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Major historical anniversaries in 2024
From D-Day to the birth of Facebook, discover some of the major anniversaries the world will be marking in 2024.
1 January 1999 - 25th anniversary of the euro
The first day of January 1999 saw the euro come into existence as 11 nations adopted the single currency.
20 January 2009 - 15th anniversary of Barack Obama’s inauguration
Barack Obama became the first African-American president in the history of the U.S. when he was sworn in as the 44th president. Obama served two terms from 2009-2017.
21 January 1924 - 100 years since the death of Vladimir Lenin
Before becoming the first head of the Soviet state, Lenin founded the Russian Communist Party and led the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917.
4 February 2004 - 20 years since the launch of Facebook
Originally built to connect Harvard students, Mark Zuckerberg's social media website called 'The Facebook' soon went global. Today, it is the flagship product of one of the most valuable companies in the world with nearly three billion active monthly users, over a third of the world’s population.
8 March 2014 - 10 years since Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared
With 227 passengers and 12 crew members aboard, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 vanished into thin air shortly after taking off from Kuala Lumper International. In 2015 and 2016, debris from the craft washed ashore in the western Indian Ocean, however, no definitive cause of disappearance has ever been declared.
4 April 1949 - 75 years since the creation of NATO
12 nations came together to sign the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). The mutual defence pact united the countries against the threat of Soviet expansion into Western Europe.
6 April 1974 - 50th anniversary of ABBA’s Eurovision Song Contest victory
Hosted in Brighton, the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest was captured by the Swedish pop sensation ABBA with their hit ‘Waterloo’. The song not only put the group on a path to worldwide fame but it’s often been heralded as the greatest in Eurovision history.
7 April 1994 - 30th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide
It’s estimated that as many as one million Tutsis and moderate Hutus died during the Rwandan genocide, which lasted around 100 days and saw the country descend into chaos.
23 April 1564 - 460 years since Shakespeare’s birth
Although the exact birth date of England’s most famous Bard is unknown, it's often celebrated on 23 April, which happens to be the same day he passed away 52 years later. During his lifetime, Shakespeare wrote nearly 40 plays, including Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and Macbeth.
4 May 1979 - 45 years since Margaret Thatcher became Britain’s first female PM
Margaret Thatcher was a Conservative MP and the first woman in British history to become Prime Minister. She served as PM for 11 years before resigning.
6 May 1994 - 30th anniversary of the Channel Tunnel opening
Considered one of the most amazing engineering feats of the 20th century, the Channel Tunnel - which connects England and France - officially opened on this day in 1994, becoming the world’s longest undersea tunnel.
6 May 1954 - 70 years since Roger Bannister ran a mile in under four minutes
At Iffley Road Track in Oxford, Englishman Roger Bannister became the first man in recorded history to run a sub-four-minute mile.
10 May 1994 - 30th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s inauguration
The anti-apartheid activist and politician became South Africa’s first black president at the age of 77. He served for four years until 1999.
10 May 1824 - 200 years since the National Gallery opened
On this day in 1824, the famous London art museum opened its doors to the public for the very first time.
4 June 1989 - 35th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre
Student-led pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China turned deadly after Chinese government troops suppressed the demonstrations with violence. Estimates vary from several hundred to several thousand people being killed.
6 June 1944 - 80th anniversary of D-Day
The largest invasion fleet in the history of warfare landed on five beachheads in Normandy, France. Known as Operation Overlord, Allied forces hoped to liberate Western Europe from Nazi control. The invasion was a success and Hitler’s forces were defeated within a year.
25 June 2009 - 15 years since the passing of Michael Jackson
The ‘King of Pop’ known for hits such as Thriller, Beat It, Bad and Smooth Criminal, died aged 50 from a cardiac arrest caused by a drug overdose.
16 July 1969 - 55 years since Man first walked on the Moon
American Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the Moon after the Apollo 11 spacecraft successfully landed on Earth's only natural satellite. The event was not only a 'giant leap for mankind' but it also effectively ended the Space Race between America and the Soviets.
28 July 1914 - 100th anniversary of the start of WWI
The first of two World Wars witnessed during the 20th century, the Great War changed the nature of warfare with its mechanised weaponry and reshaped the geopolitical landscape forever.
16 August 2009 - 15 years since Usain Bolt set a new 100m record
During the 100m sprint final at the 2009 World Athletics Championships in Berlin, Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt set a new world record time of 9.58 seconds. In doing so, the 22-year-old became the first person in history to run the event in sub-9.6 seconds.
24 August 79 AD: 1,945th anniversary of Mount Vesuvius eruption
It’s one of the most famous and destructive volcanic eruptions in history. At 1pm on 24 August 79 AD, Mount Vesuvius erupted and destroyed the nearby Roman city of Pompeii, as well as the seaside town of Herculaneum.
1 September 1939 - 85th anniversary of the start of WWII
Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany triggered the Second World War when his forces invaded neighbouring Poland. Two days later, Britain and France declared war on Germany. The largest and bloodiest conflict in human history lasted six years.
25 October 1854 - 170th anniversary of the Charge of the Light Brigade
Immortalised in a poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson, the Charge of the Light Brigade occurred during the Crimean War (1853-1856). Lord Cardigan infamously led a British cavalry charge against well-defended Russian artillery at Balaclava. Of the 670 that rode in, 110 were killed and around 160 were wounded.
9 November 1989 - 35 years since the Berlin Wall fell
After standing for more than 28 years, the wall dividing East and West Berlin was finally torn down during the collapse of the Soviet Union. The event became one of the most iconic moments of the 20th century.
24 November 1859 - 165th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin’s ‘On the Origin of Species’
Famous British naturalist Charles Darwin published his ground-breaking scientific work called 'On the Origin of Species'. In it, Darwin laid out his theory of evolution, forever changing how we look at the world around us.
24 December 1524 - 500th anniversary of the death of Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama
The Portuguese navigator was the first European to reach India by sea, connecting Europe and Asia via an ocean route for the first time. He achieved this by rounding Africa's Cape of Good Hope. This feat heralded a new sea-based phase of global multiculturalism, making it a milestone in world history.