The 21st century
is the current century of the
or Common Era
in accordance with the Gregorian calendar
. It began on January
1, 2001 and will end December 31, 2100.
Turn of the 21st century (2001–present)
contemporary history, the 21st
century began with the United States as the sole superpower in the
absence of the Soviet
Union, with several other entities, such as China, India and the
European Union as potential superpowers in the coming
As the Cold War
was over and
said to be on the rise , the
United States and its allies turned their attention to the Middle
Digital technology, in its early stages of mainstream use in the
1980s and 1990s, became widely accepted by most of the world,
though concerns about stress
from the overuse of
, the Internet
and related technologies remains
In 2008, 3.3 billion people globally, or nearly half the world's
population used cell phones, and in 2005, over a billion people
worldwide used the Internet
Regarding pronunciation of 21st century years, academics suggest
that since former years such as 1805 and 1905 were commonly
pronounced as "eighteen oh" or "nineteen oh" five, the year 2005
should naturally have been pronounced as "twenty oh-five". A less
common variation would have been "twenty nought-five". Many experts
agree that majority usage of "two thousand (and)
" is a result of influences from the Y2K
Many people , ranging from linguistic
experts to Internet bloggers
, predict that the "twenty X
pronunciation method will eventually prevail, but a time frame as
to when this change will occur often differs. The year 2010 "twenty
ten" is suggested by many, with the "two thousand x" pronunciation
reserved only for the "two thousands" decade of 2000s
and the Vancouver Olympics
, taking place in
2010, is being officially referred to by Vancouver 2010
"the twenty-ten olympics", while 2011 and 2013 are popular as well.
The latest timeframes for change are usually placed at 2020.
According to The Stanley Kubrick
archives, in the press release for his film 2001: A Space Odyssey
film director Stanley Kubrick included specific instructions for
journalists to refer to the movie as "two thousand and one" instead
of the commonplace pronuciation of "twenty-oh-one". Kubrick said he
did this in the hope that if the film became popular, it would
influence the pronuciation of that year.
Politics, war, and genocide
in this century have so far been divisive, in the United States and to a lesser degree the whole Western World between the ideologies of liberalism and conservatism; more precisely, the Democratic Party vs the
still remains a problem in the century with the concern of the situation in Darfur and the growing
concern in Sri
Low estimates on the deaths in Darfur stand
around 200,000 deaths with 2.5 million in displacement, there has
been much outrcy against the perpetrators
the Sudanese government, and the very weak international response.
Also controversies from past genocides remain commonplace in the
minds of victims and average people alike.
- 1998–2002 – The Second Congo
War continued into the early 21st century. A 1999 ceasefire
quickly broke down and a UN peacekeeping mission, MONUC, was unable to control the fighting.
from Rwanda and Uganda continued to support rebel groups against the
Republic of the Congo and rifts also grew between Rwanda and Uganda as
they accused each other of supporting rival rebel groups as
well. Laurent Kabila,
president of the DRC, was assassinated in January 2002 and his son,
Joseph Kabila, took power. Throughout
2002 steps were made towards peace and Rwanda and Uganda both
removed their troops from the country. On December 17, 2002, a
massive treaty officially ended the war. However, the DRC only
holds power in less than half of the country, with most of the
eastern and northern portions still controlled by rebel groups,
where there is still significant infighting. In addition, Rwanda
still supports anti-DRC rebels and anti-Rwandan rebels continue to
operate from the DRC. The war killed an estimated 3.9 million
people, displaced nearly 5.5 million, and led to a widespread and
ongoing famine that continues to result in deaths. Severe human
rights violations continue to be reported.
- 2001 – George W. Bush becomes the second president of the United States to
be the son of a former president,
when he is inaugurated on January 20, 2001.
- 2001 –
Al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked 4 commercial airliners and crashed 3 of them into the World Trade
Center and the
Pentagon in the
United States on September 11, killing nearly 3,000 people.
The United States subsequently declared a War on Terrorism.
- 2001–present – The U.S. and NATO invaded Afghanistan on October 7, 2001 and overthrew the
government. Troops remained to install a democratic
government, fight a slowly escalating insurgency, and to hunt for
Al Qaeda leader Osama bin
- 2002 – The International Criminal Court
(ICC) was established on July 1.
- 2002 –
A series of
bombings carried out by Islamic militants killed 202 people
at the resort of Kuta, Bali, Indonesia on October 12.
- 2003–present – In February 2003, a conflict
in Darfur, Sudan began and
soon escalated into full-scale
war. It is soon considered the worst humanitarian crisis
in the world. By 2008 it is believed that up to 400,000 people have
been killed and over 2.5 million displaced. In 2005, the ICC
decided that Darfur war criminals would be tried, and on July 14,
2008, Sudanese president Omar
al-Bashir was charged with 5 accounts of crimes against
humaninty and 2 accounts of war crimes, although the ICC currently
has no power to enforce these charges.
- 2003–present – The U.S.-led coalition invaded Iraq on March 20, 2003 and overthrew the
government of Saddam Hussein (who was
executed by the Iraqi government on December 30, 2006). Coalition
troops remain in the country to install a democratic government and
fight an escalating insurgency. In addition to an insurgency
against the American presence, Iraq also suffered from a civil war for several years. The war was
soon seen as the central front of the War on Terror by many
governments, despite growing international dissatisfaction with the
war. The total death toll has been estimated at near 150,000 but
these estimations are highly disputed. After the U.S.-led coalition
initiated a troop surge in 2007,
casualty numbers have decreased significantly.
