Events in History in 2008

  • Jan 1 A New Hampshire law legalizing civil unions for same-sex couples comes into effect.
  • Jan 1 Malta and Cyprus officially adopt the Euro currency and become the fourteenth and fifteenth Eurozone countries.
  • Jan 8 New Jersey officially apologizes for slavery, becoming the first Northern state to do so.
  • Jan 14 MESSENGER spacecraft performs a Mercury flyby
  • Jan 21 Black Monday in worldwide stock markets. FTSE 100 had its biggest ever one-day points fall, European stocks closed with their worst result since 9/11, and Asian stocks drop as much as 15%.
  • Jan 21 The Eyak language in Alaska becomes extinct as its last native speaker dies
  • Feb 5 A major tornado outbreak across the Southern United States leaves at least 58 dead, the most since the May 31, 1985 outbreak that killed 88.
  • Feb 7 58th Berlin International Film Festival: "Elite Squad" wins the Golden Bear
  • Feb 8 Nebraska bans electric chair as sole execution method
  • Feb 10 The 2008 Namdaemun fire severely damages Namdaemun, the first National Treasure of South Korea.
  • Feb 11 In East Timor, assassination attempts were made on Xanana Gusmao and Jose Ramos-Horta. Both failed.
  • Feb 13 Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd makes an historic apology to the Indigenous Australians and the Stolen Generations.
  • Feb 14 Northern Illinois University shooting: a gunman opened fire in a lecture hall of the DeKalb County, Illinois university resulting in 24 casualties; 6 fatalities (including gunman) and 18 injured.
  • Feb 17 Kosovo declares independence from Serbia.
  • Feb 17 50th Daytona 500: Ryan Newman wins (152.672 MPH)
  • Feb 23 B-2 Spirit of the USAF crashes at Guam. Crew survives but aircraft written off, the most expensive air crash in human history (aircraft alone cost $1.2Bn). B-2 had a perfect safety record before the crash; not one B-2 ever crashed.

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Feb 24 Fidel Castro retires as the President of Cuba due to ill health after nearly fifty years

Cuban Revolutionary and President Fidel Castro
Cuban Revolutionary and President
Fidel Castro
  • Feb 28 Former Prime Minister of Thailand Thaksin Shinawatra is arrested on corruption charges upon returning to Thailand after months of exile.
  • Mar 2 Riots in Yerevan, Armenia concerning the Armenian presidential election, 2008 come to a fatal end, with police forces clashing with civilians in their peaceful protest, resulting in 8 deaths.
  • Mar 13 Gold prices on the New York Mercantile Exchange hit $1,000.00 an ounce for the first time.
  • Mar 17 New York State Governor Eliot Spitzer resigns after a scandal involving a high-end prostitute. David Paterson becomes acting New York State governor.
  • Mar 19 GRB 080319B: A cosmic burst that is the farthest object visible to the naked eye was briefly observed on this day.
  • Mar 24 Bhutan officially becomes a democracy, with its first ever general election.
  • Mar 31 Aloha Airlines, a bankrupt airline, permanently ends passenger service
  • Apr 4 Raid on Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints owned YFZ Ranch in Texas; 401 children and 133 women taken into state custody
  • Apr 8 The construction of the world's first building to integrate wind turbines completes, in Bahrain.

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Apr 16 Start of Papal Journey of Pope Benedict XVI to the United States

265th Pope  Benedict XVI
265th Pope
Benedict XVI
  • Apr 21 The United States Air Force retires the F-117 Nighthawk.
  • Apr 30 Two skeletal remains found near Ekaterinburg, Russia, were confirmed by Russian scientists to be the remains of Alexei Nikolaevich, Tsarevich of Russia and one of his sisters.
  • May 1 The London Agreement on translation of European patents, concluded in 2000, enters into force in 14 of the 34 Contracting States to the European Patent Convention.
  • May 2 Cyclone Nargis makes landfall in Myanmar killing over 130,000 people and leaving millions of people homeless
  • May 6 Chaiten Volcano erupts in Chile, forcing the evacuation of more than 4,500 people.

