Arab SpringDeath of Muammar GaddafiRussian Annexation of CrimeaIslamic StateBrexitParis AgreementIPhoneObergefell v. HodgesEvent Horizon Telescope
From top left, clockwise: Anti-government protests called the Arab Spring arose in 2010–2011, and as a result, many governments were overthrown, including when Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi was killed; Crimea is annexed by Russia in 2014; ISIS/ISIL perpetrates terrorist attacks and captures territory in Syria and Iraq; climate change awareness and the Paris Agreement; the Event Horizon Telescope captures the first image of a black hole in 2019; Obergefell v. Hodges legalizes same-sex marriage in the United States in 2015, marking continuing progress for LGBT rights in developed countries; increasing use of digital and mobile technologies; the UK votes to leave the EU in 2016, on a rising tide of populism during the decade.

The 2010s (pronounced ''"twenty-tens"; shortened to "the '10s"[1][2] also known as "The Tens" or more rarely "The Teens") was a decade that began on January 1, 2010, and ended on December 31, 2019.

The decade began with an optimistic economical recovery from the late 2000s financial crisis. Inflation and interest rates stayed low and steady throughout the decade, Gross world product grew from 2010 to 2019, marking a period of stable recovery. The 2010s were a prosperous decade for the global economy, fueled by strong economic growth in many countries, robust consumer spending, increased investment in infrastructure, and the emergence of new technologies. Unrest in some countries—particularly in the Arab world—evolved into socioeconomic crises triggering revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, and Bahrain as well as civil wars in Libya, Syria, and Yemen in a regional phenomenon commonly referred to as the Arab Spring, while the resulting European debt crisis was pronounced early in the decade. Shifting social attitudes saw LGBT rights make substantial progress during the decade, particularly in developed countries.

Following the economic recovery, the decade saw a musical and cultural dominance in dance-pop, electronic dance music, hipster culture and electropop. Globalization and an increased demand for variety and personalisation in the face of music streaming services such as Spotify, SoundCloud and Apple Music created many subgenres. As the decade progressed, diversity was also seen with the mainstream success of K-pop, Latin music and trap. Superhero films became box office leaders, with Avengers: Endgame becoming the highest-grossing film of all time.[note 1] Due to the high quality of many television series throughout this decade, as well as technological breakthroughs that allowed streaming, cable television, and internet outlets to provide this high quality and amount of programming, the 2010s are frequently referred to as the "Golden Age of Television". Cable providers saw a decline in subscriber numbers as cord cutters switched to lower cost online streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and Disney+. The video game industry continued to be dominated by Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft; while indie games became sustainably more popular, with Minecraft becoming the best-selling game of all time. Handheld console gaming revenue was overtaken by mobile gaming revenue in 2011. The best-selling book of this decade was Fifty Shades of Grey. Drake was named the top music artist of the decade in the US by Billboard.[note 2]

The United States continued to retain its superpower status while China, along with launching vast economic initiatives and military reforms, sought to expand its influence in the South China Sea and in Africa, solidifying its position as an emerging superpower, despite also causing series of conflicts around its frontiers. Within its border, China also enhanced its suppression and control of Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and Tibet. Global competition between China and the U.S. coalesced into a "containment" effort and a trade war. Elsewhere in Asia, the Koreas improved their relations after a prolonged crisis, and the War on Terror continued as a part of the U.S.'s continued military involvement in many parts of the world. The rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant extremist organization in 2014 erased the borders between Syria and Iraq, resulting in a multinational intervention. In Africa, South Sudan broke away from Sudan, and mass protests and various coups d'état saw longtime strongmen deposed. In the U.S., celebrity businessman Donald Trump was elected president amid an international wave of populism and neo-nationalism. The European Union experienced a migrant crisis in the middle of the decade and the historic United Kingdom EU membership referendum followed by withdrawal negotiations during its later years. Russia attempted to assert itself in international affairs, annexing Crimea in 2014.

Information technology progressed, with smartphones becoming widespread. The internet grew from covering 28.9% to 54% of the world population, and also saw advancements in wireless networking devices, mobile telephony, and cloud computing. Advancements in data processing and the rollout of 4G broadband allowed data, metadata, and information to be collected and dispersed among domains at paces never before seen while online resources such as social media facilitated phenomena such as the Me Too movement, the rise of slacktivism, and online cancel culture. WikiLeaks gained international attention for publishing classified information on topics including Guantánamo Bay, Syria, the Afghan and Iraq wars, and United States diplomacy. Edward Snowden blew the whistle on global surveillance, raising awareness on the role governments and private entities have in global surveillance and information privacy. Baidu, Twitter and Instagram emerged to become among the top 10 most visited websites, while Wikipedia went from the 9th to the 5th most popular website, almost septupling its monthly visits. Yahoo significantly declined in popularity, descending from being the 1st to the 9th most popular site, with monthly visits declining by two-thirds. Google, Facebook, YouTube and Yandex maintained relatively consistent popularity and remained within the top 10 throughout the decade.

Global warming became increasingly noticeable through new record temperatures in different years and extreme weather events on all continents. The CO2 concentration rose from 390 to 410 PPM over the decade. At the same time, combating pollution and climate change continued to be major concerns, as protests, initiatives, and legislation garnered substantial media attention. Particularly, the Paris Agreement (2015) was adopted, and the global climate youth movement was formed. Major natural disasters included the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, the Nepal earthquake of 2015, the 2018 Sulawesi earthquake and tsunami, and the devastating hurricanes Bopha (Pablo), Haiyan (Yolanda), and Maria, as well as the 2019 European heat waves.

During the decade, the world population grew from 6.9 to 7.7 billion people. There were approximately 1.4 billion births during the decade (140 million per year), and about 560 million deaths (56 million per year).[5]

Politics and wars[edit]

Major conflicts[edit]

The prominent wars of the decade include:

International wars[edit]

Name Start date End date Description
Israeli–Palestinian conflict 14 May 1948 Ongoing Conflict between Jewish and Arab communities in Israel and the West Bank have been ongoing since 1948.[6] After Israel occupied the West Bank, it began making settlements there, which has been an obstacle to the peace process.[7] Tensions also remained high as Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, has been launching rockets and cross-border raids into Israeli territory, which Israel has responded with force.[8]
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict February 1988 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. From April 1–5, 2016, clashes began along the Nagorno-Karabakh line of contact with the Artsakh Defence Army, backed by the Armenian Armed Forces on one side and the Azerbaijani Armed Forces on the other. A ceasefire was reached on 5 April between Azerbaijan and Armenia in Moscow. From May 20–27, 2018, clashes in former no man's land[9] in the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, an exclave of Azerbaijan, led to Azerbaijan reoccupying Günnüt and several other strategic villages and positions.[10][11]
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.[12] With support from NATO, the United States invaded Taliban-controlled Afghanistan and overthrew the government.[13] Two years later, on the pretext that the government of Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction,[14] the United States and a coalition of partners invaded Iraq and overthrew Hussein,[15] after which the U.S. occupied the country.[16] However, insurgencies remained active in both countries, long after the invasions.[17]
2011 military intervention in Libya 19 March 2011 31 October 2011 Following United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, a NATO-led coalition launched an air campaign against Muammar Gaddafi's government in the Libyan Civil War.
Russo-Ukrainian War 20 February 2014 Ongoing After the fall of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, Russian soldiers took control of strategic positions in the Ukrainian territory of Crimea and subsequently annexed the region after a controversial referendum.[18] In the months that followed, demonstrations in Donbas escalated into an armed conflict between the government of Ukraine and Russian-backed separatist forces.
International military intervention against ISIL 13 June 2014 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[19] and made Raqqa its capital.[20] Various international coalitions led by the United States, France, Russia, and Muslim states and with aid from dozens of countries were formed to help fight the militants.[21][22] By December 2017, ISIL had lost all of its territory in Iraq and 95% of its territory in Syria,[23] and was militarily and territorially defeated on 23 March 2019.[24]
Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen 26 March 2015 During the Yemeni Civil War, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and other countries invaded parts of Yemen in order to depose the Houthi-controlled government.
Turkish involvement in the Syrian Civil War 24 August 2016 During the Syrian Civil War, Turkey invaded parts of northern Syria in order to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and the Syrian Democratic Forces, fostering and funding the Syrian National Army of the Syrian Interim Government, culminating in its 2019 offensive into northeastern Syria in which over 300,000 civilians were displaced[25] and dozens more killed,[26][27][28] prompting a controversial reaction worldwide in response to reported human rights violations[29][30][31] and resettlement of Kurds which has been viewed as possible ethnic cleansing.[32][33][34]
2019 India–Pakistan border skirmishes 26 February 2019 22 March 2019 After a suicide car bombing on 14 February 2019 where 40 Indian security personnel are killed,[35] the Indian Air Force launches airstrikes on purported terrorist camps in Muzaffarabad and Chakothi areas of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, and Balakot in mainland Pakistan, leading to said standoff.[36] Also involved was Jaish-e-Mohammed, a Pakistani militant group that took responsibility for the bombing and the purported target of Indian attacks.
The war-torn ruins of Donetsk International Airport in late December 2014
In red: the area controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) proto-state in December 2014
Devastation in Mosul's old city after recapture from ISIL in 2017

Civil wars[edit]

Name Start date End date Description
Colombian Armed Conflict 27 May 1964 Ongoing Low-intensity and asymmetrical between the Colombian government, left-wing guerrillas, and various paramilitary factions had been ongoing since 1964. However, at the start of the decade, only two major groups remained, FARC and ELN.[37] Since 2012, both groups have been in peace talks with the government, with FARC and the government signing a historic ceasefire signed 23 June 2016.[38] Though the peace deal was initially rejected by voters in October,[39] a revised deal was successfully and unanimously passed by the Congress on 30 November 2016, bringing an end to much of the fighting that had been going on for almost 50 years.[40][41]
War in North-West Pakistan 16 March 2004 Since 2004, Pakistan has been fighting an insurgency by various armed militant groups aligned with the Taliban or ISIL in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa along its border with Afghanistan.[42] The violence has killed at least 61,549 people since[43] and over 6 million displaced,[44] gutting the nation's economy and resources.[45][46] By 2014, however, casualties from terrorist and militant attacks had dropped by around 40%,[47] in spite of rampant massacres such as the 2014 Peshawar school massacre, which led to 156 deaths.[48]
Insurgency in Paraguay 27 August 2005 Since 2005, Paraguay has been fighting a low-level insurgency by various Marxist–Leninist[49] armed militant groups in the country, including the Paraguayan People's Army, the Armed Peasant Association, and the Army of Marshal López. Between 2005 and 2014, at least 50 have died alongside 28 kidnappings and 85 "violent acts,"[50] concentrated in the highly populated northeastern departments of Amambay, Caaguazú, Canindeyú, Concepción, and San Pedro. Exact numbers vary, but the conflict is estimated to have caused a cumulative 111 deaths by 2020, most of which have been insurgents, local ranchers, and police officers.[50]
Mexican Drug War 11 December 2006 Following a rise in criminal violence as a result of increasingly influential drug trafficking in the country, Mexican President Felipe Calderón declared a war on drugs on 11 December 2006.[51] Since the start of the war, the death toll from drug violence has sharply increased,[52] with a death toll of nearly 300,000[53] over 60,000 missing, and 39,000 unidentified bodies in morgues.[54] Arrests of key cartel leaders led to increasing violence as cartels, who dominate the billion-dollar illegal drug industry,[55][56] fought for control of trafficking routes into the United States.[57][58][59] The conflict has also emphasised corruption and human rights abuses, with bribery, drug smuggling, kidnapping, and protection of drug cartels being widely reported among government officials.[55][60]
War in Somalia 31 January 2009 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[61] and subsequently retook several towns across the country.[62] Since then, the government has attempted to clean out the remaining Al-Shabaab strongholds with help from AMISOM soldiers[63] and military intervention on the part of the United States. Al-Shabaab made a resurgence in 2016, when AMISOM and Kenyan forces were subject to multiple attacks and raids,[64] to which American and Somali forces responded with increasingly intense airstrikes,[65][66] weakening Al Shabaab's territorial prominence in the years following. The conflict has cost anywhere from 300,000 to 500,000 lives and has devastated Somalia's infrastructure and humanitarian resources.[67][68]
Boko Haram insurgency 26 July 2009 Sparked by long-standing conflict between Nigeria's Christian and Muslim communities, Boko Haram insurgency began when the jihadist rebel group started an armed rebellion against the government of Nigeria.[69] In 2015, the group pledged alliance to ISIL,[70] becoming the world's deadliest terrorist group by 2015.[71][72] The conflict has killed over 37,500 people and displaced another 2.5 million, driving 244,000 Nigerian refugees into neighbouring states.[73] Insurgents were severely weakened in 2015 when Nigerian forces drove them into Sambisa Forest,[74] causing bitter infighting.[75] However, they made a resurgence in 2018 and 2019, with human rights violations; massacres; and mass child kidnappings, exploitation, and torture continuously posing a threat to civilians.[76][77][78][79]
Northern Mali conflict 16 January 2012 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,[80] and declared it to be the independent state of Azawad.[81] However, shortly afterward, various Islamists groups took over Northern Mali from the Tuaregs and imposed sharia law on the region.[82]
South Sudanese Civil War 15 December 2013 22 February 2020
Iraqi Civil War 1 January 2014 9 December 2017 The civil war began with the conquest of Fallujah, Mosul, Tikrit and major areas of northern Iraq by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Various nations provided aid in the form of airstrikes, troops and intelligence.[83][84] On 9 December 2017, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced victory over ISIL,[85] though others warned to expect ISIL to continue the fight by other means.[86]
Second Libyan Civil War 16 May 2014 24 October 2020 Following the factional violence that engulfed Libya after the fall of Muammar 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. A permanent ceasefire agreement in all areas of Libya became effective from 24 October 2020, ending the war.[87][88]
Yemeni Civil War 19 March 2015 Ongoing Preceded by a decade-long Houthi insurgency,[89] 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.[90]
Philippine Drug War 30 June 2016 Following a rise in criminal violence as a result of drug trafficking in the country, since Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte was inaugurated on 30 June 2016.[91] As of 2020, it has caused about 6000 deaths.[92]
Marawi crisis 23 May 2017 23 October 2017
Anglophone Crisis 9 September 2017 Ongoing
Islamist insurgency in Mozambique 5 October 2017
Iraqi insurgency 9 December 2017
War in Catatumbo January 2018
French Rafale fighter jets operating over Mali in 2013 during the Northern Mali Conflict
Peshmerga T-55 tank outside Kirkuk on 19 June 2014. Iraqi Kurdistan played a significant role in combatting ISIL during the Iraqi Civil War
Saudi and Emirati soldiers in Yemen, June 2016. Saudi Arabia intervened in the Yemeni Civil War in 2015

