The 2020s began with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which caused a global economic recession as well as continuing financial inflation concerns and a global supply chain crisis. International demonstrations occurred in the early 2020s, including a continuation of those in Hong Kong that started in the late 2010s against extradition legislation, protests against certain local, state and national responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, and others around the world against racism and police brutality. The private space race also greatly accelerated in the early 2020s, as did military conflicts such as the Azerbaijan-Armenian War, the Tigray War, the growth of Israeli settlements which have been considered a violation of international law and a part of the wider quest for Palestinian nationalism, the Fall of Kabul (which marked the end of the 20-year War in Afghanistan) and the Russian invasion of Ukraine (the largest military offensive since World War II having resulted in an immense refugee crisis). With many extreme weather events worsening in the early 2020s, several world leaders have called it the "decisive decade" for climate action as ecological crises continue to escalate. 5G networks also launched around the globe at the start of the decade, and became prevalent in smartphones.
Politics and conflicts
Conflicts and peace
The prominent wars of the decade include:
|Name||Start date||End date||Description|
|Israeli–Palestinian conflict||1948||Ongoing||The conflict between Jewish and Arab communities in Israel and the West Bank has been ongoing since 1948. After Israel took control of the West Bank, it began making settlements there, which led to heightened clashes to this day.|
|Kurdish-Turkish conflict||27 November 1978||Ongoing||Numerous Kurdish groups, including the Kurdistan Workers' Party (the PKK) have fought for an independent Kurdistan incorporating parts of Turkey. In 2016, Turkey occupied parts of Northern Syria and in 2019, invaded Kurdish-held areas of Northern Syria. In 2020, Turkey launched an insurgency in Iraqi Kurdistan.|
|Nagorno-Karabakh conflict||February 1988||Ongoing||The region of Karabakh has been disputed over the Republic of Artsakh, which is supported by the Armenian government. A ceasefire was held in 1994. In July 2020, a series of border skirmishes left at least 15 dead. From 27 September until 10 November 2020, a second war broke out in the region.|
|War on terror||11 September 2001
||Motivated by the September 11 attacks, the United States and other governments started a large scale effort to eliminate terrorism. With support from NATO, the United States invaded Taliban-controlled Afghanistan and overthrew the government, however remained in the country to stabilise the situation. Two years later, on the pretext that the government of Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, the United States and a coalition of partners invaded Iraq and overthrew Hussein's regime, after which the U.S. occupied the country, officially leaving in 2011. However, insurgencies remained active in both countries, long after the invasions.|
|Russo-Ukrainian War||20 February 2014
||Hostilities between the Ukrainian government and Russia-backed separatist forces in Eastern Ukraine have been ongoing since the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014. In 2021 and early 2022, tensions escalated between the two countries due to a build up of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border. Russia launched a full invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.|
|Military intervention against ISIL||13 June 2014||Ongoing||In late-2013, a terrorist organisation called the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant began making rapid advances and territorial gains in Iraq and Syria. It captured Mosul in June and made Raqqa its capital. Various international coalitions were formed to help fight the militants. By December 2017, ISIL had lost much of its former territory.|
|Saudi Arabian–led intervention in Yemen||26 March 2015||Ongoing||During the Yemeni Civil War, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and other countries part of a coalition invaded parts of Yemen in order to depose the Houthi-controlled government.|
|Turkish occupation of northern Syria||24 August 2016||Ongoing||During the Syrian Civil War, Turkey invaded parts of northern Syria in order to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Syrian Democratic Forces, and the PKK.|
|Name||Start date||End date||Description|
|War in Darfur||26 February 2003||Ongoing||A peace agreement was signed on 31 August 2020 between the Sudanese authorities and several rebel factions to end armed hostilities.|
|Mexican drug war||11 December 2006||Ongoing||Following a rise in criminal violence as a result of drug trafficking in the country, Mexican President Felipe Calderón declared a war on drugs in December 2006. Since the start of the war, the death toll from drug violence had sharply increased. Arrests of key cartel leaders led to increasing violence as cartels fought for control of trafficking routes into the United States.|
