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The United Nations designated 2011 the International Year of Forests and International Year of Chemistry.
- 1 Events
- 2 Deaths
- 3 Nobel Prizes
- 4 Major religious holidays
- 5 In fiction
- 6 Hit Songs
- 7 References
- January 1 – Estonia starts using the euro currency.
- January 1 – Start of Hungary's Presidency of the European Union
- January 1 – Dilma Rousseff becomes Brazil's first female President.
- January 4 – A solar eclipse is seen over most of Europe, North Africa and western Asia.
- January 4 – Tunisian fruit seller Mohamed Bouazizi dies after setting himself on fire in an act of protest.
- January 7 – The 2011 AFC Asian Cup is held in Qatar, until January 29, won by Japan.
- January 8 – Twenty people are shot in Tucson, Arizona, six of whom are killed. One of the victims was congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
- January 9 – South Sudan holds a referendum on independence.
- January 9 – Iran Air Flight 227 crashes, killing 77 people.
- January 10 – Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia and the Lockyer Valley flood with more than 16 people killed.
- January 11 – More than 480 people are killed in flooding and mudslides in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro.
- January 14 – In the wake of anti-government demonstrations, Tunisia's President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali dissolves the government and resigns from office. Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi takes over as caretaker-President, before being replaced by Fouad Mebazaa.
- January 24 – A terrorist bombing at Moscow's Domodedovo Airport kills at least 35 people.
- January 25 – 2011 Egyptian protests: Pro-democracy demonstrations begin in Egypt against the rule of President Hosni Mubarak.
- January 28 – 2011 Egyptian protests: Hosni Mubarak cuts internet access.
- February 1 – 2011 Egyptian protests: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak announces his intention to resign after elections in September. The following day, pro-Mubarak and anti-Mubarak protesters clash violently in central Cairo.
- February 3 – Tropical Cyclone Yasi hits Queensland, Australia.
- February 6 – A centennial celebration is held all over the United States to celebrate the 100th birthday of Ronald Reagan.
- February 11 – 2011 Egyptian protests: President Hosni Mubarak resigns, as the Egyptian government falls. Egypt is left in control of the military until elections can be held.
- February 14 – It is announced that the economy of the People's Republic of China overtook the Japanese economy as the world's second largest.
- February 19 – April 2 – The Cricket World Cup is held in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, and is won by India.
- February 22 – Christchurch, New Zealand is struck by an earthquake measuring 6.3, causing a lot of damage, and killing at least 181 people.
- March 9 – Enda Kenny becomes Taoiseach of the Republic of Ireland.
- Space Shuttle Discovery returns from its last space mission before its retirement.
- March 10 – Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, announces his intention to stand down from his official powers, and to transfer them to an elected official.
- March 11 – An earthquake of magnitude 9.1 strikes near Sendai on the east coast of the island of Honshu, Japan, causing a lot of damage and triggering tsunamis, with warnings issued around the Pacific Ocean. Thousands of people have been killed, and thousands more are missing. A heavy nuclear accident was also result of the earthquake, prompting fears over radiation levels.
- March 17 – 2011 Libyan protests: The United Nations resolution for a no-fly zone over Libya is passed.
- March 18 – NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft arrives in orbit around Mercury.
- March 19 – The Moon makes its closest approach to Earth, by nearly 3,000 miles, in 18 years.
- March 19 – 2011 Libyan protests: United Nations-authorised military intervention in Libya begins.
- March 23 – Portugal's Prime Minister Jose Socrates announces his resignation, as a result of the financial crisis.
- March 24 – 2011 Burma earthquake: An earthquake of magnitude 6.8 centred in Burma kills 75 people.
- March 27 – Bulgaria and Romania fully implement the Schengen Agreement.
- March 31 – After months of crisis following a disputed Presidential election, intense fighting breaks out around Ivory Coast's largest city, Abidjan, between forces loyal to Alassane Ouattara and those loyal to Laurent Gbagbo.
- April 7 – A school shooting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, leaves 13 dead, including the gunman.
- April 9 – A gunman opens fire at a shopping centre in Alphen an den Rijn, Netherlands, leaving 7 dead.
- April 11 – Ivory Coast crisis: Laurent Gbagbo is arrested in his bunker in Abidjan by troops from France, the United Nations, and troops supporting Alassane Ouattara.
- April 12 – Four Space Shuttles (including the Endeavor, the Discovery, Enterprise, and Atlantis) are sent to Florida, New York, California, and Washington D.C..
- April 22 – Hundreds of people are killed as police move in on anti-government demonstrations in Syria.
- April 27 – Hundreds of people are killed in a tornado outbreak across the southern and central United States.
- April 29 – Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge marry at Westminster Abbey in London.
- May 1 – U. S. Forces capture and kill al-Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden in northern Pakistan.
