- Jan 1 61 die in nightclub fire in Bangkok, Thailand.
- Jan 1 Slovakia officially adopts the Euro currency and becomes the sixteenth Eurozone country.
Taiwan Adopts Hanyu Pinyin
Jan 1 The government of the Republic of China adopts Hanyu Pinyin as its official Chinese romanization (before this time, the most commonly used was Tongyong Pinyin.
- Jan 3 Israeli ground forces invade Gaza.
- Jan 3 The Bitcoin network is created as the first block of the digital currency is mined by a person or group of people using the name Satoshi Nakamoto
- Jan 6 Israel begins an assault on the Gaza Strip
- Jan 8 A 6.2 magnitude earthquake hit Costa Rica´s region of Volcan Poás, with an epicenter near Cinchona. It was caused by Varablanca-Angel fault.
- Jan 13 Global shipping experiences a drop in trade, as exports from South Korea dropping an annualised 30%, with Taiwan and Japan experiencing a 42% and 27% drop respectively
Miracle on the Hudson
Jan 15 Chesley Sullenberger lands US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River shortly after takeoff from LaGuardia Airport in NYC. All passengers and crew members survive in what becomes known as the "Miracle on the Hudson"
Barack Obama Inaugurated
Jan 20 Barack Obama, inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States of America, becomes the United States' first African-American president
- Jan 23 Dendermonde nursery attack occurred in Dendermonde, Belgium.
- Jan 23 UK officially enters recession as GDP falls by 1.5% in the last quarter of 2008 following a 0.6% drop in the third quarter, with unemployment growing by 131,000 to 1.92 million (6.1%)
Jan 24 Pope Benedict XVI rescinds the excommunications of four bishops consecrated without papal consent in 1988 by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre
- Jan 29 Rod Blagojevich, Governor of Illinois, is removed from office after being convicted of corruption charges
- Jan 31 In Kenya, at least 113 people are killed and over 200 injured following an oil spillage ignition in Molo, days after a massive fire at a Nakumatt supermarket in Nairobi killed at least 25 people.
- Feb 1 Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir is elected as the first female Prime Minister of Iceland, becoming the first openly gay Head of Government in the modern world.
1st African American Attorney General
Feb 3 Eric Holder becomes 82nd and 1st African American US Attorney General, succeeding Michael Mukasey
- Feb 5 The United States Navy guided missile cruiser Port Royal runs aground off Oahu, Hawaii, damaging the ship as well as a coral reef
- Feb 7 Bushfires in Victoria left 173 dead in the worst natural disaster in Australia's history.
- Feb 12 Colgan Air Flight 3407 crashes near Buffalo in the state of New York killing 50 people.
- Feb 13 The Dutch Statistics agency confirms the Netherlands are in recession
- Feb 13 Unix time passed 1,234,567,890 seconds February 13, 2009 at exactly 23:31:30 (UTC).
Terry Pratchett Knighted
Feb 18 English fantasy author Terry Pratchett receives a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace
- Feb 18 The Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics announced that the Taiwanese economy has contracted an unprecedented 8.36% in the fourth quarter of 2008; thus placing the country in a technical recession
- Feb 25 BDR massacre in Pilkhana, Dhaka, Bangladesh. 74 People are being killed, including more than 50 Army officials, by Bangladeshi Boarder Guards inside its headquarter.
- Feb 27 Statistics Finland informs that Finland's gross domestic product diminished by 1.3% in the last quarter of 2008 from the previous quarter
- Mar 3 The building of the Historisches Archiv der Stadt Köln (Historical Archives) in Cologne, Germany, collapses.
- Mar 4 International Criminal Court issues an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur becoming the first sitting head of state to be indicted
- Mar 4 Malaysia has a 50% chance of slipping into the recession as growth is expected to reach just 0.5% for the year, announces the executive director Datuk Mohamed Ariff Abdul Kareem of the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research
- Mar 4 U.S. Steel announce the closure of the Stelco Lake Erie Works in Nanticoke, Ontario due to the increasingly worsening effects of the global economic slowdown
- Mar 11 Winnenden school shooting - 17 people are killed at a school in Germany.
- Mar 22 Mount Redoubt, a volcano in Alaska began erupting after a prolonged period of unrest
- Mar 25 Gay dating site Grindr launched by Joel Simkhai, first ever dating application to combine dating information and location
- Mar 27 Situ Gintung, an artificial lake in Indonesia, fails killing at least 99 people.