|War in Somalia||31 January 2009||Ongoing||In 2009, Al-Shabaab, an Islamist militant group, began waging an insurgency against the newly formed Transitional Federal Government. In 2011, the federal government captured Mogadishu and subsequently retook several towns across the country. Since then, the government has attempted to clean out the remaining Al-Shabaab strongholds with help from AMISOM soldiers.|
|Mali War||16 January 2012||Ongoing||In January 2012, a rebellion by Tuaregs in Northern Mali began. After Malian president Amadou Toumani Touré was ousted in a coup d'état, Tuaregs captured Northern Mali, and declared it to be the independent state of Azawad. However, shortly afterward, various Islamist groups took over Northern Mali from the Tuaregs and imposed sharia law on the region.|
|South Sudanese Civil War||15 December 2013||22 February 2020||On 22 February 2020, rivals Kiir and Machar struck a unity deal and formed a coalition government, after an estimated 400,000 deaths and more than 4 million people displaced by the war.|
|Second Libyan Civil War||16 May 2014||23 October 2020||Following the factional violence that engulfed Libya after the fall of Muammar al-Gaddafi, a second civil war broke out among rival factions seeking control of the territory and oil of Libya. The conflict at the beginning was mostly between the House of Representatives (HoR) government that was controversially elected in 2014, also known as the "Tobruk government"; and the rival General National Congress (GNC) government, also called the "National Salvation Government", based in the capital Tripoli, established after Operation Odyssey Dawn and the failed military coup.|
|Yemeni Civil War||19 March 2015||Ongoing||Preceded by a decade-long Houthi insurgency, the Yemeni Civil War began between two factions: the then-incumbent Yemeni government, led by Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, and the Houthi militia, along with their supporters and allies. Both claim to constitute the Yemeni government.|
|Philippine drug war||30 June 2016||Ongoing||Following a rise in criminal violence as a result of drug trafficking in the country, the Philippines has been engaged in a drug war since Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte was inaugurated on 30 June 2016. It had caused more than 5,000 deaths and over 150,000 arrests by the beginning of the decade.|
|Iraqi insurgency||9 December 2017||Ongoing||A part of the larger Iraqi conflict that has been waged since 2003, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has been engaged in an insurgency against the Iraqi government and CJTF-OIR since the loss of territorial control in the Iraqi Civil War in 2017.|
Sitting leaders that died in office:
In 2022: Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Former world leaders who died:
In 2020: Hosni Mubarak, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, John Turner, Daniel arap Moi, Pranab Mukherjee, Amadou Toumani Touré, Jerry Rawlings, Mamadou Tandja, Tabaré Vázquez, Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, Pierre Buyoya, John Cremona, Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi, Kuniwo Nakamura, Litokwa Tomeing, Moussa Traoré, Pascal Lissouba, Branko Kostić, Lee Teng-hui, Benjamin Mkapa, Miloš Jakeš, Rafael Leonardo Callejas Romero, Abdul Halim Khaddam, Joachim Yhombi-Opango, Manuel Serifo Nhamadjo, Mike Moore, and Janez Stanovnik.
In 2021: Gustavo Noboa, Ali Mahdi Muhammad, Didier Ratsiraka, Bonfoh Abass, Mamnoon Hussain, Arturo Armando Molina, Hissène Habré, Jorge Sampaio, Abdelkader Bensalah, Kenneth Kaunda, Anerood Jugnauth, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Enrique Bolaños, Roh Tae-woo, Chun Doo-hwan, Benigno Aquino III, Carlos Menem, F. W. de Klerk, James Fitz-Allen Mitchell, Norodom Ranariddh, Kinza Clodumar, and Karolos Papoulias.
Prominent political events
|2020 Malian coup d'état||18 August 2020||Mali|
|Myanmar coup d'état||1 February 2021||Myanmar|
|Armenian coup d'état attempt||25 February 2021||Armenia|
|Nigerien coup d'état attempt||31 March 2021||Niger|
|2021 Malian coup d'état||24 May 2021||Mali|
|Guinean coup d'état||5 September 2021||Guinea|
|Sudanese coup d'état||25 October 2021||Sudan|
|Burkina Faso coup d'état||23 January 2022||Burkina Faso|
|First impeachment of Donald Trump||24 September 2019 – 5 February 2020||Under Article I, Section 3, Clause 6, of the U.S. Constitution, President Donald Trump was impeached for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress on 18 December 2019 by the United States House of Representatives. The United States Senate trial began on 16 January 2020 and ended on 5 February 2020, concluding with an acquittal on both charges.|||
|2020 Salvadoran political crisis||9 February 2020||During a political crisis, Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele sent forty soldiers of the Salvadoran Army into the Legislative Assembly building in an effort to coerce politicians to approve a loan request of $109 million from the United States for Bukele's security plan for the country.
The event has been condemned by foreign governments, the political opposition, and human rights organizations and is considered the first major political crisis in the country since the conclusion of the Salvadoran Civil War in 1992 and has been referred to as a coup attempt.
