Happy New Year!

While many celebrate 2020 as the beginning of a new decade in the Common Era (though the Gregorian Calendar clearly gives that distinction to the year 2021), we see it as the year MarketPoint will turn 20.

So, as we begin to celebrate our twentieth year, we thought it would be appropriate to list 20 high points and 20 low points of the first two decades in the 21st century. We have tried to exclude wars, mass shootings, and purely political issues, to provide a more balanced view of world history. The end result, though neither exhaustive nor definitive, is intended to provide a glimpse into the events that helped form our world, as we worked with clients to build their futures.

Please take a minute to reflect with us on the events of the past 19 years.

Notable High Points, 2001-2020

  1. China launches its first manned space mission, with the “Shenzhou 5” spacecraft carrying a single astronaut, Yang Liwei. (2003)
  2. Facebook is founded by Mark Zuckerberg, along with fellow Harvard College students and roommates Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes. (2004)
  3. Angela Merkel becomes Germany’s first woman Chancellor, becoming the de facto leader of the European Union and the most powerful woman in the world. (2005)
  4. Twitter launches. (2006)
  5. The International Astronomical Union defines the term “planet” for the first time; Pluto is demoted to “dwarf planet,” is added to the list of minor planets, and receives the number 134340. Mickey cannot be reached for comment. (2006)
  6. Apple debuts the iPhone, a multimedia-enabled smartphone, which Time magazine names the invention of the year. (2007)
  7. Construction is completed on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) beneath the France–Switzerland border near Geneva. Over 10,000 scientists from the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and hundreds of universities and laboratories from more than 100 countries collaborated in the effort. (2008)
  8. Barack Obama is elected the first African-American president of the United States. He will serve two terms. (2008)
  9. Nakamoto mines the first block (“the genesis block”) in the bitcoin network. The receiver of the first bitcoin transaction was cypherpunk Hal Finney, who had created the first reusable proof-of-work system (RPoW) in 2004. (2009)
  10. Exterior construction is completed on the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. With a total height of 2,722 ft and a roof height of 2,717 ft, the Burj Khalifa still remains the tallest structure in the world. (2009)
  11. Apple introduces the iPad, a line of tablet computers with a user interface built around the device’s multi-touch screen and virtual keyboard. (2010)
  12. Instagram launches, allowing users to upload photos and videos, edit them with various filters, and organize them with tags and location information. (2010)
  13. England celebrates the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II (the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s accession to the thrones of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand). (2012)
  14. The Higgs boson is discovered. (2012)
  15. Skydiver Felix Baumgartner becomes the first person to break the sound barrier without a vehicle. (2012)
  16. NASA confirms the liquid water flows on Mars, where mysterious streaks are seen on the Red Planet. These streaks darken and appear to flow down steep slopes during warm seasons, and fade in cooler seasons. (2015)
  17. World leaders reach consensus on the Paris Agreement on climate change, limiting global warming to “well below 2°C” Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. It is ratified on April 22, 2016 (Earth Day), when 174 countries sign the agreement. (2015)
  18. The first monkeys are cloned, and the first genetically modified humans are reported, in China. (2018)
  19. Chang’e 4, part of the second phase of the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program, achieves the first soft landing on the far side of the Moon. (2019)
  20. The Event Horizon Telescope takes the first-ever image of a black hole, at the core of the galaxy M87. (2019)

Notable Low Points, 2001-2020

  1. Massive earthquakes kill between 13,805 and 20,023 people, injure another 167,000 and destroy nearly 400,000 homes Gujarat, India. (2001)
  2. Al-Qaeda crashes four domestic U.S. flights, leveling Manhattan’s World Trade Center and heavily damaging the Pentagon. 2,977 people are killed and 25,000 more injured. (2001)
  3. Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrates on re-entry, killing all seven crew members. (2003)
  4. An Indian Ocean earthquake leaves 230,000 dead and 1.7 million displaced by a series of devastating tsunamis, with waves up to 100 feet high. (2004)
  5. North Korea conducts its first nuclear test, the blast having an explosive force of less than one kiloton. (2006)
  6. Lehman Brothers collapses, triggering a full-blown international banking crisis, which many economists consider the most serious since the 1930s’ Great Depression. (2008)
  7. Warning that General Motors Company and Chrysler LLC faced bankruptcy and the loss of 1 million jobs, the “Big Three” automakers ask Congress for an $80.7 billion bailout. (2008)
  8. Haiti is struck by a devastating earthquake, leveling the nation’s capital, Port-Au-Prince. The death toll exceeds 230,000 people. (2010)
  9. The threat of Greece defaulting on its debts triggers the European sovereign debt crisis and the Republic of Ireland’s financial crisis. A series of sudden reforms and austerity measures leads to impoverishment and loss of income and property. (2010)
  10. The largest marine oil spill in history occurs at BP-operated Deepwater Horizon, releasing 4.9 million barrels (210 million US gallons) of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. (2010)
  11. A 9.0 magnitude earthquake strikes Japan, triggering a tsunami and the meltdown of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. 15,000 are killed and another 9,000 left missing. (2011)
  12. Typhoon Haiyan kills nearly 6,150 people in the Philippines and Vietnam. (2013)
  13. The worst Ebola epidemic in recorded history occurs in West Africa, infecting nearly 30,000 people and resulting in the deaths of more than 11,000. (2014)
  14. Cybercrimes: 50 million credit cards’ data are stolen from Home Depot, and the JP Morgan Chase hack compromises 76 million households and another 7 million small businesses. (2014)
  15. Boko Haram massacres 2000 people in Baga, Nigeria, allies itself with ISIL, destroys at least 16 other towns, and displaces 35,000 people. (2015)
  16. The Nepal earthquake kills nearly 9,000 people and injures another 22,000. The quake triggers one avalanche on Mount Everest, killing 21, and another in the Langtang valley, where 250 people are reported missing. (2015)
  17. The people of the United Kingdom vote narrowly to leave the European Union. (2016)
  18. The northern white rhinoceros becomes functionally extinct. (2018)
  19. Tsunamis: The Sunda strait tsunami kills 426 and injures 14,000, and a Sulawesi earthquake and tsunami kill 4,340 and injure 10,700. (2018)
  20. Fires spike in Brazil, while Australia endures the most widespread brushfires in its history. (2019)

Here’s to hoping your 2020 will be marked by record high points and manageable low points.