Millennium: 3rd millennium
2002 in various calendars
Gregorian calendar2002
Ab urbe condita2755
Armenian calendar1451
Assyrian calendar6752
Baháʼí calendar158–159
Balinese saka calendar1923–1924
Bengali calendar1409
Berber calendar2952
British Regnal year50 Eliz. 2 – 51 Eliz. 2
Buddhist calendar2546
Burmese calendar1364
Byzantine calendar7510–7511
Chinese calendar辛巳年 (Metal Snake)
4698 or 4638
    — to —
壬午年 (Water Horse)
4699 or 4639
Coptic calendar1718–1719
Discordian calendar3168
Ethiopian calendar1994–1995
Hebrew calendar5762–5763
Hindu calendars
 - Vikram Samvat2058–2059
 - Shaka Samvat1923–1924
 - Kali Yuga5102–5103
Holocene calendar12002
Igbo calendar1002–1003
Iranian calendar1380–1381
Islamic calendar1422–1423
Japanese calendarHeisei 14
Javanese calendar1934–1935
Juche calendar91
Julian calendarGregorian minus 13 days
Korean calendar4335
Minguo calendarROC 91
Nanakshahi calendar534
Thai solar calendar2545
Tibetan calendar阴金蛇年
(female Iron-Snake)
2128 or 1747 or 975
    — to —
(male Water-Horse)
2129 or 1748 or 976
Unix time1009843200 – 1041379199

2002 (MMII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar, the 2002nd year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 2nd year of the 3rd millennium and the 21st century, and the 3rd year of the 2000s decade.

After the September 11 attacks of the previous year, foreign policy and international relations were generally united in combatting al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. The United States especially was a leading force in combatting terrorist groups. 2002 also saw the signing and establishment of many international agreements and institutions, most notably the International Criminal Court, the African Union, the Russian-American Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty, and the Eurozone.

The global economy, partly due to the September 11 attacks, generally stagnated or declined. Stock indices, such as the American Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Japanese Nikkei 225 both ended the year lower than they had started. In the later parts of 2002, the world saw the beginning of a SARS epidemic, which would go on to affect mostly China, Europe, and North America.


The world population on January 1, 2002, was estimated to be 6.272 billion people, and it increased to 6.353 billion people by January 1, 2003. An estimated 134.0 million births and 52.5 million deaths took place in 2002. The average global life expectancy was 67.1 years, an increase of 0.3 years from 2001. The rate of child mortality was 7.05%, a decrease of 0.27pp from 2001. 26.85% of people were living in extreme poverty, a decrease of 1.40pp from 2000.

The number of global refugees was approximately 12 million at the beginning of 2002, but it declined to 10.3 million by the end of the year. Approximately 2.4 million refugees were repatriated in 2002, of which 2 million were Afghan. 293,000 additional refugees were displaced in 2002, primarily from Liberia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Somalia, Ivory Coast, and the Central African Republic.


There were 31 recognised armed conflicts in 2002, a net decrease from the previous year: seven conflicts ended in 2001, while conflicts in Angola, Congo, and Ivory Coast began or resumed in 2002. The deadliest conflicts in 2002 were those in Burundi, Colombia, Kashmir, Nepal, and Sudan. Among developed nations in 2002, national defense shifted toward counterterrorism after the September 11 attacks and the invasion of Afghanistan the previous year. Conflicts in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Israel, and the Philippines were directly related to countering Islamic terrorism.: 87 

Internal conflicts

The Colombian conflict escalated after far-left insurgents occupied demilitarized zones and kidnapped Íngrid Betancourt, effectively ending peace talks. The insurgents began bombing cities, and over 200,000 Colombians were displaced by the conflict in 2002.: 91–92 

The Nepalese Civil War escalated in 2002, with casualties approximately equaling the combined totals from 1996–2001; half of this increase was civilian casualties, as civilians were targeted by both the Nepali government and the communist insurgents.: 88–89  Chechen insurgents in Russia escalated their attacks during the Second Chechen War, destroying a Russian Mil Mi-26 in August and causing a hostage crisis in Moscow.: 93–94  The Second Liberian Civil War also escalated, causing widespread displacement of civilians.: 90 

Conflicts that saw some form of resolution in 2002 include the Eelam War III in Sri Lanka, which was halted with a ceasefire agreement on February 24,: 98  and the Angolan Civil War, which was resolved in April with a ceasefire between the Angolan government and UNITA.: 89  Internationally brokered peace talks advanced in the Second Sudanese Civil War,: 102  some factions of the Somali Civil War,: 106  and the Second Congo War, with the latter producing an agreement on December 17 to create a Congolese transitional government.: 100–101  Afghanistan underwent its first year without direct military conflict in over two decades, though sporadic attacks were carried out by the Taliban insurgency and Al-Qaeda.: 256  An agreement was reached with the government of Burundi and the CNDD-FDD on December 3, but the other major faction in Burundi, the Palipehutu-FNL, did not participate in peace talks.

