A Year In History: 2001

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Officially the first year of the new millennium, 2001 is remembered now for a single day: September 11, when terrorist-hijacked airliners brought down the Twin Towers, slammed into the Pentagon and nosedived into a Pennsylvania field. Congress responded by passing the Patriot Act, giving the government expanded powers to combat terrorism, and authorized the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, the plotters’ base. The year also introduced iTunes, the Xbox, Wikipedia and the first Harry Potter movie.

January 6

Congress certifies George W. Bush winner of 2000 elections

After a bitterly contested election, Vice President Al Gore presides over a joint session of Congress on January 6, 2001, that certifies George W. Bush as the winner of the 2000 election—an election Gore had lost. In one of the closest Presidential elections in U.S. history, George W. Bush was finally declared the winner more […]

January 9

Apple launches iTunes, revolutionizing how people consume music

On January 9, 2001, Apple launches iTunes, a media player that revolutionized the way people consumed digital media. Bill Kincaid and Jeff Robbin, two former Apple employees, developed an MP3 player called SoundJam MP in the late 1990s. In 2000, Apple re-hired them and their partner, Dave Heller, to work on a similar player that […]

January 15

Wikipedia launches

Less than a year after the unsuccessful launch of Nupedia—an online free encyclopedia—its successor, Wikipedia, goes live on January 15, 2001. As of January 2024, Wikipedia has more some 6.8 million articles in more than 300 languages. Nupedia, which launched in 2000, marked a failed attempt by entrepreneur Jimmy Wales and philosopher and internet project […]

March 25

Icelandic pop singer Björk makes splash at the Oscars

In one of the most memorable moments of red carpet fashion risk-taking, Icelandic pop singer Björk appears at the 73rd annual Academy Awards on March 25, 200 infamous “swan dress.” Born and raised in Rekjavik, Björk won a radio contest at age 11 and received a contract to record her first album, released in 1977. She first […]

June 22

Blockbuster hit movie “The Fast and the Furious” released

On June 22, 2001, The Fast and the Furious, a crime drama based in the underground world of street racing in Southern California, debuts in theaters across the United States. In the film, directed by Rob Cohen, Paul Walker starred as Brian O’Connor, an undercover cop who infiltrates the illegal late-night racing scene in Los […]

September 1

First Muslim holiday U.S. postage stamp is issued

Five years of lobbying comes to fruition on September 1, 2001, as the U.S. Postal Service releases the first American stamp celebrating Muslim holidays. A blue stamp featuring gold calligraphy celebrating Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, along with the English words “EID GREETINGS,” the stamp is included alongside stamps celebrating other religious holidays, a victory […]

September 11

Attack on America

At approximately 8:46 a.m. on a clear Tuesday morning, an American Airlines Boeing 767 loaded with 20,000 gallons of jet fuel crashes into the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. The impact left a gaping, burning hole near the 80th floor of the 110-story skyscraper, instantly killing hundreds of people […]

October 5

Seattle Mariners set American League record for wins in a season

On October 5, 2001, the Seattle Mariners become the winningest team in American League history for a regular season with a 6-2 win over the Texas Rangers. The 115th win breaks a tie with the 1998 New York Yankees, who finished 114-48. After the Mariners’ win, Yankees manager Joe Torre, who managed the 1998 powerhouse, told the Washington […]

October 7

U.S.-led attack on Afghanistan begins

On October 7, 2001, a U.S.-led coalition begins attacks on Taliban-controlled Afghanistan with an intense bombing campaign by American and British forces. Logistical support was provided by other nations including France, Germany, Australia and Canada and, later, troops were provided by the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance rebels. The invasion of Afghanistan was the opening salvo in […]

November 10

George W. Bush addresses the United Nations regarding terrorism

On November 10, 2001, in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President George W. Bush addresses the United Nations to ask for the international community’s help in combating terrorism around the world. He also pledged to take the fight against terrorism to any place […]

November 15

Microsoft releases Xbox gaming console

Microsoft releases the Xbox gaming console on November 15, 2001, dramatically influencing the history of consumer entertainment technology. Microsoft CEO Bill Gates first decided to venture into the video game market because he feared that gaming consoles would soon compete with personal computers. At the time, Japanese companies Sony and Nintendo dominated the field, and […]

November 29

George Harrison, lead guitarist for the Beatles, dies

On November 29, 2001, English musician and songwriter George Harrison dies at the age of 58. Harrison achieved global fame as a member of the Beatles and went on to a successful solo career that included frequent collaborations with many of the foremost musicians of his generation. The youngest member of the Beatles, Harrison was […]