2001 History Events: What Happened in 2001

The year 2001 was designated as the International Volunteer Year. The first part of the Harry Porter series, The Lord of the Rings, the Ocean’s trilogy, Shrek, and The Fast and the Furious were all released this year. The highest-grossing film was Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, which was followed by The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory was the best-selling album of the year, according to Billboard.

On January 10, 2001, George W. Bush was sworn into office. An American Airlines Boeing 767 carrying 20,000 gallons of jet fuel crashed into the World Trade Center’s Northern Tower in New York City on September 11, a Tuesday. Following the September 11 attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, President Bush declared war on Afghanistan on October 7 and signed the Patriot Act, an anti-terrorism measure, on October 26.

During a soccer match in Ghana’s Accra Stadium in May 2001, over 126 people died after an altercation with police and boisterous fans. The Accra Hearts of Oak were the home team, and they were ahead against Kumasi’s Asante Kotoko. Fans of Kotoko began removing seats and hurling them onto the pitch. The police retaliated by firing tear gas into the crowd, resulting in one of the worst sporting catastrophes in African history.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy reopened on December 15, 2001. This came after an expert-led team spent 11 years and $27 million fortifying the 12th-century tower without removing the famed lean. The tower was closed by the Italian authorities in 1990 when it sagged 15 feet off the perpendicular. It’s a wonder it didn’t fall over.

When Robert Tools received the world’s first self-contained heart, it was a glorious year for science. The infamous anthrax letters of 2001 were a new type of terror that killed five people and sickened 17 others.

Continue reading to discover more about the events of 2001.


(January 03, 2001)
Hillary Clinton was sworn in as a United States senator from New York, making her the first first lady of the United States to be elected to public office. photo source:


(January 09, 2001)
With the release of the iPod later that year, Apple debuted iTunes, a digital media player application that transformed digital music. photo source:

(January 15, 2001)
Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger developed Wikipedia, a free Internet-based encyclopaedia that runs under an open-source management model. photo source:

(February 18, 2001)
Dale Earnhardt, Sr., an American stock car driver, died from injuries sustained in a crash during the Daytona 500's last lap.

(February 25, 2001)
Don Bradman, one of the greatest run scorers in cricket history and widely regarded as the greatest player of the twentieth century, died at the age of 92.


(March 23, 2001)
The Soviet/Russian space station Mir lasted 15 years in orbit after reentering Earth's atmosphere and landing into the South Pacific Ocean, despite being built for only 5 years of service.

(April 01, 2001)
The Netherlands was the first country to allow same-sex couples equal marriage privileges.

(April 07, 2001)
NASA launched the Mars Odyssey mission, which landed on Mars in October and returned images and data to Earth scientists.

(April 09, 2001)
After completing the acquisition of Trans World Airlines, American Airlines became the world's largest airline.


(April 28, 2001)
Dennis Tito, an American businessman, became the first space tourist when he was flown into orbit aboard a Russian supply mission to the International Space Station for a six-day journey that cost him almost $20 million.

(June 11, 2001)
Timothy McVeigh was executed on this day in 2001, after being convicted of the bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995, which killed 168 people in what was then the biggest terrorist act in the United States.

(June 23, 2001)
The southern Peru 8.4 Mw earthquake shakes the Peruvian coast with a maximum Mercalli intensity of VIII (Severe). At least 74 people were killed and 2,687 were injured when a catastrophic tsunami ensued.

(June 30, 2001)
Chet Atkins, a significant pioneer in country music who is frequently credited with inventing the Nashville Sound of the 1960s, died in Nashville.

(July 12, 2001)
Mission STS-104 of the Space Shuttle Atlantis transports the Quest Joint Airlock to the International Space Station.


(July 28, 2001)
Ian Thorpe of Australia becomes the first swimmer in history to win six gold medals at a World Aquatics Championships. photo source:

(September 03, 2001)
Pauline Kael, an outspoken film critic for The New Yorker magazine who was known as much for her writing style as for the subject, died in Massachusetts.

(September 05, 2001)
On this day in 2001, scientists revealed a discovery of energy flares that offered strong evidence of the predicted black hole at the centre of the Milky Way Galaxy during a scientific meeting in Washington, D.C.

(September 11, 2001)
The September 11 attacks, the world's worst terrorist attack prior to 9/11 and the deadliest terrorist act in American history, killed 2,977 people. In New York City, two planes collide with the World Trade Center, while in Virginia, the Pentagon in Arlington County is struck by a third. In a fourth, Pennsylvania, a plane crashes into a field near Shanksville. photo source:

(October 07, 2001)
Afghan War began after 9/11 when U.S. and British jets began hitting Taliban sites. photo source:


(October 12, 2001)
The United Nations and its Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, received the centenary Nobel Peace Prize. photo source:

(October 23, 2001)
The iPod, a portable media player introduced by Apple, became one of the most successful and revolutionary items of the early 2000s. photo source:

(October 26, 2001)
The Patriot Act Anti-Terrorism Bill was signed into law by US President George W. Bush, providing federal authorities the power to listen in on phone and internet communications, as well as the right to surreptitiously search homes and businesses. photo source:

(November 04, 2001)
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, the first film version of J.K. Rowling's best-selling Harry Potter series, premiered in London. photo source:

(November 24, 2001) The Grand National Assembly of Turkey adopted legislation reforms that rendered women equal to men before the law and no longer subject to their husbands.

(November 29, 2001)
At the age of 58, George Harrison, a former member of the Beatles, died of cancer. photo source:

(December 15, 2001)
The Leaning Tower of Pisa has reopened after 11 years and a total of $27,000,000 in stabilisation efforts, but the tower's famed slant remains unchanged. photo source:

Written by James

James has always been intrigued by dinosaurs, the universe, technology, and animals. With a Bachelor of Computer Science and years of writing expertise, he joined World Amazing Facts in 2021 as a staff writer.

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2000 History Events: What Happened in 2000

2002 History Events: What Happened in 2002