2011 Historical events

November 1, 2013
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Celebrating 5 Years Together 2011 Coffee Mug

What Events Happened in 2011

United States
  • Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot along with twelve others while making a public appearance in Tucson. The accused gunman Jared Loughner killed six of the people who were shot, one of dead was a nine year old girl. Giffords survived the attack but was in critical condition.
  • On March 11th an underwater earthquake with a magnitude of 9.0 hits off the coast of Japan, causing a tsunami that hit the Iwate prefecture with waves over 130 feet high. Damage from the tsunami and earthquake triggered a nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant due to several meltdowns and the inability to cool the reactors. An evacuation zone around the area was put into place as the levels of radiation exceeded all safety standards and tons of contaminated water were released into the Pacific Ocean. Japan is still reeling from the effects of the earthquake over a year later and workers and agencies are still trying to contain the effects of the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima plant, which has become the second most dangerous nuclear disaster in history only behind Chernobyl. Estimated figures related to the earthquake include nearly 16, 000 deaths, over 6, 000 injuries, and almost 3, 000 people missing. About 4.4 million households went without power and about 1.5 million went without water. Hundreds of thousands of buildings were damaged and destroyed.
Burma - Burma's Move Towards Democratization
  • Burma (Myanmar) made a few significant steps toward democracy with the introduction of several democratic reforms after being a tightly-controlled military government for several decades prior.
More Information and Timeline For Burma Democratization
1. 1948 - Burma becomes independent after being controlled by Great Britain since 1885.
2. 1962 - Military General Ne Win stages a coup and this begins a period of military control of the country that had lasted until 2011.
3. 1988 - Economic unrest and political oppression lead to pro-democracy demonstrations by the populace. General Saw Maung stages a coup and declares martial law in the country.
4. 1990 - The government holds free elections for the first time in thirty years and the National League for Democracy (the party of activist Aung San Suu Kyi) wins eighty percent of the seats in parliament. The military junta refuses to give up power.
5. 2007 - More anti-government protests break out over fuel prices, but are suppressed by the government. The protests then turned into a non-violent resistance campaign led by Buddhist monks called the Saffron Revolution, this was also suppressed with violence by the government.
6. 2008 - A constitutional referendum was held and the result of which promised some democratic reforms.
7. 2010 - The country held somewhat peaceful general elections but the military party claimed to have won eighty percent of the vote, a result that pro-democracy groups claim as fraudulent.
8. 2010 - Democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi was released from house arrest after being detained for fifteen of the previous twenty-one years.
9. 2011 - On January 31st the Burmese Parliament convened for the first time in over twenty years. This event marked the end of fifty years of military rule and the creation of a new constitution.
10. 2011 - President Thein Sein signs a law that would allow peaceful protests in the country for the first time on December 3rd.
11. 2012 - Democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi wins a seat in the Burmese parliament on April 1st and on July 9thth she attended her first parliament as a member of the governing body.
Burma continues to make progress towards a more democratic system, while the military still holds a strong grip on the country.
  • On May 2nd, it was announced by US President Obama that Osama Bin Laden had been found and killed by US Navy Seals in Abbottabad, Pakistan. This marked the end of the search for the man who was thought to be responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11th of 2001.
  • A bomb blast hits the city of Oslo and kills at least eight people and soon after Anders Behring Breivik attacks an island youth camp killing another sixty-eight people. The attacks shocked the normally peaceful nation and Breivik indicated that he orchestrated both of the attacks for political reasons and has extremist views.
Middle East - Arab Spring Protests
  • Citizens in countries across the Middle East rise up against their governments in what was called the Arab Spring. Countries affected include Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Libya, Yemen and Bahrain amongst others. Many believe that social media was responsible for how widespread the protests became and that it allowed others around the world to witness the events of these conflicts as protesters shared videos, blogged and tweeted about their experiences.
More Information and Timeline For Arab Spring
1. 2010 - On December 17th, Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi sets himself on fire in protest of harassment by a local municipal official, the first protests against the government in Tunisia begin around the same time. This event is thought to be the catalyst for all of the Arab Spring protests to follow.
2. Tunisia - On January 15th, 2011, Tunisia's leader flees the country and Tunisia becomes the first of four countries to successfully overthrow their governments in the region. By December 12th, the country successfully elects Moncef Marzouki as the first president since their revolution.
3. Egypt - On January 25th, 2011, protests begin in Egypt. Protesters call for the resignation of Hosni Mubarak and the government responds with force against the protesters. Protests continue and increase in intensity and by February 11th Mubarak resigns. He is later put on trial and sentenced to life in prison for failing to stop the killing of protesters by security forces.
4. Yemen - As protests intensify in Yemen, the president Ali Abdullah Saleh announces his plans to resign in 2013 and asks opposition to halt further protests on February 2nd. After the protests grew larger and continued, Saleh agreed to a thirty day transitional plan to leave power, but later refused to sign the agreement on May 23rd. Saleh did not formally cede power of the country until February 27th of 2012.
5. Bahrain - Violence between protesters and police erupts in Bahrain in the capital of Manama in March of 2011. King Hamad eventually conceded some conditions, however, as of September 2012 protests in the country were still ongoing.
6. Syria - Protests erupt in Damascus in Syria on March 15th of 2011. Hundreds of people called for democratic reforms but the protests were broken up by the government's forces. Over several months the protests intensified as did the government's response until later in 2011 when anti-government protesters formed fighting units and staged an insurrection against the Syrian army starting off a civil war that is still active as of September 2012. President Bashar al Assad has come under much criticism for human rights offenses during the conflict.
7. Libya - Libyan protesters began demonstrating in February of 2011 and the country soon faced a full-on revolt against Col. Muammar Gaddafi and the Libyan government. Gaddafi began using force against protesters and on March 19th, the United Nations enacted a no fly zone on the country and stated they would use allied troops to protect Libyan civilians in this conflict. By July 15th, the US had officially recognized the Libyan rebels as the legitimate government of the country. Gaddafi was killed in Sirte on October 20th and the official "liberation" of Libya was celebrated on October 23rd. On July 7th of 2012 the country held its first parliamentary elections since Gaddafi's fall. As of September 2012 Libya still faced sectarian violence as it tried to move forward with a new government.
Many other countries in the region experienced protests as well, some examples include Saudi Arabia, Oman, Jordan, and Algeria, amongst others. Many of those conflicts were solved by some of the governments making concessions and implementing reforms, while other conflicts and protests are still ongoing as of September 2012.
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