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2011 (MMXI) was a common year starting on Saturday in the Gregorian calendar. It is the 12th year in the 21st century.
According to the North Korean Minguo calendar, this was Juche year 100. This year was also the 100th of the Republic of China (Taiwan) Era year (民國100年).
The United Nations designated 2011 the International Year of Forests and International Year of Chemistry.
- January 1 – Estonia starts using the euro currency.
- January 1 – Start of Hungary's Presidency of the European Union
- January 1 – Dilma Rousseff becomes Brazil's first female President.
- January 4 – A solar eclipse is seen over most of Europe, North Africa and western Asia.
- January 4 – Tunisian fruit seller Mohamed Bouazizi dies after setting himself on fire in an act of protest.
- January 7 – The 2011 AFC Asian Cup is held in Qatar, until January 29, won by Japan.
- January 8 – Twenty people are shot in Tucson, Arizona, six of whom are killed. One of the victims was congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
- January 9 – South Sudan holds a referendum on independence.
- January 9 – Iran Air Flight 227 crashes, killing 77 people.
- January 10 – Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia and the Lockyer Valley flood with more than 16 people killed.
- January 11 – More than 480 people are killed in flooding and mudslides in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro.
- January 14 – In the wake of anti-government demonstrations, Tunisia's President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali dissolves the government and resigns from office. Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi takes over as caretaker-President, before being replaced by Fouad Mebazaa.
- January 24 – A terrorist bombing at Moscow's Domodedovo Airport kills at least 35 people.
- January 25 – 2011 Egyptian protests: Pro-democracy demonstrations begin in Egypt against the rule of President Hosni Mubarak.
- January 28 – 2011 Egyptian protests: Hosni Mubarak cuts internet access.
- March 9 – Enda Kenny becomes Taoiseach of the Republic of Ireland.
- March 10 – Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, announces his intention to stand down from his official powers, and to transfer them to an elected official.
- March 11 – An earthquake of magnitude 9.1 strikes near Sendai on the east coast of the island of Honshu, Japan, causing a lot of damage and triggering tsunamis, with warnings issued around the Pacific Ocean. Thousands of people have been killed, and thousands more are missing. A heavy nuclear accident was also result of the earthquake, prompting fears over radiation levels.
- March 17 – 2011 Libyan protests: The United Nations resolution for a no-fly zone over Libya is passed.
- March 18 – NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft arrives in orbit around Mercury.
- March 19 – The Moon makes its closest approach to Earth, by nearly 3,000 miles, in 18 years.
- March 19 – 2011 Libyan protests: United Nations-authorised military intervention in Libya begins.
- March 23 – Portugal's Prime Minister Jose Socrates announces his resignation, as a result of the financial crisis.
- March 24 – 2011 Burma earthquake: An earthquake of magnitude 6.8 centred in Burma kills 75 people.
- March 27 – Bulgaria and Romania fully implement the Schengen Agreement.
- March 31 – After months of crisis following a disputed Presidential election, intense fighting breaks out around Ivory Coast's largest city, Abidjan, between forces loyal to Alassane Ouattara and those loyal to Laurent Gbagbo.
- April 7 – A school shooting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, leaves 13 dead, including the gunman.
- April 9 – A gunman opens fire at a shopping centre in Alphen an den Rijn, Netherlands, leaving 7 dead.
- April 11 – Ivory Coast crisis: Laurent Gbagbo is arrested in his bunker in Abidjan by troops from France, the United Nations, and troops supporting Alassane Ouattara.
- April 12 – Four Space Shuttles (including the Endeavor, the Discovery, Enterprise, and Atlantis) are sent to Florida, New York, California, and Washington D.C..
- April 22 – Hundreds of people are killed as police move in on anti-government demonstrations in Syria.
- April 27 – Hundreds of people are killed in a tornado outbreak across the southern and central United States.
- April 29 – Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge marry at Westminster Abbey in London.
- July 1 – Start of Poland's Presidency of the European Union
- July 2 – Albert II, Prince of Monaco marries Charlene Wittstock.
- July 3 – The United Nations appeals for aid for parts of East Africa that are affected by a severe drought.
- July 7 – The world's first synthetic organ transplant is carried out, using an artificial windpipe coated in stem cells.
- July 8 – The Space Shuttle Atlantis is launched on the last-ever Space Shuttle launch.
- July 9 – South Sudan declares independence from Sudan.
- July 10 – British tabloid newspaper, the News of the World, ends publication, after a major phone-hacking scandal.
- July 12 – Neptune completes its first full orbit around the Sun since its official discovery.
- July 13 – Three serial coordinated bomb explosions occur in different locations of Mumbai, the financial capital of India, killing 24 and leaving more than 130 people injured.
