The year 2008 is one that many people would rather not remember, but it’s also the most memorable for millions of others.
While there were many great occurrences, such as the US presidential election, the bad certainly outweighed the good in many other countries.
Yes, we’re used to shootings and robberies and even car accidents or the occasional storm, but here’s what happened in 2008.
In mid-January, the stock market plunged due to the great recession fear, then Scientology information was leaked.
Fast forward to May, a cyclone killed nearly 140 thousand people in Myanmar, then nine days later, a massive earthquake killed 69 thousand in China.
Nearly a dozen mountaineers died on K2, Mumbai faced terrorist attacks, but the highlight of the year was the Beijing China Summer Olympics.
The biggest news of all which changed the face of politics was the US electing its first black president, Barack Obama.
Table of Contents
- Which three monarchies ended in 2008?
- The 2008 Presidential Election had a Pivotal Moment, but what was it?
- Did cannibalism occur in Russia?
- Why did Australia apologize to the stolen generation?
- The conflict between Russia and Georgia: What caused it?
- What discoveries concerning Stonehenge were revealed in 2008?
- Is it possible that the CIA violated the Geneva Conventions?
- Is the Northern Passageway finally opening up?
- Which nations are engaged in a battle for control of the Northern Passageway?
- How did the bailout plan begin in 2008?
- Why was the Bush Administration’s bailout plan the subject of so much debate?
- How did the year 2008 start?
- What were some other woes of 2008?
- What made the month of September 2008 one to remember?
- What events marked the end of 2008?
Also notable in 2008, three countries rid themselves of monarchy as a means of rule.
Following the passage of a new constitution, Bhutan conducted its first-ever national elections. With the fall of the monarchy, the country transitioned to a functional democracy. By the time voting ended, approximately 80% of eligible voters had cast ballots, with the Bhutan Peace and Prosperity Party taking 44 seats to the People’s Democratic Party’s three.
Meanwhile, on May 28, the Legislature-Parliament of Nepal voted overwhelmingly in favor of abolishing the country’s 240-year-old monarchy, turning the country into a republic.
Elections in Sark, a British Crown dependent, were the first genuinely democratic elections in the Channel Islands since they were abolished as a feudal system.
The United States elected its first black president. In the end, he prevailed over his adversaries in a landslide triumph.
Senator Barack Obama, as well as Senator Hillary Clinton, were the Democratic Party’s two strongest contenders for the nomination months before the party’s convention.
Barack Obama became the first black president of the United States, while Hillary Clinton became the first woman to run for the White House.
His program of change and Obama’s financial success drew a sizable chunk of the young vote, which helped him win the White House.
When President-elect Obama selected Hillary Clinton as his secretary of state, the Obama and Clinton teams were eternally connected.
This was the first time since the 1970s that the worldwide food crisis was not a small-scale problem caused by poor harvests on local farms.
People were famished and became desperate when things got bad. The Moscow Times reported in late October that a homeless Kamchatka man and two accomplices had been detained for the murder, butchery, frying, and consumption of a man’s body.
About 100 thousand children of Aboriginal descent were stolen from their families between 1910 and 1970 as part of an attempt to eradicate the indigenous population of Australia.
The Stolen Generation was the collective name given to this group of children. A study found that Aborigines had a higher risk of alcohol addiction, childhood mortality, criminality, as well as drug dependency than non-Aborigines.
The Australian government supported the initiative.
Aboriginal children were removed from their families and expected to be absorbed into white society but endured mental upheaval as a consequence of not being accepted due to their ethnicity.
In addition, they were shut off from their own cultural identity as well as pleasures.
Because of the threat of widespread litigation and demands for financial compensation, no prime minister had issued an official apology to the victims of the Stolen Generation.
Kevin Rudd, though, issued a public apology about a century in the making on February 13. Just one member of the Stolen Generation has received financial compensation for their hardships.
The breakaway areas of South Ossetia and Abkhazia had been sought by both Russia and Georgia, despite Russia’s greater size and military prowess.