Revolutions and major protests[edit]

Successful revolutions and otherwise major protests of the decade include, but are not limited to:

Event Date Country Events
Kyrgyz Revolution of 2010 6 April 2010 – 14 December 2010 Kyrgyzstan Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev fled Bishkek amid fierce anti-government riots as the opposition seized control. [93]
Occupy Wall Street and the Occupy movement 17 September 2011 – c. 2013 United States Hundreds of protesters marched into the financial district of Wall Street in New York City, beginning the Occupy Wall Street movement. [94]
Rojava revolution 19 July 2012 – ongoing Rojava, Syria A sub-conflict of the Syrian Civil War.
Euromaidan and the Revolution of Dignity 21 November 2013 – 23 February 2014 Ukraine Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych fled the country following violent protests in the capital, Kyiv. The opposition-controlled Verkhovna Rada voted to remove him as president. [95]
Abkhazian Revolution 27 May 2014 – 1 June 2014 Abkhazia, Georgia In a quick turn of events, the President of the breakway republic, Alexander Ankvab, was ousted from power after the government building was stormed.[96]
2014 Burkinabé uprising 28 October 2014 – 3 November 2014 Burkina Faso
2015–16 protests in Brazil 15 March 2015 – 31 July 2016 Brazil In 2015 and 2016, a series of protests in Brazil denounced government corruption and the presidency of Dilma Rousseff, being the largest popular mobilisations in the country since the beginning of the "New Republic". [97]
Burundian unrest (2015–2018) 26 April 2015 – 17 May 2018 Burundi Burundi faces unrest as President Pierre Nkurunziza sought a third term in office, resulting in hundreds killed and thousands more fleeing the country. [98]
2018–19 Gaza border protests 30 March 2018 – 27 December 2019 Israel, Palestine Protests against the Blockade of the Gaza Strip, with 183 protesters killed.[99]
2018 Armenian revolution 31 March 2018 – 8 May 2018 Armenia Various political and civil groups led by member of parliament Nikol Pashinyan staged anti-government protests in Armenia. Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan resigned on 23 April 2018. Nikol Pashinyan was elected Prime Minister on 8 May 2018. [100][101]
2018 Bangladesh road-safety protests 29 July 2018 – 1 September 2018 Bangladesh Nation-wide protests mainly by students after reckless driving caused deaths of two high school students. [102][103]
Yellow vests movement 17 November 2018 – ongoing France France experiences its worst civil unrest since the protests of 1968 due to the yellow vests movement. Protests in Paris morph into riots, with hundreds of people injured and thousands arrested. Over 100 cars are burned and numerous tourist sites are closed. [104]
Sudanese Revolution 19 December 2018 – 12 September 2019 Sudan Amid mass protests, Omar al-Bashir is deposed as President of Sudan in a coup d'état, after nearly 30 years in office. [105]
2019–20 Hong Kong protests 9 June 2019 – 2020 Hong Kong, China Mass protests take place in Hong Kong against an extradition bill that many observed would subject Hong Kong residents and those passing through the city to de facto jurisdiction of Chinese Communist Party courts. Despite Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam announcing the bill to be "dead" after weeks of mass protests, waves of localised demonstrations continued, some resulting in violent clashes between police, pro-democracy activists, local residents, and Triad members. [106][107]
2019 Ecuadorian protests 3 October 2019 – 14 October 2019 Ecuador On 3 October 2019, taxi, bus and truck drivers came out in protest against the planned fuel subsidy abolition and austerity measures announced by President Lenín Moreno. The government seat was relocated from Quito to Guayaquil and a state of emergency was declared following violent protests. [108]
2019–2021 Chilean protests 7 October 2019 – 21 December 2021 Chile On 18 October 2019, a period of mass protests and violent unrest began in Chile. The protests were initially in response to a fare hike on the Santiago Metro, but the scope of the protestors' demands has since expanded. [109]
2019 Bolivian protests 21 October 2019 – 21 November 2019 Bolivia Following a disputed election, protests forced Evo Morales, the president since 2006, to resign and flee to Mexico.[110] The new president, Jeanine Áñez, continued to face opposition from pro-Morales protestors.[111]
Concerns over social and economic inequality, greed, corruption and the influence of corporations on government led to the rise of the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011
Algerian protesters gather during the 2019 "Smile Revolution"

Arab Spring[edit]

The Arab Spring was a series of anti-government protests, uprisings, and armed rebellions that spread across much of the Islamic world in the early 2010s. It began in response to oppressive regimes and a low standard of living, starting with protests in Tunisia.[112][113] In the news, social media has been heralded as the driving force behind the swift spread of revolution throughout the world, as new protests appear in response to success stories shared from those taking place in other countries. In many countries, the governments have also recognised the importance of social media for organising and have shut down certain sites or blocked Internet service entirely, especially in the times preceding a major rally.[114] Governments have also scrutinised or suppressed discussion in those forums through accusing content creators of unrelated crimes or shutting down communication on specific sites or groups, such as through Facebook.[115]

Name Start date End date Description
Tunisian Revolution 18 December 2010 14 January 2011 Amidst anti-government protests, Tunisia's president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali dissolved the government, declared a state of emergency and resigned from office. [116]
2011 Egyptian revolution 25 January 2011 11 February 2011
2011 Bahraini uprising 14 February 2011 18 March 2011 Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, King of Bahrain, declared a three-month state of emergency as troops from the Gulf Co-operation Council were sent to quell the civil unrest. [117]
Libyan Civil War 15 February 2011 13 October 2011 Facing protests against his 42-year rule, Muammar Gaddafi refused to step down and sent in the military to brutally quell protests.[118][119] As a result, many army units defected to the opposition and protests soon turned into an armed rebellion.[120] With international help, the rebels captured Tripoli,[121] and eventually Sirte, Gaddafi's hometown and last outpost, where he was killed.[122]
Syrian Civil War 15 March 2011 Ongoing Protests erupted in Syria against President Bashar al-Assad's rule, with police and the army sent in to crack down on protesters.[123][124] They later morphed into war after army officers defected to the opposition, forming the Free Syrian Army (FSA).[125] The war allowed for Islamic extremist groups like Al-Nusra Front and ISIL to temporarily take control of vast amounts of territory.
The Arab Spring saw mass unrest in the Arab world early in the decade:
  Government overthrown multiple times
  Government overthrown
  Civil war
  Protests and governmental changes
  Major protests
  Minor protests   Other protests and militant action outside the Arab world
Protesters in Tahrir Square during the Egyptian revolution of 2011.
Anti-Ghaddafi fighters celebrate during the Libyan Civil War.
Territorial changes of the Syrian Civil War, October 2011 – March 2019.

Nuclear proliferation[edit]

P5+1 and Iranian negotiators meeting in Geneva for the interim agreement on the Iranian nuclear programme (2013)

Terrorist attacks[edit]

Montage of the November 2015 Paris attacks. Islamic terrorism in Europe spiked following the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in 2014.
The ruins of buildings destroyed in the 14 October 2017 Mogadishu bombings, which killed over 500 people.

The most prominent terrorist attacks committed against civilian populations during the decade include, but are not limited to:

Event Date Country Deaths Injuries Ref.
2010 Lakki Marwat suicide bombing 1 January 2010 Pakistan 105 100+ [142]
2010 Moscow Metro bombings 29 March 2010 Russia 40 102 [143]
2011 Mumbai bombings 13 July 2011 India 26 130+ [144]
2011 Norway attacks 22 July 2011 Norway 77 319+ [145]
2011 Mogadishu bombing 4 October 2011 Somalia 100 110+ [146]
Boston Marathon bombing 15 April 2013 United States 3 264 [147]
Zamboanga City siege 9 September 2013 Philippines 220 70 [148]
Westgate shopping mall attack 21 September 2013 Kenya 67 175 [149]
2014 Kunming attack 1 March 2014 China 35 143
May 2014 Ürümqi attack 22 May 2014 China 43 90
Camp Speicher massacre 12 June 2014 Iraq 1,566 [150]
2014 Sydney hostage crisis 15 December 2014 Australia 3 18 [151]
2014 Peshawar school massacre 16 December 2014 Pakistan 148 114 [152]
2015 Baga massacre 3–7 January 2015 Nigeria 150+ [153]
January 2015 Île-de-France attacks 7–9 January 2015 France 20 22 [154]
2015 Sana'a mosque bombings 20 March 2015 Yemen 142 351 [155]
Garissa University College attack 2 April 2015 Kenya 152 79 [156]
2015 Ramadan attacks 26 June 2015 Various 403 336+ [157]
2015 Ankara bombings 10 October 2015 Turkey 109 400+ [158]
2015 Metrojet crash 31 October 2015 Russia 224 [159]
2015 Beirut bombings 12 November 2015 Lebanon 43 240 [160]
November 2015 Paris attacks 13 November 2015 France 131 413 [161]
2015 San Bernardino attack 2 December 2015 United States 14 22 [162]
2016 Brussels bombings 22 March 2016 Belgium 35 300+ [163]
Orlando nightclub shooting 12 June 2016 United States 49 58 [164]
2016 Istanbul airport attack 28 June 2016 Turkey 45 236 [165]
July 2016 Baghdad bombings 3 July 2016 Iraq 340 246 [166]
2016 Nice truck attack 14 July 2016 France 87 434 [167]
2016 Berlin truck attack 19 December 2016 Germany 13 55 [168]
Istanbul nightclub shooting 1 January 2017 Turkey 39 70 [169]
2017 Westminster attack 22 March 2017 United Kingdom 6 49 [170]
2017 St. Petersburg Metro bombing 3 April 2017 Russia 15 64 [171]
2017 Stockholm truck attack 7 April 2017 Sweden 5 14 [172]
2017 Camp Shaheen attack 21 April 2017 Afghanistan 140+ 160+ [173]
Manchester Arena bombing 22 May 2017 United Kingdom 22 59 [174]
2017 London Bridge attack 3 June 2017 UK 11 48 [175]
2017 Barcelona attacks 17–18 August 2017 Spain 16 152 [176]
2017 Turku attack 18 August 2017 Finland 2 8 (+1 attacker) [177]
14 October 2017 Mogadishu bombings 14 October 2017 Somalia 587 316 [177]
2017 New York City truck attack 31 October 2017 United States 8 12 [178]
2017 Sinai mosque attack 24 November 2017 Egypt 311 122 [179]
2018 Strasbourg attack 11 December 2018 France 5 11 [180]
Christchurch mosque shootings 15 March 2019 New Zealand 51 40 [181]
2019 Pulwama attack 14 February 2019 India 40 35 [182]
2019 Sri Lanka Easter bombings 21 April 2019 Sri Lanka 269 500+ [183]
2019 El Paso shooting 3 August 2019 United States 23 23 [184]
December 2019 Mogadishu bombing 28 December 2019 Somalia 85 140+ [185]

Political trends[edit]

International relations[edit]

BRICS, a supranational economic cooperative comprising five major emerging national economies—Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa—grew to represent over 3.1 billion people, or about 41 percent of the world population by 2015.

China was increasingly called a superpower in the early 2010s, including at the 2011 meeting between President Hu Jintao and United States President Barack Obama. China overtook the U.S. as the world's largest trading nation, filing the most patents, expanding its military, landing its lunar rover Yutu on the moon (ending a four-decade lack of lunar exploration) and creating China's Oriental Movie Metropolis as a major film and cultural centre. In 2018, global military spending reached the highest it has been since 1988, late Cold War levels, largely fuelled by increased defence spending by China and the United States, whose budgets together accounted for half of the world's total military spending.[186] In 2019, the Lowy Institute Asia Power Index, which measures the projections of power in the Indo-Pacific, called both China and the United States the superpowers of the 21st century, citing immense influence in almost all eight indexes of power.[187]

Along with China, President Vladimir Putin led Russia also steadily increased its defence spending and continued to modernise its military capabilities throughout the decade, including the development of the T-14 Armata main battle tank and the fifth-generation Sukhoi Su-57 jet fighter. Russia also flexed its power projection capabilities, particularly demonstrated during the 2014 annexation of Crimea and its interventions in eastern Ukraine and the Syrian Civil War; Wagner Group had a significant presence in both conflicts. Russia also notably waged information warfare campaigns against its geopolitical foes, including interfering in the 2016 U.S. elections via hacking and leaking emails of U.S. political party leadership and by spreading disinformation via the Internet Research Agency. Other alleged Russian intelligence operations included the Skripal poisonings and the Montenegrin coup plot, both of which were attributed by some to the Unit 29155 organisation. Collectively, these activities—and the Western-led efforts to combat the influence of Russian oligarchs and political interests—have been referred to as the Second Cold War.

The European Union went through several crises. The European debt crisis caused severe economic problems to several eurozone member states, most severely Greece. The 2015 migration crisis led to several million people entering the EU illegally in a short period of time. There was a significant rise in the vote shares of several eurosceptic parties, including the League in Italy, Alternative for Germany, and the Finns Party in Finland. As a result of a referendum, the United Kingdom became the first member state in the EU's history to initiate proceedings for leaving the Union.

Western polarisation[edit]

Socio-political polarisation increased as conservatives and social liberals clashed over the role and size of government and other social, economic and environmental issues in the West. In the United States, polls showed a divided electorate regarding healthcare reform, immigration, gun rights, taxation, job creation, and debt reduction.[188] In Europe, movements protesting increasing numbers of refugees and migrants from Islamic countries developed, such as the English Defence League and Pegida.[189][190] The trend of polarisation in the West was partially influenced by the prevalence of identity politics, both left-wing and right-wing, among activist movements.[191] Beginning around 2011, far-left and progressive concepts such as combating social inequality and economic inequality, often via progressive stack tactics, proliferated in the Western world and elsewhere.[192][193][194] Around the middle of the decade, phenomenon such as white nationalism, identitarianism and emboldened feelings of nativism saw a marked reemergence in the West due to drastically increased migration and corresponding crime and amongst both the right and left general dissatisfaction with Western government and Media responses to certain issues.[195] There were also increased calls for egalitarianism, including between the sexes,[196] and some scholars assert that a fourth wave of feminism began around 2012, with a primary focus on intersectionality.[197][198]

Antiestablishment politics[edit]

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and United States President Donald Trump in 2019. Both leaders are emblematic of a wave of neo-nationalist and globalisation-weary conservative populism in the second half of the decade.

