- George W. Bush became president of the United States of America. Bill Clinton retired to cheering crowds in Harlem, but not before issuing 100 controversial pardons, including that of Mark Rich.
- Hillary Clinton entered the Senate, representing New York as the first First Lady to hold public office.
- Slobodan Milosevic was arrested for war crimes, and Cambodia reached an agreement with the United Nations to try its remaining ex-Khmer Rouge leaders.
- David Trimble and Gerry Adams started out the year on a bad note, but reconciled their differences and sat down to resume working on peace in Northern Ireland.
- A Chinese fighter jet collided with an American reconaissance plane off of Hainan Island.
- Japan's Liberal Democratic Party picked reformer Junichiro Koizumi to take over from the gaffe-prone Yoshiro Mori.
- In Italy, Silvio Berlusconi's House of Freedom coaltion toppled the Olive Tree government.
- Ariel Sharon assumed power in Israel, whose war with the PLO intensified.
- Back in Washington, D.C., Jim Jeffords left the Republican Party, giving the Democratic Party control of the Senate by a 50-49 majority. Five Democrats end up crossing party lines to ink Bush's $1.35bn tax cut plan.
- The People's Republic of China entered the World Trade Organization.
- Kim Dae Jung retired as head of South Korea's Millennium Party.
- Khaleda Zida's Nationalist Party defeated Hasina Wazed's Awami League in Bangladeshi elections.
- Australia's Labour Party managed to hold on to state governments, despite John Howard's Liberal coalition winning on a national level.
- The United States withdrew from the ABM Treaty.
- Argentina froze all bank accounts in an attempt to stop an economic slide.
- Kofi Annan won the Nobel Peace Prize.
- Toshinomiya Aiko, heir to the Imperial throne of Japan
Recession sunk in in the United States and abroad, as the irrational exuberance of the 1990's, coupled with the destruction of the World Trade Center and the damaging of the American psyche, finally caught up with the markets. But Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, and Barry Bonds reaffirmed themselves as sporting legends, while America got a new import superhero in the form of Ichiro Suzuki. Lance Armstrong rode. It was a great year for American sports, even if people were losing money left and right.
Ford and Firestone got into safety troubles, which didn't seem that major since everyone would soon be riding a Segway anyhow. The big tech toys of the year were the Xbox and iPod. While we're on the subject, Hewlett Packard and Compaq had a nice, gruesome merger.
Pearl Harbor, Ocean's Eleven, Vanilla Sky, Bridget Jones's Diary, and Shrek ruled the box office: poetically enough, 2001 was also the year of Apocalypse Now Redux, but everyone forgot about these movies when Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings hit the silver screen. Nickelback, Linkin Park, and Creed led a rock revival in America, but The Beatles had the year's best-selling album, and Britney Spears showed no signs of becoming a has-been.
Sadly, there was no space odyssey, unless you count the ISS.
2000 < 2001 > 2002