International conflicts

The only direct conflict between nations in 2002 was the India–Pakistan standoff in Kashmir, beginning in late 2001. This conflict was primarily one of brinkmanship, with the threat of nuclear warfare.: 88  Riots in Gujarat and suicide bombings in Jammu further escalated tensions.: 87  The two countries stood down in May.: 88 

The Second Intifada continued in 2002 between the Israel Defense Forces and Palestinian paramilitary groups with an escalation in violence. Palestinian suicide bombings became coordinated to maximize the number of civilian casualties, while the Israeli military killed approximately twice as many Palestinians in retaliation.: 73  In response to the suicide bombings, Israel carried out Operation Defensive Shield in March.: 413  Under this operation, Israel occupied much of West Bank,: 413  and it and briefly held Palestinian president Yasser Arafat under house arrest.: 95  The Battle of Jenin was particularly destructive, with the United Nations finding both parties to be irresponsible regarding collateral damage.: 96 


Art and architecture

Economic downturn and aftermath the September 11 attacks limited the art industry in 2002. Organizations were less willing to give patronage, and tourists were less willing to visit art exhibitions and museums, particularly in New York and the Middle East.: 502  The Documenta11 exhibition took place in Kassel, Germany, contributing to the early movement of art globalization with its focus on experimental and documentary works from developing nations. Traditional visual art was mostly replaced by film and photography at the exhibition.: 503  Critically acclaimed paintings in 2002 include The Upper Room, a collection of paintings by Chris Ofili based on a drawing of a monkey by Andy Warhol, and Dispersion, an abstract work by Julie Mehretu.

New structures in 2002 included The Gherkin in London and the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles. The Bibliotheca Alexandrina formally opened in Alexandria.: 506 


The highest-grossing films globally in 2002 were The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and Spider-Man. The highest-grossing non-English film was Hero (Mandarin), the 28th highest-grossing film of the year. Film was marked by several unexpected successes and failures in 2002, including the underwhelming performances of a Star Wars film, a James Bond film, and a Disney film, and the word-of-mouth success of My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Critically acclaimed films from 2002 include Adaptation, Far from Heaven, and Talk to Her.

Music sales in 2002 amounted to about 3 billion units, a decline of 8% from 2001. CD albums remained the dominant form of music, making up 89% of the market. DVD music sales increased by 40%, while cassette tape music sales decreased by 36%. Pop music saw a major decline in 2002 as it was overtaken by country music and hip hop music. Globally, the best-selling albums in 2002 were The Eminem Show by Eminem, Let Go by Avril Lavigne, and the Elvis Presley greatest hits album ELV1S: 30 No. 1 Hits. The best-selling non-English album was Mensch (transl. Human) by German singer Herbert Grönemeyer, the 29th best-selling album overall.

Critically acclaimed video games released in 2002 include Eternal Darkness, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Metroid Prime, Metroid Fusion, and Super Mario Sunshine. Medal of Honor: Allied Assault was influential in the war-based first-person shooter genre with its portrayal of grand cinematic battles. 2002 was the final year of traditional survival horror before it was overtaken by action-based survival horror games in franchises such as Resident Evil.


The 2002 Winter Olympics were held in Salt Lake City, with Norway winning the most gold medals. Allegations that a figure skating judge was bribed to favor Russia in a figure skating event led to France and Russia both receiving gold medals in the event.: 515  The Commonwealth Games were held in Manchester.: 516 

The 2002 FIFA World Cup was held in Japan and South Korea, and it ended with a 2-0 victory by Brazil over Germany. The traditionally well-performing teams of Argentina, France, and Italy did not meet expectations, while Senegal, South Korea, Turkey, and the United States performed better than they had historically.: 513 

In boxing, the Lennox Lewis vs. Mike Tyson was preceded by a scuffle during a press conference. Lennox Lewis went on to defeat Mike Tyson.: 520  In American football, the Tuck Rule Game between the New England Patriots and the Oakland Raiders became a national controversy after officials cited the obscure tuck rule to challenge a pass by Tom Brady. Bruno Peyron set the record for the fastest circumnavigation by sailing in 2002, making the trip in 64 days.: 521 


