What Happened in 2004?

2004 was a pivotal year in the new millennium. It marked fascinating advances in technology, political movements that marked generations, and cultural novelties that stood the test of time.

It truly was a year that will long mark the history books – but, instead of having to pick up a whole book about it, here are a few reminders about the biggest events that took place in 2004.

In this year

spirit landing on mars


It was a big month for NASA as they sent two separate spacecraft to Mars! Spirit landed successfully on Mars on January 4th, while Opportunity landed on January 24th. Both spacecraft lasted on the planet well beyond their 90-day missions.

Facebook logo


Barely a year after the launch of Myspace, the social media boom really exploded with the launch of a little thing called The Facebook – launching purely for students at the University of Harvard on February 4th, 2004. Can you remember a time without it?

Martha Stewart


US TV host Martha Stewart was found guilty of several charges. She had been accused of conspiracy, obstruction of an agency proceeding, and of giving false statements to investigators. She was then sentenced to five months in a minimum-security prison and five months in home confinement.



Google announced the launch of Gmail, the company’s free email service! To this day, Gmail is one of the most popular email services in the world – again, can you really remember a time before it?

the EU


The EU (European Union) expanded to include ten new member states. This was known as the Big Bang Enlargement. The new members included Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.

Saddam Hussein


The Preliminary hearings for the trial of Saddam Hussein began in Iraq. He was accused of crimes against humanity, and would eventually be executed for these crimes. One of the few “positives” to arise from the Iraq War, some believe, is Hussein’s removal from power and eventual execution. However, critics of the war certainly believe it made things worse.

soviet union passport


In momentous news that marked the end of an era in 2004, Russia’s officials finally stopped accepting passports from the Soviet Union as official proof of identity. Considering the USSR was officially folded around a decade ago – it wasn’t exactly premature!

Olympic Summer Games


In a barnstorming sporting summer for Greece, Athens officially opened the Olympic Summer Games on August 13th, running until August 29th. The event arrived on the back of Greece stunning soccer fans to win the UEFA Euro 2004 tournament in Portugal the month before.

On This Day in History - February 14th.


The video-sharing platform YouTube was registered as a domain name. To this day, YouTube remains one of the most popular websites online, welcoming millions of regular users and even providing incomes for people who have carved out careers as channel hosts.

Wangari Maathai


The 2004 Nobel Peace Prize was officially awarded to Wangari Maathai. She was an environmental and political activist from Kenya, who tragically passed away in 2011. She was the leading founder of the Green Belt movement – committed to helping reduce human suffering as well as pressing green issues.

fun facts about the 2000s


George W. Bush was officially re-elected as President of the United States, defeating John Kerry. And, although he was well-regarded during the September 11th attacks, his popularity was shattered during the 2007-2008 financial crisis. Some still hold him in high regard – while others feel he led the US into disaster.

interesting facts about earthquakes


The 9.1 magnitude Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami occurred. The earthquake and tsunami caused one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history. The tsunami killed an estimated 227,898 people across 14 countries. Even now, people look back on it as one of the most horrific natural events to have unfolded in the past two decades.

2004 was the year of the…

Chinese year of the monkey


Like 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980 1992, and 2016, 2004 marked the marvelous year of the monkey. People born in the monkey years are very imaginative, curious, lively, witty, and self-assured. They have pretty apt spirit animals, then! The next Monkey Year won't be until 2028, so we have some time to wait for the next set of cheeky creatives!

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This page was last modified on January 18, 2024. Suggest an edit

Celebrity Births in 2004

Millie Bobby Brown, British actor, born February 19th

Kylie Rogers, American actor, born February 18th

Kit Connor, British actor, born March 8th

Jack Champion, American actor, born November 16th

Noah Schnapp, American actor, born October 3rd

Famous People We Lost in 2004

Marlon Brando, American actor, died aged 80

Christopher Reeve, American actor, died aged 52

Janet Leigh, American actress, died aged 77

Johnny Ramone, American musician, died aged 55

Ray Charles, American musician, died aged 73

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