A Year In History: 2014

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This Year in History:

2014

Discover what happened in this year with HISTORY’s summaries of major events, anniversaries, famous births and notable deaths.

February 2

Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman dies of drug overdose at age 46

On February 2, 2014, Philip Seymour Hoffman, considered one of the most talented and versatile actors of his generation, dies of a drug overdose at age 46 in New York City. During his career, the prolific performer appeared in more than 50 movies, including Capote, Doubt and The Hunger Games series, and earned a reputation […]

February 22

‘El Chapo,’ the world’s most-wanted drug kingpin, is captured in Mexico

On February 22, 2014, one of the world’s most-wanted criminals, Joaquin “El Chapo” (“Shorty”) Guzmán Loera, head of the Sinaloa cartel, the world’s biggest drug trafficking organization, is captured and arrested in a joint U.S.-Mexican operation in Mazatlán, Mexico, after outrunning law enforcement for more than a decade.  Guzmán had been the target of an international […]

February 23

Jason Collins, first openly gay athlete to play in NBA, makes U.S. sports history

On February 23, 2014, Brooklyn Nets center Jason Collins becomes the first openly gay athlete to play in a game in the United States’ four major professional leagues. The 35-year-old journeyman plays 10 scoreless minutes, recording two rebounds and five fouls in the Nets’ 108-102 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. In May 2013, Collins […]

March 8

Malaysia Airlines flight vanishes with more than 200 people aboard

On March 8, 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members, loses contact with air traffic control less than an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur, then veers off course and disappears. Most of the plane, and everyone on board, are never seen again. The plane departed from Kuala Lumpur […]

May 29

Laverne Cox becomes first transgender person to appear on the cover of TIME magazine

On May 29, 2014, Laverne Cox, the transgender actor and advocate best known for her Emmy-winning performance on Orange Is the New Black, appears on the cover of TIME magazine’s June 14 issue for their story “The Transgender Tipping Point.” The moment is widely cited as a turning point for transgender representation in mainstream media.  The […]

June 19

Felipe VI becomes king of Spain after Juan Carlos I abdicates

When the clock struck midnight on June 19, 2014, King Juan Carlos I of Spain’s nearly 40-year reign came to an end. Two weeks after abdicating the Spanish throne amidst sagging approval ratings, Juan Carlos symbolically removed his red sash—signifying his status as leader of the Spanish military—and wrapped it around the waist of his […]

July 17

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 shot down over Russian-controlled area of Ukraine

On July 17, halfway through a flight from Amsterdam to Malaysia, a passenger plane was shot down in Eastern Ukraine, near the war-torn border with Russia. All 298 people on board, most of whom were citizens of the Netherlands, died in the explosion. It was the second Malaysian Air flight to disappear in 2014, after […]

August 9

Michael Brown is killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri

On August 9, 2014, police officer Darren Wilson shoots and kills Michael Brown, an unarmed Black teenager, in Ferguson, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. Protests and riots ensue in Ferguson and soon spread across the country. There are many different accounts of the incident, including the testimonies of Wilson and of Brown’s friend, Dorian […]

October 3

“Serial” debuts, inaugurating the podcast boom

The podcast Serial, a spinoff of the long-running radio program This American Life, debuts on October 3, 2014, and quickly becomes a smash hit.  Producer Sarah Koenig conceived of the show after she was approached by the attorney Rabia Chaudry, who asked Koenig to investigate the case of her friend, Adnan Syed. Syed was convicted in […]