Populism in politics saw a widespread surge throughout the decade, with many politicians and various political movements expressing populist sentiments and utilising populist rhetoric.[199][200] This included conservative wave phenomenon in Latin America and neo-nationalist fervor in Europe and North America. The 2019 European Parliament election saw the highest voter turnout in two decades and saw relatively moderate centre-right and centre-left parties suffer significant losses to less moderate far-right, environmentalist, and both pro-EU and eurosceptic parties, who made gains.[201] Examples of 2010s populist movements included the Tea Party movement,[202] Occupy Wall Street,[203] Brexit,[204] Black Lives Matter,[205] and the alt-right.[206][207] Examples of populist country leaders were just as extensive, with Donald Trump,[208] Narendra Modi,[209] Andrés Manuel López Obrador,[210] Hugo Chávez,[211] Matteo Salvini,[212] Jair Bolsonaro,[213] Rodrigo Duterte,[214] and Boris Johnson, left and right-wing, described as such.

Related to the rise of populism and protests movements was the decline of traditional political parties. In Europe, pasokification described the loss of vote share experienced by traditional centre-left or social democratic parties. In France, specifically, Emmanuel Macron's La République En Marche! party won a majority in its first election in 2017.

Centre-left, neoliberal and traditional social democratic parties often lost their vote share to more socialist or democratic socialist alternatives, especially in Europe. This happened most completely in Greece, where PASOK was replaced by Syriza as the main left-wing party. Other far-left parties which rose in prominence included Podemos in Spain and La France Insoumise in France. In the two-party systems of the English-speaking world, these challenges mainly came from within the established parties of the left, with Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Party and Jeremy Corbyn in the Labour Party pushing for more left-wing policies.

The political establishment was also challenged in many countries by protest movements, often organised through new social media platforms. These included the various Arab Spring protests, the Occupy movement, and the yellow vests movement.

Democracy and authoritarianism[edit]

Xi Jinping became China's leader for life in 2018.

Countries which democratised fully or partially during the decade included Angola, which reformed under João Lourenço;[215] Armenia, which went through a revolution;[215][216] Ecuador, which reformed under Lenín Moreno;[215] Ethiopia;[215][216] and Malaysia, where the ruling party lost the first election since independence.[215][217]

Long-term dictators ousted from power included Muammar Gaddafi of Libya (after 42 years),[218] Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe (37 years),[219] Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen (33 years),[220] Omar al-Bashir of Sudan (30 years),[221] Hosni Mubarak of Egypt (29 years),[222] and Ben Ali of Tunisia (23 years).[223]

Democratic backsliding occurred in countries such as Hungary,[224] Venezuela,[225] and Turkey.[226]

The Arab Winter refers to the resurgence of authoritarianism, absolute monarchies and Islamic extremism[227] evolving in the aftermath of the Arab Spring protests in Arab countries.[228] The term "Arab Winter" refers to the events across Arab League countries in the Mid-East and North Africa, including the Syrian Civil War,[229][230] the Iraqi insurgency and the following civil war,[231] the Egyptian Crisis,[232] the Libyan Crisis and the Crisis in Yemen.[233] Events referred to as the Arab Winter include those in Egypt that led to the removal of Mohamed Morsi and the seizure of power by General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in an anti-Muslim Brotherhood campaign.[234]

In 2018, China's National People's Congress approved a constitutional change that removed term limits for its leaders, granting Xi Jinping the status of "leader for life". Xi is the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (de facto leader).


Sitting world leaders such as Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, Kim Jong-il of North Korea, Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, Lech Kaczyński of Poland, Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan and Beji Caid Essebsi of Tunisia, all died in office, as did former leaders Fidel Castro, Lee Kuan Yew, Nelson Mandela, Margaret Thatcher, Robert Mugabe, Giulio Andreotti, Francesco Cossiga, Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, Jacques Chirac, Helmut Schmidt, Helmut Kohl, Mohamed Morsi, Ariel Sharon, Shimon Peres, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Václav Havel, Malcolm Fraser, Bob Hawke, B. J. Habibie, Yasuhiro Nakasone, Alan García, Jorge Rafael Videla, Néstor Kirchner, Fernando de la Rúa, Patricio Aylwin, Itamar Franco, A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and George H. W. Bush.

Prominent political events[edit]


Coups d'état against ruling governments during the decade include:

Event Date Country Ref.
Nigerien coup d'état 18 February 2010 Niger [235]
Malian coup d'état 21 March 2012 Mali [236]
Guinea-Bissau coup d'état 12 April 2012 Guinea-Bissau [237]
Egyptian coup d'état 3 July 2013 Egypt [238]
Thai coup d'état 22 May 2014 Thailand [239]
Yemeni coup d'état 21 September 2014 Yemen [240]
Turkish coup d'état attempt 15 July 2016 Turkey [241]
Zimbabwean coup d'état 14 November 2017 Zimbabwe [242]
Gabon coup d'état attempt 7 January 2019 Gabon [243]
Sudanese coup d'état 11 April 2019 Sudan [244]
Amhara coup d'état attempt 22 June 2019 Ethiopia [245]

The following tables of events is listed by the region and by chronological order. The prominent political events include, but are not limited to:


Event Country Date Description References
2011 South Sudanese independence referendum South Sudan 9 July 2011 A referendum was held in Southern Sudan on whether the region should remain part of Sudan. An overwhelming majority voted in favour of separation and formed the new country of South Sudan. [246]
Death of Nelson Mandela South Africa 5 December 2013 Nelson Mandela, anti-apartheid activist and President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, died. [247]
2014 Tunisian presidential election Tunisia 21 November 2014 Beji Caid Essebsi won the first regular presidential election following the Tunisian Revolution against outgoing president Moncef Marzouki. He became Tunisia's fifth president and first freely elected head of state in the Arab world. [248]
2015 Nigerian general election Nigeria 29 March 2015 Muhammadu Buhari was elected President of Nigeria, the first time the opposition ever won an election against an incumbent and the first ever peaceful transfer of power in the country. [249]
2016 Gambian presidential election The Gambia 1 December 2016 Adama Barrow was elected President of The Gambia, defeating long-time President Yahya Jammeh and ending more than 22 years of authoritarian rule. [250]
Resignation of Jacob Zuma South Africa 14 February 2018 Jacob Zuma resigns as President of South Africa, after nine years in power. [251]
Resignation of Abdelaziz Bouteflika Algeria 2 April 2019 Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigns as President of Algeria amid widespread protests, after nearly two decades in office. [105]
Khartoum massacre Sudan 3 June 2019 Security forces of the Transitional Military Council, the military junta ruling Sudan following the ousting of Omar al-Bashir, massacre over 100 people at a sit-in protest amid mass protests in Khartoum. The massacre prompts the African Union to suspend Sudan's participation until civilian rule is reestablished in the country. [252][253]
2019 Tunisian presidential election Tunisia 13 October 2019 Conservative academic Kais Saied wins more than 70% of the votes, defeating businessman Nabil Karoui. He became Tunisia's sixth president and second freely elected head of state in the Arab world. [254]


Event Country Date Description References
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act United States 23 March 2010 President Barack Obama signs the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law, marking a major reform of the U.S. health insurance and health care systems. [255]
2010 Brazilian presidential election Brazil 31 October 2010 Dilma Rousseff was elected as the first female President of Brazil. [256]
2010 Midterm elections and Tea Party movement United States 2 November 2010 The Republicans become the dominant party with a majority of the seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and gain seats in the U.S. Senate. This was seen as due to a tide of Libertarian support amongst the U.S. populace exemplified in the Tea Party. [257]
2011 Canadian federal election Canada 2 May 2011 Stephen Harper, leader of the Conservative Party, is re-elected in Canada's federal election, with a majority government. [258]
2011 Argentine general election Argentina 23 October 2011 Front for Victory candidate and President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner wins a second term as President of Argentina, defeating Socialist candidate Hermes Binner by 54% of votes. [259]
Impeachment of Fernando Lugo Paraguay 22 June 2012 On 21 June the Chamber of Deputies voted 76 to 1 to impeach Lugo, and the Senate removed him from office the following day, by 39 votes to 4, resulting in Vice President Federico Franco, who had broken with Lugo, becoming president. [260]
2012 Mexican general election Mexico 1 July 2012 Enrique Peña Nieto won the Mexican general election, bringing the Institutional Revolutionary Party back to prominence for the first time since 2000. [261]
2012 United States presidential election United States 6 November 2012 Barack Obama was re-elected President of the United States, defeating Republican nominee Mitt Romney. [262]
Death of Hugo Chávez Venezuela 5 March 2013 Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez died at the age of 58 after governing the country for 14 years. [263]
Obergefell v. Hodges United States 26 June 2015 Same-sex marriage was legalised in all 50 U.S. states due to a landmark decision by the Supreme Court of the United States. [264]
2015 Canadian federal election Canada 19 October 2015 The Liberal Party, led by Justin Trudeau, won Canada's federal election, defeating the Conservative Party in the country's longest election in a century. [265]
2015 Argentine general election Argentina 22 November 2015 Cambiemos candidate and Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri became the President of Argentina, defeating Front for Victory candidate Daniel Scioli via ballotage by 51% of votes
2015 Venezuelan parliamentary election Venezuela 6 December 2015 The Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) won majority seats of the Venezuelan National Assembly, defeating the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and its wider alliance, the Great Patriotic Pole (GPP) for the first time since 1999. [266]
Impeachment of Dilma Rousseff Brazil 12 May 2016 The Brazilian Senate votes to open the impeachment process against President Dilma Rousseff and suspend her from office while the trial takes place, as the Vice President, Michel Temer, assumes the presidential powers and duties as Acting President of Brazil. [267]
2016 United States presidential election United States 8 November 2016 Republican nominee Donald Trump was elected the 45th President of the United States, defeating former U.S. Secretary of State and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. He became the first President without prior diplomatic or military experience. [268][269]
Death of Fidel Castro Cuba 25 November 2016 Former First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba and revolutionary leader Fidel Castro died at the age of 90. [270]
2017 Venezuelan constitutional crisis Venezuela 29 March 2017 The Supreme Tribunal of Justice of Venezuela took over legislative powers of the National Assembly and removed its members' immunity, most of whom belonged to the opposition. The decision was reversed a few days later following domestic and international condemnation of the court's actions. [271]
2017–present Peruvian political crisis Peru 15 September 2017–present Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski was impeached and later resigned. His successor Martín Vizcarra was removed by congress and appointed Vice President Mercedes Aráoz as interim president, moves that were largely seen as illegitimate. [272]
Inauguration of Miguel Díaz-Canel Cuba 19 April 2018 Miguel Díaz-Canel is sworn in as President of the State Council of Cuba, marking the first time since 1959 that Cuba has had a prime minister or a president other than Fidel or Raúl Castro.
2018 Mexican general election Mexico 1 July 2018 Andrés Manuel López Obrador won the historic Mexican general election, bringing the National Regeneration Movement for new prominence for the first time without any political rule like Institutional Revolutionary Party and National Action Party.
2018 Brazilian general election Brazil 28 October 2018 Jair Bolsonaro was elected President of Brazil, marking the first time that the country is ruled by the right since the start of the New Republic in 1985. The election also interrupted 4 victories of the Workers' Party in a row. [273]
Death of George H. W. Bush United States 30 November 2018 George H. W. Bush, former president of United States from 1989 to 1993. He also served as vice president, from 1981 to 1989, dies at the age of 94.
Venezuelan presidential crisis Venezuela 10 January 2019 On 10 January 2019, the opposition-majority National Assembly declared that incumbent Nicolás Maduro's 2018 reelection was invalid and declared its president, Juan Guaidó, to be acting president of the nation. Maduro's government states that the crisis is a "coup d'état led by the United States to topple him and control the country's oil reserves." [citation needed]
2019 Canadian federal election Canada 21 October 2019 Justin Trudeau, leader of the Liberal Party, is re-elected in Canada's federal election, albeit with a minority government. [274]
2019 Argentine general election Argentina 27 October 2019 Peronist candidate Alberto Fernández of Frente de Todos is elected President of Argentina, defeating President Mauricio Macri of Juntos por el Cambio by 48% of votes.
2019 Bolivian political crisis Bolivia 10 November 2019 Bolivian president Evo Morales resigns following 19 days of protests after the disputed 2019 Bolivian general election and following calls for his resignation by the military. [275]
First Impeachment of Donald Trump United States 18 December 2019 United States president Donald Trump is impeached by the House of Representatives on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. [276]
Miguel Díaz-Canel (left) with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in March 2015. Díaz-Canel became the first president of Cuba not to be of the Castro family since Osvaldo Dorticós
Donald Trump, former media personality, reality-TV celebrity and businessman, became president of the United States in 2017.


