the protests and demands his resignation. President Chávez is subsequently arrested by the military. Chávez's request for asylum in Cuba is denied, and he is ordered to be tried in a Venezuelan court.
- Ghriba synagogue bombing: 21 people are killed in a synagogue bombing in Djerba, Tunisia.
- April 14 – President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela is restored to power following an attempted coup.
- April 15 – Air China Flight 129 crashes into a hillside during heavy rain and fog near Busan, South Korea, killing 129 people.
- April 25 – South African Mark Shuttleworth blasts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on the Soyuz TM-34, becoming the first African space tourist.
- May 2 – Bojayá massacre: A church is struck with a cylinder bomb during a conflict between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, killing an estimated 119 people.
- May 9 – 2002 Kaspiysk bombing: Over 40 people are killed when insurgents bomb a military parade in Kaspiysk, Russia.
- May 12 – Buran, the Russian equivalent to the Space Shuttle, is destroyed in a storm at Baikonur.
- May 14 – Militants attack a bus and an Indian army camp in Kaluchak, Jammu and Kashmir, killing at least 33 people.
- May 20 – East Timor regains its independence after 2+1⁄2 years of United Nations administration and 26 years of occupation by Indonesia since 1975.
- May 24 – In Moscow, United States President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin sign the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty to replace the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty of 1972 and the START II Treaty of 1993.
- May 25 – China Airlines Flight 611 breaks up and crashes in the Taiwan Strait, killing all 225 passengers and crew on board.
- May 31–June 30 – The 2002 FIFA World Cup takes place in South Korea and Japan; which is ultimately won by Brazil.
- June 4
- June 6 – An object with an estimated diameter of 10 meters enters the Earth's atmosphere over the Mediterranean and detonates in mid-air.
- June 10
- Solar eclipse of June 10, 2002: A large annular solar eclipse covers over 99% of the Sun, creating a dramatic spectacle for observers in a narrow path at most 13 km wide; it lasts just 23 seconds at the point of maximum eclipse. It is seen from Australasia, across the Pacific and the Mexico coast, and is the 35th solar eclipse of Solar Saros 137.
- British scientist Kevin Warwick carries out first direct electronic communication experiment between the nervous systems of two humans.
- June 13 – Afghanistan changes its official longform name to the Transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan.
- June 22 – 2002 Bou'in-Zahra earthquake: A 6.3 magnitude earthquake strikes north-western Iran, killing approximately 440 people.
- June 24 – A passenger train collides with a freight train in Dodoma Region, Tanzania, killing 281 people, making it the worst rail accident in African history.
- June 29 – Second Battle of Yeonpyeong: During the 2002 FIFA World Cup in South Korea and Japan, two North Korean patrol boats cross a contested border in between the two Koreas and attack two South Korean Chamsuri-class patrol boats.
- June 30 – 2002 FIFA World Cup: Brazil beats Germany 2–0 in the 2002 FIFA World Cup Final with Ronaldo scoring the two goals; Brazil's captain Cafu, who becomes the first player to appear in three successive World Cup finals, accepts the trophy on behalf of the team.
- July 1
- July 9 – The Organisation of African Unity is disbanded and replaced by the African Union.
- July 11
- July 13 – Militants attack in Qasim Nagar, Jammu and Kashmir, killing 29 people.
- July 14 – The only captive baiji dolphin dies as the species approaches extinction.
- July 27 – Sknyliv air show disaster: 77 people are killed and 543 injured when a Ukrainian Air Force Su-27 fighter jet crashes into spectators during an aerobatics presentation at Sknyliv airfield near Lviv, Ukraine. It is the deadliest air show accident in history.
- August 19 – 2002 Khankala Mi-26 crash: Chechen separatists shoot down a Russian Mil Mi-26, killing 127 soldiers. It was the worst aviation disaster in the history of the Russian military.
- August 26 – Earth Summit 2002 begins in Johannesburg, South Africa, aimed at discussing sustainable development by the United Nations.