Event of interestEvent of Interest

May 7 Dmitry Medvedev is sworn in as the 3rd President of the Russian Federation

Russian politician Dmitry Medvedev
Russian politician
Dmitry Medvedev

Event of interestEvent of Interest

May 8 Dmitry Medvedev appoints Vladimir Putin as Russian Prime Minister

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President
Vladimir Putin
Russian politician Dmitry Medvedev
Russian politician
Dmitry Medvedev

Event of interestEvent of Interest

May 10 Philippine court acquits Imelda Marcos in a 17-year-old case of 32 counts of illegal transfer of wealth totaling $863 million in Swiss bank accounts.

First Lady and Politican Imelda Marcos
First Lady and Politican
Imelda Marcos
  • May 12 Wenchuan earthquake, measuring 7.8 in magnitude occurs in Sichuan, China, killing over 87,000, injuring 374,643 and leaving homeless between 4.8 million and 11 million people
  • May 15 California becomes the second U.S. state after Massachusetts in 2004 to legalize same-sex marriage after the state's own Supreme Court rules a previous ban unconstitutional.
  • May 23 The International Court of Justice (ICJ) awards Middle Rocks to Malaysia and Pedra Branca (Pulau Batu Puteh) to Singapore, ending a 29-year territorial dispute between the two countries.
  • May 28 The first meeting of the Constituent Assembly of Nepal formally declares Nepal a republic, ending the 240-year reign of the Shah dynasty.

Sports record brokenWorld Record

May 31 Usain Bolt breaks the world record in the 100m sprint, with a wind-legal (+1.7m/s) 9.72 seconds

Olympic Sprinter Usain Bolt
Olympic Sprinter
Usain Bolt
  • Jun 8 The Akihabara massacre took place on the Sunday-pedestrian-zoned Chūōdōri street. A man killed seven in an attack on a crowd using a truck and a dagger.
  • Jun 10 The Gora Prai airstrike by the United States reportedly kills 11 Pakistani paramilitary troops.

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jun 11 Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper made an official historic apology to Canada's First Nations in regard to a residential school abuse in which children were isolated from their homes, families and cultures for a century.

22nd Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper
22nd Prime Minister of Canada
Stephen Harper
  • Jun 12 Ireland rejects the Lisbon Treaty in a referendum, thus putting into question the reform programme of the European Union.
  • Jun 15 62nd Tony Awards: In the Heights & August: Osage County win
  • Jun 17 First day of legal same-sex marriage in California
  • Jun 25 Atlantis Plastics shooting, An employee shot and killed five people after an argument, which ended in the gunman's suicide in Henderson, Kentucky.
  • Jun 26 The U.S. Supreme Court rules in District of Columbia v. Heller that the ban on handguns in the District of Columbia is unconstitutional.

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jun 27 Bill Gates steps down as Chairman of Microsoft Corporation to work full time for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Microsoft Founder Bill Gates
Microsoft Founder
Bill Gates
Philanthropist Melinda Gates
Philanthropist
Melinda Gates
  • Jun 29 Thomas Beatie, the world's first pregnant man, gives birth to a daughter
  • Jul 1 Denmark is the first European economy to confirm it is in recession since the global credit crunch began; its GDP shrinks 0.6% in the first quarter after a 0.2% contraction in the fourth quarter of 2007

  • Jul 2 Ingrid Betancourt and 14 other FARC hostages are rescued by the Colombian armed forces.
  • Jul 10 Former Macedonian Interior Minister Ljube Boškoski is acquitted of all charges by a UN Tribunal accusing him of war crimes.
  • Jul 21 Bosnian-Serb war criminal Radovan Karadžić is arrested in Serbia and is indicted by the UN's ICTY tribunal.
  • Jul 23 Cape Verde joins the World Trade Organization, becoming its 153rd member.
  • Jul 28 Historic Weston-super-Mare Grand Pier burns down for a second time in 80 years.