Event Country Date Description References
2010 Myanmar general election Myanmar 7 November 2010 Thein Sein was elected President of Myanmar, the first civilian President of the country since 1962. [277]
Death of Kim Jong-il North Korea 17 December 2011 Supreme Leader Kim Jong-il of North Korea died after governing the country for 17 years. His son, Kim Jong-un, succeeded him. [278]
2012 Japanese general election Japan 26 December 2012 The Liberal Democratic Party, led by Shinzō Abe, won a landslide victory in Japan's general election. [279]
North Korea and weapons of mass destruction North Korea 11 March 2013 The Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un of North Korea broke all peace pacts with South Korea and started a new nuclear weapons plan, inflaming tensions on the Korean Peninsula. [280]
2014 Indian general election India 12 May 2014 The Bharatiya Janata Party, led by Narendra Modi, won a landslide victory in India's general election, the first time a single party gained a majority on its own since 1984. [281]
2014 Indonesian presidential election Indonesia 9 July 2014 Joko Widodo won Indonesia's presidential election, becoming the first president not to be from the country's political elite or military. [282]
State visit by Pope Francis to the Philippines Philippines 15–19 January 2015 An estimated 6 to 7 million attended the Concluding Eucharistic Celebration in Manila on the Feast Day of Santo Niño de Cebú, ending the 5-day apostolic and state visit of Pope Francis in the Philippines, the largest papal crowd in history. [283]
Death of King Abdullah Saudi Arabia 23 January 2015 Abdullah, the King of Saudi Arabia from 2005 to 2015, died and was succeeded by King Salman. [284]
Death of Lee Kuan Yew Singapore 23 March 2015 Founding Prime Minister of Singapore who ruled from 1959 to 1990, highly regarded as the founding father of the nation, died from pneumonia at the age of 91. [285]
India–Bangladesh enclaves exchange India Bangladesh 6 June 2015 India and Bangladesh officially ratified their 1974 agreement to exchange enclaves along their border. [286]
2016 Taiwanese general election Taiwan 16 January 2016 Tsai Ing-wen was elected President of Taiwan, the first woman to hold the position. [287]
2016 Philippine presidential election Philippines 9 May 2016 Rodrigo Duterte was elected President of the Philippines. [288]
Death of Bhumibol Adulyadej Thailand 13 October 2016 Bhumibol Adulyadej, the King of Thailand from 1946 to 2016, died and was succeeded by his son, Vajiralongkorn. [289]
Impeachment of Park Geun-hye South Korea 10 March 2017 South Korean President Park Geun-hye is impeached by the Constitutional Court of Korea in a unanimous decision, terminating Park's presidency. South Korean Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn assumes power following the ruling. [290]
2017 South Korean presidential election South Korea 9 May 2017 Moon Jae-in was elected the 12th President of South Korea, originally scheduled to take place later in the year, the election was moved to early May following the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye. [291]
2018 Malaysian general election Malaysia 9 May 2018 The opposition-led Pakatan Harapan coalition, led by former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, secures a parliamentary majority in the Malaysian Parliament, ending the 61-year rule of the Barisan Nasional coalition and leading to the pardon of Anwar Ibrahim. [292][293]
2018 North Korea–United States Singapore Summit North Korea United States 12 June 2018 United States President and North Korea's Supreme Leader, Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, formally meet, the first time any leader of their respective countries met. [294]
Abdication of Muhammad V of Kelantan Malaysia 6 January 2019 Muhammad V of Kelantan abdicates the federal throne as the 15th monarch of Malaysia, making him the first Yang di-Pertuan Agong to do so. [295]
2019 North Korea–United States Hanoi Summit North Korea United States 27–28 February 2019 United States President and North Korea's Supreme Leader, Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, formally meet, the second time any leader of their respective countries met. [296]
2019 Kim–Putin meeting North Korea Russia 25 April 2019 North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un meets with Russian president Vladimir Putin on Russky Island after being invited to hold talks. [297]
Abdication of Akihito Japan 30 April 2019 Akihito, the Emperor of Japan from 1989 to 2019, abdicated and was succeeded by his son, Naruhito. [298]
2019–20 Persian Gulf crisis Iran United States 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. [299]
2019 Koreas–United States DMZ Summit South Korea North Korea United States 30 June 2019 United States President, North Korea's Supreme Leader and South Korea's President, Donald Trump, Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in, formally meet at an impromptu summit at the Korean Demilitarised Zone. The summit saw the first time a sitting U.S. president stepped into North Korea since the Korean War.
In 2013, China launched the ambitious Belt and Road infrastructure initiative, with over 150 countries announcing participation by the end of the decade.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump meet during the first North Korea–United States summit in Singapore, June 2018
Women to drive movement: Women's rights in Saudi Arabia made progress when women were allowed to drive in the kingdom in 2018.


Event Country Date Description References
Resignation of Silvio Berlusconi Italy 16 November 2011 The longest-serving Prime Minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi, resigned in November 2011, after a sexual allegation scandal, a financial crisis and public protests. The economist Mario Monti was appointed new Prime Minister, at the head of a technocratic cabinet. [300]
2012 Finnish presidential election Finland 22 January 2012 Sauli Niinistö was elected the President of Finland for a term from 1 March 2012 until 2018.[301][302]
Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II United Kingdom 6 February 2012 Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her Diamond Jubilee, which marked the 60th anniversary of her accession. [303]
2012 French presidential election France 22 April 2012 François Hollande was elected as the new President of France, becoming the first socialist president of the country in 17 years. [304]
Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and Papal inauguration of Pope Francis Vatican City 28 February – 19 March 2013 Benedict XVI resigned as pope, the first to do so since Gregory XII in 1415, and the first to do so voluntarily since Celestine V in 1294. On 13 March, after a papal conclave, Jorge Mario Bergoglio is inaugurated as Pope Francis, the first Jesuit pope, the first pope from the Americas, and the first non-European Pope in over 500 years. [305][306]
Death of Margaret Thatcher United Kingdom 8 April 2013 Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990, died. [307]
2013 Italian presidential election Italy 20 April 2013 Amid growing financial tensions, Italian President Giorgio Napolitano was re-elected, the first ever Italian president to be re-elected. Napolitano appointed Enrico Letta Prime Minister, at the head of a grand coalition. [308]
Annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation Ukraine 18 March 2014 Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine following an internationally unrecognised referendum on the status of the region. [309]
2014 Scottish independence referendum Scotland 18 September 2014 In a referendum called by the governing Scottish National Party, Scotland voted to remain in the United Kingdom, with 55.3% of votes against independence while 44.7% voted in favour. [310][311]
Abdication of Juan Carlos I of Spain Spain 19 June 2014 King Juan Carlos I of Spain abdicated in favour of his son, Felipe VI. [312]
2015 Irish constitutional referendums Republic of Ireland 23 May 2015 The Republic of Ireland voted to legalise same-sex marriage, becoming the first country to legalise same-sex marriage by popular vote. [313]
Adoption of the Paris Agreement United Nations 12 December 2015 A historic agreement aimed at keeping global warming below 2 °C compared to pre-industrial levels and reducing greenhouse gas emissions is adopted by all 195 UNFCCC member states. [314]
2016 United Kingdom European Union membership referendum United Kingdom 23 June 2016 In a referendum held in the United Kingdom on whether or not to continue being a member of the European Union, 52% of voters chose to leave it. Prime Minister David Cameron announced his resignation afterwards, being succeeded by Theresa May. [315][316]
2016 Austrian presidential election Austria 4 December 2016 Independent green Alexander Van der Bellen narrowly beat the far-right Freedom Party of Austria candidate Norbert Hofer in a repeat of the 2016 Austrian presidential election after the first election was annulled. [317]
2017 French presidential election France 7 May 2017 En Marche! candidate Emmanuel Macron was elected the President of France, replacing incumbent Hollande and defeating National Front candidate Marine Le Pen in the second round of voting. Macron is the youngest president in the history of the French Fifth Republic. [318]
Death of Helmut Kohl Germany 16 June 2017 Helmut Kohl, former Chancellor of Germany from 1982 to 1998 (of West Germany 1982–1990 and of the reunited Germany 1990–1998), dies at the age of 87. [319]
2017 Spanish constitutional crisis Spain 6 September 2017 Political conflict sparks between the Spanish and the Catalan governments over the 2017 Catalan independence referendum. It still went ahead, with 91% of voters supporting independence within Catalonia, with unionists and Spain opposing the vote. On 27 October, Catalonia declares independence from Spain but it is not recognised by any sovereign nation, while Madrid imposes direct rule for 6 months.[320] [321]
2018 Finnish presidential election Finland 28 January 2018 Finnish Presidential elections were held in Finland on 28 January 2018. Incumbent Sauli Niinistö won reelection for his second consecutive term in office with 62,6 % of the vote. for a term from 1 March 2018 until 2024.
2018 Italian general election Italy 4 March 2018 The centre-right alliance, in which the right-wing populist League emerged as the main political force, won a plurality of seats in the Chamber of Deputies and in the Senate, while the anti-establishment Five Star Movement became the party with the largest number of votes. After months of negotiations, the two populist parties, M5S and League, formed a government. [322][323]
2018 Russian presidential election Russia 18 March 2018 Presidential elections were held in Russia on 18 March 2018. Incumbent Vladimir Putin won reelection for his second consecutive (fourth overall) term in office with 77% of the vote. [324]
2019 European Parliament election European Union 23–26 May 2019 The first European Parliamentary election following the European migrant crisis and the vote for Brexit saw large anti-establishment gains by the Greens-European Free Alliance and by Right-Wing Eurosceptic Parties within Identity and Democracy and European Conservatives and Reformists, such as League in Italy, Alternative for Germany, and National Rally in France. Other populist gains were seen in the success of the Brexit Party in the United Kingdom and the Five Star Movement in Italy. [325]
2019 Conservative Party leadership election United Kingdom 7 June – 22 July 2019 The Conservative Party of the United Kingdom voted for Boris Johnson to be the party's new leader and prime minister following the resignation of Theresa May on 24 May 2019, the party's first contested leadership election since 2005. [326]
2019 United Kingdom general election United Kingdom 12 December 2019 After an extended period of political deadlock over how to proceed with leaving the European Union an early general election took place in the United Kingdom in which the pro-withdrawal Conservative party won a sizeable majority of seats effectively guaranteeing Brexit would take place in January the following year. [327]
28 February 2014: following the removal of pro-Russian Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych from office, Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine
Syrian and Iraqi refugees arriving in Greece. In the 2010s Europe had been severely affected by a huge migration from Africa and Middle East
Former President of Finland from 1982 to 1994. Funeral cortege of Mauno Koivisto in Helsinki, 2017

World leaders[edit]


Assassinations and attempts[edit]

Prominent assassinations, targeted killings, and assassination attempts include:

Date Description
8 January 2011 United States Federal judge John Roll and 5 others were killed and 13 more were injured in a shooting near Tucson. The apparent target, U.S. Representative Gabby Giffords, was critically injured in the head.[328]
2 May 2011 Osama bin Laden, the founder and leader of the militant Islamist group Al-Qaeda, was killed in a targeted killing in Abbottabad, Pakistan in an operation conducted by a team of United States Navy SEAL commandos.[329]
30 September 2011 Anwar al-Awlaki, a senior talent recruiter, planner and spiritual leader of al-Qaeda, was killed in a targeted killing in the northern al-Jawf province of Yemen, in a drone strike.[330]
20 October 2011 Muammar Gaddafi, leader of Libya, was shot to death in Sirte.[331]
4 September 2012 Pauline Marois, Premier-designate of Quebec, escaped death during her victory speech after Richard Henry Bain opened fire at the Metropolis in Montreal, killing one person and critically injuring another.[332]
9 October 2012 Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani women's rights activist, was the survivor of an assassination attempt by the Taliban in Pakistan.[333]
27 February 2015 Boris Nemtsov, Russian physicist, statesman and opposition politician, was assassinated on the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge, Central Moscow, Russia, within sight of the Kremlin.[334]
16 June 2016 Jo Cox, British MP, was shot and stabbed to death by a Neo-Nazi white supremacist[335] in Birstall, England. She was the first British MP assassinated in over a quarter of a century and the first female politician in Britain to be assassinated.[336]
19 December 2016 Andrei Karlov, the Russian ambassador to Turkey, was shot to death by an off duty police officer at an art gallery in Ankara.[337]
13 February 2017 Kim Jong-nam, eldest son of the late Kim Jong-il, was assassinated by two women in Malaysia with a VX nerve agent.[338]
14 June 2017 Steve Scalise, an American Congressman, is shot and injured during practice ahead of the annual Congressional Baseball Game in Alexandria, Virginia by a man who held grievances against the Republican party. Three others are also injured.[339]
4 March 2018 Sergei Skripal, a former Russian double agent, was poisoned alongside his daughter Yulia in the city of Salisbury with a Novichok agent.[340]
2 July 2018 Antonio Halili, Mayor of Tanauan, Batangas, was assassinated by an unidentified gunman while attending a flag raising ceremony together with around 300 government employees and newly elected barangay officials.[341]
2 October 2018 Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi Arabian dissident and journalist for The Washington Post, was assassinated in the Saudi Arabian consulate by the Saudi Government in Istanbul, Turkey in what is widely believed to have been ordered directly by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.[342][343][344]
13 January 2019 Paweł Adamowicz, Mayor of the city of Gdańsk, was stabbed during a live charity event in Gdańsk by a former inmate. He died the following day.[345]
27 October 2019 Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIL, was killed during a raid by U.S. special forces in northwestern Syria.[346]


Non-natural disasters[edit]


