Millennium: 3rd millennium
2001 in various calendars
Gregorian calendar2001
Ab urbe condita2754
Armenian calendar1450
Assyrian calendar6751
Baháʼí calendar157–158
Balinese saka calendar1922–1923
Bengali calendar1408
Berber calendar2951
British Regnal year49 Eliz. 2 – 50 Eliz. 2
Buddhist calendar2545
Burmese calendar1363
Byzantine calendar7509–7510
Chinese calendar庚辰年 (Metal Dragon)
4697 or 4637
    — to —
辛巳年 (Metal Snake)
4698 or 4638
Coptic calendar1717–1718
Discordian calendar3167
Ethiopian calendar1993–1994
Hebrew calendar5761–5762
Hindu calendars
 - Vikram Samvat2057–2058
 - Shaka Samvat1922–1923
 - Kali Yuga5101–5102
Holocene calendar12001
Igbo calendar1001–1002
Iranian calendar1379–1380
Islamic calendar1421–1422
Japanese calendarHeisei 13
Javanese calendar1933–1934
Juche calendar90
Julian calendarGregorian minus 13 days
Korean calendar4334
Minguo calendarROC 90
Nanakshahi calendar533
Thai solar calendar2544
Tibetan calendar阳金龙年
(male Iron-Dragon)
2127 or 1746 or 974
    — to —
(female Iron-Snake)
2128 or 1747 or 975
Unix time978307200 – 1009843199

2001 (MMI) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar, the 2001st year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 1st year of the 3rd millennium and the 21st century, and the 2nd year of the 2000s decade.

The September 11 attacks against the United States by Al-Qaeda, which killed 2,977 people and instigated the global war on terror, were a defining event of 2001. The United States led a multi-national coalition in an invasion of Afghanistan after the Taliban government did not extradite Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. The invasion ended in December following a transfer of power to the Afghan Interim Administration led by Hamid Karzai.

Internal conflicts, political or otherwise, caused shifts in leadership in multiple countries, which included the assassination of Laurent-Désiré Kabila in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Second EDSA Revolution in the Philippines, the massacre of the royal family by the crown prince in Nepal, and civil unrest in Argentina. Other notable political events were an escalation in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, the storming of the Indonesian parliament, the Hainan Island incident between China and the United States, an insurgency in Macedonia, and a terrorist attack on the Parliament of India that began the 2001–2002 India–Pakistan standoff.

Major spaceflight and astronomical events in 2001 were numerous, such as the first spacecraft landing on an asteroid, the deorbit of the Russian station Mir, American entrepreneur Dennis Tito becoming the first space tourist, the discovery of 28978 Ixion in the Kuiper belt, a flyby of Io by the U.S. Galileo probe, and the first discovery of an atmosphere on an exoplanet. Other unique scientific achievements were the first sequence of the human genome, the first self-contained artificial heart, and the first clone of a human embryo.

Notable deaths in 2001 included musicians Aaliyah, George Harrison, John Phillips, and Joey Ramone; politicians Phoolan Devi, Laurent-Désiré Kabila, and Ahmad Shah Massoud; writers Douglas Adams and R. K. Narayan; actors Sivaji Ganesan, Carroll O'Connor, Anthony Quinn, and Thuy Trang; athletes Josef Bican, Don Bradman, and Dale Earnhardt; and royal figures King Birendra of Nepal and his son Dipendra, Soraya Esfandiary-Bakhtiary, and Princess Sophie of Greece and Denmark.

Health and society

The world population on January 1, 2001 was estimated to be 6.190 billion people, and it increased to 6.272 billion people by January 1, 2002. The average global life expectancy was 66.8 years, an increase of 0.3 years from 2000. The rate of child mortality was 7.58%, a decrease of 0.26% from 2000. 28.25% of people were living in extreme poverty, a decrease of 0.88% from 2000.

The number of global refugees in 2001 was approximately 12 million. 500,000 were settled over the course of the year, but the same number of people were displaced in other locations, causing the number of refugees to remain largely unchanged. The largest sources of refugees were from Afghanistan and Macedonia. The number of internally displaced persons decreased from 21.8 million to 19.8 million in 2001, with the most affected areas being Afghanistan, Colombia, and Liberia.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recognized mental health as its health concern of focus in the 2001 World Health Report. The WHO also began a five-year program to reduce road injury fatalities following a warning of the problem's severity by the Red Cross the previous year. The WHO's Commission on Macroeconomics and Health released a report in 2001 detailing how spending by developed nations could protect health in developing nations but that efforts to do so were impeded by the anti-globalization movement.

