2011 can be tracked by its dramatic events, beginning with the Tuscon shooting that critically wounded US Rep. Gabby Giffords and continuing all the way up to the death of Muammar Gadhafi in October. Our minds were consumed with thoughts of the earthquake in Japan, the death of Steve Jobs and all the anxiety that came with the Occupy Wall Street protests. Starting from the very beginning of 2011, we remember all the biggest events that defined the year.
Tuscon Shooting Rampage
During a meet-and-greet organized by US Rep. Gabrielle Giffords at an Arizona grocery store, a deranged man went on a shooting spree that killed six and wounded 13 others. Despite a bullet to the head at close range, Rep. Giffords survived and continues her miraculous recovery.
The White House
Hosni Mubarak's Resignation
When the Egyptian president's decades-long rule came to an end after a revolution powered largely by a social media movement, hundreds of thousands of people took to Cairo's Tahrir Square to celebrate the fall of a man many had feared for years.
A massive 9.0 earthquake that struck off the coast of Japan sparked a tsunami that engulfed large parts of the north-eastern portion of the country and damaged the Fukushima nuclear plant, causing the worst nuclear crisis in decades.
Death of Osama bin Laden
In a covert operation ordered by President Barack Obama, special forces killed the world's most-wanted terrorist and 9/11 mastermind after finding him in Pakistan.
US Debt Ceiling Crisis
May 24 – August 2
In years past, raising the US debt ceiling has been a routine matter with little fanfare. But this year it became a political football as members of both parties waged a bitter battle that shook worldwide faith in the US economy.
Casey Anthony's Acquittal
The Florida woman accused of killing her toddler daughter became a media sensation after lawyer and talk show host Nancy Grace gave the case a national spotlight, and Anthony's subsequent acquittal outraged many and lead to death threats for the jurors.
Occupy Wall Street
September 17 (ongoing)
Inspired by the Middle East's discontent with many of its leaders, the OWS movement — comprised of citizens upset about social and economic inequality — began in New York City and has spread to cities all over the world, becoming the most prolonged protest in US history.
Spencer Platt, Getty Images
Amanda Knox Freed From Prison
After serving four years of a 26-year sentence for the sexual assault and murder of her British roommate in Perugia, Italy, Amanda Knox was freed. An appeals court overturned the decision, freeing her co-defendant and former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, as well. Knox collapsed in tears when the jury read the verdict after their 11-hour deliberation.
Stephen Brashear, Getty Images
Death of Steve Jobs
After an eight-year battle with cancer, the Apple visionary and creative genius finally succumbed to the disease, sending countless tech aficionados the world over into a state of mourning.
Death of Muammar Gadhafi
A civil uprising supported by NATO airstrikes drove the longtime Libyan dictator into hiding, where he was eventually captured and killed at the hands of his own people.