- 2003–2005 – A series of nonviolent revolutions known as the colour revolutions overthrew governments
in Georgia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, and Lebanon.
– The European Union expanded by 10 countries,
including 8 former communist countries, plus Malta and Cyprus.
– On March 11, bombings carried out by
Islamic militants killed 191 people on the commuter rail system of
- 2005 – A series of
bombings carried out by Islamic militants killed 56 people in
London on July 7.
– Israel withdrew from the
Strip on September 11.
- 2006–2008 – The dismantling of former
Yugoslavia continues after Montenegro gained independence on June 3, 2006 and Kosovo declared
independence on February 17, 2008. However, Kosovo's
independence is disputed by Russia and many of its allies and is
currently only partially recognized.
– On July 12, Hezbollah militants crossed
the border of Lebanon and captured two Israeli troops. Israel
responded by sending troops across
the border and bombing Hezbollah strongholds, while Hezbollah fired
missiles on towns in northern Israel, approximately 6 each day. At
the end of the war 300–450 Lebanese civilians, 600 Hezbolla troops,
44 Israeli civilians and 121 Israeli soldiers died. A ceasefire was
signed on August 14, after which Israeli troops withdrew from
Lebanon. Many military sources in Israel have warned about the
danger of a new Israeli-Lebanese conflict back in the year 2000,
when Israel has withdrawn from Lebanon.
– On July 11, bombs planted on the train system in Mumbai exploded, killing 209
Korea conducted its first
nuclear test on October 9. This was preceded by years of
political wrangling with the U.S. over the status of their nuclear
– A civil war escalated
in the Gaza
Strip throughout June, which resulted in Hamas eventually driving most Fatah-loyal forces from the Strip. In reaction,
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas
dismissed Hamas prime minister Ismail
Haniyeh and dissolved the Hamas-ruled parliament. Scattered
– Armed conflict in August
2008 between Georgia on one side, and the
Federation together with Ossetians and Abkhazians on the other. Russia officially
recognized independence of Abkhazia and South
- 2008–2009 – Israel launches
military campaign on the Gaza Strip, due to continuous rocket launching on south
Israeli cities, in a period of 8 years, endangering the lives of
1.5 million civilians.
Korea tests a Nuclear bomb beneath the ground in North
East of the nation, which creates an earthquake that shows as 4 on
the Richter scale.
Science and technology
- 2001 – Dennis Tito becomes the first
space tourist by paying $19 million to
board the International
- 2002 – Mars Odyssey
arrives in orbit around Mars.
- 2003 – Space Shuttle
Columbia disaster February 1.
- 2003 – The Chinese space
program launches its first manned space flight, Shenzhou 5 on October 15.
- 2004 – Mars Exploration
Rovers land on Mars; Opportunity discovers evidence that
an area of Mars was once covered in water.
- 2004 – The Cassini–Huygens probe arrives
- 2004 – SpaceShipOne makes the
first privately funded human
spaceflight, June 21
- 2005 – The Huygens probe
lands on Titan, the largest of Saturn's
moons, January 14.
- 2005 – The Deep
Impact probe impacts Comet
Tempel 1, July 4.
- 2006 – New Horizons is
launched on a 9 year voyage to Pluto, January
- 2006 – The Mars
Reconnaissance Orbiter arrives at Mars.
- 2006 – Pluto is reclassified from a
planet to a dwarf
planet, leaving the solar system with eight planets.
– NASA's MESSENGER flies by Mercury, becoming the first
spacecraft to do so in 33 years.
- 2008 – Phoenix Lander
successfully arrives at Mars; later tests conducted by the
spacecraft reveal evidence of ice on Mars.
- 2008 – Chinese space
program launches its third manned space flight carrying its
first three-person crew and conducts its first spacewalk that makes
China the third nation after Russia and USA to do that,
Shenzhou 7 on September 25.
- 2008 – The Indian
Space Research Organisation's Chandrayaan-1 is launched on October 22. India
becomes the fourth nation to reach the moon.
- 2009 – Space Shuttle
Atlantis docks with the Hubble Space Telescope to give the
Hubble much needed repairs. This mission will make Hubble last for
another 5 to 10 years. This also marks one of the last few missions
of the current Space Shuttle
Program (shuttles Endeavour, Atlantis and
- 2009 - NASA discovers water on the moon
- 2003 – Discovery of an old dwarf human species, Homo floresiensis by modern humans
(published October 2004).
- 2004 – The first ever recorded hurricane in the South Atlantic
- 2007 – The IPCC
(Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) releases its Fourth
- 2009 – Details of Darwinius,
a vital ‘missing link’ in human evolution dated to 47 million years
ago, are published.
