A tumultuous 2020 has finally passed, leaving the world with more bad memories than good ones. The year saw the spread of the coronavirus pandemic that is still killing people around the world. The World Health Organisation declared the outbreak of COVID-19 as a public health emergency of international concern. At present, there are more than 80 million confirmed cases of coronavirus with 1.78 million deaths recorded worldwide. After much research, a number of pharmaceutical companies have successfully prepared vaccines and many countries have started inoculation drives—only to face the newly emerging challenge of a mutated virus variant.
While the pandemic impacted most events to take place this year, many notable incidents marked their presence on the world stage. From the impeachment of US President Donald Trump, China’s controversial national security law, the discovery of mass graves in Burkina Faso, and the mass explosion in Beirut, to astronauts leaving for space for the first time in nine years, NASA’s launch of the MARS2020 mission, and the discovery of water on the moon—the year was loaded to the brim with significant global developments.
Here is a rundown of ten of the many events that defined 2020:
1. Australian bushfires
The year 2020 opened with the colossal bushfire started in the previous year. It killed more than 500 million animals.
2. Gulf crisis
A US drone attack at Baghdad airport killed Iran’s army chief General Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi paramilitary leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. In retaliation, Iran launched missiles at two military bases in Iraq, injuring a number of US soldiers stationed there.
3. Stock market crash
Global stock markets crashed due to coronavirus concerns. The US Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 2,997.10 points, the second-largest percentage drop ever and an even greater crash than Black Monday of 1929.
4. Afghan peace agreement
A conditional peace agreement was signed between the US and the Taliban in Doha, Qatar, leading to the beginning of withdrawal of US troops, in phases, from Afghanistan.
5. Italy in quarantine
Italy put 16 million people in quarantine, more than a quarter of its population, in a bid to arrest the spread of coronavirus. The quarantine was later extended to the entire country.
Moreover, European Union closed all borders for 30 days, football tournaments—Euro 2020 and Copa America—were postponed, and the European Broadcasting Union cancelled the Eurovision song contest, marking its first cancellation in its 64-year history.
6. Oil price war
Russia and Saudi Arabia went into an oil price war, as a result of which Brent Crude fell 9% to $23 per barrel, the lowest level since November 2002. The price continued to fall with, West Texas Intermediate sinking into negative.
7. Protests for racial equality
The killing of African American George Floyd at the hand of a white police officer sparked protests against racial inequality across America and the world.
8. Sino-Indian clash
At least 20 Indian soldiers and more than 40 Chinese soldiers were killed or injured in a clash in the disputed Galwan Valley on the Indo-China border. It was the largest skirmish between the two countries in five decades.
9. Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed on a ceasefire in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The conflict began in 1988, when the Karabakh Armenians demanded that Karabakh be transferred from Soviet Azerbaijan to Soviet Armenia. However, the clashes continued in multiple ceasefire violations.
10. Biden-Harris win US Election:
Joe Biden was elected the 46th President of the United States, defeating incumbent President Donald Trump. The result was delayed as mail-in ballots count took time due to the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, Kamala Harris became the first Black and South Asian woman to win become the US Vice President.