The 21st century started as the clock struck midnight on January 1st of 2001 and will continue on until the end of 2100. The many major advancements of the 21st century were as a result of the digital revolution which occurred during the last two decades of the 20th century. However, perhaps the biggest concerns associated with the 21st century have to do with the concepts of pollution, resource depletion, global warming and the depletion of availabilities of staple foods around the world.
It is often considered that the 21st century started off on the wrong foot. As the century grew nearer, the old dating systems in computers around the world only left room for the last 2 digits of the year and as a result there was a common misconception that as the clock struck midnight, the computers that were in charge of the world’s infrastructure and monies would crash due to the computer thinking it was the year 1900 again. This misconception was known as the Y2K bug and although a large effort was put forth to prevent this from occurring, as the clocks chimed in the New Year, the power grids stayed live and no money was lost.
Movies from the 1970’s and 1980’s that showed the future as people of the world living in space and on the surface of the earth, people were driving flying cars was also shown to not happen. However these advancements are not too far off as people and governments around the world continue to push the limits of technology ever farther.
The first year of the century was considered to be an important turning point. On September 11th of 2001, religious extremists hijacked several commercial jetliners throughout the United States. Two of the jets were crashed, one into each one of the Twin Towers of New York’s World Trade Center. A third plane had been hijacked over Pennsylvania and was destined for Washington D.C. but the passengers, hearing of the devastation through the illegal use of a cell phone on the jet, attacked the hijackers and the jet crashed over Pennsylvania rather than in the highly populated U.S. National Capitol.
Later that year, the War on Terror would commence as the United States in retaliation for the actions and the support of terrorist activities invaded Afghanistan then moved on to Iraq later. In 2003 as the International Criminal Court opened its doors, the commencement of the Coalition of the Willing started Operation Iraqi Freedom as a means of outing Saddam Hussein and returning the country of Iraq to the Iraqi people. Accordingly though, the United States still considered this a portion of the War on Terror and continuously makes every attempt to maintain occupation in Iraq.
By 2004, the European Union for the first time in a while expanded in size as it added 2 new countries to its roster. Both countries added to the European Union were originally Communist nations but changes in world politics have made the joining of these nations a possibility.
A year later, the United Nations Security council had decided that the criminals of war in Dafur would face an International Criminal Court to answer for their crimes against humanity.
2006 was also a very eventful year as the country of Montenegro gained its independence and immediately following became the 192nd country to join the United Nations. Furthermore, after years of seclusion from the world, North Korea successfully attempted and accomplished its first test of a nuclear weapon in an underground cave. As the year came to an end, Saddam Hussein after being apprehended in Iraq for his crimes against the people of Iraq was tried in front of an Iraqi court, found guilty and then executed by hanging.
As the years led on, due to the increasing hatred against the U.S. people and an increasing inflated Dollar, for the first time in the history of the U.S., a major political organization nominated not just one, but two minorities as they endorsed both Hilary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama for the 2008 Presidential Elections. While Barack won the primaries, Hilary is not too far out of mind due to the strength and support that the Democratic party is receiving world wide.
Going back in time a little bit for the science and technology events of the 21st century saw the world’s first “Space Tourist” as Dennis Tito paid twenty million Dollars in 2001 to be the first civilian in outer space as well as being allowed to board the space station. 2002 saw the Mars Odyssey arriving in orbit around the red planet only to have another shuttle disaster occur the following year as the Space Shuttle Columbia crashed.
This same year, China launched its own space program in which its first manned space flight occurred on October 15th of 2003 aboard the Shenzhou 5. While this advancement in the Chinese Space Program was covered around the world, it would soon be over shadowed as another set of mars rovers, the Mars Exploration Rovers landed on the red planet only to discover the possibility of water which prompted the launching of another Mars rover.
The first ever privately funded spaceflight occurred on June 21st of 2004 as the SpaceShipOne made its way into the outer stratosphere before gliding back to earth. This was the first time that the infamous X-Prize had been one and furthermore, Richard Branson, the rogue billionaire and owner of the Virgin name also decides to team up with SpaceShipOne’s owners and creators to start on the world’s first space tourism company.
After the Huygens probe landed on the largest of the planet Saturn’s moons, Titan, a deep impact probe would successfully land on the Tempel Comet and a 9 year voyage to Pluto was launched only to have Pluto reclassified as a red dwarf rather than officially as a planet. By 2008 two more vessels reach Mars, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in 2006 and the Phoenix Lander in 2008. They both found proof that ice and water originally existed at one point in time on the red planet.
While the century is still young, many advancements occur on practically a daily basis. As each of these advancements happen, the world as we know it gradually changes and reshapes itself around these new advancements.
Original Authors: Nick (Globel Team)
Edit Update Authors: M.A.Harris
Updated On: 31/07/2008