Worldwide deaths from war and terrorist attacks
- Second Congo War, approximately
1.8 million deaths (3.8 million since 1998)
- Iraq War, a wide variation in the
number of casualties quoted, ranging from the tens of thousands, up
to approximately 1 million deaths, Iraq Body Count project, ORB survey of Iraq War
- Darfur conflict, approximately
War in Côte
d'Ivoire, 3,000 deaths
- September 11, 2001 19 members of al-Qaeda hijacked four commercial airliners,
intentionally crashing two of them into The World Trade
Centers in New York City, and one into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. The fourth plane was intended for the White
House, but the passengers took the plane back and crashed it in a
field in Pennsylvania. 2,997 people from 90 different countries
died. It remains the worst terrorist attack in world history.
- December 13, 2001 attacks, Terrorist attack on
Indian Parliament, terrorists storm the Indian Parliament
Building in New Delhi and kill six police officers.
- October 12, 2002 Bali
terrorist bombings kill 202 people.
11, 2004 terrorist attacks shake several train stations on Spain's
capital Madrid, killing 191
people and injuring 1,247.
July 2005 London bombings, Suicide terrorist attacks shake
system killing 52 people and injuring 700.
- 29 October 2005 Delhi
bombings, terrorists attack various markets in New Delhi,
killing 61 people and injuring 188 more, right before the start of
the festival season in India.
11, 2006 six bombs explode in train stations in Mumbai, killing
- November 2008 Mumbai
attacks, a series of ten coordinated terrorist attacks across
Mumbai, India, killing 195 people and injuring 290 more.
- Approximately 30,000 people are believed to have died across
Western Europe, particularly in France, due to a prolonged heat wave during the summer of
2003. Shortages of medical and nursing staff are believed to have
contributed to the disaster.
earthquake in Bam, Iran on December
27, 2003 killed more than 26,000.
December 26, 2004, an undersea earthquake in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Sumatra created a large tsunami,
which impacted the entire Indian Ocean rim with heights of over 30
feet (10 meters) and killed at least 230,000 people, and likely
more, in Indonesia, Sri
Lanka, India, Thailand, and other countries.
3,000 people are killed by Hurricane
Jeanne in Haiti in September
Katrina killed at least 1,836 people after making landfall near
States on August 29, 2005. The city, insufficiently
protected by its levee system, was left underwater for weeks. It
was the costliest disaster in U.S. history, causing over $75
billion in direct damage.
earthquake in Kashmir on
October 8, 2005, killed at least 74,500 in India and Pakistan
- Cyclone Nargis
made landfall in Myanmar on April 27, 2008 and moved across the country's
heavily populated lowlands, leaving approximately 134,000 people
dead or missing and 2.5 million people homeless.
earthquake in Sichuan, China killed
69,227 people, left 374,643 injured and 17,923 missing on May 12,
2008. This was the
19th deadliest earthquake of all time.
- A 6.3
magnitude earthquake strikes near L'Aquila, Italy, killing
at least 308 and injuring more than 1,500
worldwide outbreak of Influenza A virus subtype
H1N1, affecting Mexico, the
States, Canada, New Zealand, United
Kingdom, Spain, Israel and Australia from April to June, 2009.
Some territories have gained independence during the 21st century.
This is a list of sovereign states that have gained independence in
the 21st century and have been recognized by foreign
Both Abkhazia and South Ossetia are disputed regions in Georgia and have been recognized
as independent states by Russia, Nicaragua and Venezuela.
2: Kosovo has been recognized by 60
UN member nations and the Republic of
3: The Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia was reconstituted as the State Union Serbia and
Montenegro in 2003. But split apart into Serbia and
Montenegro in 2006.
- 2001– Barry Bonds, of the San Francisco Giants, sets the single
season home run record of 73 home runs, surpassing the previous
record of 70, set just a few years earlier by Mark McGwire.
- 2001– Tiger Woods, American golfer, completes the Tiger Slam, winning four golf majors in a
- 2001– NASCAR (American stock car) driver
Dale Earnhardt dies after hitting the
wall on the last lap of the Daytona 500.
Earnhardt's son, Dale Earnhardt,
Jr., claimed a tearful victory in the next race held at
Daytona, less than four months later.
- 2001– Rugby League Widnes Vikings gain their first entrance to
the Super League.
- 2002– Phil Taylor becomes the first
player to win the World Darts Championship 10 times [PDC],
following a 7–0 whitewash of Peter
In the 2002 FIFA World Cup held
in South Korea and Japan, Brazil won the
Football World Cup becoming the
first team to win the trophy 5 times Jassmin Rodriguez also won a
trophy for most goals in one game.
- 2002– The San Francisco
Giants play the Anaheim Angels in the MLB
World Series. This is the first time two wild card teams had ever
played each other in world series history.
- 2002– Michael Schumacher wins
his fifth Formula One World
Drivers Championship, becoming only the second driver after
Juan Manuel Fangio to do so.
2002 Winter Olympics held in
City, Utah, United
- 2003– Michael Schumacher wins
his record-breaking sixth Formula One World
Drivers Championship title.
- 2003– Roy Jones, Jr. becomes the
first former World Middleweight Boxing Champion in 106 years to win
a portion of the World Heavyweight title, following his
twelve-round unanimous decision over then-WBA champion John Ruiz.
England wins the
2003 Rugby World Cup, becoming
the first team from the Northern Hemisphere to win the cup.
- 2004– Arsenal win the English Premier League without losing
a single game, having the longest unbeaten league run of 49 games
from May 2003 to October 2004. 
- 2004– Greece win the European Football
Championship for the first time.
