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Reflecting on 2021: A Look Back at the Year’s Most Memorable Events

by Karen Rollins Jan 3, 2022

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Man flips a block changing 2021 to 2022.

The New Year is here, which means it’s a good time to take a look back at 2021, and all the major events that happened during the past 12 months.

Of course, COVID-19 was still dominating the headlines, as the world continued to work on ways to slow down the spread of the virus while conceding that we will all have to live with it for the foreseeable future.

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the most memorable events throughout the year in the Caribbean and across the globe.


4 January – The first Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines are made available to the general public. An 82-year-old man in the UK called Brian Pinker is the first to receive it.

6 January – Supporters of Donald Trump storm the US Capitol building in Washington in an attempt to stop Joe Biden and Kamala Harris being elected. Five people are killed during the insurrection.

8 January – Former President Donald Trump is permanently banned from Twitter “due to the risk of further incitement of violence”.

20 January – Joe Biden is inaugurated as the 46th US President. Kamala Harris, who has partly Jamaican heritage, becomes the 49th Vice President.

28 January – American stage and screen actress, Cicely Tyson, whose parents were from St Kitts, dies at the age of 96.


1 February – The military stages a coup in Myanmar and declares a one-year state of emergency. They detain civilian leaders including Aung San Suu Kyi.

19 February – Kim Kardashian West files for divorce from Kanye West after almost seven years of marriage. They have four children.

23 February – Golfer Tiger Woods crashes his car driving south of Los Angeles and subsequently requires surgery on his legs.


14 March – Beyoncé breaks the record for most Grammys won by a singer (28).

29 March – Former police officer Derek Chauvin goes on trial for the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.


La Soufrière volcano

9 AprilSt Vincent’s La Soufrière volcano erupts for the first time since 1979 forcing thousands of people to leave their homes.

9 April – Britain’s Prince Philip dies at the age of 99.

16 April – In Cuba, Raúl Castro resigns as the Communist Party leader, ending his family’s six decade leadership of the country.

20 April – Former police officer Derek Chauvin is found guilty of the murder of George Floyd.


1 May – India becomes the first country in the world to record more than 400,000 new COVID-19 cases in one day.

3 May – Billionaire Bill Gates and his wife Melinda Gates announce their divorce after 27 years together.

25 May – The Center for Disease Control in the US announces that over half of all eligible US adults are fully vaccinated, with 61% also having had their first shot.

27 May – A reunion episode of ‘Friends’ airs 17 years after the TV sitcom series ended.


4 June – Meghan Markle and Prince Harry welcome their second child, Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor. She was born in Santa Barbara, California.

25 June – The World Health Organization (WHO) confirms that the COVID-19 Delta variant has become the most transmissible to date. It is currently present in at least 85 countries.


7 July – Haitian president Jovenel Moïse is assassinated in his home in Pétionville, Haiti. A state of emergency comes into effect across the country.

8 July – The known global death toll from COVID-19 passes four million.

11 July – Billionaire Richard Branson flies to the edge of space on his Virgin Galactic rocket plane.

23 July – The delayed 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games finally gets underway in Japan.



4 August – Barbadian singer Rihanna is officially a billionaire according to business magazine Forbes.

7 August – Allyson Felix becomes the most decorated female Olympian in track and field history after securing her 11th medal as part of the winning American 4×400m relay team.

7 August – Indian javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra wins his country’s first-ever Olympic track and field gold medal with a throw of 87.58m in Tokyo.

14 August – A 7.2 magnitude earthquake hits south-west Haiti, killing at least 2,200 people. Around 52,000 homes are destroyed.

15 August – Taliban forces enter the capital city of Kabul and take control of the government. President Ashraf Ghani flees the country.


27 September – Netflix says period drama ‘Bridgerton’, created by Shonda Rhimes, is its most-watched series ever.

27 September – R&B artist R. Kelly is found guilty by a jury on nine counts of racketeering and sex trafficking after a six-week trial in New York.

28 September – The last James Bond film starring Daniel Craig, ‘No Time to Die’, premieres after an 18-month delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


1 October – The global COVID-19 death toll passes five million as the Delta variant continues to spread around the world.

6 October – The WHO recommends the world’s first Malaria vaccine (Mosquirix) for children after a pilot programme proved to be effective in Africa.

13 October – William Shatner, also known as Star Trek’s Captain Kirk, becomes the oldest person to reach space, travelling onboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket.

18 October – Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell died from COVID-19 complications. He was 84.

20 OctoberBarbados elects Sandra Mason as its first-ever president to replace Queen Elizabeth II as head of state.

28 October – Mark Zuckerberg announces Facebook will change its corporate name to Meta.


5 November – Swedish group ABBA release their ninth studio album, ‘Voyage’. It’s their first album of new material for 40 years.

12 November – Britney Spears’ conservatorship by her dad is ended by a judge in Los Angeles after 14 years.

26 November – The WHO labels COVID-19 variant Omicron a “variant of concern”, after it emerges in Botswana and South Africa.

30 NovemberBarbados officially becomes a parliamentary republic on its 55th anniversary of independence. Superstar Rihanna joins the island’s list of National Heroes.


12 December – Dutchman Max Verstappen claims the Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship for Red Bull with a controversial last lap win over Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton in the season-ending Abu Dhabi race.

14 December – The COVID-19 death toll in America passes 800,000, with more deaths recorded in 2021 than 2020.

17 December – The first true millipede (Eumillipes persephone) with 1,000 legs is discovered down a drill hole in Western Australia.

We hope you’ve enjoyed looking back at some of the major events that happened in 2021.

Happy New Year!

Sources: On This Day and BBC News.