Event Date Country Description References
Ethiopian Airlines Flight 409 25 January 2010 Ethiopian Airlines Flight 409 crashed into the Mediterranean Sea shortly after take-off from Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport, killing all 90 people on board. [347]
2010 Polish Air Force Tu-154 crash 10 April 2010 Russia Polish President Lech Kaczyński and dozens of Polish government and military officials were among 96 people killed when their plane crashed near Smolensk, Russia. [348]
Afriqiyah Airways Flight 771 12 May 2010 Libya Afriqiyah Airways Flight 771 crashed on a runway at Tripoli International Airport in Libya, killing all but one of the 104 passengers and crew. [349]
Air India Express Flight 812 22 May 2010 India Air India Express Flight 812 overshot the runway at Mangalore International Airport in India, killing 158 people, with eight surviving. [350]
Airblue Flight 202 28 July 2010 Pakistan Airblue Flight 202 en route from Karachi to Islamabad crashed in the Margalla Hills near Islamabad, killing all 152 aboard, becoming the deadliest air crash in Pakistan's history. [351]
Dana Air Flight 992 3 June 2012 Nigeria Dana Air Flight 992 crashed in the Nigerian city of Lagos, killing all 153 people aboard. 10 people on the ground also perished. [352]
Asiana Airlines Flight 214 6 July 2013 United States Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crashed at San Francisco airport killing 3 and injuring 181 people. [353]
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 8 March 2014 Malaysia Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 vanished en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The bulk of the plane is still missing, with all 239 people on board presumed dead. The first remains of the aircraft were found on 29 July 2015, after they washed ashore on Réunion Island. [354][355]
Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 17 July 2014 Malaysia Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine and crashed near the Ukrainian-Russian border, killing all 298 people on board, making it the deadliest airliner shoot down in history. [356]
Air Algérie Flight 5017 24 July 2014 Mali Air Algérie Flight 5017 crashed in southern Mali, killing all 116 passengers and crew. [357]
Indonesia AirAsia Flight 8501 28 December 2014 Indonesia AirAsia Flight 8501 crashed in the Java sea after an attempt to avoid heavy thunderstorms, leaving all 162 people dead. [358]
Germanwings Flight 9525 24 March 2015 France Germanwings Flight 9525 crashed in the French Alps, killing all 150 on board. [359]
2015 Indonesian Air Force Lockheed C-130 Hercules crash 30 June 2015 Indonesia A Lockheed C-130 Hercules operated by the Indonesian Air Force crashed into a crowded residential neighbourhood in Medan shortly after take-off from Soewondo Air Force Base, killing 143 people including 22 on the ground, making it the deadliest crash in Indonesian Air Force peacetime history. [360]
Metrojet Flight 9268 31 October 2015 Egypt Metrojet Flight 9268, an Airbus A321 airliner en route to Saint Petersburg from Sharm el-Sheikh, crashes near Al-Hasana in Sinai, killing all 224 passengers and crew on board. [361]
LaMia Flight 2933 29 November 2016 Colombia A chartered Avro RJ85 plane carrying 77 people, including the Chapecoense football team, crashes near Medellín, Colombia. Six of the passengers survived. The 2016 Copa Sudamericana Finals were suspended, and Atlético Nacional, Chapecoense's to-be opponents, gave them the trophy out of respect. [362]
2016 Russian Defence Ministry Tupolev Tu-154 crash 25 December 2016 Russia A Tupolev Tu-154 crashes near Sochi, Russia, killing all 92 people on board, including 64 members of the Alexandrov Ensemble. [363]
Iran Aseman Airlines Flight 3704 18 February 2018 Iran Iran Aseman Airlines Flight 3704 crashes in the Zagros Mountains, en route from Tehran to Yasuj. All 65 passengers and crew members perish. [364]
Cubana de Aviación Flight 972 18 May 2018 Cuba Cubana de Aviación Flight 972 crashes shortly after take-off near José Martí International Airport in Havana, killing 112 and leaving only one survivor. [365]
Lion Air Flight 610 29 October 2018 Indonesia Lion Air Flight 610 crashes off the coast of Java, with 189 passengers on board. [366]
Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 10 March 2019 Ethiopia Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, a Boeing 737 MAX 8 bound for Nairobi, crashes shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa killing all 157 people on board. [367]
Aeroflot Flight 1492 5 May 2019 Russia Aeroflot Flight 1492 makes a hard landing, causing fire and partial destruction at Sheremetyevo International Airport, Moscow, killing 41 of the 78 people on board. [368]


Event Date Country Description References
2010 Copiapó mining accident 13 October 2010 Chile Thirty-three miners near Copiapó, Chile, were trapped 700 metres (2,300 feet) underground in a mining accident in San José Mine, before being rescued after surviving for a record 69 days. [369]
2013 Savar building collapse 24 April 2013 Bangladesh An eight-story factory building collapsed in the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, killing 1,129 people and injuring over 2,000 more, becoming the deadliest structural failure in history. [370]
2015 Tianjin explosions 12 August 2015 China Two explosions occurred within 30 seconds of each other at a container storage station at the Port of Tianjin in the Binhai New Area of Tianjin, China, killing at least 173. [371]
Mecca crane collapse 11 September 2015 Saudi Arabia A crane toppled over at Mecca, killing 111 people, weeks before the official Hajj pilgrimage. [372]
2015 Mina stampede 24 September 2015 Saudi Arabia A stampede during the Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, killed at least 2,236 people, making it the deadliest Hajj disaster in history. [373]
Bento Rodrigues dam disaster 5 November 2015 Brazil An iron ore tailings dam in Bento Rodrigues, a subdistrict of Mariana, Brazil, suffered a catastrophic failure, causing flooding and at least 17 deaths. At least 16 people have been injured. This incident has been described as the worst environmental disaster in Brazil's history. [374][375][376]
Tham Luang cave rescue 23 June – 10 July 2018 Thailand Twelve boys and their football coach are rescued from the flooded Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Thailand, following a 17-day ordeal that gained worldwide attention. [377][378]
Ponte Morandi Collapse 14 August 2018 Italy Part of the Morandi Bridge collapses after a violent storm in Genoa, Italy, causing 43 fatalities. Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio and transport minister Danilo Toninelli blame private company Autostrade per l'Italia. [379][380]
Tlahuelilpan pipeline explosion 18 January 2019 Mexico A gasoline pipeline exploded in the town of Tlahuelilpan, in the Mexican state of Hidalgo. The blast killed at least 135 people and injured dozens more. Mexican authorities blamed fuel thieves, who had illegally tapped the pipeline. [381]
2019 Xiangshui chemical plant explosion 21 March 2019 China A major explosion at a chemical plant in Xiangshui, Jiangsu, China, kills at least 64 people and injures more than 600 others. Its powerful impact registered as an artificial earthquake. [382]


Event Date Country Description References
Comayagua prison fire 14–15 February 2012 Honduras A fire at the National Penitentiary in Comayagua, Honduras killed 361 people. [383][384]
2012 Dhaka garment factory fire 24 November 2012 Bangladesh 117 people were confirmed dead in a garment factory fire, and over 200 were injured, making it the deadliest factory fire in the nation's history.
Kiss nightclub fire 27 January 2013 Brazil 242 people were killed in a fire at a nightclub in Santa Maria, Brazil. [385]
Colectiv nightclub fire 30 October 2015 Romania 64 people were killed in a fire at a nightclub in Bucharest, Romania.
Ghost Ship warehouse fire 2 December 2016 United States 36 were killed in an artists' live-and-work collective in an Oakland, CA accident due to substandard wiring.
Grenfell Tower fire 14 June 2017 United Kingdom A fire ignited by a faulty refrigerator in a London council estate tower block spread to almost the entirety of the building causing 72 deaths and over 70 injuries. [386][387]
2018 Kemerovo fire 25 March 2018 Russia 60 people die in a fire at a shopping and entertainment complex in the Russian city of Kemerovo. [388]
2018 Valencia, Venezuela fire 28 March 2018 Venezuela At least 78 people die in a fire in the police headquarters of Valencia, Venezuela. [389]
National Museum of Brazil fire 2 September 2018 Brazil A fire destroys the National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro. No one was injured, but 90 percent of the collection was destroyed. [390][391]
February 2019 Dhaka fire 20 February 2019 Bangladesh A major fire in Dhaka, Bangladesh kills at least 78 people. [392]
Notre-Dame de Paris fire 15 April 2019 France A major fire at the Notre-Dame Cathedral destroyed most of its roof, and its upper walls were severely damaged; extensive damage to the interior was prevented by its stone vaulted ceiling, which largely contained the burning roof as it collapsed. 3 injuries were reported, but there were no confirmed deaths. [393]


Event Date Country Description References
Costa Concordia disaster 13 January 2012 Italy The Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia hit a reef and partially capsized off the coast of Isola del Giglio, Italy, killing 32 people. [394]
Sinking of MV Sewol 16 April 2014 South Korea South Korean ferry MV Sewol capsized while en route to Jeju, killing 295 people, mostly secondary school students from Danwon High School. [395]
Sinking of Dongfang zhi Xing 1 June 2015 China The river cruise ship Dongfang zhi Xing capsized in the Yangtze River after being hit by a waterspout, killing 442 people, making it the deadliest maritime disaster in China's peacetime history. [396]
Sinking of MV Nyerere 20 September 2018 Tanzania The MV Nyerere capsizes on Lake Victoria, killing at least 227 passengers. [397]


Event Date Country Description References
Deepwater Horizon oil spill 20 April 2010 United States An explosion on BP's Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig, operating in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana, left eleven crewmen dead and resulted in a fire that sank the rig and caused a massive oil spill, becoming the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. [398][399]
Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster 11 March 2011 Japan A magnitude 9.0 earthquake off the coast of Sendai caused a tsunami that severely damaged the Fukushima Daiichi and Fukushima Daini nuclear power plants. The damage resulted in the worst nuclear disaster since the Chernobyl disaster, contaminating the entire area. [400][401]
Flint water crisis 25 April 2014 United States The U.S. city of Flint, Michigan's water source was changed from the treated Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to the Flint River, where officials had failed to apply corrosion inhibitors. This decision led to the water being contaminated by lead and eventual nationwide outrage about an alleged coverup. [402][403]

Natural disasters[edit]

Earthquakes and tsunamis[edit]

Event Date Country Description References
2010 Haiti earthquake 12 January 2010 Haiti A 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti, causing widespread destruction in Port-au-Prince. Haitian authorities believe that the disaster killed between 200,000 and 250,000 people and over three million more were affected by the quake. The earthquake was the deadliest disaster in the decade. [404][405]
2010 Chile earthquake 27 February 2010 Chile An 8.8 magnitude earthquake occurred in Chile, triggering a tsunami across the Pacific and killing 497. One of the largest earthquakes in recorded history, this rare megathrust earthquake likely shifted Earth's axis and slightly shortened its days. [406][407][408]
2010 Baja California earthquake 4 April 2010 Mexico A 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit Mexicali and Baja, killing three and injuring more than two hundred. US border towns in Imperial Valley, California were affected. [409]
2010 Yushu earthquake 13 April 2010 China A 6.9 magnitude earthquake occurred in western China, killing at least 2,200 and injuring more than 12,000. [410][411]
February 2011 Christchurch earthquake 22 February 2011 New Zealand A 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck Christchurch, New Zealand, killing 185 people. [412]
2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami 11 March 2011 Japan A 9.0 magnitude earthquake hit near Sendai, Japan. It created a 30 feet (9.1 m) high tsunami, leaving 15,893 dead, 2,565 missing and over 150,000 displaced. It was the largest earthquake to hit Japan in 140 years. [413][414][415]
2011 Van earthquake 23 October 2011 Turkey A 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck the Turkish city of Van, leaving over 604 dead and thousands more injured. [416]
April 2015 Nepal earthquake 25 April 2015 Nepal A massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nepal killed at least 8,857 people and injured tens of thousands more. It is the worst disaster to hit Nepal in decades. [417][418][419]
May 2015 Nepal earthquake 12 May 2015 Nepal A second major earthquake hit Nepal, measuring 7.3 on the moment magnitude scale, killing 218 more people. [420]
2016 Ecuador earthquake 16 April 2016 Ecuador A 7.8 earthquake struck near Muisne, Ecuador, killing over 673 people and displacing at least 25,000 more. [421]
August 2016 Central Italy earthquake 24 August 2016 Italy A 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck Central Italy near Norcia, 75 km (47 mi) southeast of Perugia and 45 km (28 mi) north of L'Aquila, in an area near the tripoint of the Umbria, Lazio, and Marche regions. At least 299 people were left dead. [422]
2017 Central Mexico earthquake 19 September 2017 Mexico A 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck near the city of Puebla. Coincidentally, it was also the 32nd anniversary of the 1985 Mexico City earthquake, which was commemorated with a national seismic alert drill, just two hours before the real earthquake struck, which left 360 dead and over 6,000 injured. [423]
2018 Sulawesi earthquake and tsunami 28 September 2018 Indonesia A magnitude 7.5 earthquake hits Sulawesi, Indonesia, causing a tsunami that kills at least 2,256 people and injures more than 540 others. [424]
2018 Sunda Strait tsunami 22 December 2018 Indonesia A tsunami hits the Sunda Strait, Indonesia after a volcanic eruption of Anak Krakatoa killing at least 430 people and injuring nearly 1,500. [425]
2019 Peru earthquake 26 May 2019 Peru An 8.0 magnitude earthquake struck in Loreto Region, Peru, killing 2 people and injures more than 30 others. [426]
2019 Albania earthquake 26 November 2019 Albania A 6.4 magnitude earthquake hits Albania near the cities of Durrës and Tirana, killing 51 people and injuring over 3,000 others. [427]

Tropical cyclones[edit]

Event Date Country Description References
Typhoon Megi 18 October 2010 Philippines Typhoon Megi, known in the Philippines as Super Typhoon Juan, hit the Philippines, killing at least 69 and causing US$709 million in damage. [428]
Hurricane Irene 22 August 2011 United StatesThe BahamasTurks and Caicos Islands Hurricane Irene, the first hurricane and major hurricane of the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season,

caused devastation on various islands in the Caribbean and the East Coast of the United States, killing 49 and causing almost $14.2 billion in damages.