- August 22–September 4 – Typhoon Rusa, the most powerful typhoon to hit South Korea in 43 years, made landfall, killing at least 236 people.
- September 10 – Switzerland joins the United Nations as the 190th member state after rejecting a place in 1986.
- September 19 – General Robert Guéï leads an army mutiny in an attempt to overthrow Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo, resulting in civil war.
- September 20 – The Kolka–Karmadon rock ice slide in Northern Ossetia, Russia kills at least 125 people.
- September 24 – Akshardham Temple attack: Gunmen attack a temple in Gandhinagar, India, killing 30 people.
- September 25 – The Vitim event, a possible bolide impact, occurs in Irkutsk Oblast, Russia.
- September 26 – The Senegalese passenger ferry MV Le Joola capsizes in a storm off the coast of the Gambia, killing 1,863 people.
- September 27 – East Timor is admitted to the United Nations as the 191st member state; it also changes its official longform name from "Democratic Republic of East Timor" to "Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste".
- October – Operation Enduring Freedom – Horn of Africa: The United States deploys troops to the Horn of Africa to combat Islamist groups and pirates.
- October 11 – The United States Congress approves military action in Iraq should it fail to comply with United Nations requirements for weapon of mass destruction.
- October 12 – Jemaah Islamiyah militants detonate multiple bombs in two nightclubs in Kuta, Indonesia, killing 202 people and injuring over 300 in the worst terrorist act in Indonesia's history.
- October 23–25 – Chechen rebels take control of the Nord-Ost theatre in Moscow and hold the audience hostage. At least 170 people are killed following a Russian attempt to subdue the militants.
- October 24 – 2002 Bahraini general election: Bahrain holds its first Parliamentary elections since 1973.
- October 29 – Ho Chi Minh City ITC fire: A fire at the International Trade Centre in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam kills at least 54 people.
- November 7 – A sovereignty referendum is held in Gibraltar. The people reject Spanish sovereignty.
- November 8 – The United Nations Security Council unanimously adopts Resolution 1441, forcing Iraq to either disarm or face "serious consequences". Iraq agrees to the terms of the resolution on November 13.
- November 13 – Prestige oil spill: Greek oil tanker MV Prestige begins spilling oil coast of Galicia. It will continue until November 19, spilling 60,000 tonnes of oil in the worst environmental disaster in the history of the Iberian Peninsula.
- November 16 – 2002–2004 SARS outbreak: The first case of the Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic, a zoonosis caused by a coronavirus, is recorded in Guangdong province of south China.
- November 20 – Miss World riots: Muslims in Nigeria riot against the Miss World pageant, killing hundreds.
- November 25 – U.S. President George W. Bush signs the Homeland Security Act into law, establishing the Department of Homeland Security, in the largest U.S. government reorganization since the creation of the Department of Defense in 1947. Following a several month-long transitional period, it commences operations the following year.
- November 28 – 2002 Mombasa attacks: Suicide bombers blow up an Israeli-owned hotel in Mombasa, Kenya, but their colleagues fail in their attempt to bring down an Arkia Israel Airlines charter flight with surface-to-air-missiles.
- December 23 – A U.S. MQ-1 Predator is shot down by an Iraqi MiG-25 in the first combat engagement between a drone and conventional aircraft.
- December 27
- 2002 Grozny truck bombing: Chechen suicide bombers attack the government headquarters in Grozny, Russia, killing over 70 people.
- 2002 Kenyan general election: Kenya holds its first free elections, ousting the dominant Kenya African National Union Party following a victory of the National Rainbow Coalition.
Births and deaths
- Chemistry – John B. Fenn and Koichi Tanaka, Kurt Wüthrich
- Economics – Daniel Kahneman and Vernon L. Smith
- Literature – Imre Kertész
- Peace – Jimmy Carter
- Physics – Raymond Davis Jr. and Masatoshi Koshiba, Riccardo Giacconi
- Physiology or Medicine – Sydney Brenner, H. Robert Horvitz, and John E. Sulston
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