|George Floyd protests||26 May 2020 – 25 June 2021||Protests and riots due to the murder of George Floyd spread throughout the United States and lasted many months. The stated goal was to end systemic racism and police brutality. These protests and riots caused more than $1 billion in damage.|||
|2020 United States presidential election and subsequent events||3 November 2020 – 13 February 2021||The 59th United States presidential election was held on 3 November 2020. Democrat and former Vice-President Joe Biden defeated Republican and then-incumbent President Donald Trump, with the Electoral College formally declaring Biden the winner on 14 December 2020. Trump refused to concede, and filed lawsuits challenging the results in several states, though most of the legal challenges were either dismissed or dropped, with judges citing lack of evidence to suggest voter fraud occurred. Trump had also unsuccessfully attempted to undo the election results by forcing government officials to stop Pennsylvania, Nevada, Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Georgia from certifying Biden as the winner, and urging his supporters to "walk" to the United States capitol to demand Trump be declared the winner of the election. This was one of the reasons for the decision of a group of his supporters to gather in Washington, D.C on 6 January 2021 and break into the Capitol building during a Joint session of Congress. The attack against the United States Capitol disrupted Congress while certifying the election, forcing both chambers to undergo lockdown lasting for four hours. On the same day, Trump coerced then-incumbent Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the election results to which Pence refused. During the attack, Trump tweeted directly to his supporters falsely claiming Congress was attempting to assist in stealing the election. Twitter responded by suspending Trump's account permanently following Trump's tweet. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat all also suspended Trump from using their platforms worrying his posts may incite additional violence to the Capitol attacks. In relation to this, Trump was impeached for the second time by the House of Representatives and became the first U.S. President to be impeached twice. Meanwhile, Joe Biden was sworn in as the United States President on 20 January 2021. The impeachment trial ended on 13 February 2021, one month after its start. Trump was found not guilty of inciting the Storming of the Capitol.|||
|8th Congress of the Communist Party||16–19 April 2021||At the 8th Congress of the Communist Party, Raúl Castro officially resigned as the First Secretary, the most powerful position in Cuba. Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel is officially named First Secretary of the Communist Party following the resignation of Raúl Castro. He is the first person not of the Castro family to hold the top position since the 1959 Cuban revolution.|||
|Canada convoy protest||22 January 2022 – 23 February 2022||A series of protests and blockades in Canada against COVID-19 mandates and restrictions, called the Freedom Convoy.|||
|2019–2021 Persian Gulf crisis||5 May 2019||The Persian Gulf region saw tensions between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran escalate in mid-2019. The crisis saw oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz sabotaged and seized, drone shootdowns, and efforts by the U.S. and United Kingdom to pursue military patrols to protect shipping in the gulf, known as the International Maritime Security Construct. On 31 December 2019 tensions reached a breaking point as Iranian-backed Shiite militia stormed into the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, leading to the targeted killing of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in a U.S. drone strike on 3 January 2020.|||
|2020–2021 China–India skirmishes||5 May 2020||Since 5 May 2020, Chinese and Indian troops have engaged in aggressive melee, face-offs, and skirmishes at locations along the Sino-Indian border, including near the disputed Pangong Lake in Ladakh and the Tibet Autonomous Region, and near the border between Sikkim and the Tibet Autonomous Region. Additional clashes also took place at locations in eastern Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).|||
|2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war||27 September 2020||Starting on 27 September fierce clashes erupted along the line of contact between the armed forces of Azerbaijan and Joint Artsakh and Armenian forces. Both sides neglected ceasefire demands from France, Russia and the US and continued fighting with claims from both sides that they are prepared to fight a long war to grapple control over the long contested Nagorno-Karabakh region. On 9 November a Russian-brokered peace treaty was signed by both sides.|||
|2021 Israel–Palestine crisis||6–21 May 2021||Clashes between Israelis and Palestinians in Jerusalem lead to eleven days of fighting between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.|||
|2021 Taliban offensive||1 May 2021 – 15 August 2021||Beginning on 1 May 2021, the Taliban and allied militant groups made a final offensive against the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and its allies, coinciding with the withdrawal of most United States and allied troops from Afghanistan. It resulted in the de facto takeover of the country and the reinstatement of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, ending the twenty-year-long War in Afghanistan on 15 August 2021.|
|2022 Israeli-Palestinian clashes||15 April 2022|
2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine
|March 2021 – February 2022
24 February 2022 – ongoing
|Russia assembled troops along their border with Ukraine throughout late 2021 to early 2022. It escalated into a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.|
|Brexit||31 January 2020||The United Kingdom and Gibraltar formally withdrew from the European Union at 11PM (GMT).|||
|Eighth NATO membership||27 March 2020||North Macedonia subsequently signed the instrument of accession and became a member state of NATO.|
|Platinum Jubilee of Elizabeth II||6 February 2022||Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her Platinum Jubilee, which marked the 70th anniversary of her accession.|||
Assassinations and attempts