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Aug 2 "Breaking Dawn", 4th book in Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight Saga" is published by Little Brown at midnight with a print run of 3.7 million copies

  • Aug 6 Access 31 TV stops broadcasting in Perth, Western Australia.
  • Aug 6 A military junta led by Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz stages a coup d'etat in Mauritania, overthrowing president Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi
  • Aug 7 Georgia launches a military offensive to surround and capture the capital of South Ossetia, Tskhinvali, from Russian control, starting the South Ossetia War.
  • Aug 8 Georgian invasion into South Ossetia. Beginning of five-day war between Georgia and Russia.

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Aug 11 Airbnb is founded by Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia and Nathan Blecharczyk

Co-founder of Airbnb Brian Chesky
Co-founder of Airbnb
Brian Chesky
  • Aug 13 The Baltic state slides into recession with a 0.9% fall in second-quarter GDP after a drop of 0.5% in the first quarter; it falls deeper into recession in the third quarter when the economy contracted 3.3%
  • Aug 15 Lee Berger and his nine-year-old son, Matthew, discover the two-million-year-old fossils of a new species of human ancestor (Australopithecus sediba) at Malapa Cave, South Africa
  • Aug 18 President Of Pakistan Pervez Musharaf resigned due to pressure from opposition.
  • Aug 20 Spanair Flight 5022, from Madrid to Gran Canaria, skids off the runway and crashes at Barajas Airport. 146 people are killed in the crash, 8 more die afterwards. Only 18 people survive.
  • Aug 26 Russia unilaterally recognizes the independence of the former Georgian breakaway republics Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Electoral defeatPresidential Convention

Aug 27 Barack Obama becomes the first African-American to be nominated by a major political party for President of the United States

44th US President Barack Obama
44th US President
Barack Obama
  • Sep 7 The US Government takes control of the two largest largest mortgage financing companies in the US, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
  • Sep 8 Latvia joins its northern neighbor Estonia in recession as GDP falls 0.2% in the second quarter from the first quarter, when it fell 0.3%; property markets and construction have suffered in both Baltic states
  • Sep 10 The Large Hadron Collider at CERN, described as the biggest scientific experiment in the history of mankind is powered up in Geneva, Switzerland
  • Sep 13 Hurricane Ike makes landfall on the Texas Gulf Coast of the United States, causing heavy damage to Galveston Island, Houston and surrounding areas.
  • Sep 13 33rd Toronto International Film Festival: "Slumdog Millionaire" directed by Danny Boyle wins the People's Choice Award
  • Sep 16 Rentrer en soi announces that they would be breaking up.
  • Sep 17 The IAU named another dwarf planet, Haumea
  • Sep 21 Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, the two last remaining independent investment banks on Wall Street, become bank holding companies as a result of the subprime mortgage crisis.
  • Sep 21 President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa resigns from office, effective September 25.
  • Sep 21 Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel formally resigns from office, effective as soon as his successor Tzipi Livni has successfully assembled a new government.
  • Sep 25 China launches the spacecraft Shenzhou 7.
  • Sep 25 The "Celtic Tiger" slides into recession for the first time in over two decades, recording a 0.5% fall in second quarter GDP, following a 0.3% decline in the first quarter
  • Sep 26 Swiss pilot and inventor Yves Rossy becomes first person to fly a jet engine-powered wing across the English Channel.
  • Sep 27 CNSA astronaut Zhai Zhigang becomes the first Chinese person to perform a spacewalk while flying on Shenzhou 7.

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Sep 28 SpaceX launches the first ever private spacecraft, the Falcon 1 into orbit.

Entrepreneur Elon Musk
Entrepreneur
Elon Musk
  • Sep 29 Dow Jones Industrial Average falls 777.68 points, its largest single-day point loss, following the bankruptcies of Lehman Brothers and Washington Mutual

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Oct 3 The $700 billion bailout bill for the US financial system is signed by President George W. Bush