2004 Summer Olympics held in
- 2004– The Boston Red Sox defeat
the St. Louis Cardinals in the
World Series, for their first win in 86
years. The Red Sox overcame a 3–0 deficit in the penultimate series
against their rival, the New York Yankees.
- 2004– [Vodacom Tri-Nations] South Africa wins the Vodacom
Tri-Nations beating Australia and New Zealand in the annual Rugby
tounament competed by the 3 southern hemisphere rugby giants.
- 2004– NASCAR Kurt
Busch wins the first NASCAR
Nextel Cup Series championship with the Chase points
- 2005– Liverpool FC win the European Cup for the fifth time in their
history, enabling them to keep the trophy permanently. In a
dramatic final, they come from 3–0 down at half time to win 3–2 on
penalties against AC Milan.
- 2005– American cyclist Lance
Armstrong wins his seventh consecutive Tour de France.
- 2005– In cricket, England wins The Ashes defeating Australia 2–1. This win is the
first for England in 18 years.
- 2005– Chicago White Sox win
the World Series (4–0) over the
Houston Astros. It was their first
World Series win in 88 years.
- 2005– Fernando Alonso became the
youngest Formula One champion ever,
grabbing 133 points to clinch the title.
- 2006– NBA star
Kobe Bryant scores 81 points in a
Lakers game on January 22.
2006 Winter Olympics held in
- 2006– Miami Heat win the NBA Finals
against Dallas Mavericks 4 games to
2; after losing the first two games, and winning the last four
- 2006– Floyd Landis wins the
Tour de France, but not without
- 2006– NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson wins his first Nascar
Italy wins the FIFA World Cup held in
Germany, beating France.
Michael Schumacher retires from
Formula One racing after a
record-breaking career, in which he broke 31 records in any racing
class, including the record for most wins at the Indianapolis
- 2007– Republic of South Africa wins 2007 IRB Rugby World Cup
going through the tournament unbeaten.
India win the first ICC
World Twenty20 by defeating Pakistan in the finals.
- 2007– Indianapolis Colts
defeat the Chicago Bears, 29–17, to
claim the team's first Super Bowl in 36 years.
Thierry Henry leaves Arsenal FC to join FC
Barcelona and is greeted by a record 30,000 fans (10,000 more
than Ronaldinho) at the Camp Nou 
- 2007– Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants breaks the all
time career home run record with 756 career HR, the previous was
755 career HR held by Hank Aaron. Later
in the year, Bonds is indicted for alleged perjury, for lying about whether he had ever taken
- 2007– George J. Mitchell issues a report detailing the
usage of steroids in Major League Baseball, implicating
several players, including Roger
- 2007– The Boston Red Sox defeated
the Colorado Rockies to win the
World Series Championship, becoming the
first team in the 21st century to win more than one championship.
They also are 8–0 in World Series games
- 2007– The New England
Patriots finish the NFL regular season 16–0,
the first team to go undefeated in a sixteen-game season. The
Patriots would go on to beat the Jaguars and Chargers in the
playoffs. Despite being heavily favored to win the Super Bowl and
complete a 19–0 Season, the Patriots would lose to the New York Giants, 17–14. Eli Manning threw a game winning touchdown to
Plaxico Burress with 35 seconds
- 2008– The IEP de
Grenoble wins the Critérium in Toulouse.
- 2008- The Detroit Red Wings defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins to
win their eleventh Stanley Cup title as a franchise. They win in a
game 6 road game. Henrik Zetterberg is named the Conn Smythe winner
as the playoffs MVP.
- 2008– Spain wins the Euro 2008
Football Championship, beating Germany.
- 2008– World No.3 Novak Djokovic
of Serbia Defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to win the Australian
World No.2 Rafael Nadal of Spain
Defeated Five time Wimbledon Champion and World No.1 Roger Federer in a thrilling match that lasted
for around 5 hours in the Wimbledon Final
- 2008– The 2008 Summer
Olympics commence in Beijing on August 8, 2008 at 8:08:08 PM
- 2008– Usain Bolt sets a new world
record for the Men's 100m & 200m sprint, lowering the new times
to 9.69 seconds & 19.30 seconds respectively, both in the
- 2008– Michael Phelps breaks
Mark Spitz's record for most gold medals
in a single Olympics with 8.
- 2008– World No.2 and Four time U.S. Open Champion Roger Federer defeated Andy Murray of UK to claim his fifth consecutive
U.S. Open Men's Singles crown
- 2008– The Philadelphia
Phillies defeat the Tampa Bay
Rays to win their first World
Series since 1980, this is the Rays first trip to the World Series in franchise history
- 2008– Lewis Hamilton became the
youngest Formula One champion ever,
winning by just one point.
- 2009 The Pittsburgh Steelers
defeat the Arizona Cardinals to
win their record sixth Super Bowl title
as a franchise, the first team to do so.
- 2009 Matt Kenseth wins the Daytona 500 and becomes the first Jack Roush driver to do so.
- 2009 Matthew Stafford was taken
as the first pick in the 2009 NFL Draft by
the Detroit Lions, he set a record for
a rookie player earning over 78 million dollars in 6 years and 41
million guaranteed money.
- 2009 Carl Edwards went airborne at
Talledega on the last lap hitting a safety fence and injuring 7
fans, he had no injuries.
