The second year of the decade saw riots in England, the world’s second-worst nuclear disaster and the death of Osama bin Laden.
Here’s what happened.
Egyptian revolution begins
Violent clashes, demonstrations and rallies began in Cairo, Alexandria and other major Egyptian cities to protest against government corruption, poverty and the rule of then-president Hosni Mubarak, who had reigned for three decades.
Hundreds were killed and thousands injured in the uprising.
Following 18 days of protest, Mr Muburak resigned and power shifted to the Supreme Military Council.
New Zealand earthquake
In one of New Zealand’s worst disasters, a magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck Christchurch, killing 185 people and injuring several thousand.
More than 130 of those killed had been inside the Canterbury Television and Pyne Gould Corporation buildings, which collapsed during the quake.
The tragedy happened less than a year after a magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck the area.
Japan earthquake and tsunami
Just over a fortnight later, a magnitude 9 earthquake hit Japan, triggering a 30ft-high tsunami.
Waves swept away vehicles, collapsed buildings and cut off roads.
Japan’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency says that in total, more than 22,000 people were confirmed dead or missing following the earthquake and tsunami.
The tsunami also disabled the power supply and cooling of three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, causing a reactor to explode.
It was the second worst nuclear accident in history.
Charlie Sheen fired from Two and a Half Men
The controversial actor was fired from his leading role in the CBS sitcom due to “dangerously self-destructive conduct” and inflammatory comments to producers.
Shortly after, Mr Sheen made a number of odd comments in TV interviews, saying he was a “warlock” with “tiger blood” and “Adonis DNA”.
Game Of Thrones premieres
It was the start of a cultural phenomenon.
The fantasy TV series, based on George R R Martin’s novels, premiered on HBO in April 2011.
It went on for eight seasons, culminating in a final episode in 2019 which was watched by 19.3m people.
Fidel Castro resigns
Communist revolutionary Fidel Castro resigned as First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba after serving in the party for 45 years.
He had stepped down as the country’s president in 2008.
Pope John Paul II is beatified
Following his death in 2005, thousands of people argued Pope John Paul II should be beatified and canonised as a saint.
The beatification ceremony was held on 1 May 2011 and presided over by Pope Benedict XVI.
Blood taken from the pope before he died was placed in the Vatican.
Osama bin Laden is killed
In May, the US announced it had killed Osama bin Laden, the suspected mastermind behind the terror attacks against America on 11 September 2001.
The al Qaeda founder was killed by US special forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
It ended a 10-year search for bin Laden.
Novak Djokovic wins first Wimbledon title
Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic beat Rafael Nadal 6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 to win his first title at Wimbledon.
It was the first time since 2002 the trophy had not been won by tennis legends Nadal or Roger Federer.
Djokovic has gone on to win the grass court tournament another four times.
News of the World prints its last paper
The newspaper published its last edition on 10 July 2011 after it was embroiled in a phone hacking scandal.
At one time, it was the world’s best-selling English-language newspaper.
But it received a public backlash when it emerged that a private investigator hired by the newspaper had hacked the voicemail of murdered British teenager Milly Dowler.
Twin terror attacks in Norway
In the deadliest attack in Norway since World War Two, 77 people were killed by a bombing in the capital Oslo and a gun rampage on nearby Utoya island.
Far-right terrorist Anders Breivik was behind the atrocities and had been wearing a police uniform when he opened fire at a Labour Party youth camp.
A series of riots broke out in London and across England after Mark Duggan was shot dead by police in Tottenham.
Violent clashes led to the deaths of five people and an estimated £200m worth of property was damaged.
Steve Jobs resigns as Apple chief executive
Apple’s co-founder Steve Jobs stepped down from his role as chief executive in August 2011.
He had been suffering from pancreatic cancer.
In a statement, he said: “I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.”
Mr Jobs died aged 56 in October that year.
Colonel Gaddafi killed
Libya’s deposed leader Muammar Gaddafi was captured and killed during the civil war.
Rebels beat him, stabbed him with a bayonet and shot him in the head.
His son, Mutassim, was also killed and the country was briefly ruled by the National Transitional Council of Libya.
Iraq war ends
On 18 December, the last US troops withdrew from Iraq and formally ended the Iraq War after eight years.
The number of people killed in the conflict remains the subject of discussion, but a study by university researchers from the US, Canada and Iraq estimates about half a million people died from war-related causes.