Year In Review: 25 Most Defining Moments of 2011

Posted by on January 4, 2012

From floods to earthquakes to revolutions, 2011 has come and gone at a high price. The last year has seen a lot of changes both politically and economically, and as we move into 2012 there is a lot of rebuilding to be done. In many ways 2011 was the end of an era. No more space shuttle launches, no more Oprah, no more bin Laden, and no more Steve Jobs. In spite of all that, however, it was also a year of new beginnings as entire nations found their independence, a royal wedding captivated the world, and revolutions brought freedom to millions. These were the most defining moments of 2011, and they will not be easily forgotten.


Rioting In England

Following the fatal shooting of Mark Duggan by London police officers riots ensued resulting in thousands of arrests and hundreds of millions of pounds worth of property damage.


Royal Wedding

As one of the few non-depressing entries on this list, the Royal Wedding managed to capture the world’s attention for at least a little while, especially with the fairytale-like fact that Kate Middleton was a “commoner” marrying into the aristocracy.


End of NASA Space Shuttle Program

NASA’s Space Shuttle program saw its final launch on July 8th when Atlantis took off from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The shuttle flew on 33 flights spanning a career of 26 years.


Casey Anthony Trial

In one of the most scrutinized trials since OJ Simpson, the world watched intently as the lawyers put forth their cases over whether or not Casey had murdered her daughter. The verdict of “not guilty” led to several protests.


End of Oprah Winfrey Show

Oprah took the stage for the last time as The Oprah Winfrey Show drew to a close after 25 years.


Obama Releases Birth Certificate

Putting to rest (sort of) the speculation that he was not a natural born American citizen, President Obama produced a copy of his birth certificate to skeptics who claimed he should not be allowed in the Presidency.


News of the World Scandal

After 168 years in print one of the largest English language news papers in the world closed its doors due to allegations that its editors had been involved in phone hacking.


U.S. Credit Rating Drops For First Time

For the first time in history the United States credit rating was downgraded from AAA to AA+ by Standard and Poor.


Jaycee Dugard Kidnapping Case Ends

Phillip Garrido and his wife Nancy Garrido pleaded guilty to kidnapping Jayce Lee Dugard and holding her in a concealed area behind their home for over 18 years.



On June 16th Anthony Weiner announced that he was going to resign from congress following allegations that he had sent sexually suggestive links to several women using his Twitter account.


Gaddafi Killed By His Own People

On October 20th, Gaddafi’s convoy was hit by a French air strike. Although he survived the strike he was then found hiding in a storm drain by rebels and killed.


Attempted Assassination of Congresswoman Giffords

Jared Lee Loughner opened fire on a crowd surrounding congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords killing six people and critically injuring Giffords.


Death of Amy Winehouse

The popular singer was found unresponsive in her London home on July 23rd with a blood alcohol level 5 times the legal limit. Her death led to numerous memorial concerts around the world.


European Debt Crisis

The United States isn’t the only nation experiencing issues with credit. Over the course of the last year the European financial situation has steadily worsened, particularly in countries such as Greece.


Christchurch Earthquake

In February a magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck New Zealand’s South Island killing 181 people.