Tropical Storm Washi 16 December 2011 Philippines Tropical Storm Washi, known in the Philippines as Tropical Storm Sendong, caused catastrophic damage on the Philippine island of Mindanao. More than 1,000 died and thousands were injured or missing. [429]
Hurricane Sandy 25 October 2012 Various Hurricane Sandy caused immense destruction in Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and the United States, leaving at least 233 dead. It became the largest Atlantic tropical storm ever. [430]


Typhoon Bopha 2 December 2012 Philippines Typhoon Bopha, known in the Philippines as Typhoon Pablo, struck the Philippines, killing at least 650 people and leaving millions more homeless. [432]
Typhoon Haiyan 7 November 2013 Philippines Typhoon Haiyan, known as Super Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines, hits the Philippines, killing at least 6,000 people, with a thousand more still missing, making it the deadliest typhoon to ever hit the Philippines. [433]
Hurricane Joaquin 28 September 2015 – 7 October 2015 United StatesCubaThe BahamasBermudaTurks and Caicos Islands Hurricane Joaquin was a powerful tropical cyclone that devastated several districts of the Bahamas and caused damage in the Turks and Caicos Islands, parts of the Greater Antilles, and Bermuda. [434]
Typhoon Melor 13 December 2015 Philippines Typhoon Melor, known in the Philippines as Typhoon Nona, hits the Philippines, killing 42 and causing $136 million in damages. [435][436]
Cyclone Winston 20 February 2016 Fiji Cyclone Winston struck Fiji, killing 44 people and causing $1.4 billion in damages, making it the costliest tropical cyclone in South Pacific history. [437]
Hurricane Matthew 28 September 2016 – 9 October 2016 United StatesCubaHaitiJamaicaDominican RepublicThe Bahamas Hurricane Matthew caused catastrophic damage and a humanitarian crisis in Haiti, as well as widespread devastation in the southeastern United States. The deadliest Atlantic hurricane since Hurricane Stan in 2005, it caused extensive damage to landmasses in the Greater Antilles, severe damage in several islands of the Bahamas and was responsible for 603 fatalities. [438]
Hurricane Harvey 23 August 2017 United States Hurricane Harvey slams into southeastern Texas after reorganising over the Gulf of Mexico, causing catastrophic flooding and billions in damages. It became the first major hurricane to make landfall in the United States since Hurricane Wilma in 2005. Total damage from the hurricane was estimated at $125 billion, making it the costliest natural disaster ever in the United States, tied with 2005's Hurricane Katrina. [439][440]
Hurricane Irma 30 August 2017 – 16 September 2017 Antigua and Barbuda

Cuba United States

Hurricane Irma, an extremely powerful and catastrophic Cape Verde-type hurricane, the strongest observed in the Atlantic since Wilma in 2005 in terms of maximum sustained winds. It was the first Category 5 hurricane to strike the Leeward Islands on record. The storm caused catastrophic damage in Barbuda, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin, Anguilla, and the Virgin Islands as a Category 5 hurricane. [441][442]
Hurricane Maria 16 September 2017 – 3 October 2017 Puerto RicoDominica Hurricane Maria is regarded as the worst natural disaster on record in Dominica, and caused catastrophic damage and a major humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico. The third costliest Atlantic hurricane to date, it caused catastrophic damage and thousands of fatalities across the northeastern Caribbean, compounding recovery efforts in areas still damaged from Hurricane Irma just two weeks prior. [443][444]
Typhoon Mangkhut 15 September 2018 Philippines Typhoon Mangkhut, known in the Philippines as Typhoon Ompong, hits northern Luzon, triggering deadly landslides and killing at least 95 people. [445][446]
Hurricane Michael 7 October 2018 – 16 October 2018 United StatesCuba Hurricane Michael was the first Category 5 hurricane to strike the contiguous United States since Andrew in 1992. In addition, it was the third-most intense Atlantic hurricane to make landfall in the contiguous United States in terms of pressure, behind the 1935 Labor Day hurricane and Hurricane Camille of 1969. It was the first Category 5 hurricane on record to impact the Florida Panhandle, and was the fourth-strongest landfalling hurricane in the contiguous United States, in terms of wind speed. Michael was responsible for 74 deaths. [447]
Hurricane Dorian 24 August 2019 – 10 September 2019 The Bahamas United States Hurricane Dorian was one of the strongest Atlantic hurricanes in years, and also is tied as the strongest landfalling Atlantic hurricane since the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane. Dorian also became the worst natural disaster in all of the Bahamas' history, killing over 73 people and causing over US$4.68 billion in damage, with US$3.4 billion of damage in The Bahamas alone after the storm stalled over Grand Bahama at incredible Category 5 intensity. The storm also caused 1.2 billion dollars of damage in the United States after making landfall near Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. [448]


Event Date Country Description References
2011 Super Outbreak 25–28 April 2011 United StatesCanada A tornado outbreak in the United States and Canada killed 324 people across six states. At 360 tornadoes, it was the largest and one of the deadliest tornado outbreaks in United States history. [449]
21–26 May 2011 tornado outbreak sequence 21 May 2011 United States Another U.S. tornado outbreak took place over six days. 178 people were killed, most of which occurred in Joplin, Missouri after an EF5 tornado swept through the city, killing 158 people and injuring at least 1,150. [450]
2019 Nepal tornado 31 March 2019 Nepal A tornado struck the Bara and Parsa districts of Nepal, killing 28 and injuring 1,176 people. It is the first officially recorded tornado in Nepalese history. [451]

Floods, avalanches, and mudslides[edit]

Event Date Country Description References
2010 Pakistan floods July 2010 Pakistan Flooding occurred in Pakistan after record monsoon rains, killing at least 1,600 people, thousands were rendered homeless, and more than thirteen million people were affected. Estimates from rescue service officials suggest the death toll might have reached 3,000. [452][453][454]
January 2011 Rio de Janeiro floods and mudslides 11 January 2011 Brazil Floods and mudslides killed 903 people across the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. [455][456]
2013 Alberta floods 19 June 2013 Canada Massive flooding occurred in Alberta, becoming the province's worst flooding in decades. [457]
2014 Southeast Europe floods 13–27 May 2014 Serbia

Bosnia and Herzegovina



Between 13 and 18 May 2014 a low pressure cyclone designated "Tamara" and "Yvette" affected a large area of Southeastern and Central Europe, causing floods and landslides. Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina suffered the greatest damage as the rain was the heaviest in 120 years of recorded weather measurements. At least 86 people were killed and hundreds of thousands had been forced from their homes. Assessments of damage range up to 3.5 billion euros for Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
2015 Afghanistan avalanches 24 February 2015 Afghanistan An avalanche killed 310 people and wounded over 129 in Panjshir Province, Afghanistan. [458]
2015 South Indian floods 8 November 2015 India Heavy rainfall generated by the annual northeast monsoon affected the Coromandel Coast region of the South Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. More than 500 people were killed and over 1.8 million people were displaced. With estimates of damages and losses ranging from nearly ₹200 billion (US$3 billion) to over ₹1 trillion (US$14 billion), the floods were the costliest to have occurred in 2015, and were among the costliest natural disasters of the year. [459]

Volcanic eruptions[edit]

Event Date Country Description References
2010 eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull 20 March 2010 Iceland Eruptions of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland caused unprecedented disruption to international air travel, rendering transatlantic flight impossible and closing airways across much of Europe. The event was the largest air traffic shut-down since World War II. [460]
2010 eruptions of Mount Merapi Early November 2010 Indonesia Mount Merapi erupted in Indonesia, killing 353 people and grounding flights across Southeast Asia, becoming the largest eruption from the mountain in a century.
2018 lower Puna eruption 3 May 2018 United States A lava flow erupted in Hawai'i from Kīlauea's east rift zone, causing much damage and resulting in evacuation orders.
2018 Volcán de Fuego eruption 3 June 2018 Guatemala Volcán de Fuego erupted in Guatemala, killing at least 190 people, the deadliest eruption in Guatemala since 1929.
2019 Whakaari/White Island eruption 9 December 2019 New Zealand Whakaari/White Island, an active stratovolcano off the east coast of New Zealand's North Island, erupted, killing 20 people. [461]

Droughts, heat waves, and wildfires[edit]

Event Date Country Description References
2011–17 California drought December 2011 – March 2017 United States The state of California suffered through a water drought for the most part of the decade, affecting the way how Californians showered, use their drinking water, and even some of their electricity. [462]
2015 Indian heat wave 24 May 2015 India A heatwave in Southern India resulted in over 2,500 deaths. [463]
2015 Pakistani heat wave 20 June 2015 Pakistan A related heatwave hit neighbouring Pakistan, killing over 2,000 people in Karachi alone. [463]
2016 Fort McMurray wildfire 1 May 2016 Canada A wildfire began southwest of Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. On 3 May, it swept through the community, destroying more than 2,400 homes and buildings and forcing the largest wildfire evacuation in Alberta's history. The wildfire is the costliest disaster in Canadian history. [464][465]
2018 Camp Fire 8–25 November 2018 United States A wildfire began in Northern California that eventually became the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history to date. It was also the deadliest wildfire in the United States since the Cloquet fire in 1918, and among the list of deadliest wildfires, it was the sixth-deadliest U.S. wildfire overall, killing 85 people and injuring 17. [466][467]
2019 Amazon rainforest wildfires January 2019 – October 2019 Brazil Bolivia
Peru Paraguay
The 2019 wildfires season saw an unusual surge in the number of fires occurring in the Amazon rainforest and other parts of the Amazon biome contained within the countries of Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Peru during the 2019 Amazonian tropical dry season. [468][469]
2019–20 Australian bushfires August 2019 – June 2020 Australia The 2019 Australian bushfire season arrived in the wake of heavy droughts across the country, with fires covering the east coast including the metropolitan confines of Sydney. There were 34 direct fatalities and hundreds of properties destroyed. Subsequent smoke covered the city of Sydney and Melbourne, causing toxic air pollution. [470][471][472][473]


Greece and Eurozone's rise of debt in the early years of the decade
The weighted capital city residential property price index, produced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, since 2003
A man and a delivery robot waiting at a pedestrian crossing in Redwood City, California, United States. E-commerce spurred advancements in drone delivery and transformed parts of the services and retail sectors
A poster used during the Occupy Wall Street movements with the phrase "We are the 99%". The movement was against the economic inequality and the influence of money in politics. US President Barack Obama claimed the movement would help "Americans express their frustrations", while Vice President Joe Biden remarked that "The middle class has been screwed."

The global economy during the 2010s was generally strong. It saw steady growth, low unemployment, and increasing consumer confidence. The decade ended with a strong finish, with 2019 seeing record highs in many areas. A sovereign-debt crisis in Europe began in early 2010, and the Greek government admitted that it was having difficulties servicing its large sovereign debt. In the summer and fall of 2011, bond yields for Italy and Spain spiked above 6 percent.[474] By 2015 bond rates had returned to normal ranges across Europe, save for Greece, which accepted another, even more stringent bailout package. The size of the European Financial Stability Facility was increased from €440 billion to €2 trillion.[475] Despite the Eurozone debt crisis, the American Dow Jones Industrial Average had its longest stretch of gains since the late 1990s tech boom.[476] However, economic issues, including inflation and an increase in commodity prices, sparked unrest in many lower-income countries. In some countries, particularly those in the Arab world, political unrest evolved into socioeconomic crises, resulting in the Arab Spring.

As a result of the global recession, many central banks instituted a zero interest-rate policy, or close to it.[477] Another form of monetary stimulus was that of quantitative easing. The resulting flood of market liquidity caused a rise in asset prices.[478] As a result, for example, United States stock prices reached record highs.[479] Another consequence has been the rise in housing prices in many major world cities.[480] Some of the cities which recorded the most dramatic rises included Sydney, San Francisco, Vancouver, and Auckland.[481]

In 2010, China became the second largest global economy, surpassing Japan.[482] Japan also saw a rating downgrade the following year due to debt burden.[483] In August 2011, the S&P downgraded the United States' credit rating from triple AAA to AA-plus following a debt ceiling crisis.[484] Also in 2011, a Gallup poll found that more than half of Americans believed the country was still in a recession.[485] In June 2015, the Shanghai Stock Exchange lost a third of the value of A-shares within one month, an event known as the 2015–16 Chinese stock market turbulence. India became the fastest growing major economy of the world in 2015, surpassing China.[486] In 2018, as the U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates, fears of a yield curve inversion preceding a potential U.S. recession sent inflation higher in several emerging markets, including Argentina, where interest rates hit 40% and an International Monetary Fund bail out was issued.[487] In 2019, Singapore supplanted the United States as the world's most competitive economy, with the U.S. dropping to third, behind Hong Kong.[488]

Global oil production in 2014 reached a historic peak, reaching 93 million barrels/day.[489] In 2018, partially due to a shale boom, the United States overcame Russia and Saudi Arabia in becoming the world's largest crude oil producer, the first time since 1973.[490] Around the year 2017 is a period seen by some economists as being the new peak of a "goldilocks economy".[491] The International Monetary Fund's April 2019 World Economic Outlook stated, "After peaking at close to 4 percent in 2017, global [economic] growth remained strong, at 3.8 percent in the first half of 2018, but dropped to 3.2 percent in the second half of the year."[492]

In 2018, United States President Donald Trump announced he would put into place new tariffs on some Chinese products, starting the 'US-China Trade War', an economic conflict involving the world's two largest economies. Trump said the reasoning for the trade war is to punish China for 'unfair' trade practices, such as the appropriation of jobs and the theft of American intellectual property. China responded with tariffs of its own, and a cycle began, escalating the conflict to the situation faced today. As part of his 'America First' policy, Trump also announced new tariffs were being placed on countries around the world for various products such as steel and aluminium, which has drawn some economic retaliation.

By the end of the decade, in North American and some Western European domestic economies, consumer-level purchasing habits had shifted significantly, a partial consequence of the Great Recession's impact on discretionary incomes and a shifting breadwinner model. The so-called "retail apocalypse" had commenced as consumers increasingly resorted to online shopping and e-commerce, accelerating the decline of brick-and-mortar retail and the continued decline of indoor shopping malls. The transitioning retail industry and popularity of online shopping facilitated economic phenomena such as bricks and clicks business models, pop-up and non-store retailing, drone delivery services, ghost restaurants, and a quickly maturing online food ordering and delivery service sector.[493][494] This was only further perpetuated by the rise in cryptocurrency throughout the decade, such as Bitcoin. By May 2018, over 1,800 cryptocurrency specifications existed.[495]

In the same vein as cryptocurrency, the trend towards a cashless society continued as non-cash transactions and digital currency saw an increase in favourability in the 2010s. By 2016, only about 2 percent of the value transacted in Sweden was by cash, and only about 20 percent of retail transactions were in cash. Fewer than half of bank branches in the country conducted cash transactions.[496] A report published during the final year of the decade suggested that the percentage of payments conducted in cash in the United Kingdom had fallen to 34% from 63% ten years earlier.[497] The 2016 United States User Consumer Survey Study claimed that 75 percent of respondents preferred a credit or debit card as their payment method while only 11 percent of respondents preferred cash.[498]

Science and technology[edit]

Two of the most prominent deaths in the scientific community during the decade were Neil Armstrong in 2012 and Stephen Hawking in 2018.

Below are the most significant scientific developments of each year, based on the annual Breakthrough of the Year award of the American Association for the Advancement of Science journal Science.


Applications such as Wii Street U merged the world of video games and technology.
3D printed model of a human liver

Robotics, particularly drones like quadcopters, experienced a wide use and application in the 2010s. Autonomous and electric car technology and sales showed considerable growth as well. In addition, sustainable space launch technologies were spearheaded by entrepreneurs like Elon Musk. Video Games began to merge hand in hand with technology as seen in applications like Wii Street U, an app which used Google Street View and the Nintendo Wii U to examine the cities of the world, streets, and addresses on a virtual globe. In 2016, the number of people globally using mobile devices to access the internet overtook those using desktop computers for the first time, having been preceded by the U.S. two years prior in 2014.[510][511][512][513][514] 3D printers also emerged in the 2010s and were referenced or used in pop culture during the decade.