Swine Flu Pandemic
Mar 28 The first cases of H1N1 swine flu in the United States occur in two people in California
- Apr 1 Croatia and Albania join NATO
- Apr 3 Australia formally adopts the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
- Apr 5 North Korea launches its controversial Kwangmyŏngsŏng-2 rocket. The satellite passed over mainland Japan, which prompted an immediate reaction from the United Nations Security Council, as well as participating states of Six-party talks
- Apr 6 A 6.3 magnitude earthquake strikes near L'Aquila, Italy, killing at least 253.
Apr 7 Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori is sentenced to 25 years in prison for ordering killings and kidnappings by security forces
Abbas Calls Netanyahu
Apr 12 President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian National Authority makes a courtesy phone call to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, restarting the Palestinian-Israeli dialogue
- Apr 12 U.S. Navy rescues captain Richard Phillips, killing three pirates and capturing a fourth
- Apr 15 Even though official government sources state that Argentina's GDP will actually grow this year, private consulting firms state that Argentine economy has actually been in recession since October 2008
Helen Clark Appointed to Head UNDP
Apr 17 Former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark becomes the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the first woman to lead the organization
- Apr 23 Gamma ray burst (GRB) 090423 is observed for 10 seconds, the most distant object of any kind and also the oldest known object in the universe
- Apr 30 Chrysler automobile company files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy
- Apr 30 Failed attack on the Dutch Royal Family results in 7 deaths and 17 injured
- Apr 30 The United Kingdom formally ends combat operations in Iraq
- May 1 Carol Ann Duffy is appointed British Poet Laureate - first Scot and woman Laureate
May 1 Chanda Kochhar takes over from K. V. Kamath as CEO and Managing Director of ICICI Bank
- May 1 Same-sex marriage is legalized in Sweden
- May 11 An American soldier in Iraq opened fire on a counseling center at Camp Liberty in Bagdhad, leaving 5 other US soldiers dead and 3 soldiers wounded
- May 15 Eurostat report that Austria, Belgium, and Romania have all entered recession in the first quarter of 2009
- May 15 French Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies announce French narrowly avoided recession in 2008, gross domestic product shrank 1.2% in 1st quarter of 2009 after falling by 1.5% in final quarter of 2008
Indian General Election
May 16 India's General Election results announced: the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) under Manmohan Singh returned with an increased mandate
- May 18 The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam are defeated by the Sri Lankan government, ending the Sri Lankan Civil War and almost 26 years of fighting between the two sides
- May 19 Sri Lanka announces victory in its 25-year war against the terrorist organization, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam
- May 20 Mexico is the first Latin American country to officially enter recession
- May 25 North Korea conducts its second nuclear test while also conducting several missile tests
- May 25 Thailand’s economy shrank more than expected in the first quarter of 2009, contracting the most in a decade and plunging the nation into recession
- May 27 South Africa enters the global recession; the first recession for South Africa in 17 years
May 29 "1Q84" books 1 and 2 by Haruki Murakami is first published in Japan, sells out the first day (book 3 published 2010)
- Jun 1 Air France Flight 447 crashes into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Brazil on a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris. All 228 passengers and crew were killed.
- Jun 1 General Motors files for chapter 11 bankruptcy. It is the fourth largest United States bankruptcy in history.
- Jun 2 Switzerland officially enters the global recession
- Jun 5 At least 32 people are killed in Peru during clashes between the police and indigenous protesters
- Jun 5 Chile officially enters recession; it is the first South American country to enter the global recession
- Jun 8 First section of the elevated High Line park, built on an old railway opens in New York from Gansevoort Street to 20th Street
- Jun 9 Brazil officially enters recession
- Jun 11 Bulgarian authorities declare the country is officially in recession after dropping 1.6% in the last quarter of 2008
- Jun 11 Texas mother hit by lightning while standing in her kitchen in her Texas home. Witnesses say lightning came through a light fixture, struck her chest and exited her foot. Survived after three days in hospital.
- Jun 11 The World Health Organization declares H1N1 swine flu to be a global pandemic, the first such incident in over forty years
- Jun 12 Protests in Iran following the presidential election.