Prominent assassinations, targeted killings, and assassination attempts include:
|3 January 2020||Qasem Soleimani, Iranian general, and leader in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard, was killed in a United States airstrike near Baghdad International Airport.|
|27 November 2020||Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a senior official in the nuclear program in Iran, was killed by explosive trucks that ambushed him near Tehran.|
|22 February 2021||Luca Attanasio, Italian ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, was killed by an armed commando.|
|6 May 2021||Attempted assassination of Mohamed Nasheed|
|1 June 2021||Attempted assassination of Katumba Wamala|
|7 July 2021||Assassination of Jovenel Moïse, President of Haiti, by gunmen at his private residence.|
|Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752||8 January 2020||Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 was shot down shortly after take-off from Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport, Tehran, by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, who claimed to have mistaken it for a cruise missile. All 176 people on board were killed.|
|Pakistan International Airlines Flight 8303||22 May 2020||Pakistan International Airlines Flight 8303 crashed into a neighborhood in Karachi while attempting to land, killing 97 of the 99 people on board plus 1 person on the ground.|
|Sriwijaya Air Flight 182||9 January 2021||Sriwijaya Air Flight 182 crashed into the Java Sea shortly after take-off from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, Jakarta, killing all 62 people on board.|
|China Eastern Airlines Flight 5735||21 March 2022||China Eastern Airlines Flight 5735 crashed into the ground near Wuzhou mid-flight, killing all 132 people on board.|
|2020 Beirut explosion||4 August 2020||Massive explosion occurred in the port of Beirut. Reportedly, the blast was so loud that it was even claimed to be heard in Cyprus, which is 240 km from the location of the explosion. The windows of major buildings in a 6-mile radius were shattered and roads were filled with debris. According to initial findings, it was estimated that a warehouse with 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate exploded, which was confiscated by the Lebanese government from the abandoned ship MV Rhosus and then stored in the port without proper safety measures for six years. 220 deaths were confirmed, more than 110 people were missing and at least 7,000 were reported injured. Beirut governor Marwan Abboud estimated that up to 300,000 people were left homeless by the explosions and there was a US$10–15 billion in property damage.|
|Surfside condominium collapse||24 June 2021||A 12-story beachfront condominium in the Miami suburb of Surfside, Florida, partially collapsed. As of 22 July 2021, a total of 98 people are confirmed to have died, while 11 were injured. One person was rescued from the rubble and about 35 people were rescued on 24 June from the uncollapsed portion of the building, which was demolished 11 days later as a safety precaution due to the approach of Hurricane Elsa. On 7 July, authorities announced that the objective of the search was transitioning from rescue to recovery and that the missing victims are presumed dead.|
Earthquakes and tsunamis
Note: This table is a chronological list of earthquakes reported with 7.5Mw or greater or that have reported at least 100 fatalities.
|2020 Caribbean earthquake||28 January 2020||Caribbean Sea||A 7.7Mw struck in the Caribbean Sea between Jamaica and Cuba at 14:10 local time on 28 January 2020. The earthquake was also felt in the United States, Mexico, Honduras, Dominican Republic, and the Cayman Islands. No damages were reported. A small (12.2 cm) tsunami was reported in the Cayman Islands.|
|2020 Aegean Sea earthquake||30 October 2020||A 7.0 Mw earthquake occurred about 14 km (8.7 mi) northeast of the Greek island of Samos, causing 119 deaths.|
|2021 West Sulawesi earthquake||15 January 2021||A 6.2 Mw earthquake struck the Indonesian province of West Sulawesi, killing a minimum of 105 people.|
|2021 Haiti earthquake||14 August 2021||A 7.2 Mw earthquake struck Haiti on 14 August 2021, resulting in at least 2,207 deaths.|
|Cyclone Amphan||16–21 May 2020||118 people were killed and millions made homeless in the strongest storm in two decades. Damage was estimated at US$13.2 billion.|
|Hurricane Laura||20–29 August 2020||Lesser Antilles, Greater Antilles, Gulf Coast of the United States, Midwestern United States||77 people were killed and thousands made homeless during one of the strongest storms to make landfall in the United States. Damages estimated at US$19.1 billion.|
|Typhoon Vamco (Ulysses)||8–15 November 2020||102 people were killed, and the typhoon contributed to the 2020 Central Vietnam Floods. Damages totaled up to US$440.8 million.|
|Hurricane Eta and Hurricane Iota||31 October–18 November 2020||A total of 278+ people were killed during both Hurricane Eta and Hurricane Iota in Nicaragua and Honduras. Damages totaled up to US$9.3 billion from both hurricanes.|
|Cyclone Tauktae||14-19 May 2021||This category-4 cyclone hit the western coast of India. 174 total fatalities recorded (all countries). Damages totaled up to US$2.12 billion. Other countries affected were Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Maldives.|
|Hurricane Ida||26 August–4 September 2021||95 people were killed in the United States. Damages totaled up to US$50 billion.|
|Typhoon Rai (Odette)||12–22 December 2021||Several southern provinces in the Philippines were flooded and ravaged by the typhoon. 392 people have died, with at least 515 people injured. Damages amount up to US$720 million.|
|2021 South Moravia tornado||24 June 2021||A small but significant tornado outbreak swept across the Czech Republic on June 24, resulting in the strongest ever documented tornado in modern Czech history and the deadliest European tornado since 2001.|
|Tornado outbreak of December 10–11, 2021||10 December 2021 – 11 December 2021||Tornado activity swept the southern and midwestern United States in the evening of December 10 through the following morning. Arkansas, Missouri, and Kentucky suffered extensive damage.|
Floods, avalanches, and mudslides
Note: This section reports only floods with 200 or more deaths and avalanches and landslides involving 30 or more deaths.
