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2021 timeline: A look back on the biggest news stories that shaped this year

2021 Timeline
Posted at 1:11 PM, Dec 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-31 13:23:40-05

This week marks the end of another long and busy year in the world of news.

2021 was a year filled with political turmoil and extreme weather events, with the specter of the coronavirus constantly lingering in the background.

But 2021 also showed the best of humanity — people coming together to uplift others when times got tough.

Relive some of the biggest moments from 2021 in the timeline below.

Jan. 6 — Supporters of President Donald Trump storm the U.S. Capitol as Congress certifies presidential election results. Five people died in the riots, and a week later, Trump would be impeached for the second time in his only term in office.

Jan. 20 — Under increased security in Washington, Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president of the United States.

Feb. 13 — Trump is acquitted in the impeachment trial stemming from his actions amid Jan. 6 riots at the Capitol. Seven Republican senators voted to convict Trump, though he easily avoids conviction by a total of 10 votes.

Feb. 13 to Feb. 17 — Winter storms cause weeklong power outages in Texas, killing more than 200 people.

Feb. 18 — In a heart-pounding and gripping landing sequence, NASA rover Perseverance completes its 300 million mile journey by successfully landing on Mars.

March 16 — A gunman kills eight people — including six Asian women — at several Atlanta-area spas. The shootings draw more attention to rising instances of hate crimes against people in the AAPI community that began with the arrival of COVID-19 in 2020.

April 11 — Police officer Kim Potter fatally shoots motorist Daunte Wright in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, sparking protests. In December, that officer, Kim Potter, would be convicted of two counts of manslaughter.

April 15 — Daily COVID-19 vaccinations peak in the U.S. as age restrictions are lifted. The daily vaccination rate would dip in the summer, but begin to rise in the later months of 2021 as boosters are approved and mandates go into effect.

April 20 — Ex-officer Derek Chauvin is convicted of George Floyd's murder in Minneapolis. Floyd's death in 2020 sparked months of protests against police brutality and systemic racism; activists greet Chauvin's conviction with cheers.

May 6 — Hackers shut down Colonial Gasoline Pipeline with a ransomware attack, leading to gas shortages in some regions. The hack is the highest-profile ransomware attack in a year that saw a disturbing increase in such incidents.

June — Delta variant arrives in the U.S., spelling the start of a summer surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the delta variant would cause a steady rise in cases and deaths starting in June, leading to a peak in early September.

June 24 — A condo tower collapses in Surfside, Florida, killing 98 people.

Aug. 10 — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announces his resignation amid sexual harassment allegations. He announced his resignation a week after New York AG Letitia James published a damming report that spelled out several workplace harassment and sexual harassment charges against Cuomo.

Aug. 30 — The last U.S. troops leave Afghanistan, marking the end of America's longest war. The withdrawal grew chaotic in the final weeks after the U.S.-backed government in Afghanistan fell to the Taliban.

Sept. 1 — A controversial "fetal heartbeat bill" takes effect in Texas that bans nearly all abortions in the state. The newly-conservative Supreme Court later declines to take action to pause the law while lower courts sort out lawsuits levied in an attempt to stop it.

Oct. 18 — Former Sec. of State Colin Powell dies of COVID-19 at the age of 84.

Nov. 5 — Ten people die, and hundreds are injured in a crushing crowd at Travis Scott's Astroworld music festival in Houston.

Nov. 19 — Kyle Rittenhouse is acquitted of all charges stemming from fatal shootings that took place in Kenosha, Wisconsin, during protests following the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Rittenhouse was just 17 at the time of the shooting and not legally allowed to own a gun, but jurors determined he acted in self-defense.

Nov. 24 — Three Georgia men are convicted of the 2020 murder of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man who was out for a jog in his hometown of Brunswick, Georgia. The men had accused Arbery of a series of break-ins in the area; jurors determine the men were not justified to detain Arbery on the grounds of a since-repealed citizen's arrest law.

Dec. 10 — Tornadoes kill dozens of people in western Kentucky and surrounding states.

Dec. 11 — A day after losing his home in those Kentucky tornadoes, Jordan Baize inspires millions across the country by playing "There's Something About That Name" on his family piano, which survived the storms.

Dec. 23 — Kim Potter is convicted of manslaughter from the April shooting of Daunte Wright.

Dec. 29 — Ghislaine Maxwell is convicted of sex trafficking charged linked to her involvement with Jeffrey Epstein.