2001 was designated as International Year of Volunteers by the United Nations.

Health incidents

An ebola outbreak continued from 2000 in Uganda until the final case was diagnosed on January 16. Another outbreak occurred in Gabon and the Republic of the Congo in October, which would continue until July 2002. An outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease occurred in the United Kingdom in 2001, beginning on February 19. It affected thousands of farm animals and prompted the killing of millions of animals to contain the outbreak. The largest ever recorded outbreak of Legionnaires' disease occurred in July in Murcia, Spain. 449 cases were confirmed, with more than 800 suspected ones.

The September 11 attacks caused widespread health effects in the people of New York City relating to air pollution by carcinogens and other harmful particles such as asbestos and metals. Approximately 400,000 people were exposed, and many would go on to suffer lifelong chronic illness as a result of exposure.


Internal conflicts

The 2001 insurgency in Macedonia began on January 22 when the National Liberation Army (NLA) attacked a police station in Tearce, about 15 kilometres (9 mi) from the border with Kosovo, which escalated what had been smaller skirmishes along the border. The Battle of Tetovo was the first major offensive of the insurgency, launched by the NLA on March 14. Tetovo would remain a major area of conflict for the duration of the insurgency. Attempts to reach a ceasefire were interrupted in June. The Ohrid Agreement was signed on August 13, and the deployment of NATO peacekeeping forces to Macedonia was authorized on August 21. In Yugoslavia, the related insurgency in the Preševo Valley by Albanian rebels escalated on February 5. The Končulj Agreement, signed in May, mandated a ceasefire and resulted in the full demilitarization, demobilization, and disarmament of the Liberation Army of Preševo, Medveđa and Bujanovac (UÇPMB).

The Second Congo War continued with the assassination of President Laurent-Désiré Kabila on January 16. The Angolan Civil War moved toward peace talks in 2001, but talks were challenged by attacks on civilians by UNITA, including a train bombing on August 10 that killed 252 people. The insurgency following the Second Chechen War continued in Chechnya, prompting Russia to respond with the Alkhan-Kala operation on June 25. The War of the Peters continued into 2001 as a conflict between two commanders within the larger Second Sudanese Civil War, going on until a ceasefire was negotiated in August. The Bandaranaike Airport attack was a deadly attack by the Tamil Tigers that took place as part of the ongoing Eelam War III in Sri Lanka. The Provisional Irish Republican Army began disarmament in October following decades of paramilitary attacks during the Troubles.

Two failed coup attempts took place in 2001: a group of junior officers sought to overthrow President Pierre Buyoya in Burundi while he was out of the country on April 18, and André Kolingba, a former president of the Central African Republic, led a military coup against his successor Ange-Félix Patassé on May 28, causing several days of violence.

International conflicts

The Second Intifada marked increased conflict between Israel and Palestine in 2001 when terrorists affiliated with Hamas carried out several suicide bombings and other attacks on Israeli citizens. The Israeli government responded with temporary occupations, targeted killings, and its first use of airstrikes against Palestine since 1967. The Israeli and Palestinian governments agreed to a ceasefire on September 19.

Border clashes occurred between Bangladesh and India in April. The 2001–2002 India–Pakistan standoff began on December 13 after an attack on the Parliament of India by Pakistani militants. Enforcement of the Iraqi no-fly zones led to air strikes against Iraq in February and August by the United States and the United Kingdom.

September 11 attacks and War in Afghanistan

The September 11 attacks were committed against the United States by Al-Qaeda when 19 terrorists hijacked four commercial airplanes and crashed two of them into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon, and one in a field in Stonycreek Township, Pennsylvania. 2,977 people were killed, and the subsequent global war on terror made the attacks one of the events that defined 2001. The United States demanded that the Taliban extradite Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and end state-sponsored terrorism in Afghanistan. When these demands were not met, the United States led a multi-national coalition in the invasion of Afghanistan on October 7, entering into the ongoing Afghan Civil War.

The first major offensive was won by American and Northern Alliance forces during the Fall of Mazar-i-Sharif on November 10. The Northern Alliance took control of the city of Herat during an uprising on November 12, and Al-Qaeda surrendered the Afghan capital Kabul to the Northern Alliance on November 13. The Taliban surrendered in Kandahar on December 6. The United States and its allies attacked the Al-Qaeda headquarters in Tora Bora in December, but Osama bin Laden escaped by the time the cave complex was captured by the forces on December 17. An interim government of Afghanistan led by Hamid Karzai was formed on December 22.