|2020 Van avalanches||4–5 February 2020||Two avalanches in Turkey's eastern Van Province resulted in 41 deaths and 84 injuries.|
|2021 European floods||12–25 July 2021|
|2021 Henan floods||17–31 July 2021||Following the highest-ever recorded rainfall in Zhengzhou, Henan Province in China, between 300 and 400 deaths along with over 800,000 people having to evacuate.|
|2021 Maharashtra floods||22 July 2021 – August 2021||Over 250 deaths were reported in the Indian state of Maharashtra after heavy rainfall in the area.|
|2022 KwaZulu-Natal floods||8 April 2022 – Ongoing||Flooding in the province of KwaZuku-Natal in South Africa leads to over 400 deaths.|
|2020–2021 Taal Volcano eruptions||12 January 2020 – 9 July 2021||On 12 January the Taal Volcano in the Philippines erupted at VEI 4 intensity, bringing intense ashfall to the surrounding areas and killing at least 3 people.|
|2021 Cumbre Vieja volcanic eruption||19 September 2021 – 13 December 2021||On 19 September the Cumbre Vieja volcano located in the La Palma island erupted.|
|2021 Semeru eruption||4 December 2021||The collapse of an unstable lava dome on the summit of Semeru due to heavy rainfall triggered large pyroclastic flows, killing 48, injuring over 100 and leaving 23 missing.|
|2022 Hunga Tonga–Hunga Ha'apai eruption and tsunami||15 January 2022||The Hunga Tonga–Hunga Ha'apai volcano in the South Pacific erupted violently on January 15, causing tsunamis to hit Hawaii, Japan and Tonga's largest island, Tongatapu, and sent waves flooding into Nukuʻalofa.|
Droughts, heat waves, and wildfires
|2018–2021 Southern African drought||October 2018 – Ongoing||An ongoing period of drought began in the country of South Africa in late October 2018 and continued into early 2021, negatively affecting food security in the region.|
|2019–20 Australian bushfire season||June 2019 – May 2020||Unusually intense bushfires in Australia continued into 2020, having started in September 2019.|
|2020 Western U.S. Wildfires||March 2020 – December 2020||Record-breaking wildfires began in several Western American states.|
|2020–21 Argentine wildfires||July 2020 – Ongoing||Sudden wildfires started in Córdoba and extended into several Northern provinces.|
|2021 Russia heatwave||May 2021 – June 2021||Parts of Russia and eastern Europe were hit by a record-breaking heat wave in May and June 2021, with temperatures in the Arctic Circle above 30 °C and the highest temperatures recorded in Moscow and St. Petersburg.|
|2021 Western North America heat wave||June 2021 – July 2021||Extreme temperatures caused by a prolonged heat dome over western Canada and the western United States kill over 613 people including over 480 people in British Columbia alone. The village of Lytton, British Columbia, which recorded the highest temperatures in Canada, is destroyed by a large wildfire as over 200 other ones devastate wide areas of the province. Wildfires in parts of the western coastal states of the US such as Washington, Oregon and California are also greatly worsened by the heatwave.|
|2021 Turkey wildfires||July 2021 – August 2021||Over a hundred wildfires began in the Mediterranean Region of the forest in Turkey, the worst in the country for at least a decade. The wildfires started in Manavgat, Antalya on 28 July 2021, with the temperature around 37 °C (99 °F).|
|2020–22 North American drought||August 2020 – Ongoing||Drought developed in the Western, Midwestern and Northeastern United States in the summer of 2020. Over the course of 2021, conditions improved in the Northeast but worsened in the Western US. As of June 2021, 97% of the region was facing abnormally dry conditions. By August 2021, parts of the upper Midwestern US were experiencing some of the worst drought spells since the 1980s. Drought also affected a wide area of Mexico as of 2021, as well as the prairies of Canada.|
Other natural events
- The Brexit withdrawal agreement went into effect at the end of January 2020 with the UK completing its economic withdrawal from the EU at the end of that year.
- The United States, Mexico, and Canada signed the USMCA agreement, which came into effect on 1 July 2020.
- The African Continental Free Trade Area, encompassing 54 of the African Union states comes into effect, the largest such area in the world.
- Ever Given, a large container ship, runs aground in the Suez Canal for a week causing massive disruption of global trade.
- El Salvador became the first country to accept Bitcoin as legal tender, after the Legislative Assembly votes 62–84 to pass a bill submitted by President Nayib Bukele classifying the cryptocurrency as such.
- The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, the largest free trade area in the world, comes into effect for Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Japan, Laos, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
The World Trade Organization reported that trade growth had stagnated and that trade restrictions were increasing as the decade began. The sectors most affected by import restrictions were mineral and fuel oils (17.7%), machinery and mechanical appliances (13%), electrical machinery and parts (11.7%), and precious metals (6%). Regional trade agreements were found to be increasing.