43rd US President George W. Bush
43rd US President
George W. Bush
  • Oct 6 MESSENGER spacecraft performs a second Mercury flyby
  • Oct 10 Singapore becomes the first Asian country to slip into a recession since the credit crisis began: growth has faltered as a result of less demand for exports, a reduction in tourism, and the end of the real-estate boom
  • Oct 13 HM Treasury infused £37 billion ($64 billion, 47 billion euros) of new capital-bailout into Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, Lloyds TSB and HBOS Plc, to avert a financial sector collapse.
  • Oct 22 India launches its first unmanned lunar mission Chandrayaan-1.
  • Oct 24 "Bloody Friday" saw many of the world's stock exchanges experienced the worst declines in their history, with drops of around 10% in most indices.
  • Oct 24 Iceland receives a £1.3 billion bailout package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), 1st European country to require an emergency loan as a result of the financial crisis
  • Oct 27 The banking group BNP Paribas states that Australia is in a risky position with regards to the global financial crisis as foreign liabilities accounted for 60% of the nation's GDP
  • Oct 28 In the UK, 500,000 mortgage holders are left in negative equity after house prices drop 15% since the previous summer
  • Oct 29 Delta Air Lines merges with Northwest Airlines, creating the world's largest airline and reducing the number of US legacy carriers to 5.
  • Nov 4 Barack Obama becomes the first African-American to be elected President of the United States
  • Nov 11 The RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2) set sail on her final voyage to Dubai.
  • Nov 13 Germany's economy, Europe's largest , contracted by 0.5% in the third quarter after GDP fell 0.4% in the second quarter, putting it in recession for the first time in five years
  • Nov 13 Equity research by Deutsche Bank states that Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines should not experience a recession, despite potential harm to economic growth from falling commodity prices and possible weaker exports
  • Nov 14 Italy plunges into recession, its first since the start of 2005, after GDP contracts a steeper-than-expected 0.5% in the third quarter
  • Nov 14 Hong Kong becomes the second Asian economy to tip into recession, its exports hit by weakening global demand
  • Nov 14 Eurozone officially slips into recession for the first time since its creation in 1999, pushed down by recessions in Germany and Italy

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Nov 14 Elizabeth Warren is appointed to chair a Congressional Oversight Panel for the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act

US Senator Elizabeth Warren
US Senator
Elizabeth Warren
  • Nov 17 Japan, the world's second-biggest economy, slides into its first recession in seven years
  • Nov 20 After critical failures in the US financial system began to build up after mid-September, the Dow Jones Industrial Average reaches its lowest level since 1997.
  • Nov 23 Economists at the University of Hawaii report that the state entered recession in the previous quarter based on the drop in tourist figures and growing unemployment, with 8,800 jobs expected to be cut in 2009
  • Nov 25 A car bomb in St. Petersburg, Russia, kills three people and injures one
  • Nov 26 Terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India: Ten coordinated attacks by Pakistan-based terrorists kill 164 and injure more than 250 people in Mumbai, India.
  • Nov 28 Canada remains the only OECD country out of the recession at this time
  • Nov 28 Sweden technically enters the recession after experiencing contraction of 0.1% in the second and third quarter
  • Dec 1 The US economy has been in recession since December 2007, the National Bureau of Economic Research announces today
  • Dec 2 Thai Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat resigns after the 2008 Thailand political crisis

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 5 Human remains previously found in 1991 are finally identified by Russian and American scientists as those of Tsar Nicholas II

  • Dec 8 Kirsty Williams elected as Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats. The first female leader of a political party in Wales.
  • Dec 9 The Governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, is arrested by federal officials for a number of alleged crimes including attempting to sell the United States Senate seat being vacated by President-elect Barack Obama's election to the Presidency
  • Dec 11 Bernard Madoff arrested and charged with securities fraud in $50 billion Ponzi scheme
  • Dec 11 Ron Carey, American labor leader (International Brotherhood of Teamsters), dies of lung cancer at 72
  • Dec 12 Andrei Klepach, a deputy economics minister of Russia, states that Russia has entered the recession, with two quarters of contraction expected, meaning Russia will fall short of reaching the 6.8% growth forecast for 2008
  • Dec 14 President George W. Bush make his fourth and final trip to Iraq as president and is almost struck by two shoes thrown at him by Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi during a farewell conference in Baghdad

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 19 Chanda Kochhar is named as the successor of K. V. Kamath to the post of CEO and Managing Director of ICICI Bank

Businesswoman and CEO of ICICI Bank Chanda Kochhar
Businesswoman and CEO of ICICI Bank
Chanda Kochhar