Architecture and art

Museums that opened in 2001 include the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo, the Neue Galerie New York, the Jewish Museum Berlin, and the Leopold Museum in Vienna. The Kodak Theatre opened in Hollywood in November 2001, constructed to host the Academy Awards. The Leaning Tower of Pisa reopened to the public on December 15 after 12 years of reconstruction.

Several iconic works of photojournalism were produced during the September 11 attacks, including The Falling Man and Raising the Flag at Ground Zero. The Sphere was one of many artworks damaged during the attacks. It was the only one to be recovered, and the sculpture continued to be displayed in its damaged form as a memorial. Notable paintings made in 2001 include The Pupils by Michaël Borremans in Belgium, They Could Still Serve by Ellen Gallagher in the United States, and Traditional Chinese Studies Institute by Chen Danqing in China.


The highest-grossing films in 2001 were Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, and Monsters, Inc. The highest-grossing non-English film was Studio Ghibli's anime Spirited Away, which was the 15th highest-grossing film of the year. The inaugural entries of the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings film franchises prompted a shift in both the film and literary communities by propelling fantasy into mainstream culture, popularizing young adult novels, and reforming the blockbuster to promote film franchises and cater to fandom communities.

In music, 3.2 billion units were sold with a value of US$33.7 billion. DVD-Audio and Super Audio CD first rose to prominence in 2001, with approximately 600 titles available in these formats. Portable music grew in popularity after Apple Inc. released the iTunes media library on January 9 and the first iPod music player device on October 23. Worldwide, the best-selling albums were Hybrid Theory (2000) by Linkin Park, No Angel (1999) by Dido, and Survivor (2001) by Destiny's Child. The best-selling non-English album was Cieli di Toscana (transl.Tuscan Skies; 2001) by Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, which topped the charts in the Netherlands and Sweden and was the 23rd best-selling album globally.

Three major video game systems were released in 2001: the GameCube and the Game Boy Advance by Nintendo, and the Xbox by Microsoft. Sega, which had been a major competitor in the video game hardware market to this point, ended its involvement in the market after the failure of the Dreamcast. The year 2001 is remembered for its influence on the video game industry with the release of many games recognized as classics. Many video games released in 2001 defined or redefined their respective genres, including hack and slash game Devil May Cry, first-person shooter game Halo: Combat Evolved, and open world action-adventure game Grand Theft Auto III, which is regarded as an industry-defining work.

Bratz, an American fashion doll and media franchise created by former Mattel employee Carter Bryant for MGA Entertainment, debuted on May 21.


NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, described as the greatest driver in the sport's history, died in a crash during the 2001 Daytona 500 on February 18. The World Wrestling Federation agreed to purchase its largest rival, World Championship Wrestling, on March 23. In April, golf player Tiger Woods became the only player to achieve a "Tiger Slam" after winning the 2001 Masters Tournament, in which he consecutively won all four championship golf titles outside of a single calendar year. The world record for largest victory in an international football match was set by Australia in a 0–22 victory against Tonga on April 9. Australia set this record again with a 31–0 victory against American Samoa on April 11. The unbalanced nature of these matches prompted changes to the FIFA qualification process. The "Thunder in Africa" boxing match ended in a major upset after Hasim Rahman defeated champion Lennox Lewis on April 22. Lewis would go on to win a rematch on November 11.



Two major crowd crushes took place at sporting events in 2001. 43 people were killed during the Ellis Park Stadium disaster on April 11 in Johannesburg, South Africa after Ellis Park Stadium was overcrowded, and 126 people were killed during the Accra Sports Stadium disaster on May 9 in Accra, Ghana during an ongoing sports riot. Major structural failures in 2001 included the collapse of the Hintze Ribeiro Bridge in Portugal on March 4, killing approximately 70 people, and the collapse of a wedding hall on May 24 in Jerusalem, Israel, killing 23 people. 44 people were killed in a building fire, the fifth-deadliest in post-war Japanese history, on September 1 in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan. 31 people were killed when a fertilizer factory exploded on September 21 in Toulouse, France. The explosion was caused by a chemical spill amid unsafe storage practices. At least 291 people were killed in Lima, Peru on December 29 after a firework accident caused a fire in a shopping center.

The deadliest rail accidents in 2001 include a train collision that killed at least 30 people in the Republic of the Congo on January 12, a train derailment over a bridge that killed 59 people in Kadalundi on June 22, a train collision that killed 31 people in Jakarta on September 2, and a train collision that killed 42 people at the Ketanggungan Barat railway station in Indonesia on December 25. The deadliest aircraft accidents in 2001 include a Vladivostok Air crash at International Airport Irkutsk, Russia, which killed 145 people on July 4, a collision at Linate Airport in Milan, Italy, which killed 118 people on October 8, and an American Airlines crash in Queens, New York City, which killed 265 people on November 12.

