- Jan 15 Wikipedia a free Wiki or content encyclopedia is launched by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger
- Feb 12 NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft touchdown in the "saddle" region of 433 Eros becoming the first spacecraft to land on an asteroid.
- Feb 15 First draft of the complete human genome is published in the journal "Nature"
- Apr 1 Netherlands becomes the first country in the world to make same-sex marriage legal
- Sep 11 Two passenger planes hijacked by terrorists crash into New York's World Trade Towers causing the collapse of both and deaths of 2,752 people
- Sep 11 Terrorists hijack a passenger plane and crash it into the Pentagon causing the deaths of 125 people
- Sep 11 Attempt by passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 93 to retake control of their hijacked plane from terrorists causes plane to crash in Pennsylvania field killing all 64 people on board
- Sep 20 In an address to a joint session of Congress and the American people, U.S. President George W. Bush declares a "war on terror".
- Oct 7 The U.S. invasion of Afghanistan starts with an air assault and covert operations on the ground
- Oct 8 U.S. President George W. Bush announces the establishment of the Office of Homeland Security.
- Jul 9 "The Office" mockumentary created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, starring Ricky Gervais and Martin Freeman premieres on BBC Two in the UK
- Nov 4 "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" 1st film adaptation of the books by J. K. Rowling, premieres starring Daniel Radcliffe
- Dec 5 "Ocean's Eleven" directed by Steven Soderbergh, starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Julia Roberts premieres in Westwood, California
- Feb 18 Crash during Daytona 500 race on last lap claims life of Dale Earnhardt, prompting sport to implement new safety procedures
- May 9 Accra Sports Stadium Disaster: 129 Ghanian football fans die in a stampede caused by the firing of teargas by police following a decision by the referee in a crucial match between arch-rivals Accra Hearts of Oak and Kumasi Asante Kotoko
- Aug 4 Australian cricket spinner Shane Warne skittles England (162) with 6/33 to guide tourists to a 7 wicket 3rd Test victory at Trent Bridge; Aussies regain Ashes with record 7th straight Test win v England
Michael Brunet discovers the skull of Sahelanthropus tchadensis in the Djurab Desert, Chad. One of the oldest known species in the human family tree, 6-7 million years ago years old
On July 19, 2001
- Jan 31 Ahed Tamimi, Pakistani activist who slapped Israeli officer, born in Nabi Salih, West Bank
- Jun 10 Sasha [Natasha] Obama, American daughter of Barack and Michelle Obama, born in Chicago, Illinois
- Jun 24 Mo'ne Davis, American Little League baseball pitcher, 1st girl to pitch a shutout, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Oct 7 Princess Senate Seeiso, daughter of King Letsie III of Lesotho
- Oct 14 Rowan Blanchard, American actress (Girl Meets World) and activist, born in Los Angeles, California
Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, the last Tsar of Bulgaria when he was a child, is sworn in as Prime Minister of Bulgaria, becoming the first monarch in history to regain political power through democratic election to a different office.
On July 24, 2001