- May 6 – The Scottish National Party wins an overall majority in the Scottish Parliament.
- May 11 – Two earthquakes kill at least nine people in southeastern Spain.
- May 12 – John Demjanjuk is convicted in Germany of supervising the killings of thousands of Jews in Concentration Camps.
- May 14 – Ell & Nikki of Azerbaijan win the Eurovision Song Contest.
- May 15 – Head of the International Monetary Fund Dominique Strauss-Kahn is arrested in New York on charges of sexual assault. He resigns his post a few days later. He is released in August.
- May 17 – Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom makes a state visit to the Republic of Ireland.
- May 21 – The Grimsvotn volcano in Iceland erupts, causing some flight disruption in Northern Europe.
- May 22 – A tornado kills at least 125 people in Joplin, Missouri.
- May 26 – Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic is arrested in Serbia on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
- late May – At least 20 people die in an E. coli outbreak centred in Germany. It was originally attributed to Spanish cucumbers, but is suspected to come from bean sprouts.
- June 1 – Sepp Blatter is controversially chosen to serve a third term as President of FIFA, amidst a major corruption scandal.
- June 4 – The eruption of the Puyehue Cordon Caulle volcanic structure in southern Chile causes an ash cloud, disrupting flights in southern South America, and as far away as Oceania.
- June 5 – Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh leaves for Saudi Arabia to be treated for injuries sustained in an attack on the Presidential Palace. Demonstrators celebrate while powers are temporarily transferred to Vice President Abd al-Rab al-Mansur al-Hadi.
- June 12 – Thousands of Syrians flee into Turkey as Syrian troops lay siege to the town of Jisr-ash Shugur.
- June 15 – 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup riot
- June 22 – American fugitive criminal Whitey Bulger is arrested in Los Angeles.
- June 26 - July 17 – 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany, won by Japan
- July 1 – Start of Poland's Presidency of the European Union
- July 2 – Albert II, Prince of Monaco marries Charlene Wittstock.
- July 3 – The United Nations appeals for aid for parts of East Africa that are affected by a severe drought.
- July 7 – The world's first synthetic organ transplant is carried out, using an artificial windpipe coated in stem cells.
- July 8 – The Space Shuttle Atlantis is launched on the last-ever Space Shuttle launch.
- July 9 – South Sudan declares independence from Sudan.
- July 10 – British tabloid newspaper, the News of the World, ends publication, after a major phone-hacking scandal.
- July 12 – Neptune completes its first full orbit around the Sun since its official discovery.
- July 13 – Three serial coordinated bomb explosions occur in different locations of Mumbai, the financial capital of India, killing 24 and leaving more than 130 people injured.
- July 14 – The United Nations admits South Sudan as the 193rd member nation.
- July 20 – Goran Hadzic is detained in Serbia, being arrested on war crimes charges.
- July 21 – The Space Shuttle Atlantis returns to Earth in the last mission of the Space Shuttle programme.
- July 22 – Two attacks in Norway kill 77 people; 8 people at an explosion in the government quarter of Oslo, and 69 are shot dead at a Summer Youth Camp on the island of Utoya.
- July 23 – Singer Amy Winehouse is found dead at her home in London.
- July 28 – Ollanta Humala becomes President of Peru.
- July 31 – Because of uncertainties over a clampdown on press freedom, there is believed to be at least 121 people killed in a Syrian army tank raid on the town of Hama, and over 150 people are reportedly killed in a crackdown in the whole country.
- August 1 – The United States narrowly avoids defaulting on its debt.
- August 5 – Yingluck Shinawatra becomes Prime Minister of Thailand.
- August 5 – Juno, the first solar powered spacecraft to be sent to the planet Jupiter, is launched, from Cape Canaveral.
- August 13 – Germany commemorates 50 years since the building of the Berlin Wall.
- August 20 – Hurricane Irene forms. It causes a lot of destruction and flooding in many Caribbean countries and the Eastern United States over the following days.
- August 22 – The 2011 Libyan civil war intensifies as rebel forces enter Tripoli.
- August 26 – Naoto Kan announces his resignation as Prime Minister of Japan.
- August 29 – Hurricane Irene dissolves over Eastern Canada.
- August 31 – The end of analog television broadcasting in Canada translation to Digital Televisions.
- September 2 – A Chilean Air Force plane crashes in the Pacific Ocean, killing all 21 people on board.
- September 7 – India and Bangladesh sign an agreement ending their border dispute.
- September 9 - October 23 – The 2011 Rugby World Cup is held in New Zealand, won by New Zealand.
- September 10 – More than 190 people die when a ferry capsizes off the coast of Tanzania.
- September 11 – Commemorations marking the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks take place.
- September 12 – Around 100 people die after an oil pipeline explosion in Nairobi, Kenya.