- Jun 22 Two Metro subway trains collide in Washington, D.C., killing 9 and injuring over 80
Jun 23 Akio Toyoda is confirmed as the new President of the Toyota Motor Corporation
Hawking's Party for Time Travelers
Jun 28 Professor Stephen Hawking hosts a 'party for time travelers at the University of Cambridge, not sending out the invites until after the party
Bernie Madoff Sentenced
Jun 29 Financier Bernie Madoff sentenced to 150 years in US maximum prison, for conducting a massive Ponzi scheme
- Jun 30 Turkey records its fastest contraction of 13.8% in the first quarter of 2009 compared to 2008, leading the country into recession; this is Turkey's biggest economic slump since 1945
- Jun 30 Yemenia Flight 626 crashes off the coast of Moroni, Comoros killing 152 people and leaving 1 survivor
- Jul 3 Mark II.5 Skytrain cars enter service in Metro Vancouver.
Statue of Liberty
Jul 4 The Statue of Liberty's crown reopens to the public after 8 years, due to security reasons following the World Trade Center attacks
- Jul 5 Ethnic rioting breaks out in Ürümqi, Xinjiang, People's Republic of China
- Jul 6 Jadranka Kosor became first female prime minister of Croatia
- Jul 14 Singapore experiences a seasonally adjusted and annualised growth of 20.4% in the second quarter as a result of increased pharmaceuticals production and construction, bringing the country out of the recession
- Jul 15 A 7.9 Magnitude earthquake registers 160km west of Invercargill, New Zealand, creating a small tsunami
- Jul 17 Jakarta double bombings at the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton Hotels killed 9 people including 4 foreigners
- Jul 18 Five members of one family are found murdered at Epping, New South Wales.
- Jul 19 The Wesley Impact: black spot the size of Earth discovered on Jupiter after unknown object crashed onto the planet
- Jul 23 The Bank of Canada announces the end of the recession even though it remains nascent and still dependent on government stimulus money
- Jul 24 FINA Congress votes to ban all body-length swimsuits; men's suits to maximally cover from the waist to knee, and women's from shoulder to knee; fabric must be a "textile" or woven material; effective 1 January 2010
- Jul 29 Temperature reaches 103°F in Seattle, Washington, the hottest day on record 
- Jul 30 A bomb explodes in Palma Nova, Mallorca, killing 2 police officers. Basque separatist group ETA is believed to be responsible.
Bill Clinton Meets Kim Jong-Il
Aug 4 Kim Jong-il meets former president Bill Clinton. He pardons and releases captured American journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling who were found guilty of entering the country illegally.
- Aug 15 Portugal leaves recession after three consecutive quarters of negative growth having its GDP recover by 0.3% in the second quarter of 2009
- Aug 19 A series of bombings in Baghdad, Iraq, kills 101 and injures 565 others
- Aug 24 Thailand's GDP grew 2.3% in 2009's second quarter, technically leaving the recession
- Sep 5 Denmark celebrates the first national flagday, in memory of the fallen Danes in international operations since 1948.
- Sep 9 Cyprus enters recession after 0.6% contraction in the first quarter, followed by 0.4% in the second quarter
- Sep 11 Sweden emerges from the recession after witnessing GDP growth of 0.2% in the second quarter
- Sep 11 The Brazilian economy technically leaves the recession when GDP grew 1.9% in the second quarter of 2009 after having fallen in the first quarter of 2009 and last quarter of 2008
- Sep 12 The 9-12 Project organized multiple marches and demonstrations across the USA to protest government spending.
- Sep 21 Macedonia officially enters the recession after experiencing a drop in GDP of 0.9% in the first quarter, followed by 1.4% in the second quarter
- Sep 26 Typhoon Ketsana (2009) hit the Philippines, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand, causing 700 fatalities.
Merkel Wins Federal Election
Sep 27 German Federal elections return Angela Merkel for second term as Chancellor at head of center-right coalition government
- Sep 28 The military junta leading Guinea, headed by Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, sexually assaulted, killed and wounded protesters during a protest rally in a stadium called Stade du 28 Septembre.
- Sep 29 An 8.0 magnitude earthquake near the Samoan Islands causes a tsunami
- Sep 29 MESSENGER spacecraft performs a third and final Mercury flyby
- Oct 2 The economic crisis in Ireland is considered to be the driving force behind the largest migration of Irish people to London in 20 years, it is reported today
- Oct 4 George Papandreou's Panhellenic Socialist Movement defeats Greece's governing New Democracy party in an electoral landslide.