Natural disasters

One of the landslides caused by the January 2001 earthquake in El Salvador; About 585 of the deaths are caused by landslides in Santa Tecla and Comasagua.

There were four earthquakes in 2001 that caused significant casualties. El Salvador was struck by two of them: a 7.6-magnitude earthquake on January 13 and a 6.6-magnitude earthquake on February 13, which resulted in the deaths of at least 944 and 315 people respectively. A 7.7-magnitude earthquake in Gujarat, India, on January 26 killed between 13,805 and 20,023 people, and destroyed nearly 340,000 buildings. An 8.4-magnitude earthquake, then the strongest that had occurred globally since 1965, killed at least 77 people in Peru on June 23. A 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck China with an epicenter near Kokoxili, close to the border between Qinghai and Xinjiang, on November 14, but it occurred in a sparsely populated mountainous region and there were no casualties.

The 2001 Atlantic hurricane season was slightly more active than normal, including 15 tropical storms and hurricanes. The deadliest storms were Tropical Storm Allison in June, Hurricane Iris in October, and Hurricane Michelle in November. All three of these storms had their names retired by the World Meteorological Organization. Tropical Storm Allison was the deadliest tropical storm to hit the United States without reaching hurricane strength.The 2001 Pacific typhoon season was slightly larger than average, including 28 tropical storms, 20 typhoons, and 11 intense typhoons. The most powerful storms were Typhoon Podul in October and Typhoon Faxai in December.


A minor economic decline took place among many developed economies in 2001. The United States saw a recession from March to November after a correction of the dot-com bubble, an over-valued tech industry. Further economic disruption ocurred in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. European economies also saw stalled growth in 2001, with Germany entering a brief recession toward the end of the year. Argentina's years-long economic crisis reached its peak in December when a bank run prompted the freezing of deposits, in turn causing widespread social unrest and the resignation of the President of Argentina. Overall, 2001 marked a decline in international trade by about 1.5%, which was a significant contrast from the 11% increase in 2000. This was the first negative growth in international trade since 1982. IT industries and the dot-com crash are attributed for the decline in trade.

Greece became the 12th country to join the Eurozone on January 1. America Online (AOL), a U.S. online service provider, was at the apex of its popularity and purchased the media conglomerate Time Warner. The deal took effect on January 11, in the largest merger in history at that time. AOL would rapidly shrink thereafter, partly due to the decline of dial-up and rise of broadband, and the deal would fall apart before the end of the decade, which would be regarded as one of the world's greatest business failures. The Enron scandal took place in October 2001 when Enron Corporation, an American energy company based in Houston, Texas, was found to be committing fraud, bringing about the criminal conviction of several executives and causing the company to undergo the largest bankruptcy at that point in U.S. history. The national airlines of Belgium and Switzerland (Sabena and Swissair, respectively) ended operations in 2001.


Freedom House recognized 63% of national governments as electoral democracies by the end of 2001, with the Gambia and Mauritania being recognized as democracies following peaceful transfers of power. Peru also saw a significant expansion of civil rights, emerging from the authoritarian rule of Alberto Fujimori. Argentina, Liberia, Trinidad and Tobago, and Zimbabwe underwent significant democratic backsliding in 2001, with Liberia and Zimbabwe recognized as authoritarian governments by the end of the year. 64.65% of the world's population lived in countries that generally respected human rights, while 35.35% lived in countries that denied political rights and civil liberties.

Islamic terrorism became the predominant global political concern amidst the September 11 attacks and the War on Terror. Islamic extremism was identified as a major threat to democracy and human rights, both in the Muslim world through the implementation of Islamism and in the rest of the world through terrorism.


The taller Buddha of Bamiyan before (left) and after destruction (right)

The Islamic State of Afghanistan was the de jure government of Afghanistan in 2001, but for several years it had operated as a government in exile while the Taliban-led Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan held de facto control over most of the country. Despite pleas from the international community to spare them, the Taliban proceeded to destroy the Buddhas of Bamiyan starting on March 2, having declared that they are idols. The Islamic State of Afghanistan was restored to power following the invasion of Afghanistan with the appointment of president Hamid Karzai on December 22.