- July 14 – The United Nations admits South Sudan as the 193rd member nation.
- July 20 – Goran Hadzic is detained in Serbia, being arrested on war crimes charges.
- July 21 – The Space Shuttle Atlantis returns to Earth in the last mission of the Space Shuttle programme.
- July 22 – Two attacks in Norway kill 77 people; 8 people at an explosion in the government quarter of Oslo, and 69 are shot dead at a Summer Youth Camp on the island of Utoya.
- July 23 – Singer Amy Winehouse is found dead at her home in London.
- July 28 – Ollanta Humala becomes President of Peru.
- July 31 – Because of uncertainties over a clampdown on press freedom, there is believed to be at least 121 people killed in a Syrian army tank raid on the town of Hama, and over 150 people are reportedly killed in a crackdown in the whole country.
- October 3 – The winners of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine are announced as Bruce Beutler, Jules Hoffmann and Ralph Steinman. Steinman had died three days earlier, unknown to the Nobel committee. It was later announced that he could remain as a Nobel laureate.
- October 3 – Helle Thorning-Schmidt becomes Prime Minister of Denmark.
- October 4 – 139 people are killed in a car bombing in Mogadishu.
- October 4 – Major floods affect parts of Thailand and Cambodia.
- October 7 – The Nobel Peace Prize is shared between Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Liberian activist Leymah Gbowee and Yemeni activist Tawakel Karman.
- October 15 – Occupy campaign: In cities around the world, many people protest against economic mismanagement, also in support of the Occupy Wall Street campaign.
- October 18 – Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is released after five years of captivity. In return, Israel releases 1,027 Palestinian prisoners.
- October 20 – 2011 Libyan civil war: Forces loyal to the National Transitional Council take control of Sirte, the last pro-Gaddafi stronghold. Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi, who ruled Libya since 1969, is captured and killed.
- October 23 – A magnitude 7.2 earthquake strikes eastern Turkey, near the City of Van, killing at least 575 people, and damaging many buildings.
- October 27 – Michael D. Higgins is elected to succeed Mary McAleese as President of Ireland.
- October 27 – EU leaders hold an emergency meeting in Brussels on the European Sovereign Debt Crisis, where they decide to write off 50% of Greek bonds, recapitalisation of European banks, and an increase of the bailout fund of the European Financial Stability Facility, totalling a trillion Euros.
- October 31 – According to the United Nations, the world population reaches 7 billion.
- December 4 – Zoran Jankovic's party wins the most seats in the Slovenian Parliament.
- December 4 – 45,000 people in Koblenz, Germany, are evacuated in order for a World War II bomb to be defused.
- December 5 – NASA announces the discovery of the earth-like planet Kepler 22-b orbiting around another star.
- December 6 – Elio Di Rupo becomes Prime Minister of Belgium. Prior to this, Belgium did not have an official government for 589 days.
- December 9 – Croatia signs an agreement that will allow it to become a member of the EU on July 1, 2013.
- December 12 – Moncef Marzouki becomes President of Tunisia.
- December 13 – At least 5 people are killed and 124 wounded at a grenade and gun attack in Liege, Belgium. The gunman, Nordine Amrani, commits suicide shortly after.
- December 15 – The United States ends its military involvement in Iraq.
- December 17 – Tropical typhoon Washi hits Mindanao in the southern Philippines, killing over 1,000 people, with many more reported missing.
- December 19 – North Korean state television announces the death of Kim Jong-il, who had led the country since 1994. His son, Kim Jong-un, is designated as his successor.
- December 19 – Liechtenstein implements the Schengen Agreement.
- December 22 – Several suicide bombings occur in Baghdad.
- December 23 – Around 40 people are killed in a bomb attack in Damascus.
- December 25 – Four churches across Nigeria are hit by bombs, killing at least 40 people. The Islamist group Boko Haram claims responsibility.
- December 29 – Kim Jong-un is installed as North Korea's leader at the end of a two-day state funeral for Kim Jong-il.
- December 29 – The International Date Line is shifted to the west of Samoa and Tokelau, both of which do not observe December 30, 2011 as a result. The change is made to improve trade with the main partners of Australia and New Zealand.
Major religious holidays
- The Heroes television series visits 2011 in several different potential futures.
- In the Aeon Flux television series and movie, 99% of the world's population is wiped out by a mysterious virus in the year 2011.
Computer and video games
- In K. A. Applegate's Remnants book series, 2011 is the year life on Earth becomes extinct after a 73-mile-wide asteroid nicknamed "The Rock" impacts Portugal. Eighty other humans are placed in a shuttle named the Mayflower mere hours before impact and put into artificial hibernation, while a handful of humans in shelters survive the impact on Earth.