- September 18 – An earthquake centred near the Sikkim-Nepal border kills an estimated 111 people.
- September 19 – The United Nations launches an appeal for aid after the 2011 Sindh floods.
- September 20 – Former President of Afghanistan Burhanuddin Rabbani is killed in a bomb attack.
- September 23 – President of Yemen Ali Abdullah Saleh returns home after being treated in Saudi Arabia for injuries sustained in an attack on his compound in June.
- September 29 – China launches the Tiangong 1 space laboratory, its first space station module, from the launch pad in Gansu province.
- October 3 – The winners of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine are announced as Bruce Beutler, Jules Hoffmann and Ralph Steinman. Steinman had died three days earlier, unknown to the Nobel committee. It was later announced that he could remain as a Nobel laureate.
- October 3 – Helle Thorning-Schmidt becomes Prime Minister of Denmark.
- October 4 – 139 people are killed in a car bombing in Mogadishu.
- October 4 – Major floods affect parts of Thailand and Cambodia.
- October 7 – The Nobel Peace Prize is shared between Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Liberian activist Leymah Gbowee and Yemeni activist Tawakel Karman.
- October 15 – Occupy campaign: In cities around the world, many people protest against economic mismanagement, also in support of the Occupy Wall Street campaign.
- October 18 – Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is released after five years of captivity. In return, Israel releases 1,027 Palestinian prisoners.
- October 20 – 2011 Libyan civil war: Forces loyal to the National Transitional Council take control of Sirte, the last pro-Gaddafi stronghold. Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi, who ruled Libya since 1969, is captured and killed.
- October 23 – A magnitude 7.2 earthquake strikes eastern Turkey, near the City of Van, killing at least 575 people, and damaging many buildings.
- October 27 – Michael D. Higgins is elected to succeed Mary McAleese as President of Ireland.
- October 27 – EU leaders hold an emergency meeting in Brussels on the European Sovereign Debt Crisis, where they decide to write off 50% of Greek bonds, recapitalisation of European banks, and an increase of the bailout fund of the European Financial Stability Facility, totalling a trillion Euros.
- October 31 – According to the United Nations, the world population reaches 7 billion.
- November 7 – Dr. Conrad Murray is found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in relation to the death of Michael Jackson.
- November 10 – Lucas Papademos is chosen to lead a caretaker government in Greece.
- November 11 – Michael D. Higgins becomes President of Ireland.
- November 12 – As the result of an economic crisis, Silvio Berlusconi resigns as Prime Minister of Italy.
- November 13 – Mario Monti is chosen to become Prime Minister of Italy.
- November 19 – Muammar al-Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi is captured in southern Libya, near the border with Niger.
- November 19 – 2011 Egyptian protests: Protestors demonstrate in central Cairo against the military rulers, and several are killed when police open fire.
- November 20 – Mariano Rajoy's Partido Popular score a landslide victory in Spain's parliamentary election. Rajoy is therefore elected to become the next Prime Minister of Spain.
- November 22 – The American Samoa national football team scores its first-ever official win, defeating the Tonga national football team 2-1 in the Oceanian FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
- November 26 – John Key is elected to a second term as Prime Minister of New Zealand.
- November 26 – The Mars Science Laboratory is launched on board an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and is set to arrive on Mars in August 2012.
- December 4 – Zoran Jankovic's party wins the most seats in the Slovenian Parliament.
- December 4 – 45,000 people in Koblenz, Germany, are evacuated in order for a World War II bomb to be defused.
- December 5 – NASA announces the discovery of the earth-like planet Kepler 22-b orbiting around another star.
- December 6 – Elio Di Rupo becomes Prime Minister of Belgium. Prior to this, Belgium did not have an official government for 589 days.
- December 9 – Croatia signs an agreement that will allow it to become a member of the EU on July 1, 2013.
- December 12 – Moncef Marzouki becomes President of Tunisia.
- December 13 – At least 5 people are killed and 124 wounded at a grenade and gun attack in Liege, Belgium. The gunman, Nordine Amrani, commits suicide shortly after.
- December 15 – The United States ends its military involvement in Iraq.
- December 17 – Tropical typhoon Washi hits Mindanao in the southern Philippines, killing over 1,000 people, with many more reported missing.
- December 19 – North Korean state television announces the death of Kim Jong-il, who had led the country since 1994. His son, Kim Jong-un, is designated as his successor.
- December 19 – Liechtenstein implements the Schengen Agreement.
- December 22 – Several suicide bombings occur in Baghdad.
- December 23 – Around 40 people are killed in a bomb attack in Damascus.
- December 25 – Four churches across Nigeria are hit by bombs, killing at least 40 people. The Islamist group Boko Haram claims responsibility.