The Second EDSA Revolution took place in the Philippines in January. Protests amid a corruption scandal and the resulting impeachment of President Joseph Estrada caused the president to announce his resignation, and he was succeeded by Vice President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on January 20. A self-immolation incident took place in Tiananmen Square in central Beijing, China, on January 23. Five members of the Falun Gong, a religious movement banned in mainland China, are alleged to have set themselves on fire, but details surrounding the incident are disputed by Falun Gong sources. Thousands of protesters stormed the Indonesian parliament building on January 29. The Argentine great depression escalated with rioting on December 19, prompting President Fernando de la Rúa to resign two days later.

Two former heads of government were arrested in 2001: President Slobodan Milošević of Serbia (1997–2000) was arrested on April 2 for his role in the Srebrenica massacre, and President Carlos Menem of Argentina (1989–1999) was arrested on June 7 for arms trafficking.

Ghana underwent its first peaceful transfer of power since 1979 when John Kufuor was sworn in as President of Ghana on January 7. The Netherlands became the first modern country to legalize same-sex marriage on April 1. The royal family of Nepal was killed on June 1 by Crown Prince Dipendra, who effectively became king upon his father's death. King Dipendra died days later and was succeeded by his uncle Gyanendra. The Constitution of the Comoros was amended on December 24, creating a federal government with a rotating presidency and granting increased autonomy to the three island administrations.


Flag of the African Union, adopted at its 14th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government in 2010

Two major regional organizations were announced in 2001: The African Union was established on May 26 as a pan-African forum to promote unity between African countries, including cooperation in economic and security issues. It would take effect in 2002, replacing the Organisation of African Unity. The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation was announced on June 15 to facilitate political and economic cooperation between Asian countries. Three countries joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001: Lithuania on May 31, Moldova on July 26, and China on December 11. The WTO began the Doha Development Round in November to negotiate lower trade barriers between countries and integrate developing nations into the global economy.

The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants was signed on May 22 to limit the production of persistent organic pollutants. The World Conference against Racism 2001 began on August 31, in Durban, South Africa, under the auspices of the United Nations. Israel and the United States withdrew from the conference on September 3 over objections to a draft resolution document equating Zionism with racism and singling out the Jewish state for war crimes. The Aarhus Convention agreement took effect on October 30, establishing the right to environmental information and environmental justice for European and Central Asian countries. The Convention on Cybercrime, the first international treaty to address cybercrime, was signed on November 23.

A diplomatic incident occurred between China and the United States when military planes of the two countries collided on April 1.

Science and technology

The Human Genome Project released the first draft of its human genome sequence on February 12. The first self-contained artificial heart was implanted on July 2. Several accomplishments were made in the field of cloning in 2001, including the clone of a gaur the clone of a mouflon, and the first clone of a human embryo.

There were only 57 successful orbital spaceflights in 2001, the fewest since 1963. Eight of these launches were crewed missions. Two failed spaceflights also took place. The NEAR Shoemaker made the first successful landing of a spacecraft on an asteroid on February 12. The Mir space station was deorbited and destroyed on March 23. The 2001 Mars Odyssey orbiter was launched on April 7 and arrived at Mars on October 24. American entrepreneur Dennis Tito became the first space tourist on April 28 aboard the Russian Soyuz TM-32. 28978 Ixion was discovered on May 22. The Genesis probe was launched on August 8 to collect solar wind samples. Deep Space 1 carried out a flyby of Comet Borrelly on September 22, and Galileo carried out a flyby of Io on October 15. An atmosphere was discovered on an exoplanet for the first time on November 27.

Apple Inc. released the Mac OS X operating system for Mac computers on March 24. 3G wireless technology first became available on October 1 when it was adopted by Japanese telecommunications company NTT Docomo. Microsoft released the Windows XP operating system to retail on October 25. The Segway, a self-balancing personal transporter invented by Dean Kamen, was unveiled on December 3 after months of public speculation and media hype, on the ABC News morning program Good Morning America.




433 Eros as seen from the NEAR spacecraft



Two men marrying in Amsterdam on April 1, the first day in which the possibility to marry was opened to same-sex couples
Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and U.S. President George W. Bush meet at the White House in September 2001.



Buffalo Bayou and White Oak Bayou at Main Street after Tropical Storm Allison hit Houston, Texas, U.S.



A Genesis collector array in the clean lab at Johnson Space Center. The hexagons consist of a variety of ultra-pure, semiconductor-grade wafers, including silicon, corundum, gold on sapphire, diamond-like carbon films, and other materials.


The World Trade Center and the Statue of Liberty just after the September 11 attacks in New York City


Swissair Airbus A321-100 (2001)
First generation iPod


Size comparison of HD 209458 b with Jupiter (left)


ZPU-2 anti-aircraft gun that was mounted on the North Korean vessel sunk in the Battle of Amami-Ōshima


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Nobel Prizes

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