We are well into the New Year now. 2014 might prove to be an eventful year, it might be dull. The last 13 years have been historic. There have been events that have changed the course of history, that have changed the way we communicate, that have made life vastly different from what it was before the turn of the millennium.
Here are the major events that rocked our world from the start of the 2nd millennium till the year gone by:

1. September 11 Attacks (2001)

The decade started with one of the most traumatizing terror attacks in the modern world. The September 11 attacks in the US left the nation shocked, hurt, angry. The attacks set the tone for USA’s political strategy for the rest of the decade. One of the cultural side effects of the attacks was a rise in hate crimes against Muslims, Arabs, and Sikhs (mistaken to be Muslims because of their turbans).

Fact file:
Nostradamus, the 15th-century apothecary, had predicted the catastrophe with an accuracy too neat to be just coincidence.

2. US Invades Iraq (2003-)

The United States government unleashed a war on terrorism beginning with an invasion of Iraq in 2003. The rationale given for the war was that Iraq had become the hub of terrorism, with Saddam Hussein developing weapons of mass destruction. Iraq was invaded. The tales of atrocities by the army spread across the world. Bush’s government was criticized. Finally, Saddam Hussein was captured by the US, so were Iraq’s oil reserves.

Fact file:

  • It is estimated that there were approximately 600,000 Iraqi civilian causalities.
  • On February 15, 2003, around eight million people protested against the invasion – it was the largest mass protest campaign in recorded history.

3. Facebook is Launched (2004)

In February 2004, Mark Zuckerberg along with his fellows at Harvard founded Facebook, a social media platform that started as a university project. Almost a decade-old, Facebook is now indispensible to modern living. We find it hard to hide our surprise when someone tells us he/she is not Facebook. No holiday is complete without posting pictures on Facebook,

Fact file:
Facebook is blue in colour because Mark Zuckerberg is colour blind and cannot differentiate between red and green.

4. Steve Jobs Launches iPhone (2007)

The iPhone launched in 2007, changed the way the world perceived phones, not to mention death for Blackberry. An extremely competitive user interface and smooth usability made it stand apart from rest of the phones. Jobs’ obsession with perfection was evident in his product as he invested in the research and development of his technology.

Fact file:
In 2011, Apple became the largest mobile vendor in the world on the basis of sales; partly due to the high price of the product.

5. Wikipedia is Launched (2001)

Launched in 2001, by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger, Wikipedia was a revolution in online content. It was the ‘free encyclopedia that anyone can edit’. The two USPs of the project were that anybody could edit it which was the reason for the proliferation of content, and that it was a non-profit project which meant that anybody could access it. While the former raised questions on the credibility of the content, the latter brought the encyclopedia close to bankruptcy, and there were appeals by the founders for donations from users to keep it afloat.

Though the internet has now been flooded with information, Wikipedia still remains the biggest free encyclopedia with the biggest source of information.

Fact file:
Wikipedia has over 30 million articles in 287 languages.


6. YouTube (2005)

YouTube has been around for only 6 years, yet the kind of impact it has made on the online world has been unbelievable. As a platform for video sharing, it gave people an alternative to television. The former is much obsolete now. Entertainment, speeches, video recordings of political or social events, sitcoms, movies, self-recorded video, hilarious recordings
YouTube has been the instant entertainment box for generation next. It gave birth to overnight celebrities—the biggest success story perhaps was that of Justin Bieber. The pop sensation’s story began when his mom uploaded a video of him, then 12 years’ old, performing at a local singing competition. The number of videos being posted kept increasing, and so did the boy’s popularity.

Fact file:

  • In terms of Alexa ranking, Youtube is the third most visited site, after Google and Facebook.
  • It sees around 800 million unique users every month.

7. Twitter Arrives (2006)

Like Facebook, Twitter gained tremendous popularity in a short span of time. The 140-character limit was a welcome change in a world where everybody wanted to be heard. Today it has become the favourite platform for brand promotion, news updates, celebrities use it to issue public statements, whatever happens in the world
Of course, the recent twitter spat involving Shashi Tharoor, Sunanda Pushkar and Mehr Tarar highlighted the extent to which social media has blurred the lines between the public and the private, but that is a topic of another discussion.

Fact file:

Twitter has been listed as one of the 10 most-visited sites.

8. JK Rowling writes Harry Potter (1997-2007)

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Once in every century a masterpiece gets written that sets the basis of hundreds of folklores for generations to come. Harry Potter was that magic tale. Like Cinderella, Harry Potter, the brave child wizard is here to stay. The sort of reception this series of 7 novels received was unmatched. Fans queued outside bookstores before the release of the books. All 7 books were made into successful blockbusters.

Fact file:

The author, JK Rowling, who once struggled with poverty, became the first billionaire author, and the 144th richest person in Britain.

The books have sold more than 400 million copies worldwide.

9. Twenty20 Cricket Enters Our Lives (2007)

Cricket has been a religion in India, and in 2007, it got lifted (or pulled down?) to another level with the T20. Many lamented the loss of the gentleman’s game of fifty overs. From test cricket to 20 overs, cricket had come a long way. The thrill of the game was doubled, the time halved.  Adam Gilchrist even suggested including Twenty20 in the Olympics.

Fact file:

The first ICC World Twenty20 was won by India. In the same series in the match against England, Yuvraj Singh hit six sixes in a single over, and of course became the second player in the history of cricket to do so!

10. Sachin Retires (2013)

Yes, it was a big deal. Post his retirement, many lost interest in the game.

The ‘god of cricket’ Sachin finally retired in 2013 – something that the fans thought would never happen. It was a glorious career spanning 24 long years. A teary-eyed nation bid him an emotional farewell. For days, he was on the front pages of the newspapers, trending on twitter, and on the minds of every Indian cricket fan. Thank you messages erupted in hordes. Soon after the retirement, he was given the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award.

Fact file:

He holds the world record for scoring the maximum runs in one-day.

He is also the only batsman to have scored 100 international centuries.

Nishi Jain

Nishi Jain spent some precious years of her life studying English literature, editing novels, and writing newspaper articles. Then one day, as she was sitting under a tree with no branches, a rotten pancake fell on her head from the window above and she had her Newtonian moment. From then on, all she does is eat pancakes, write, and profess fake love to pastry chefs.

Nishi Jain – who has written posts on WAH Blog.