|2020 stock market crash||20 February 2020 – 7 April 2020||Global|
Cybersecurity and hacking
|2020 Twitter account hijacking||15 July 2020||Multiple high-profile Twitter accounts, each with millions of followers, were compromised in a cyberattack to promote a bitcoin scam.|
|Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack||6 May 2021||Colonial Pipeline in Texas suffers debilitating ransomware cyberattack by Russian online group DarkSide causing substantial shortages in the southeastern USA.|
|Log4Shell||24 November 2021||Log4Shell affected hundreds of millions of devices through Java's open source Log4j making it the most serious security breach ever.|
|Event||Date||Infections and deaths||Description|
|COVID-19 pandemic||2019 – present||521.4 million+ confirmed cases and 6.2 million+ deaths with more than 240 countries and territories reported by 16 May 2022.|
|HIV/AIDS||1981 – present||37.9 million people living with HIV (end of 2018), 24.5 million people accessing antiretroviral therapy (end of June 2019), 32.0 million deaths from AIDS-related illnesses since the start of the epidemic (end 2018).|
Science and technology
- Space company SpaceX sent two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station on 30 May 2020, marking the first time a private company completed a crewed orbital spaceflight mission.
- NASA launched the Perseverance rover and Ingenuity helicopter drone on 30 July 2020 as part of their Mars 2020 mission to search for signs of ancient life on Mars. On 19 April 2021, the Ingenuity helicopter drone performed the first powered controlled flight by an aircraft on a planet other than Earth.
- The Royal Astronomical Society announced the detection of phosphine gas in Venus' atmosphere on 14 September 2020, which is known to be a strong predictor for the presence of microbial life.
- China sends Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo to assemble and then occupy and work aboard the Tiangong Space Station.
- On 11 July 2021, Virgin Galactic became the first spaceflight company to independently launch a paying civilian into outer space using the 50-mile high definition of outer space, having flown Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson above the 50 mile mark, enabling him and the rest of the crew to experience approximately 3 minutes of weightlessness above Earth’s atmosphere.
- In July 2021, Blue Origin became the first spaceflight company to launch a fully automated spacecraft with civilian passengers into space, carrying its founder Jeff Bezos and three others. Two of the flight's crew members, Dutch student Oliver Daemen (age 18) and American aviator Wally Funk (age 82), became both the youngest and oldest people respectively to go to space (Funk's record was beaten nearly 3 month's later when actor William Shatner entered space onboard Blue Origin NS-18, at the age of 90).
- The James Webb Space Telescope was launched on December 25, 2021, 12:20 UTC using an Ariane 5 launch vehicle from Kourou, French Guiana.
- DeepMind solves the protein folding problem to 90 percent accuracy, a 50-year-old grand challenge, at CASP14 in 2020.
Communications and electronics
- 5G became increasingly widespread by 2020.
- By 2020, 3D printing had reached decent quality and affordable pricing which allowed many people to own 3D printers.
Software and electronic platforms
- Support for Adobe Flash Player ended on 31 December 2020.
- Windows 11 is released on 5 October 2021, succeeding Windows 10.
- The BBC reports that for the "first time someone who has had a complete cut to their spinal cord has been able to walk freely... because of an electrical implant that has been surgically attached to his spine".
Social effects of the COVID-19 pandemic
Medical experts advised, and local authorities often mandated stay-at-home orders to prevent gatherings of any size. Such gatherings could be replaced by teleconferencing, or in some cases with unconventional attempts to maintain social distancing with activities such as a balcony sing-along for a concert, or a "birthday parade" for a birthday party. Replacements for gatherings were seen as significant to mental health during the crisis. Social isolation among alcohol users also adopted a trend towards Kalsarikänni or "pantsdrunking", a Finnish antisocial drinking culture.
Low-income individuals were more likely to contract the coronavirus and to die from it. In both New York City and Barcelona, low-income neighborhoods were disproportionately hit by coronavirus cases. Hypotheses for why this was the case included that poorer families were more likely to live in crowded housing and work in low-skill jobs, such as supermarkets and elder care, which were deemed essential during the crisis. In the United States, millions of low-income people may lack access to health care due to being uninsured or underinsured. Millions of Americans lost their health insurance after losing their jobs. Many low-income workers in service jobs became unemployed.
The coronavirus pandemic was followed by a concern for a potential spike in suicides, exacerbated by social isolation due to quarantine and social-distancing guidelines, fear, and unemployment and financial factors. Many countries reported an increase in domestic violence and intimate partner violence attributed to lockdowns amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Financial insecurity, stress, and uncertainty led to increased aggression at home, with abusers able to control large amounts of their victims' daily life. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres called for a domestic violence "ceasefire".
- The population of Egypt reached 100 million in February 2020.
- Population growth, life expectancy and birth rates declined globally in the early 2020s, driven by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The murder of George Floyd led to many protest and riots across the United States and internationally in 2020. The stated goal of the protest has been to end police brutality and racial inequality and is closely linked with the Black Lives Matter movement.
24.3% of all national parliamentarians were women as of February 2019. 11 women were serving as Head of State and 12 as Head of Government in June 2019. 20.7% of government ministers were women as of January 2019. There are wide regional variations in the average percentages of women parliamentarians. As of February 2019, these were: Nordic countries, 42.5%; Americas, 30.6%; Europe excluding Nordic countries, 27.2; sub-Saharan Africa, 23.9; Asia, 19.8%; Arab States, 19%; and the Pacific, 16.3%. Rwanda has the highest number of women parliamentarians worldwide, 61.3% of seats in the lower house. About 26% of elected local parliamentarians are women.