In 2018, during the Falcon Heavy test flight, the first production car was launched into space. The car was attached to the Falcon Heavy rocket, the most powerful rocket in operation at the time.

Cyber security and hacking[edit]

Cyber security incidents, such as hacking, leaks or theft of sensitive information, gained increased attention of governments, corporations and individuals.

Edward Snowden, former NSA employee who revealed a large number of global surveillance programs.
Jürgen Mossack, co-founder of Mossack Fonseca, which shut down in light of revelations from the Panama Papers.
Event Date Description
Afghan War documents leak 25 July 2010 WikiLeaks published more than 90,000 internal U.S. military logs of the War in Afghanistan. The documents revealed numerous cover-ups and absence of trials for captured or killed Taliban members by the coalition.[515]
Stuxnet August 2010 A malicious computer worm was responsible for causing substantial damage to Iran's nuclear program. Although neither country has admitted responsibility, the worm is now generally acknowledged to be a jointly built American-Israeli cyberweapon.[516]
Iraq War documents leak 22 October 2010 WikiLeaks disclosed nearly 392,000 U.S. Army field reports of the Iraq War, the largest leak in the history of the U.S. military. It documented multiple cases of misconduct, abuse of power against civilians and other war crimes by U.S. authorities in the country.[517]
The Offshore leaks April 2013 A report disclosed details of 130,000 offshore accounts, with some observers calling it one of the biggest hit against international tax fraud of all time. The report originated from the Washington D.C. investigative journalism nonprofit, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).[518]
Global surveillance disclosures (2013–present) 5 June 2013 Edward Snowden leaked files through the Guardian newspaper detailing National Security Agency (NSA) privacy policies, including PRISM, the NSA call database, and Boundless Informant.[519]
Office of Personnel Management data breach 5 June 2015 The Office of Personnel Management of the U.S. government announced that it was hacked, resulting in a massive data breach, stealing information of around 21.5 million people.[520] The attack was suspected to have originated from China but it remains unclear if it was or not.[521]
2016 Bangladesh Bank heist 4 February 2016 The Bangladesh Bank became a victim of theft after hackers attempted to steal US$951 Million from its account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.[522] The hackers failed to steal the attempted amount but still got away with $81 million, which was diverted to the Philippines, making it one of the largest bank heists in history.[523]
Panama Papers 3 April 2016 11.5 million confidential documents were leaked from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca that detailed financial and attorney–client information of more than 214,488 offshore companies. The leaks revealed information of various prominent figures being involved in hidden financial dealings within tax havens and companies doing business with terrorist organisations and governments under international sanctions.[524]
Yahoo! data breach 22 September 2016 Yahoo Inc. reported that account information for up to 500 million users in 2014 had been hacked, compromising personal data from the accounts, including names, addresses, passwords, telephone numbers and possibly encrypting other information.[525]
October 2016 Dyn cyberattack 21 October 2016 A currently unknown attacker launches multiple distributed denial-of-service (DDos) attacks on networks operated by DNS provider Dyn, making numerous sites difficult or impossible to access for a period of time, including Twitter, Reddit, Netflix, Spotify, The New York Times, BBC News, and PayPal. The Department of Homeland Security opens an investigation.[526]
WannaCry ransomware attack 12 May 2017 A large cyberattack infected more than 230,000 computers in 150 countries, demanding ransom payments in the cryptocurrency bitcoin in 28 languages. The attack spread by multiple methods, including phishing emails and on unpatched systems as a computer worm. The attack was described by Europol as unprecedented in scale, affecting large companies such as Telefónica and parts of Britain's National Health Service.[527]
Paradise Papers 5 November 2017 A set of 13.4 million confidential electronic documents relating to offshore investments. The documents originate from the offshore law firm Appleby, the corporate services providers Estera and Asiaciti Trust, and business registries in 19 tax jurisdictions. At 1.4 terabytes in size, this is second only to the Panama Papers, it is the second biggest data leak in history.[528]

Health and society[edit]

AIDS, a pandemic responsible for killing over 30 million people since its discovery in the early 1980s, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, became a treatable condition, though by the end of the decade only two cases had been cured.[529] With good treatment patients can generally expect normal lives and lifespans. However, as of 2011 only some 5 million of the 12 million affected people had access to such treatment.[530]

During the 2010s, social changes included increases in life expectancy and falling birth rates leading to larger proportions of the population being elderly. This put pressure on pensions and other social security programs in developed nations. The environment became a topic of greater public concern around the world.[531] Many parts of the world moved towards greater acceptance of LGBT people often including the legalisation of same-sex marriage. The internet took an ever greater role in entertainment, communication, politics and commerce, especially for younger people and those living in wealthier countries. In 2011, the world population reached seven billion people.[532]

Popular culture[edit]

The most prominent events and trends in popular culture of the decade (particularly in the Anglosphere) include:


Rihanna was a fashion icon of the era

Fashion of the 2010s became slimmer-fit and slightly more formal compared to previous decades. In addition, people's handheld devices such as cellphones (and their colorful cases), selfie sticks (for a brief period during the middle of the decade), tech-like Beats headphones, smart watches, wired and by the end of the decade wireless ear-buds, as well as handheld gaming systems became more prevalent personal items. The decade was also defined by new hipster fashion (hipster styles were marked by the wearing of knit beanies, checkered shirts, and clothes from thrift stores; as well as hobbies like horticulture, photography, and specialty coffee) athleisure, and a revival of austerity-era and other nostalgic alternative fashion trends (such as 1980s-style neon streetwear and unisex 1990s-style elements influenced by grunge).

In 2018, a subculture of "e-kids" came into existence, whom took their style from Japanese street fashion, cosplay, skater aesthetic, and other pieces of pop culture. In contrast to the colorful subculture of "e-kids" later in the decade, the early 2010s saw the Emo revival.

Political fashion became a genre of fashion starting around 2016, as people wore hats like MAGA hats (popularized by political outsider, prior TV-star and businessman President Donald Trump), as well as the Pussyhat. These two pieces of fashion wear would be popularized in the 2010s in popular culture on television and further, but would become controversial in their own right.

The decade sparked many smaller fashion movements, notable examples including Cottagecore and Normcore (a notable icon of Normcore in the 2010s was Steve Jobs, whom represented the decade's casual clothing). To a lesser extent objects like the Fidget spinner, Silly Bandz, and Shutter shades remained popular among youth throughout the decade.


The Internet grew from covering 28.9% to 54% of the world population.[533]

Over the course of the 2010s, Baidu, Twitter and Instagram emerged to become among the top 10 most visited websites (becoming the 4th, 6th and 8th most popular websites by the end of the decade), while Wikipedia went the 9th to 5th most popular website, almost septupling its monthly visits (from 1 to 5.7 billion). Meanwhile, Yahoo significantly declined in popularity, descending from being the 1st to 9th most popular site, with monthly visits declining by two-thirds (going from 11.6 to 3.9 billion). Google, Facebook, YouTube and Yandex maintained relatively consistent popularity and remained within the top 10 throughout the decade.[534]


Superhero films became box office leaders, especially with the Marvel Cinematic Universe whose Avengers: Endgame became the second highest-grossing film of all time, grossing over $2.7 billion worldwide. Horror film It, which was based on the novel of the same name by Stephen King, became the highest-grossing horror film of all time. [535] Motion capture grew in terms of its realism and reach, and was seen in movies like Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One, a film which was praised for its visual effects.[536] The decade also saw the release of many popular and critically acclaimed films of many genres such as The Social Network, Her, 12 Years a Slave, Boyhood, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, The Edge of Seventeen, The Fault in Our Stars, The Wolf of Wall Street, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Easy A, 21 Jump Street, La La Land, Eighth Grade, Steve Jobs, Lady Bird, Green Book, Moonlight, Get Out, Parasite, Love, Simon, The Irishman, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and Uncut Gems.

The critically acclaimed movies of the 2010s mentioned above set new precedents. Movies like Boyhood (2014) were filmed over the span of a decade in real time to show the growth and childhood of a young boy, and Uncut Gems (2019) brought Adam Sandler back to a wide screen release and was critically acclaimed, while teenage movies like The Edge of Seventeen (2016), Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015) and The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012) gained large popularity. Her (2013) became Spike Jonze's highest grossing and most critically acclaimed movie, noted for its filming locations and art direction, Parasite (2019) became the first foreign film to win best picture, and movies like Ready Player One (2018) helped advance motion capture technologies (winning two Outstanding Achievement Awards from the Visuals Effects Society and a Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film), in addition to becoming one of Spielberg's highest-grossing films.

2019's Joker became the first R rated movie to gross over $1 billion and cemented itself in popular culture by making the Joker Stairs famous at the end of the decade. In January 2010, James Cameron's Avatar surpassed $1 billion in sales, becoming the first movie of the decade to do so, and surpassed $2 billion in sales by February 2010. The following year, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 became one of the fastest grossing films of all time, and became the highest-grossing film of 2011.


The 2010s decade is often said to be a part of the Golden Age of Television, due to the widespread quality of multiple shows, as well as advancements in technology leading to streaming, cable television, and online outlets bringing this quality and quantity of programming.

Cable providers saw a decline in subscriber numbers as cord-cutting viewers switched to lower-cost online streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu.[537] On cable television, as well as streaming services, a variety of shows gained popularity. Newer adult animation grew rapidly throughout the decade with shows such as Rick and Morty (which became a phenomenon among Millennials and Generation Z, the show growing a dedicated fanbase and cult following), F Is for Family, BoJack Horseman, Bob's Burgers, among many others. Nickelodeon brought back three classic Nicktoons; Hey Arnold! (Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie), Rocko's Modern Life (Rocko's Modern Life: Static Cling, which was themed around late 2010s culture), and Invader Zim (Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus) near the end of the decade, turning them into reboot films. Cartoon Network also brought back shows such as Mad, The Powerpuff Girls, and Johnny Bravo, while adult animation like Family Guy, Futurama, South Park, The Simpsons, Robot Chicken, and 2011's Beavis and Butt-Head remained popular. Anime broadened it's appeal worldwide with shows such as Attack on Titan, Mob Psycho 100, Sailor Moon Crystal, One Punch Man, My Hero Academia, and JoJo's Bizzarre Adventure, as well Japanese reality shows like Terrace House: Boys & Girls in the City reached new and international audiences. Adventure Time, The Loud House (which featured one boy and ten sisters and later turned into a live-action series), Regular Show, Steven Universe, Phineas and Ferb, Gravity Falls, The Amazing World of Gumball, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (which, under its G4 status, became a pop culture phenomenon in its own right, thanks to its controversial, but loyal cult following known as 'Bronies' who peaked in 2012–2015), Arthur, SpongeBob SquarePants were among other cartoons that were popular during the decade. SpongeBob SquarePants also made headlines for the petition and attempts to get "Sweet Victory" played at the 2019 Super Bowl after the passing of its series creator Stephen Hillenburg. The comedy sitcom The Big Bang Theory ran for the entirety of the decade, and was the number-one television sitcom for all of its airing prior to its finale in 2019. Other sitcoms like Curb Your Enthusiasm, Will & Grace, The Office, Scrubs: Med School, Netflix's Trailer Park Boys and its Out Of The Park: USA and Europe specials and How I Met Your Mother narrated by Bob Saget (HIMYM of which gained controversy for its 2014 finale, "Last Forever", which sparked an alternate finale to be created for the show, a television-first) were popular in the 2010s. Cult shows like the dark comedy It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia carried its popularity from the 2000s and lasted through the entirety of the 2010s. CBS's Two Broke Girls began its run in 2011 (ending in 2017), its pilot being the highest watched on the network in a decade. In 2011, Charlie Sheen was fired from Two and a Half Men, who made his last appearance in the show in Season 8 during February 2011. Sheen's 2011 outbursts and firing from the show were highly publicized.[538] The Apprentice was a reality television show that starred media personality and businessman Donald Trump as host until 2015, at which time resigning as host Trump would use the success he gained on The Apprentice to run for President of the United States; which he was elected to in 2016. Additionally, programs such as The Celebrity Apprentice, Comedy Central's The Roast Of Donald Trump, and Donald Trump's November 2015 hosting of Saturday Night Live, would send the reality TV star and businessman into the spotlight to help win the U.S. presidency. Governor in the early 2010s and movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger took Trump's place on The Celebrity Apprentice. Indian sitcom Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah became the world's longest-running sitcom, with over 2,500 episodes,[539][540] and dramas like Breaking Bad (2008–2013), The Walking Dead (2010–2022), Game of Thrones (2011–2019) and the Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul (2015–2022) became some of the most popular American television series of all time.

A new era of family television and tween television existed in the 2010s, sitcoms of which were mainly spearheaded by Disney and Nickelodeon, but also appeared on cable channels such as ABC (The Middle and The Goldbergs for example) and on streaming services like Netflix. Shows such as Nickelodeon's iCarly and Victorious, and Disney's Girl Meets World were notable examples of popular shows among tween and youth throughout the 2010s. Stranger Things gained a massive following during the decade among teen and youth, and 2019's Stranger Things 3 gained even more recognition for the character of Robin Buckley, who was popularized online. The short-lived 2018 version of Roseanne (a family sitcom on ABC) gained attention for the firing of its main star Roseanne Barr and her outbursts.

Reality television grew an increased following during the decade. Kitchen Nightmares and Hotel Hell gained popularity on cable television, as well as getting millions of views on YouTube, making Gordon Ramsay famous. America's Got Talent drew in viewers when radio personality Howard Stern announced his joining of the show in late 2011, staying as host until 2015. Meanwhile, popular reality programming on ABC included What Would You Do?, Shark Tank and The Bachelor. Corinne Olympios also gained recognition on the 2017 season of The Bachelor for her behavior on set. American Idol remained popular into the beginning of the decade, as did The Voice. Impractical Jokers flourished throughout the 2010s, gaining exposure on YouTube and elsewhere. TMZ became a popular television show and news source in the 2010s on cable television and YouTube respectively. A genre of pawn shows emerged like Pawn Stars and Hardcore Pawn.

Science fiction television gained a renewed sense of interest, thanks in part to Seth MacFarlane's The Orville and its second season which aired on Fox between 2017 and 2019, inspired by and parading the Star Trek franchise. Black Mirror and Westworld also gained a large following, and science nonfiction such as Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey joined the lineup on Fox.