International trade increased by 1.9% in 2002, correcting from a decrease in 2001.: 11  Most countries experienced only limited growth of output and employment in the year, and economic policy within the largest economies focused primarily on combating inflation.: 1  The gross world product increased by 1.7%, the second lowest growth in a decade after that of 2001.: 2  Most developed nations began 2002 in a budget surplus and ended in a deficit.: 8 Growth was focused in the first half of the year before tapering in the second half: 35  as stock markets entered into a downturn. The early 2000s recession began to stabilize in the final months of the year.: 1  Particularly affected was AOL-Time Warner, with its stocks losing 65% of their value by the fall.: 100  The information technology industry began its recovery following the dot-com crash that had previously affected it.: 458  The Euro, a single official currency for the nations of the European Union, was introduced on January 1.: 6 

The price drops associated with the September 11 attacks persisted for several months into 2002.: 7  Latin American economies with large deficits were severely affected by lower prices, limiting export growth and preventing capital from entering the region, requiring further increases to the deficit.: 3  The region overall saw a negative GDP in 2002.: 4  Imports grew significantly in East Asia, with China competing with the United States as one of the largest export markets for other countries in the region.: 12 Imports in Latin America and Africa decreased compared to the previous year.: 13 

The United States recovered in part from the recession that had affected the Western world, while Europe's recovery was more limited.: 10  South America saw significant economic challenges: Argentina's economic crisis continued from 2001, Brazil had low confidence in its economy, and Venezuela's economy suffered amid political upheaval.: 13  Unlike the Western world, Eastern Europe and Asia showed strong growth in 2002.: 11  Africa did not share this growth, as it also experienced a weak economy during the year.: 14 

Several companies in the United States underwent major scandals in 2002, including the WorldCom scandal that led to what was then the largest bankruptcy in American history, and accounting scandals emerging from the previous year's Enron scandal. Others included the ImClone stock trading case and fraud cases at Adelphia and Tyco. These scandals brought the arrests of several high profile executives.: 92–93 

Environment and weather

Typhoon Rusa on August 27

2002 was the second hottest year on record, exceeded only by 1998. There was below average precipitation in 2002, with droughts in Australia, northern China, India, and western United States. Heavy rains in late 2002 caused significant flooding in eastern Asia and central Europe.: 77 

The third Global Environment Outlook report was published in May.: 465  A major oil spill took place off the coast of Galicia, Spain, when the MV Prestige ruptured and sank.: 87  The deadliest earthquake in 2002 was a 6.1-magnitude earthquake that struck northern Afghanistan on March 25, killing approximately 1,000 people.

The 2002 Atlantic hurricane season saw 12 named storms, a near-average number. Most of them were relatively minor, with only 4 four becoming hurricanes, of which two attained major hurricane status. The season's activity was limited to between July and October, a rare occurrence caused partly by El Niño conditions. The two major hurricanes, Hurricane Isidore and Hurricane Lili, both made landfall in Cuba and the United States, and combined were responsible for most of the season's damages and deaths. The 2002 Pacific typhoon season entailed a typical number of typhoons, but they were above average in intensity with 46% of typhoons reaching "intense strength". Typhoon Rusa was the deadliest typhoon in 2002, killing at least 113 people in South Korea.


The World Health Organization (WHO) recognized "reducing risks" and "promoting healthy life" as its health concern of focus in the 2002 World Health Report. Famines occurred in Ethiopia, Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.: 6 


Hamid Karzai is elected president of Afghanistan

2002 saw the creation of a new sovereign nation in East Timor.: 1  Brazil, Lesotho, and Senegal established democracy in 2002 through the acceptance of fair elections, while Bahrain and Kenya moved toward democracy through the strengthening of political institutions. Democracy was disestablished in Ivory Coast and Togo following mass political violence and unfair elections, respectively.: 14  Afghanistan underwent significant liberalization under a transitional government following end of major fighting in the War in Afghanistan, particularly in the capital of Kabul, though distant regions of the country remained oppressed by warlords.: 15  Civil rights also increased following the end of conflicts in Angola, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Macedonia.: 15–16  Turkey lessened its restrictions on the country's Kurdish population in 2002.: 16 

Terrorism dominated politics internationally in 2002, with both terrorist acts and attempts to declare groups as terrorist organizations being prevalent throughout the year. Islamic terrorism was widely seen as responsible for terrorist attacks throughout the year. In response, the United States began providing military assistance against terrorists in several countries as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.: 2  International law regarding these actions had yet to be settled, and international organizations spent the year debating how action against terrorist groups should be carried out.: 469 