Carl Gustav Jung's Red Book
Oct 7 A digital version of psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung's 'Red Book' is published 48 years after his death and contains personal notes on his subconscious during the period in which he developed his principal theories
Gregorio Álvarez Sentenced
Oct 22 Former Uruguayan dictator Gregorio Álvarez sentenced to 25 years in prison for aggravated murder of 37 Uruguayan dissidents who had fled to Argentina 
- Oct 22 Microsoft releases Windows 7
- Oct 23 The UK markets had contracted by 0.4% in the third quarter against what was expected to be a period of growth, as a result of unexpectedly poor performance by the service sector
- Oct 23 The United Nations "Rotterdam Rules" convention regulating international maritime carriage of goods is ratified with its twentieth signature.
- Oct 24 First International Day of Climate Action, organized with 350.org, a global campaign to address a claimed global warming crisis.
- Oct 25 The 25 October 2009 Baghdad bombings kills 155 and wounds at least 721.
- Oct 28 NASA successfully launches the Ares I-X mission, the only rocket launch for its later-cancelled Constellation program.
- Oct 28 The 28 October 2009 Peshawar bombing kills 117 and wounds 213.
- Nov 5 US Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan (US Army Medical Corps) killed 13 and wounded 43 at Fort Hood, Texas in the largest mass shooting ever at a US military installation.
- Nov 6 Mapungubwe Interpretation Centre in South Africa, designed by Peter Rich, wins World Building of the Year at the World Architecture Festival in Barcelona
Casimir Pulaski Honored
Nov 6 President Barack Obama signs congressional resolution conferring honorary U.S. citizenship to Revolutionary War hero Casimir Pulaski
- Nov 9 Joe Cada becomes the youngest winner of the World Series of Poker
- Nov 13 Germany's growth of 0.7% in the third quarter helps lead the Eurozone out of the recession after providing overall growth of 0.4% in the same period, with the whole European Union growing 0.2%, it is reported today
- Nov 13 The Netherlands officially exits the recession after experiencing 0.4% growth in the third quarter, but recovery for the Netherlands still remains fragile as the country is highly dependent on exports to maintain the recovery
- Nov 14 The National Statistical Service of Greece states that the country has been in recession since the beginning of the year
- Nov 20 The Mexican government declares its economy technically out of recession after 2.93% GDP growth in the third quarter of 2009; Mexico had been in a severe economic crisis for over a year prior to its economic rebound
Recession in Venezuela
Nov 22 President Hugo Chávez states that Venezuela is in recession as the economy contracted 4.5% in the third quarter
- Nov 23 Maguindanao massacre occurs in Ampatuan, Maguindanao, Mindanao, Philippines
- Nov 25 Flooding in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; powerful storm brings 3 years worth of rain in 4 hours, killing over 150 people and sweeping thousands of cars away during Hajj
- Nov 30 Canada begins its recovery from the recession; economic growth is at 0.4% after 14 months of economic stagnation
José Mujica Elected
Nov 30 José Mujica announced as the winner of the run-off election in Uruguay the day before and president-elect
- Dec 7 "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" becomes "PBS NewsHour", upon Jim Lehrer's stepping down as anchor
- Dec 8 Bombings in Baghdad, Iraq kill 127 and injure 448.
- Dec 10 US President Barack Obama accepts the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo
- Dec 15 Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner makes its maiden flight from Seattle, Washington.
Bernanke Named Person of the Year
Dec 16 Ben Bernanke, Chair of the US Federal Reserve is named Time's Person of the Year for rescuing the global economy from the Great Recession
- Dec 20 US President Barack Obama receives his vaccine jab against swine flu
Liu Xiaobo Sentenced for Subversion
Dec 25 Chinese human rights activist Liu Xiaobo sentenced to 11 years in prison in Beijing, China for "inciting subversion of state power"
- Dec 25 Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab unsuccessfully attempts a terrorist attack against the US while on board Northwest Airlines Flight 253
- Dec 27 The World Health Organization says 208 countries, territories and communities have reported H1N1 cases, including at least 12,220 deaths
- Dec 28 43 people die in a suicide bombing in Karachi, Pakistan, where Shia Muslims were observing the Day of Ashura.