Many states swore in their first female leaders during the 2020s including Presidents Katerina Sakellaropoulou (Greece), Samia Suluku Hassan (Tanzania), Sandra Mason (Barbados), Xiomara Castro (Honduras) and Prime Ministers Kaja Kallas (Estonia), Fiamē Naomi Mata'afa (Samoa), Robinah Nabbanja (Uganda), Najla Bouden (Tunisia), Magdalena Andersson (Sweden).
- The 2019–20 Australian bushfire season devastated the environment of Australia.
- Team Seas is an international collaborative fundraiser founded by the Youtuber/Influencers Mark Rober and MrBeast on October 29, 2021 as a follow-up to Team Trees. The aim is to raise 30 million USD$ to remove 30 million pounds of trash from the ocean by the end of the year. They have also partnered with the Ocean Cleanup and the Ocean Conservancy.
- A law allowing third gender option on driver licenses took effect in New Hampshire.
- Switzerland banned discrimination based on sexuality due to a referendum, putting into effect a law previously introduced in 2018, that was subsequently blocked by the government that requested a referendum to be held on the matter first.
- In Northern Ireland, the first same-sex marriage took place after legislation to allow this took effect in January 2020.
- In Costa Rica, same-sex marriage and joint adoption by same-sex couples became legal on 26 May 2020.
- In the United States, the Supreme Court ruled that job discrimination against workers for their sexual orientation or gender identity is illegal.
- The Equality Act passed in the House of Representatives on 25 February 2021 in the United States.
- The U.S State Department issued its first ever passport with an "X" gender marker in October 2021, intended to support nonbinary people.
- Same-sex marriage became legal in Switzerland after a 2021 referendum, which will be enforced in July 2022.
- In Chile, same-sex marriage and joint adoption by same-sex couples became legal on 10 March 2022.
Decorated cloth face masks. Wearing a face covering in settings such as shops, bars, airports, and on public transport became mandatory in many countries in the early 2020s, in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The Xbox Series X was also released at the beginning of the 2020s. It was the fourth generation Xbox system.
The video-sharing site TikTok became an influence to pop culture and the music industry in the early 2020s.
By the early 2020s, foldable phones became retail available, though they were quite expensive in comparison to standard phones, or the bulkier phone of the 2010s.
Bright multi-colored clothing became a trend in the early 2020s, as did baggier, looser-fitting clothing (in a rejection to the form-fitting 2010s fashion), as modeled here by Billie Eilish, one of the most popular musicians of the early decade.
The Netflix show Squid Game became an immediate global success in the early 2020s. Beyond television, its effects in popular culture were also notable for the increased sales of outfits and shoes featured in the show.
Fashion trends of the early 2020s have been largely inspired by the 2000s. Wearing a decorative mask to prevent the disease COVID-19 from spreading was a fashion trend in the early 2020s.
Spider-Man: No Way Home was the highest-grossing film of the 2020s, becoming the highest-grossing Spider-Man film and non-Avengers Marvel film. It is currently the 6th highest-grossing film of all time. Several films and other upcoming movies were released exclusively on streaming platforms instead of in theatres due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As COVID-19 cases declined through 2021 and some restrictions were lifted, some films were released both in theatres and on streaming services.
The 2020s started off with the primary streaming services being Netflix, Amazon Prime, Binge, HBO Max, Showtime, Hulu and Disney+. Additional streaming services such as Discovery+, Paramount+, and Peacock were Released as well. Cable television and satellite television continued to fall out of popularity, and were no longer as prevalent as they were once in the 2010s and decades prior. In the 2020s, reboots and reunion episodes of older shows became widespread, including That '90s Show, How I Met Your Father, Animaniacs, The Conners, Saved by the Bell, HBO Max's Friends: The Reunion and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion, and And Just Like That..., Paramount+'s new iCarly, Rugrats, and Beavis and Butthead: Do The Universe. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia became the longest-running live-action comedy in 2021, with its season premiere episode "2020: A Year in Review". As well, reboots of older movies in new iterations joined the likes of television with movies including Bill & Ted Face the Music, Space Jam: A New Legacy, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, and Ghostbusters: Afterlife.
By 2020, TikTok had become an extremely popular music platform on social media. Streaming on platforms such as Spotify, YouTube Music, Amazon Music and Apple Music increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Festivals such as Coachella were cancelled because of the virus. The COVID-19 pandemic devastated the touring business.
Pop, hip hop, R&B and nu disco dominated the early part of the decade, with the most popular artists being Billie Eilish, Lizzo, Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, Lil Nas X, Megan Thee Stallion, Dua Lipa, H.E.R., The Weeknd, Lil Baby, BTS, Doja Cat, Olivia Rodrigo, Blackpink, Harry Styles, Bad Bunny, Cardi B, Adele, Ed Sheeran, the Kid Laroi and more.