- 2009 UNC wins its second National Title of the decade.
- 2009 Jenson Button wins the Monaco
Barcelona wins the 2009 UEFA
Champions League Final. They also won La Liga and la Copa del
- 2009 Cristiano Ronaldo leaves
Manchester United for a record 90 million to sign for Real Madrid.
- 2009 Roger Federer surpasses
Pete Sampras' record of 14 Grand Slam titles after defeating Andy Roddick in the final at Wimbledon. This win also saw his return to the
- 2009 Usain Bolt breaks the 100 and
200m world record at the 2009 Berlin World Championships.
- 2009– South Africa becomes the Number 1 Ranked Rugby and
Cricket nation in the world, following Australia's loss to England
in the Ashes Series.
- 2009 The Pittsburgh Penguins
defeat the Detroit Red Wings to
win their third Stanley Cup title as a
franchise. They win in a game 7 road game. Evgeni Malkin is named the Conn Smythe winner as the playoffs MVP.
- 2009- The New York Yankees beat
the defending champions, the Philadelphia Phillies, in the 2009 World Series 4-2. Hideki Matsui is the first Japenese born
player and full-time DH to win the World Series Most Valuable
Player, knocking in 6 runs.
Business and industry
- Music Industry: The early 21st
century has had a profound impact on the condition of music
distribution. Recent advents in digital technology have
fundamentally altered industry and marketing practices as well as
players in unusual rapidity.
- Many American auto brands have been phased out such as Plymouth by Chrysler in 2001 and Oldsmobile by General
Motors in 2004. General Motors will also be phasing out
Pontiac by 2010. There has been speculation
that Mercury by Ford could be phased out in the near future.
Issues and concerns
There are several points-of-view pertaining to the following
items, all of which should be considered accordingly.
Issues that have been frequently discussed and debated so far in
this century include:
Advances in telecommunications
and transportation, the expansion of
capitalism and democracy, and free
trade agreements have resulted in unprecedented global economic
and cultural integration. This has caused (and is continuing to
cause) economic and cultural shifts which have been the subject of
The United Nations estimates that world
population will reach 9.2 billion by mid-century. Such growth
raises questions of ecological sustainability and creates many economic and political
disruptions. In response, many countries have adopted policies
which either force or encourage their citizens to have fewer
children, and others have limited immigration. Considerable debate exists over
what the ultimate carrying capacity of the planet may be; whether
or not population growth containment policies are necessary; to
what degree growth can safely occur thanks to increased economic
and ecological efficiency; and
how distribution mechanisms should accommodate demographic shifts.
Evidence suggests that developed countries (such as Japan) suffer
population implosion, and the population debate is
strongly tied with discussions about the distribution of
- Authoritarianism. Some currently
democratic states, such as the United Kingdom, are felt by some to be moving quickly in the
direction of a police state, with
biometric identity cards, continuous
surveillance and long term
detainment without trial all having been introduced by the
government. A shift in education can be noticed towards more
emphasis on discipline and control mechanisms by the state. A good
indicator of authoritarianism being a serious concern for the 21st
century are the recent anti-authoritarian protests staged around
the world. Examples include the 1999 Carnival Against
Capitalism, the protest activities surrounding the 2001 Genova G8 Summit and the 2007 Heiligendamm G8 Summit, as well as the
2008 civil unrest in
Greece, all with strong anarchistic
and thus anti-authoritarian character.
- Abortion. Debates
between "Pro-choice" and "Pro-life" factions on the controversial procedure
continue. The approximate number of induced abortions performed
worldwide in 2003 was 42 million.
- Dysgenics. Due to the
negative correlation between fertility and intelligence, human
genetic integrity may be deteriorating, lowering the intellectual
capacity of the average human.
- Poverty. Poverty
remains the root cause of many of the world's other ills, including
famine, disease, and
insufficient education. Poverty contains
many self-reinforcing elements (for instance, poverty can make
education an unaffordable luxury, which tends to result in
continuing poverty) that various aid groups hope to rectify in this
century. Microcredit lending has also
started to gain a profile as a useful anti-poverty tool.
- Disease. AIDS, tuberculosis and
malaria each kill over a million people
annually. HIV remains without a cure or vaccine,
and is growing rapidly in India and much of the African continent.
Antibiotic resistance is a
growing concern for organisms such as tuberculosis. Other diseases, such as SARS, ebola, and flu variations, are also causes for concern. The
World Health Organization
has warned of a possible coming flu pandemic resulting from bird flu mutations.
the outbreak of swine flu in
Mexico and later
around the world caused widespread panic and concern, and is
currently still a problem.
- War and terrorism. Active conflicts continue around the world,
including civil wars in the Democratic
Republic of the Congo (the largest war since World War II), Chechnya, Côte d'Ivoire, Somalia, Senegal, Colombia, and Sudan (mainly in
9/11 terrorist attacks
triggered invasions of Afghanistan and
partially and controversially Iraq. The War on Terrorism has seen controversies
over civil liberties, accusations of
torture, continued terrorist attacks and
ongoing instability, violence, and military occupation. Violence
continues in the Arab–Israeli conflict.
Considerable concern remains about nuclear proliferation, especially in
Iran and North
Korea, and the availability of weapons of mass destruction to
- Global warming.