- December 29 – Kim Jong-un is installed as North Korea's leader at the end of a two-day state funeral for Kim Jong-il.
- December 29 – The International Date Line is shifted to the west of Samoa and Tokelau, both of which do not observe December 30, 2011 as a result. The change is made to improve trade with the main partners of Australia and New Zealand.
- Physiology or Medicine: Bruce Beutler, Jules Hoffmann, Ralph Steinman
- Physics: Saul Perlmutter, Adam G. Riess, Brian P. Schmidt
- Chemistry: Dan Shechtman
- Literature: Tomas Transtromer
- Peace: Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee, Tawakel Karman
- Economics: Christopher A. Sims, Thomas J. Sargent
Major religious holidays
- January 6 – Epiphany, Three Kings Day (Christianity)
- January 7 – Christmas (Eastern Christianity) (on January 6 in Armenia)
- January 14 – Makar Sankranti, Hinduism
- February 1 – Imbolc, a Cross-quarter day
- February 3 – Chinese New Year
- March 8 – Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras, end of Carnival season (Christianity)
- March 9 – Ash Wednesday and beginning of Lent (Christianity)
- March 17 – Saint Patrick's Day
- March 21 – (Northern hemisphere) Vernal Equinox, also known as Ostara
- April 17 – Palm Sunday (Christianity)
- April 18 – Beginning of Passover (Judaism)
- April 22 – Good Friday (Christianity)
- April 24 – Easter (Christianity)
- May 1 – Beltane, a Cross-quarter day
- June 7 – Shavuot begins (Judaism)
- June 24 – Saint John's Day, northern Midsummer celebrations
- August 1 – Lammas, a cross-quarter day
- August 1 – Beginning of Ramadan (Islam)
- August 31 – Eid ul-Fitr (Islam)
- September 23 – Northern Autumnal Equinox, also known as Mabon
- September 28 – Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown (Judaism)
- October 7 – Yom Kippur begins at sundown (Judaism)
- October 26 – Diwali (Hinduism)
- November 1 – All Saints Day
- November 6 – Eid al-Adha (Islam)
- November 26 – Islamic New Year
- November 27 – First Sunday of Advent (Western Christianity)
- December 20 – Hanukkah (Judaism)
- December 25 – Christmas (Western Christianity)
- The Taiwanese movie Millennium Mambo (2001) where a woman narrates from 2011 about her life 10 years earlier.
- The movie Revengers Tragedy (2003) is set in a dystopian Liverpool in the year 2011, following the aftermath of a natural disaster which has destroyed the southern half of Great Britain.
- The Heroes television series visits 2011 in several different potential futures.
- In the Aeon Flux television series and movie, 99% of the world's population is wiped out by a mysterious virus in the year 2011.
Computer and video games
- Call of Duty: Black Ops (2011)
- S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky (2008)
- Persona 4 (2008)
- Fallout 3 (2008)
- Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising (2009)
- Max Payne 3 (2010)
- Heavy Rain (2010)
- Fallout: New Vegas (2010)
- Homefront (2011)
- In K. A. Applegate's Remnants book series, 2011 is the year life on Earth becomes extinct after a 73-mile-wide asteroid nicknamed "The Rock" impacts Portugal. Eighty other humans are placed in a shuttle named the Mayflower mere hours before impact and put into artificial hibernation, while a handful of humans in shelters survive the impact on Earth.
- Born This Way – Lady Gaga
- Hold It Against Me – Britney Spears
- E.T. – Katy Perry and Kanye West
- Domino – Jessie J
- Best Thing I Never Had – Beyoncé
- California King Bed – Rihanna
- I Remember Me - Jennifer Hudson
- What the Hell – Avril Lavigne
- Under and Over It – Five Finger Death Punch
- Remind Me – Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood
- Sparks Fly – Taylor Swift
- We Owned the Night – Lady Antebellum
- I Don't Want This Night to End – Luke Bryan
- Baggage Claim – Miranda Lambert
- Made in America – Toby Keith
- "BBC News – Egypt crisis: President Hosni Mubarak resigns as leader". bbc.co.uk. 2011. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12433045. Retrieved 11 February 2011.
- "Multiple deaths as quake strikes Christchurch – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". abc.net.au. 22 February 2011. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/02/22/3145320.htm. Retrieved 22 February 2011.
- Death toll reaches 21, guardian.co.uk, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jul/13/mumbai-bomb-blasts-india, retrieved 23 July 2011
- Mumbai blasts: Death toll rises to 23, NDTV, http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/mumbai-blasts-death-toll-rises-to-23-121559, retrieved 24 July 2011
- "U.N. Admits South Sudan as 193rd Member". foxnews.com (FOX News Network, LLC). 2011-07-14. http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/07/14/un-admits-south-sudan-as-13rd-member/. Retrieved 2011-07-14.