21 key events of 2021
After the presidential elections in early November 2020, Joe Biden officially became the 46th President of the United States on January 20, 2021. The inauguration ceremony took place under tension, as supporters of Donald Trump, unwilling to recognize the election results, had orchestrated an assault on Capitol Hill two weeks earlier. Along with Joe Biden, Kamala Harris became the first woman of color to serve as Vice President of the United States.
Initially reserved for healthcare workers, people over 65 and people at risk, the vaccine against Covid-19 has gradually become available to all people over 5 years old. Anti-vax movements in several countries spoke out against the immunization campaigns. They and others have protested the proof of vaccination that some countries require for participation in public spaces and events.
The year of Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle was marked by a happy event. Lilibeth Diana was born on June 4, 2021, expanding the family of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex who continue to live in exile in the United States.
After the heavy rainfall in northern European countries, several rivers overflowed on July 14 and 15 en left regions of Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg under water. This natural disaster, one of the biggest in Europe in the 21st century, caused the death of more than 200 people as well as countless material damages.
The 2021 Academy Awards ceremony was held on April 25. The impact of Covid-19 on the film industry led to the modification of elements like the eligibility of films for the awards. At the gala, 'Nomadland' from director Chloe Zhao won 'Best Film' and its lead actress, Frances McDormand, her third Academy Award for her performance in the movie. Meanwhile, Anthony Hopkins won the Oscar for 'Best Actor' for his role in 'The Father'.
Protesting new tax reforms, residents of Bogota, Cali, Medellin and other cities began massive manifestations in late April. A social crisis then erupted, with continuing protests in May and forceful police responses, which left around forty dead and thousands injured.
Scheduled for 2020, the Tokyo Olympics were postponed for a year due to the Covid-19 crisis. They finally took place from July 23 to August 8 under strict health regulations. With 113 medals, the United States climbed to first place in the world rankings, followed by China and Japan.
September 11 was the sad anniversary of the New York attacks in 2001. Twenty years after the deadliest attack in its history, the United States gathered for a day of remembrance. President Joe Biden visited all the sites where the hijacked planes crashed on September 11, 2001.
When American troops withdrew from Afghanistan after a presence of twenty years, the Taliban launched a military offensive against the Afghan government in the summer of 2021. On August 15, they managed to enter the capital, Kabul, and take control of the city as well as other parts of the country. Thousands of Afghans made attempts to flee and some of them received help from foreign governments.
Postponed for a year, Euro 2020 was held in the summer of 2021, spread over several European cities. Italy and England had a solid run at the tournament and met for a nerve-wracking final in London's Wembley Stadium. The 'Azurri' won after a tie and a penalty shootout.
Billionaires vied to be the first one offering a tourist trip into space. Jeff Bezos went into the sky with a small group of civilians in July, and in mid-September, Elon Musk's company SpaceX sent four American tourists into space where they flew in an orbit around the world.
The 26th Conference of Parties (COP 26) organized by the UN to counter climate change, took place in the Scottish city of Glasgow from November 1 to 13. The meeting produced a 'Glasgow Climate Pact' which reflect the commitment of countries to carbon neutrality.
The former president of the France, Nicolas Sarkozy, was sentenced to one year in prison for campaign fraud. He remains under house arrest with electronic surveillance rather than spending the year in jail. The ex-president was accused of illegally financing his presidential campaign in 2012.
Aired on May 22, the Eurovision Song Contest was won by Italian pop-rock group Måneskin. They would later score an international hit with their cover of the song 'Beggin''.
Released on Netflix on September 17, the South Korean series 'Squid Game' met with incredible success around the world. A real phenomenon, the series also sometimes created controversy because it is considered extremely violent.
On Sunday, September 19, the Cumbre Vieja de La Palma volcano, located in the village of El Paso in the Canary Islands, erupted. In an emergency, the Spanish Civil Guard had to deploy its agents near the volcanic zone to evacuate the inhabitants. It was the first eruption on the island of La Palma since October 1971. After three months of activity, the volcano appeared to be asleep in late December, but the authorities remain vigilant.
For soccer fans, this - along with the Italian victory in Euro 2020 - was the biggest event of the year. With pain in his heart, Lionel Messi left FC Barcelona, where he could no longer stay due to Spanish legislation of the football teams' finances. The Argentine star signed a two-year contract with an optional year at the Parisian top team.
After spending 16 years at the helm of Germany, Angela Merkel stepped down as Chancellor. Following the federal elections of September 26, the Social Democratic Party came out on top with 25% of the votes in its favor. The Social Democratic leader Olaf Scholz then proceeded to form a coalition with the liberal FDP and the Green party - a so-called 'traffic light coalition' that is diverse and relatively rare in German politics.
On November 30, Josephine Baker was added to the French Pantheon, a monument for 'National Heroes'. Of American origin, the French artist and resistance fighter joined great figures like Marie Curie, Victor Hugo and Toussaint Louverture.
On December 10 and 11, the central-eastern United States were severely affected by about fifty simultaneous tornadoes. Winds of nearly 400 km/h caused extensive damage in the Tennessee, Missouri, Kentucky, Arkansas and Illinois. In the disaster, at least 88 people lost their lives.
The year started with an unprecedented attack on the US Capitol by hordes of Trump followers in an attempt to disturb the confirmation of Joe Biden's victory in the presidential elections. Five people died in relation to the Capitol riot and countless others got injured. '6/1' will go into history as an abbreviation for chaos and lawlessness.