With 2017 right around the corner, it’s time now to look at some of the events that defined 2016.
2016 was, arguably, twelve of the most eventful months in recent history. We’ve said goodbye legends such as Prince, David Bowie and Muhammad Ali, Brexit happened and we’ve witnessed one of the most controversial presidential elections in U.S. history.
Trying to take in everything that happened this year can be overwhelming, so let’s take it month-by-month and showcase some of the events that defined 2016.
President Obama brought in the new year by issuing a state of emergency in Flint, Michigan due to unsafe drinking water. Flint’s 100,000 residents were given water with elevated lead levels for over two years, which will likely result in irreversible health consequences on children in Flint.
NOW- The ongoing criminal investigation into the situation has yielded a host of charges filed against those found responsible. As government officials have been working to remedy the crisis, citizens of Flint received donations from various celebrities and organizations.
While water quality in Flint is improving, it’s unclear when the issue will be dissolved.
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died at age 79, leaving an equal number of Democrats and Republicans on the Supreme Court. Later in the month, senate leaders vowed to deny President Obama’s nomination to replace Scalia as Republicans in the House and Senate felt the president-elect should choose Scalia’s replacement.
In March, North Carolina signed the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act into law. The law states that people in government buildings must use the restrooms that coincide with the gender on their birth-certificates. This posed an issue for the transgender community in North Carolina, and struck a chord with LGBTQ activists around the world.
Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew decided to update the $20 bill, replacing known slaveholder Andrew Jackson’s likeness with that of civil rights activist Harriet Tubman. When the bills are released in 2020, Tubman will be the first woman on U.S. paper currency since Martha Washington appeared on the Silver $1 note in the late 1800s.
A gorilla named Harambe was shot and killed after a three-year-old boy fell into the gorilla’s enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo. Harambe’s death was controversial to say the least, resulting in an influx of internet memes.
49 people inside Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida were killed in the deadliest mass-shooting in U.S. history. Pulse touted itself as the “the hottest gay bar in Orlando,” and the attack is seen as a hate crime against the LGBTQ community. The lone gunman responsible for the attack was shot dead by police at the scene and had ties to ISIS.
On the other side of the Atlantic, 52% of voters opted for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union. In response to the vote, Prime Minister David Cameron resigned and the value of the British Pound fell to a 30 year low.
86 people were killed when a truck was driven deliberately into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, France. The driver of the truck was shot and killed by police. ISIS has since claimed responsibility for the attack.
Pokémon GO was released in the U.S for iPhone and Android which has amassed over 500 million downloads worldwide. The popularity of the game however, depleted nearly as fast as it rose. Still, the game was the third most-downloaded app on Apple’s App Store in 2016.
World Health Organization declared the Zika virus a global public health emergency as the virus claims its first victim in the United States. Since then, there have been 215 cases of locally acquired mosquito-borne Zika in the U.S., with a majority of these cases taking place in Florida.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 was recalled after spontaneously bursting into flames. After recalling the 2.5 million units manufactured, Samsung shipped out a revised version of the phone. Sadly for Samsung however, these revised units also caught fire resulting in the discontinuation of the Note 7, and an estimated $17 billion loss in revenue.
Volkswagen’s “dieselgate” scandal yields one of the largest corporate settlements of all time. As a part of the $14.7 billion settlement, Volkswagen is required to offer to buy back or repair 85 percent of the nearly 500,000 vehicles effected by July 2019.
While there is more that could be said about the month of October, all the stories would pale in comparison to the events in November.
November 2016 was… eventful to say the least. Four police officers were shot in separate attacks in 24 hours, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked New Zealand killing two, Ohio State suffered a violent car and knife attack and the beautiful town of Gatlinburg, Tennessee effectively burned down.
A man named Johnthony Walker asked a bus full of children between ages five and ten if they were “ready to die” before piloting the school bus into a telephone pole. Five students were killed and twelve were hospitalized.
Hell froze over, pigs flew and the curse was broken as the Cubs won the World Series after a 108 year drought. The Cubs brought home the “W” in extra innings after a nail-biting 17 minute rain delay.
As if that wasn’t enough news for one month, Donald Trump was elected the 45th President of the United States after a controversy-ridden campaign.
Rumors of Russia meddling in the 2016 election had been circulating months before the election itself, and at the beginning of December U.S. Intelligence officials went public with their belief that Russia tried to interfere with election results to the benefit of Trump.
President Obama has ordered U.S. Intelligence Agencies to conduct a comprehensive review of U.S. Elections dating back to 2008, and says that the U.S. will retaliate against Russia’s meddling.
President-elect Trump has dismissed the Intelligence Agencies claims.