The Nintendo Switch continued to be popular among gamers. Animal Crossing: New Horizons had sold over 31 million copies on the Nintendo Switch, making it the second-best-selling game on the Nintendo Switch. Its success has been attributed in part to its release amid global stay-at-home orders during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Nintendo Switch's sales also remained strong in the 2020s due in part to games such as Nintendo Switch Sports, Paper Mario: The Origami King, Super Mario 3D All-Stars, Bowser's Fury, Kirby and the Forgotten Land, WarioWare: Get It Together!, and Pokémon Legends: Arceus.
There is a revival in expressionist architecture. The SoFi Stadium was completed on 8 September 2020 and is a component of Hollywood Park, a master-planned neighborhood in development in Inglewood, California. The stadium serves as a home to the Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers. SoFi Stadium is set to host Super Bowl LVI in February 2022. The stadium is also set to host the opening and closing ceremonies, soccer and archery in the 2028 Summer Olympics, which will be hosted in Los Angeles, California, United States of America.
The Unity Tower was finally completed on 30 September 2020. The construction of the building originally started in 1975, but stopped permanently in 1981 because of economic constraints and political unrest at the time. Due to the unfinished building's resemblance to a skeleton, it was nicknamed after Skeletor, the arch-villain in He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, which was popular in Poland at the time construction began.
- In 2021, Renzo Piano completes the COVID-19-delayed Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles, California.
- The COVID-19 pandemic leads to the cancellation or rescheduling of numerous sporting events globally:
The 2020 T20 Cricket World Cup, originally scheduled to take place in Australia, was rescheduled to occur in India in 2021. The tournament was ultimately held in the UAE and Oman (primarily the former) in 2021, with Australia winning the final against New Zealand to earn its first T20 World Cup title.
National Hockey League, Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association and Premier League adapt their seasons and championship play around COVID-19 by placing players in "bubbles" and televising games played in empty arenas and stadiums.
- Liverpool FC, led by Jordan Henderson, wins first Premier League title in the team's history.
- Tampa Bay Lightning won their second Stanley Cup championship during playoffs that were held in two "hub" cities in Canada (Toronto, Edmonton) by defeating the Dallas Stars. It is the first time since 1925 that the Stanley Cup is contested entirely in Canada.
- Lewis Hamilton records most Formula One career wins.
- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 31–9 in Super Bowl LV to win their second title in the NFL; Tom Brady won Super Bowl MVP for his performance.
- Due to cross-border restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Hockey League (NHL) realigns its team divisions, with all seven Canadian teams competing in their own division for the first time. Tampa Bay Lightning win the second of back-to-back Stanley Cup Finals and third championship overall, defeating the Montreal Canadiens.
- The Atlanta Braves Won There First world Series since 1995<https://www.npr.org/2021/11/03/1051704261/the-atlanta-braves-shut-out-the-astros-7-0-to-become-world-series-champions></ref>
- With the easing of COVID restrictions in the UK, the 2021 Wimbledon Championships are held with full attendances. Novak Djokovic wins the men's singles title, his 20th Grand Slam win equaling Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal's record.
- Canada won their 27th ice hockey World title in 2021 IIHF World Championships, after defeating the reigning champion Finland in the final in overtime.
- Hideki Matsuyama wins the Masters, becoming the first-ever Japanese golfer to win a major golfing championship.
- The Milwaukee Bucks won their first NBA championship in 50 years and their second title overall, with Giannis Antetokounmpo named Finals MVP.
- Italy won UEFA Euro 2020 by defeating England 3–2 on penalties.
- Argentina wins the 2021 Copa América by defeating Brazil 1–0.
- The 2020 Summer Olympics take place in Tokyo, Japan, being the country's fourth time hosting the games. The United States wins the most gold and overall medals, with China coming in second and host Japan coming in third.
- Senegal won the 2021 AFCON by defeating Egypt 4–2 on penalties.
- The Los Angeles Rams defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 23–20 in Super Bowl LVI to win their second title in the NFL; Cooper Kupp won Super Bowl MVP for his performance.
- The 2022 Winter Olympics take place in Beijing, China, becoming the first city to host both the summer and winter Olympic Games. Norway wins the most gold and overall medals, with Germany coming in second and host China coming in third.
- The Kansas Jayhawks beat the North Carolina Tar Heels 72-69 in the 2022 NCAA Divison I to win their fourth title; Ochai Agbaji won MVP for his performance.
Food delivery apps such as DoorDash, Menulog, Uber Eats, Grubhub and Just Eat Takeaway flourished due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Indoor dining was also closed in many countries due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and upon re-opening the usage of QR codes and other technologies in the restaurant industry increased compared to the 2010s in order to comply with pandemic restrictions.
The following articles contain brief timelines which list the most prominent events of the decade:
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- Cook, James; Field, Matthew (24 September 2020). "QR codes: What are they and how do you use them?". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 7 September 2021.
Media related to 2020s at Wikimedia Commons