Climate scientists have postulated that the earth is currently
undergoing significant anthropogenic
(human-induced) global warming.
 The resulting economic and ecological
costs are hard to predict. Some scientists argue that human-induced
global warming risks considerable losses in biodiversity and
ecosystem services unless considerable sociopolitical changes are
introduced, particularly in patterns of mass consumption and
transportation. Others, however, doubt or deny human influence and
counter-action were in effect significant, or question whether
global warming will actually be a significant detriment to the
- Power in
international relations. Issues surrounding the
cultural, economic, and military dominance of the United States and
its role in the world community have become even more pointed given
its recent military activities, problematic relations with the
United Nations, disagreement over
several international treaties, and its economic policies with
regard to globalization. Integration of the European Union and the African Union have proceeded.
property. The increasing popularity of digital formats
for entertainment media such as movies and music, and the ease of
copying and distributing it via the Internet and peer-to-peer networks, has raised concerns in
the media industry about copyright infringement. Much debate
is proceeding about the proper bounds between protection of
copyright, trademark and patent rights
versus fair use and the public domain, where some argue that such laws
have shifted greatly towards intellectual property owners and away
from the interests of the general public in recent years, while
others say that such legal change is needed to deal with a
perceived threat of new technologies against the rights of authors
and artists (or, as others put it, against the outmoded business
models of the current entertainment industry). Domain name "cybersquatting" and access to
patented drugs and generics to combat epidemics in third-world
countries are other IP concerns.
developments show no sign of ending. Communications and control technology continues
to augment the intelligence of individual humans, collections of
humans, and machines. Cultures are forced into the position of
sharply defining humanity and determining boundaries on desire,
thought, communication, behavior, and manufacturing. Some, notably
Ray Kurzweil, have predicted that by
the middle of the century there will be a Technological Singularity if
artificial intelligence that
outsmart humans is created. If these AIs then create even smarter
AI's technological change could accelerate in ways that are
impossible for us to foresee. (However, gradual and simultaneous
use of AI technology to increase our own intelligence might prevent
this from ever occurring.)
- Fossil fuels are
becoming scarce and more expensive, due to the escalating demand for petroleum ("oil") and oil-based products such as
gasoline and kerosene, unmatched by production. Discovery of new
oil fields has not been sufficient to
sustain current levels of production, and some fear that the earth
may be running out of economically viable oil, pressing for
alternatives. As Agrofuel, one possible
alternative, yields further hazards for the environment and
endangers food security, debate is far from over.
relations seem to remain strained as the "Western
Alliance" and NATO square off with Russia and other nations over
international policy and the future of the ex-Soviet sphere. An
Eastern Europe Missile Defense Shield, military and social
conflicts in former Yugoslavia and the Caucasus (particularly
Georgia and Chechnya), fossil fuel infrastructures like the
Nabucco pipeline and the future of
nuclear arsenals are among the topics that have strained the
relations between the two sides with eerie reminders reminiscent of
the Cold War.
The United Nations
issues on its agenda
and lists a set of Millennium
) to attempt to address some
of these issues.
Astronomical events (passed or to come) in the 21st
List of the long total solar eclipses
- July 22, 2009: Solar eclipse, saros 136. The
longest of the century.
- August 2, 2027: Solar eclipse, of
6 min 23 s, saros 136.
- August 12, 2045: Solar eclipse, of 6 min 06 s, saros 136.
- August 24, 2063: Solar eclipse, of 5 min 49 s, saros 136.
- May 11, 2078: Solar eclipse, of 5 min 40 s, saros 139.
- May 22, 2096: Solar eclipse, of 6 min 07 s, saros 139.
- Wednesday, May 7, 2003: Transit
of Mercury, the first of this century.
- Wednesday, August 27, 2003: Closed approach of Mars, closest since the middle Paleolithic.
- Tuesday, June 8, 2004: First transit of Venus for 122 years.
- November 8, 2006: Transit of
- December 23, 2007: grand conjunction
a galactic conjunction which happens every 26,000 years.
- 2009: Triple conjunction
- 2010/2011: Triple conjunction Jupiter-Uranus.
- July 12, 2011: Neptune completes its first orbit since its discovery in September 23, 1846.
- Wednesday, June 6, 2012: Transit of Venus
to occur a second time (and last time) this century.
- May 9, 2016: Transit of Mercury.
- Monday, August 21, 2017  : First total solar eclipse of the 21st century for the
United States, and the first visible in the continental US since
February 26, 1979 .
- November 11, 2019: Transit of
- 2024 (plus or minus 5 years): Next predicted return of Comet
- 2025/2026: Triple conjunction Saturn-Neptune.
- Friday, April 13, 2029: The asteroid
99942 Apophis (previously better known
by its provisional
designation 2004 MN4) will pass within
30,000 km (18,600 mi) of the Earth.
- November 13, 2032: Transit of
- 2037/2038: Triple conjunction Jupiter-Uranus.
- November 7, 2039: Transit of
- 2041/2042: Triple conjunction Mars-Uranus.
- October 1, 2044: Occultation of
Regulus by Venus. The last was on July 7,
1959. After 2044, the next occultation of Regulus by Venus would
occur on July 22, 3126, although some
sources claim it will occur again on October 6, 2271.
