From the Arab Spring, Japan's quake and tsunami to the death of Osama bin Laden and the global economic crisis, explore our interactive timeline
December 23, 2011
One of the defining events of 2011 was set in motion the previous year, when a fruit merchant in Tunisia set himself on fire in protest of the authorities, an act that unwittingly started what is now called "The Arab Spring." Soon after, a massive earthquake turned into triple disaster for Japan, and just two months later, came the stunning discovery that al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden was living in a suburb in Pakistan as the world learned of a dramatic covert U.S. military operation that ended with his death. Africa gave birth to a new country: South Sudan, while Ivory Coast finally ejected a long-time strongman. To the east, Somalia was engulfed by a devastating drought and famine. In Europe, leaders struggled with an historic debt crisis as the world watched a young and glamorous royal couple exchange vows in Britain. Explore these events and more by launching our interactive 2011 timeline.
The year's most compelling images
After quotes and gestures generated optimism among those favoring reform, experts caution that the 2,000-year-old Church changes slowly More