what happened in 2016

What Happened in 2016?

2016 was a difficult year on many accounts. We lost a lot of national and international treasures, faced wars and scandalous revelations, and natural disasters tore across the land – it was a challenging 12 months!

However, if there’s one thing you can say about 2016, it’s that it was a year for change. Things wouldn’t be the same from here on out. And, if you only remember ‘16 for the “summer of Pokemon Go” and the rise of Donald Trump, we have many more memorable events to fill you in on.

Here are some of the biggest events that took place in 2016.

In this year

Facts of Iran


The International Atomic Energy Agency officially announced that Iran had finally dismantled its nuclear weapons program. In so doing, they permitted the United Nations to lift sanctions on Iran immediately. It was a major turnaround!

Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow met in Cuba


Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow met in Cuba for the first time. This marked an important historic moment for the Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches.

Maelbeek metro


Terrorist attacks took place in Brussels, at the Zaventem airport and Maelbeek metro station. Dozens of people were killed in the attacks, with hundreds injured. Tragically, it wouldn't be the last terrorist attack to affect Europe over the next few years.

Panama Papers


The Panama Papers were released. The 11.5 million leaked documents were published at the beginning of April 2016. The papers detailed offshore entities' financial information, revealing global tax evasion and money laundering. It was a dramatic month, to be sure!

Canadian Wildfires


Wildfires broke out in Alberta, Canada. The fires created the most expensive natural disaster in the nation's history and forced the evacuation of thousands of residents across the area. Again, sadly, it wouldn't be the only set of forest fires to ravage the land in the months to come.

brexit banner


The United Kingdom held a crucial referendum on its membership in the European Union (EU). Although the vote was very close, the majority voted for Brexit, i.e., the UK leaving the EU. However, it took years to finalize the Brexit deals between the EU and the UK, with a deal finalizing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Flag of Turkey


In July 2016, an attempted coup in Turkey unfolded. A faction within the Turkish Armed Forces attempted a coup against state institutions. This included the government and President at the time, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Olympic Games began in Rio de Janeiro


As the Summer Olympic Games began in Rio de Janeiro, the US swim team's Ryan Lochte, Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger, and Jimmy Feigen reported that having been robbed at gunpoint after a night out in the city. However, it was eventually revealed that the supposed assailants were in fact security guards! In the end, the athletes each released statements, and one swimmer paid a fine. Lochte apologized for his dishonesty and lost major sponsorships in the bargain.

Eiffel Tower


The US and China formally joined the Paris Agreement on climate change. However, under President Donald Trump, the US filed its intent to withdraw from the agreement in 2019. In 2020, the US formally withdrew from the Agreement. When President Biden took office, the country rejoined the Paris Agreement – backwards and forwards!

Facts of Iraq


The Iraqi government announced the launch of the Battle of Mosul to retake the city from ISIS. By 2017, the Iraqi Prime Minister arrived in Mosul to announce the victory over ISIL. However, ISIS would continue to mount terrorist attacks in the years that followed.

President Donald Trump


Controversially and certainly against the odds, Donald Trump was officially elected as the 45th President of the United States of America. He served for one term as President and was replaced by the current President, Joe Biden. Trump's term as President has gone down in infamy with many, though he built up a core of supporters who remain loyal to this day.

Syria Facts


The Syrian government regained control of Aleppo, marking a serious turning point in the Syrian Civil War. The city was reportedly taken back from the rebel fighters, marking the government’s biggest victory during the war at that time.

2016 was the year of the…

Chinese year of the monkey


Like 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, and 2004, 2016 paid tribute to monkeys all over the world, according to the Chinese Zodiac. People born in the monkey years are very curious, enthusiastic, confident, imaginative, and creative. The next monkey year won't be until 2028, so plan ahead!

This page was last modified on January 1, 2024. Suggest an edit