George W. Bush defined an "axis of evil" in an address in January, naming Iran, Iraq, and North Korea as foreign adversaries of the United States. Increasing tensions between Iraq and the United States became a major geopolitical issue in 2002 amid suspicions that Iraq had resumed its production of weapons of mass destruction. The United Nations delivered an ultimatum for Iraq to comply with weapons inspections in late 2002. Because of this dispute, as well Hussein's involvement with terrorist groups amid the War on Terror, an invasion of Iraq by the United States was widely expected.: 66–71 

The Rome Statute entered into force in July, establishing the International Criminal Court.: 469  The International Court of Justice ruled in three cases: it ruled that diplomatic immunity applied to all crimes, including crimes against humanity, and it settled two territorial disputes, ruling in favor of Cameroon over Nigeria and in favor of Malaysia over Indonesia.: 471–472  A lesser court was established by the United Nations in Sierra Leone prosecute figures associated with the nation's civil war.: 470  The prosecution of former Yugoslavian Slobodan Milošević was delayed, and the genocide portion of the charges against him was dropped.: 86 

The Chinese Communist Party chose Hu Jintao as its next leader in a November meeting.: 87  The African Union formally came into existence in July.: 7  The United Kingdom held a Golden Jubilee celebration for Queen Elizabeth II, marking fifty years as the monarch.: 78  In Latin America, the great depression in Argentina continued into 2002, causing significant political turmoil. Venezuela also underwent political crisis with an attempted coup against President Hugo Chávez in April and a national strike against his administration later in the year. Brazil elected the leftist president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in response to the economic instability.: 86 


The Church of England determined in July that divorcees could marry in the church. Then in December, the church saw its first leader in centuries from outside its own membership when the Welsh Rowan Williams was confirmed as Archbishop of Canterbury.: 447  The Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal continued from 2001. The church adopted rules on how to address sexual abuse allegations on January 8, and Pope John Paul II made his second papal statement on the matter on March 22.: 448  Belarus made the Russian Orthodox Church in Belarus into the state's legally recognized religion, curtailing practice of other religions.: 449  Islam grappled with the aftermath of the September 11 attacks in 2002, facing both the expansion of Islamic terrorism and of United States military action in combating it.: 450 

Science and technology

A 2002 Toyota Prius

Major biological advances in 2002 include the discovery of small RNA, the genome sequence for indica rice, the genome sequences for malaria carriers anopheles gambiae and plasmodium falciparum, the discovery of a potential human ancestor from millions of years before the present.: 456–457  Developments were also made in understanding of TRP channels in taste, the role of light in a circadian rhythm, and the development of 3D imagery of cells. Bavarian pine voles were discovered in Austria after being thought extinct in the 1960s.: 467 

61 successful and four failed space launches took place in 2002. NASA launches included the Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager, the Aqua research satellite, and a Polar Operational Environmental Satellite. The European Space Agency launched the Meteosat 8 satellite in August and the INTEGRAL observatory in October. It also saw the launch of the Envisat satellite.: 453–454  China launched the Shenzhou 3 and Shenzhou 4 missions in March and December, respectively.: 454  Study with the Cosmic Background Imager revealed a more detailed image of cosmic background radiation, and telescopes were able to counteract the scattering effect of Earth's atmosphere through adaptive optics.

Hybrid vehicles first saw widespread popularity in 2002.: 94–95 

The open-source-software movement saw growth throughout the year, in part because of Microsoft's success in avoiding tighter regulations in court.: 458  New developments in peer-to-peer sharing allowed decentralized file sharing between computers, allowing for the proliferation of online piracy. Blogging also became a common practice in 2002.: 460 



A one euro coin


The Olympic flame during the 2002 Winter Olympics


A model of the Envisat satellite


Israel Defense Force soldiers during the Battle of Nablus
Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush sign the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty



50000 Quaoar


The flag of the African Union



American and French soldiers in Operation Enduring Freedom – Horn of Africa



Cleanup after the MV Prestige disaster


Births and deaths

Prominent deaths in 2002 included world leaders Hugo Banzer, John Gorton, Fernando Belaúnde and Ne Win. The British royal family in particular saw two major funerals, that of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and Princess Margaret. The year witnessed the passing of film figures Chuck Jones, Billy Wilder, María Félix and Rod Steiger; and musicians Layne Staley, John Entwistle and Joe Strummer. 2002 also marked the births of actors Jenna Ortega and Finn Wolfhard, as well as athletes Pedri and Emma Raducanu.

Nobel Prizes

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