A Year In History: 2015

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This Year in History:


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

January 7

12 people die in shooting at “Charlie Hebdo” offices

Around midday on January 7, 2015, gunmen raid the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, killing 12 people. The attack, a response to the magazine’s criticism of Islam and depiction of Muhammad, demonstrated the danger of homegrown terror in Europe as well as the deep conflicts within French society. Charlie Hebdo had a history […]

March 24

Germanwings pilot intentionally crashes plane, killing 150 people

On March 24, 2015, the co-pilot of a German airliner deliberately flies the plane into the French Alps, killing himself and the other 149 people onboard. When it crashed, Germanwings flight 9525 had been traveling from Barcelona, Spain, to Dusseldorf, Germany. The plane took off from Barcelona around 10 a.m. local time and reached its […]

April 25

Magnitude 7.8 earthquake kills thousands in Nepal

On April 25, 2015 a magnitude 7.8 earthquake tears through Nepal, killing nearly 9,000 and injuring 16,800. It was the worst such earthquake for the Asian country since 1934. The earthquake struck shortly before noon, but the devastation continued as several dozen aftershocks caused even more destruction. Overall, Nepal was shaken by hundreds of aftershocks, […]

June 2

FIFA president Sepp Blatter announces resignation amidst corruption scandal

On June 2, 2015, Sepp Blatter, president of international soccer’s governing body FIFA, steps down, just a few days after he had been re-elected to a fifth four-year term. His resignation came amid rumors that he would soon be under investigation by the United States and Sweden on charges of fraud and corruption. All over […]

June 2

Harlem Hellfighter Henry Johnson awarded a posthumous Medal of Honor

Harlem Hellfighter Henry Johnson is awarded a posthumous Medal of Honor. The medal comes after a decades-long effort by Johnson’s family and New York Senator Chuck Schumer to recognize Johnson’s bravery and service during World War I. Henry Johnson, a railroad porter from Albany, New York, enlisted in the army in 1917, after America’s entry […]

June 26

Same-sex marriage is made legal nationwide with Obergefell v. Hodges decision

June 26, 2015 marks a major milestone for civil rights in the United States, as the Supreme Court announces its decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. By one vote, the court rules that same-sex marriage cannot be banned in the United States and that all same-sex marriages must be recognized nationwide, finally granting same-sex couples equal […]

June 27

Activist Bree Newsome removes Confederate flag from South Carolina State House

On the morning of June 27, 2015, activists posing as joggers signal to one of their comrades that the police have momentarily turned their attention away from the flagpole outside the South Carolina State House. Having received the signal, Brittany “Bree” Newsome scales the pole, takes down the Confederate flag that was flying there and […]

June 30

Misty Copeland becomes American Ballet Theater’s first Black principal dancer

Misty Copeland becomes the first African American woman promoted to principal dancer in the 75-year history of the American Ballet Theatre, one of the leading classical ballet companies in the world.   Growing up one of six siblings in an unstable home environment in Southern California, Copeland quickly earned prodigy status despite not starting ballet […]

August 31

Angela Merkel says “Wir schaffen das” on accepting refugees

Igniting a heated debate within her nation and across the globe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel declares “Wir schaffen das” (“We can do this”) on August 31, 2015, as she commits to accepting a mass influx of refugees amid Europe’s biggest refugee crisis since World War II. Merkel’s controversial stance involved providing humanitarian support to approximately […]

November 13

ISIL stages series of terrorist attacks in Paris, culminating in massacre at Bataclan theater

On November 13, 2015, a cell of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant commits a string of terrorist attacks across Paris, killing 131 and injuring over 400. It was the deadliest day in France since World War II, as well as the deadliest operation ISIL has carried out in Europe to date. 2015 […]