- 2047/2048: Triple conjunction Jupiter-Neptune.
- May 7, 2049: Transit of
- November 9, 2052: Transit of
- July 2061: Next return of Halley's
- 2063: Triple conjunction Mars-Uranus.
- November 11, 2065: Transit of
- November 22, 2065: At 12:45 UTC, Venus will occult Jupiter.
This event will be the first occultation
of a planet by another since January 3, 1818. This event will be
very difficult to observe, because the elongation of Venus and
Jupiter from the Sun on that date will be only 7 degrees.
- 2066: Triple conjunction Jupiter-Uranus.
- July 15, 2067: At 11:56 UTC, Mercury will occult Neptune. This
rare event will be very difficult to observe, because of the
constant low elongation of Mercury from the Sun, and the magnitude
of Neptune always under the limit of visibility with the naked
- 2071/2072: Triple conjunction Mars-Neptune.
- November 14, 2078: Transit of
- 2079: Triple conjunction Saturn-Uranus.
- August 11, 2079: At 01:30 UTC, Mercury will occult Mars.
- Friday, November 10, 2084: Transit of Earth as seen from
Mars, the first and the only one in this century.
- November 7, 2085: Transit of
- 2085/2086: Triple conjunction Jupiter-Neptune.
- October 27, 2088: At 13:43 UTC, Mercury will occult
- 2088/2089: Triple conjunction Mars-Neptune.
- 2093: Triple conjunction Jupiter-Uranus.
- April 7, 2094: At 10:48 UTC, Mercury will occult Jupiter.
- May 8, 2095: Transit of
- November 10, 2098: Transit of
Pop cultural references to the remaining years of the 21st
Television and film
- The new series of Doctor Who which
began in 2005 depicts many fictional events that take place in the
- The television series seaQuest
DSV takes place between the years 2018 and 2032.
- In the sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey, a
joint American-Soviet space expedition is sent to Jupiter in
- The popular Adult Swim series
Sealab 2021 takes place in the year
- The events of Stargate
SG-1 continue into the early 21st century.
- Stargate Atlantis is
set in the early 21st century.
- The Transformers:
The Movie: is set in the year 2005. The subsequent third
season of the Transformers
series takes place after the events of the movie.
- The Japanese anime show The Super Dimension
Fortress Macross spans the years 1999 to 2012 (its final
episode takes place in January of 2012, and a direct to video
epilogue featurette takes place in September 2012). Its prequel and
sequels take place in 2008 (Macross
Zero), 2040 (Macross
Plus), 2045–2046 (Macross
7) and 2059 (Macross
Frontier). A dramatized historical fiction movie about the
First Space War, The
Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Do You Remember Love?,
premieres in 2031.
- The American cartoon show Robotech, composed from the footage of three
unrelated anime series (including Macross, above)
spans the years 1999 to 2015, 2030–2031 and 2044–2045.
- Part of the sequel Back to the Future Part II
is set on October 21, 2015.
- The Japanese anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion
is also set in 2015.
- The modern classic film Blade
Runner takes place in November 2019.
- The cult series Dark Angel is set in 2019.
- The film The Running
Man starring Arnold
Schwarzenegger is set in 2019.
- Both parts of the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Tense" take place in 2024.
- The dystopic sci-fi novel and film Metropolis takes place in 2027.
- The film Children of
Men is set in 2027.
- The anime universe of Ghost in the Shell, its sequel
Ghost in the Shell
2: Innocence, and anime television series based on the
same premise (Ghost in the Shell:
Stand Alone Complex and Ghost in the Shell:
S.A.C. 2nd GIG), are
centered somewhere around 2029.
- The Terminator is set up
during the early years of the 21st century in terms of the wars
between humans & Skynet. Some of the intervening years are
dealt with by the two sequels, Terminator 2: Judgment Day
and Terminator 3:
Rise of the Machines, with the whole franchise building to a conclusion of the
War in 2029.
- The 2002 version of The Time
Machine has scenes that take place in the 2030 and 2037
- The Doctor Who story The Enemy of the World is set in
Australia in 2030.
- The comedy series Time Trumpet is
set in 2031, and "looks back on" the first 30 years of the 21st
- The anime OAV series Bubblegum
Crisis (2032–33), its sequel Bubblegum Crash (2034), and its
TV-series re-imagining Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040
- Demolition Man is
set in 2032.
- I, Robot was set in 2035.
- Deep space vessel Event
Horizon was sent to test an artificial wormhole (black hole) in deep space in the year 2040. The
lost ship is found 7 years later by a rescue team on board the ship
Lewis and Clark on low orbit around the planet Neptune.
- The Outward Urge has a
major nuclear war in 2044 and the first manned landing on Mars in 2094.
- Bollywood movie Love Story 2050 was partly set in 2050.
- Minority Report
was set in April 2054.
- World War III ends in 2053 according to Star Trek: First Contact, with
600,000,000 dead and most major cities destroyed.
- The 1998 remake of Lost in
Space was set in 2058.
- Most of Star Trek:
First Contact takes place in 2063. In Star Trek canon, the
human Zefram Cochrane develops
faster-than-light travel and makes first contact with an alien race during this year.
- Final Fantasy:
The Spirits Within is set in 2065.
- The Doctor Who story The Moonbase is set in 2070.
