mir space station

What Happened in 2001?

2001, the year in which the famous movie A Space Odyssey was set, turned out to be a little different than expected. While there are many positive moments to come out of this year, it's inarguably remembered for the devastating attacks on the World Trade Center in New York in September.

Let’s take a look at some events that occurred across the year that you may or may not remember. If you weren’t around at the time, consider this a history lesson!

In this year

On This Day January 15th - Wikipedia Launched


Homework was never the same again as of January 15th, 2001 – as Wikipedia was officially launched to the public. The publicly-led and edited “people’s encyclopedia” revolutionized the way we access information and back it up – and while there’s a reputation for “just anyone” being able to edit the site, it benefits from hard-working fact-checkers.

footh and mouth disease


The UK’s farming industry began a horrific period of culling and financial cutbacks as it emerged that the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak had officially begun on February 19th. The disaster would lead to the culling of more than six million sheep and cows.

mir space station


Russia officially waved goodbye to its Mir space station on March 23rd, 2001, as it was finally decommissioned and dismantled, leading pieces to fall into the sea below, as it left its orbit of the Earth for good.



The Netherlands led the way for LGBTQ+ rights on April 1st, 2001, as the country became the very first to bring same-sex marriage into law. Sadly, marriage between same-sex couples remains forbidden in many modern territories, with homosexuality still being illegal in some countries, period.

andre kolingba


A coup d'état was attempted in the Central African Republic on May 28th, 2001, which led to André Kolingba’s forces failing to take over the country’s government. It’s thought several lives were lost as a result of violence surrounding the takeover attempt.

Rio Tinto train


Locomotive fans, take note! The longest train in the world as of June 21st, 2001, took to the tracks in Western Australia, traveling to Port Hedland from Newman. The train was said to consist of eight locomotives and a staggering 682 wagons – covering a distance of around 171 miles, or 275 km.

heart transplant


The first-ever artificial and self-contained heart transplant took place on July 2nd, 2001 – the recipient was the very lucky Robert Tools, with the surgery taking place in the US. The procedure has helped to save many, many lives since.

Stop Racism


South Africa played host to this year’s World Conference Against Racism on August 31st, 2001 – however, it came under controversy after the United States and Israel elected to leave after three days in. They left because of reported antisemitism at the conference, which was being hosted in Durban.

twin towers world trade center


On September 11th, 2001, around 2,977 people died as a result of an unprecedented terror attack upon the World Trade Center’s twin towers in New York, US. The attack saw multiple hijacked airplanes fly into the buildings, alongside the US Pentagon. The twin towers fell due to the attack. The event would be pivotal in President George W Bush’s “War on Terror,” as Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda became collective enemy number one.

facts about sex


Incredible science news emerged on October 13th, 2001, as it was revealed that researchers had cloned the first-ever human embryo. It was a huge step forward for cloning science – and while we might not be cloning people constantly right now, the event’s been important for medical research and treatments.

xbox console


Microsoft officially threw its hat into the home games console ring on November 15th, 2001, with the release of the original Xbox in the US. Microsoft would become the third player in the console wars, even edging Nintendo aside for a two-way battle with Sony over the next decade.

interesting facts about Italy


Italy finally reopened one of its most iconic landmarks on December 15th, 2001, as the Leaning Tower of Pisa’s reconstruction was completed. Did you know that there have been attempts to straighten the tower over the years – with efforts only making things worse?

2001 was the year of the…

chinese year of the snake 2013


Snakes are very lucky animals according to the Chinese Zodiac, and anyone born in 2001, 2013, 1989, 1977, 1965, 1953, 1941, or 1929 can consider themselves lucky enough to be called snake people. Snake people are highly-admired, ambitious, deep-thinking, and always likely to be cooking up a plan. They can also have expensive tastes, too! The next snake year will be 2025.

This page was last modified on January 19, 2024. Suggest an edit