The video streaming website YouTube became popular, especially among younger people, as memes shifted the meaning of entertainment. Memes like Nyan Cat, Dat Boi, "We Are Number One", Trollface, Pepe the Frog, Bottle flipping, Bernie Sanders' Dank Meme Stash, Condescending Wonka, Creepypastas and others emerged on YouTube; the use of YouTube and the internet also lead to new and popular vernacular like: poggers, bae, Netflix and chill, and "on fleek". Channels like Fred Figglehorn (FRED), The Annoying Orange, Smosh, PewDiePie and Angry Video Game Nerd attracted millions of views, channels and videos becoming viral on the site. The popularity of YouTubers even ended up spawning films based on popular YouTubers, including Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie (2014), Smosh: The Movie (2015), and the Fred Trilogy (2010–2012) starting with Fred: The Movie. These YouTubers became well known through comedic skits, video game reviews, and "Let's Play" videos, as Angry Video Game Nerd reviewed games like Sonic The Hedgehog for the Xbox 360, and Life of Black Tiger for the PlayStation 4, which AVGN reviewed in a video featuring Gilbert Gottfried, Smosh would upload skits like "FOOD BATTLE" and Pewdiepie would play games such as Five Nights at Freddy's.[541][542]

Other YouTubers that constantly received views within the millions or went viral during the decade included the likes of bill wurtz for his "history of japan" and "history of the entire world i guess" videos (and music like "and the day goes on"), Swoozie, Etika (and his fanbase the "JOYCONBOYZ"), h3h3Productions, Fine Brothers Entertainment, Domics, The Joe Rogan Experience, Nardwuar, The Nostalgia Critic, Scott the Woz, and TheOdd1sOut, among many others. YouTube itself would even end up banning controversial content creators like LeafyIsHere during the decade.


Adele (left) and Taylor Swift were two of the highest-selling musical artists of the decade, pictured here in 2016 and 2019 respectively.

Globalism and an increased demand for variety and personalisation in the face of music streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music created many new subgenres. US digital music sales topped CD sales in 2012.[543] Dance, hip-hop, and pop music surged in the 2010s,[544] with hip-hop and R&B surpassing rock as the biggest US music genre in 2018.[545] At the beginning of the decade in 2010, musicians like Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, Taylor Swift, Rihanna and Nicki Minaj (with their successful albums The Fame Monster, My World 2.0, Teenage Dream, Doo-Wops & Hooligans, Speak Now, Loud and Pink Friday respectively) increased the global commercial appeal of pop music, with each of them selling over 100 million records in the 2010s and becoming some of the best-selling musicians of all time. Electronic dance music (EDM) achieved mass commercial success in the middle of the decade but fell somewhat into decline by the end.[546][547] The mass global appeal of EDM music (and subgenres such as dubstep, electro house and trap) from the early-to-mid part of the decade spawned the rise in fame of DJs and digital music producers, such as Skrillex, Tiësto, Avicii, Steve Aoki, Deadmau5, Calvin Harris, Baauer and Diplo. Country music also saw a resurgence throughout the 2010s in the United States, with artists like Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood, Eric Church, Kacey Musgraves, Chris Stapleton and Florida Georgia Line topping the charts and garnering many music industry awards. With the rise of the internet in the 2010s, independent music (or "indie music") gained a large international cult following, with successful indie bands being Foster the People, Dr. Dog, Tally Hall, Florence and The Machine, Beach House, alt-J, Of Monsters and Men, The National, Two Door Cinema Club, and M83; as well as successful indie solo artists being Tame Impala, Neil Cicierega, St. Vincent, Father John Misty, Ellie Goulding, Feist, Sufjan Stevens, Lana Del Rey, Justin Vernon and Lorde.

Billboard named Drake the top artist of the decade in the US.[548][note 2] Other popular musical solo artists of the 2010s included Adele, Ed Sheeran, Beyoncé, Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, The Weeknd, Frank Ocean, Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, Khalid, Sam Smith, Travis Scott, Cardi B, Future, Shawn Mendes, Post Malone, Kesha, Selena Gomez and Fetty Wap. [548] Popular musical groups of the decade included One Direction, BTS, Imagine Dragons, Mumford & Sons, Arcade Fire, Twenty One Pilots, Migos, Swedish House Mafia, Bon Iver, Zac Brown Band, Maroon 5, Alabama Shakes, The Chainsmokers, OneRepublic, Vampire Weekend, The Lumineers, Lady A and Fun. Successful duos included The Black Keys, Run the Jewels, Matt and Kim, Rae Sremmurd, Love and Theft, LMFAO, Garfunkel and Oates and Dan + Shay.

Several prominent musicians from past decades died in the 2010s, including Ronnie James Dio in 2010, Gil Scott-Heron and Amy Winehouse in 2011, Whitney Houston and Adam Yauch in 2012, Lou Reed in 2013, Joe Cocker in 2014, Ben E. King, B.B. King and Lemmy Kilmister in 2015, David Bowie, Glenn Frey, Phife Dawg, Merle Haggard, Prince, Leonard Cohen and George Michael all in 2016, Chuck Berry, Chris Cornell, Prodigy and Tom Petty in 2017, Aretha Franklin in 2018, and Keith Flint in 2019. There were also several deaths of newer hip hop artists who had started or first became successful in the 2010s, including Capital Steez, Lil Peep, XXXTentacion, Mac Miller, Nipsey Hussle, Juice WRLD and others.

Video games[edit]

The video game industry continued to be dominated by Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft; Minecraft became the best-selling game of all time in 2019.[549] Handheld console gaming revenue was overtaken by mobile gaming revenue in 2011, due to the rise of smartphones.[550] The popularity of video games increased across the world, as the Wii influenced gaming in the early part of the decade,[551] and the Nintendo 3DS provided 3D gaming through autostereoscopy.[552] The successful Nintendo Wii was followed by the Wii U in 2012, a commercial failure.[551] The Nintendo Wii would be responsible for the most critically acclaimed game of the 2010s decade, Super Mario Galaxy 2 (which is also often considered one of the greatest video games of all time by game critics). The Wii (and later to a lesser extent the Wii U) would singlehandedly cause the increased use of motion controls in gaming with its Wii line up of games such as Wii Play: Motion, Wii Fit U, Wii Sports Club, Wii Party and Wii Party U, all released in the 2010s. Motion controls would carry over and advance during the decade with the Nintendo Switch's Joy-Con in 2017, and would form the foundation of 2010's motion-based PlayStation Move and Xbox Kinect, counterparts and competitors to the Wii. The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One released in 2013,[553] and in the United States the PlayStation 4 became the highest-selling console of the decade.[554] The Nintendo Switch launched in 2017 and was responsible for bringing Nintendo's success back, the success of the console initially spawned by the strong sales of both The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey, as well as titles like ARMS, 1-2-Switch, Super Smash Bros Ultimate, Yoshi's Crafted World, as well as re-releases/sequels of Super Mario Maker, Splatoon , Mario Kart 8, New Super Mario Bros. U, among many others. Ports and sequels to Wii U games on the Nintendo Switch sold considerably better than their Wii U counterparts, and even though well-received games like Super Mario 3D World and Nintendo Land released on Wii U, the console still ultimately failed due to poor marketing and public confusion.[citation needed] YouTube became a platform for "Let's Players" to upload videos of themselves playing certain games, which led to the popularity of existing games and newer indie games like Cuphead, Undertale, Octodad/Octodad: Dadliest Catch, and Five Nights At Freddy's (indie games like Cuphead were lauded for its rubber hose animation style, while Undertale's soundtrack like "Megalovania" came to light). "Let's Players" were even referenced in greater pop culture such as the 2014 episode Rehash on South Park where gamer Pewdiepie appeared. The use of iPods, tablets, and cell phones became one of the most popular forms of gaming as the decade progressed with the rise of mobile games, expanding the industry's appeal among less traditional markets such as women and older adults. Apps in the form of games such as Pac-Man 256, Flappy Bird, Angry Birds, Pokémon Go, Subway Surfers, Doodle Jump, Cut the Rope, Smash Hit, Miitomo, and Candy Crush Saga became hits. (In addition to Super Mario Galaxy 2, it is notable in mentioning that Nintendo Wii released a large group of critically acclaimed games in the early 2010s with popular titles such as Kirby's Epic Yarn, Donkey Kong Country Returns, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Epic Mickey, and Sonic Colors, as well Portal 2 on Xbox and PlayStation).[555][556]

The 2010s marked the growth, release, and large expansion of the "Toys To Life" category. Brands such as Nintendo's Amiibo became massively popular, and allowed figurines to be bought which were scanned into games to level up, train your figurine, or receive goods for your figurine. The Amiibo skyrocketed in success due to the roster of figurines available for Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, with many posting videos of them online going "amiibo hunting" mostly around late 2014 and 2015. Skylanders and Disney Infinity also remained popular at the time, as fads. The Nintendo Labo released in 2018, was also a part of the "Toys To Life" brand of video games, using cardboard to create objects such as a fishing pole, a crank, and a race-car wheel to be played with games. Micro-consoles also emerged during the decade, a notable example being the Ouya, a system which was a commercial and critical failure that received attention online.

In the 2010s movies based on video game franchises became popular, grossing more and being talked about in the media and among fans more than ever before. Movies like Ryan Reynold's Detective Pikachu (which starred additional actors like Kathryn Newton as Lucy Stevens and Bill Nighy as Howard Clifford) broke box office records for movies based on game series at the time, while movies like actor Jim Carrey's Sonic The Hedgehog created buzz in the media and on shows like Conan (where the film and its fans were satirized) in 2019 for the movie's depiction of a more realistic looking hedgehog character, which by demand of the fans, was changed into a more cartoon version of the titular character to much like and approval upon the November 2019 trailer and movie's release. Video game themed movies became popular as well, with films such as Ready Player One, Pixels, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and Wreck-It Ralph. In early 2018 Nintendo and Illumination jointly announced (after the reveal of Nintendo's Universal theme parks) that they were working on a Super Mario Bros. movie. The announcement by Nintendo and Illumination was met with internet speculation.

The best-selling games of every year throughout this decade were as follows:


The best-selling book of the decade was Fifty Shades of Grey, having sold 15.2 million copies in the United States.[559]

The following is a list of the 10 best-selling books of the decade. Note that global data is unavailable and this is limited to the United States:[559]

The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series also became one of the best-selling book series of all time throughout the 2010s, with installments such as Cabin Fever and The Long Haul winning awards at the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards.


2011 IIHF World Championship gold medal celebrations in Finland
LeBron James, a sports icon of the decade, is the only NBA player to have won four championships with three separate franchises.

Popular athletes of the decade included Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Megan Rapinoe, LeBron James, Tiger Woods, Tom Brady, Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, Canelo Álvarez, Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic, Kyle Busch, Conor McGregor, Ronda Rousey, Mike Trout, Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, Shaun White, Kelly Slater, Simone Biles, Sidney Crosby and many more.

At the 2010 Wimbledon Championships, tennis players John Isner and Nicolas Mahut competed in the longest professional tennis match in history, requiring five sets and 183 games for Isner to ultimately defeat Mahut in a match which lasted 11 hours and 5 minutes, and was played over the course of three days.

A doping scandal and investigation that was concluded in 2012 led to former professional road racing cyclist Lance Armstrong being stripped of all seven of his Tour de France titles.

On 14 October 2012, skydiver Felix Baumgartner completed a jump from the stratosphere and set world records for the highest skydive (39 km or 24 mi), fastest freefall speed (1,357.64 km/h or 843.6 mph, or Mach 1.25), and became the first person in history to break the sound barrier without vehicular power.

In 2015, after Thoroughbred racehorse American Pharoah won the American Triple Crown and the Breeders' Cup Classic, he became 12th Triple Crown winner in history and the first in more than 30 years, and in winning all four races, became the first horse ever to win the Grand Slam of Thoroughbred racing.

In November 2016, the Chicago Cubs won the World Series for the first time since 1908, over the then-Cleveland Indians. Their win, along with Game 7 and the entire 2016 Series, was heavily noted in the sports and baseball community. It is often considered one of the best World Series ever played, due to the underdog nature of both teams, how close the games were and especially the final game, and how it ultimately ended the over 100-year drought of the Cubs not winning a series.

In June 2017, rock climber Alex Honnold became the first person in history to free solo climb El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, an accomplishment that one commentator described as "one of the great athletic feats of any kind, ever."

In January 2018, the final play of an NFL playoffs game between the Minnesota Vikings and the New Orleans Saints, dubbed the "Minneapolis Miracle", became the first time in NFL playoffs history where a game ended in a touchdown as time expired, and prompted a change to the NFL's rules as they pertain to extra-point conversion attempts.


As the decade drew to a close, some commentators looked back on it as a politically unstable period. An article in the New York Times stated: "With the rise of nationalist movements and a backlash against globalisation on both sides of the Atlantic, the liberal post-World War II order – based on economic integration and international institutions – began to unravel." It heavily discussed the US presidency of Donald Trump (a reality TV Star and businessman with no political experience at the time of taking office, succeeding Barack Obama) whilst also commenting, "Echoes of Mr. Trump's nationalist populism can be found in Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain's recent electoral victory and the Brexit referendum of 2016, and in the ascent of the far-right President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India. Democracy is under threat in Hungary and Poland. Once fringe right-wing parties with openly racist agendas are rebranding themselves in Sweden and Belgium. And far-right groups in Germany and Spain are now the third-largest parties in those nations' parliaments."[560] A December 2019 piece in The Guardian argued that the 2010s would be remembered "as a time of crises", elaborating "there have been crises of democracy and the economy; of the climate and poverty; of international relations and national identity; of privacy and technology". The article also noted that, in Britain, "politics since 2010 has often been manic. Parties have hastily changed their leaders and policies; sometimes their entire guiding philosophies. Last week's general election was the fourth of the decade; the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s had two apiece."[561] Similar trends of political unrest were felt beyond the Western world, as suggested in The Asian Review, which described the 2010s as a "tumultuous time for Asia, sometimes tragic, sometimes triumphant and never dull".[562]

See also[edit]


The following articles contain brief timelines which list the most prominent events of the decade:



  1. ^ Avatar (2009) later surpassed Avengers: Endgame as the highest-grossing film of all time following a 2021 re-release in China.[3]
  2. ^ a b Billboard awards are based on album and digital songs sales, radio airplay, streaming, touring and social engagement.[4]


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