- The Japanese anime show Cowboy
Bebop is set in 2071.
- The Nicktoon My Life
as a Teenage Robot is set in 2072.
- Equilibrium is set
- The Doctor Who story Day of the Daleks is set in 2073,
albeit in an alternative timeline.
- The film Total
Recall, and the Doctor Who story
Warriors of the Deep
is set in 2084.
- In Star Trek:
Insurrection, it is discovered that the Ba'ku moved to the Briar Patch at some point in this
- The Jetsons is supposed to
take place in the late 21st century.
Girl of the 21st Century and its sequels takes place in
the years 2049–2054.
- The final episode of The
X-Files sets December
22, 2012 as the date for alien colonization.
- The CGI animated series Cubix: Robots for Everyone
takes place in 2040.
- The Doctor Who story The Seeds of Death is set in
- The Doctor Who story Nightmare of Eden is set in
- The events of Leprechaun
4: In Space takes place in 2096.
- The 2008 Disney Channel movie
Minutemen is based between
the dates September 3 2005 and September 8 2008.
- The tagline of Torchwood series one
is: "The 21st century is when everything changes. And we have to be
ready." In series two, the second sentence changes to: "And
Torchwood is ready."
- The 2008 film Repo! The Genetic Opera is set in the
year 2056. Plastic surgery and a fictional pain-killing drug known
as Zydrate are commonplace as fashion statements and
- The events of the Sci-Fi anime Planetes is set in the year 2075.
Computer and video games
- The events of Metal Gear Solid
take place in 2005, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of
Liberty takes places in the years 2007 (Tanker Chapter) and
2009 (Big Shell Chapter), and the events of Metal Gear Solid 4:
Guns of the Patriots take place in 2014.
- Duke Nukem 3D is set in
the early 21st century and contains evidence (such as calendars)
that suggest it is more specifically set in October or December
- Uplink is set on
the internet of the year 2010.
- Perfect Dark Zero is
set in 2020 and Perfect Dark
is set in 2023.
- The races in San
Francisco Rush 2049 take place in 2049.
- The events of Deus Ex take
place in 2052.
- The levels "Breaking and Entering" and "You Genius, U-Genix" in
Perfect take place in 2052.
- System Shock is set in
- Future Cop: LAPD takes
place in the year 2098.
- The discovery of the Zohar in Xenosaga takes place in 20XX.
- The Great War of the Fallout universe starts on October
23, 2077; nuclear bombs are launched,
nobody knows who the aggressor was.
- The events of Shin Megami Tensei III:
Nocturne occur in 20XX.
- In Mercenaries: Playground
of Destruction, the 2nd Korean War starts early in this
- Mercenaries 2:
World in Flames, takes place sometime around between 2008
- The Mega Man Classic series
takes place sometime in the 21st century, represented as 20XX.
- The MegaMan
Battle Network series takes place in 20XX.
- The arcade game Robotron:
2084 takes place in the year 2084.
- One Must Fall: 2097 takes
place in 2097.
- The Mr. Driller series (and
Dig Dug: Digging
Strike, a game in its related timeline) takes place in
- The events of Half-Life takes place around
- The events of Half-Life 2
and its expansion packs takes place
around the early 2020s.
- The video game and cartoon 20X6 of Homestar Runner supposedly takes place in
the seventh year of an unspecified decade in the 21st century.
- The nuclear holocaust of the
AquaNox universe takes place in
mid-21st century, followed by the massive exodus of survivors
- Trauma Center:
Under the Knife and Trauma Center: Second
Opinion take place in 2018, when AIDS and cancer
supposedly have cures.
- The events of Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow
takes place in this time; specifically 2035. The sequel,
Castlevania: Dawn of
Sorrow takes place one year later, in 2036. These are the
only two Castlevania titles to have
taken place beyond the early to mid 20th century thus far.
- The events of Tokyo
Xtreme Racer: Drift and Tokyo Xtreme Racer: Drift 2
take place during 20XX, when Japanese highways have supposedly been
opened as racing circuits.
- The events of Namco ×
Capcom takes place during 20XX.
- In the Command & Conquer:
Tiberian series, the 2nd Tiberium War between the Global Defense Initiative and the
Brotherhood of Nod begins in
2030. The 3rd Tiberium War takes place 17 years later in 2047,
which also sees the arrival of the Scrin to
- Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 (GRAW
2) takes place in 2014
- The events of Grand Theft Auto IV takes place in the
fall of 2008.
- The fictional story line of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
2, supposedly takes place in 2011.
- Stinkoman 20X6, of Homestar
Runner fame, takes place in the seventh year of an unspecified
decade in the 21st century.
Decades and years
- Experts clash over millennium
- The Naughty Noughties, or something
- The Stanley Kubrick Archives
- Update on Iraqi Casualty Data by Opinion Research
Business, January 2008
- Grolier- the new book of knowledge, section "E"
- William Shockley, Roger
Pearson: Shockley on Eugenics and Race: The Application of
Science to the Solution of Human Problems Scott-Townsend Publishers, ISBN
- Eclipse of July 22, 2009
- Eclipse of August 2, 2027
- Eclipse of August 12, 2045
- Eclipse of August 24, 2063
- Eclipse of May 11, 2078
- Eclipse of May 22, 2096