The official EU probe into the conflict began on Dec. 2nd. That was after Russia and Georgia had been pointing fingers at each other for nearly three months.
Georgian troops and equipment fired on Tskhinvali, the regional capital, on Aug. 8.
When Georgia sent tanks into Russia, they were met by a barrage of fighter planes.
Russia maintains that it was shielding pro-Russian South Ossetians inside the conflict zone, although Georgia maintains that it was acting in self-defense.
After years of hostility between Russia and Georgia and the recent proclamation of independence by the Kosovo province, the conflict erupted.
Russia appeared to be on the brink of a more serious answer for its heavy-handed assault on Georgia in the face of world criticism.
South Ossetia and Abkhazia severed connections with Georgia after months of fighting, in which Russia was nominally victorious.
No other country recognizes the two breakaway states’ independence yet.
Archaeologists now believe Stonehenge is older than previously realized and may have served as a healing center rather than a cemetery.
As part of a deal with the Druids, archaeologists can now begin work on the World Heritage site after 45 years.
They discovered that Stonehenge is over 500 years older than previously considered. It was probably built around 3000 BC, according to scientists.
Some schools now believe that Stonehenge may have been used as a place of healing rather than a place of burial.
To extract a portion of this healing rock, primitive civilizations may have used hammers and other tools to move and rearrange the bluestones and batter them.
Druids have long held that Stonehenge is a sign of good fortune, if not healing powers, and this view is supported by modern Druids.
The Geneva Convention forbids some methods of interrogation used by the CIA in its pursuit of al-Qaida suspects.
Everyone was thinking about torture in early February 2008. When, if ever, is it legal to torture someone?
After the terrorist events of September 11, 2001, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) interrogated six persons suspected of being involved.
According to the White House, interrogation methods such as waterboarding are legal if the president, as well as the attorney general, approve of them.
Humanitarian organizations, however, were disgruntled.
Outrage erupted when the CIA destroyed videotapes used to document the interrogations of two al-Qaeda terrorist suspects.
When everything was said and done, the Bush administration’s efficacy and fairness would be called into question by the torture controversy and the CIA’s deviations from international law.
In the Arctic, ice floes look like shards of broken glass. In time, the Northwest Passage could open to commercial traffic.
European and Asian navigators began hunting for a shortcut 500 years ago.
If you’re going to take a shortcut, you’re going to have to put up with a lot of inconveniences.
In fact, until today, it had never been entirely passable. However, an almost-obstruction-free river was seen in satellite photographs released by the European Space Agency (ESA).
The melting ice is bad news for conservationists, but good news for companies. Seeing the Northwest Passage as a viable alternative to the Panama and Suez Canal has the United States scrambling to secure access to the waterway.
In a speech to the nation on September 24, President George W. Bush stated bluntly: “Our entire economy is at risk.”
He was trying to drum up support for a $700 billion bailout package known as the Paulson Package, but he was ultimately unsuccessful.
It wasn’t long before Congressional leaders unveiled their bill, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.
However, the House voted against this measure by a margin of 228 votes to 205 votes. The law was finally passed by a vote of 263 to 171 in the Senate, which gave it a new lease on life.
When it comes to government intervention in the economy, this bailout was the biggest since the Great Depression.
Originally, the funds were intended to be used to purchase subprime mortgages plus mortgage-backed securities that had gone sour.
It’s also been reported that some cash would have been used to strengthen banks. The National Bureau of Economic Research announced on Dec. 1 that the United States was formally in an economic downturn after months of speculation about a bailout for the car industry.
MESSENGER was at its closest point to Mercury at 19:04:39 UTC on January 14th, when the unmanned space probe was making its maiden flyby of the planet.
Stock markets around the world plummeted a week later, on January 21, as mounting concerns about a Great Recession in the United States were stoked by the 2007 subprime mortgage crisis.
The Church of Scientology’s leaked interview of Tom Cruise, which was posted on YouTube, prompted online activist organization Anonymous to launch Project Chanology.
As a response to this, the Church of Scientology filed an “infringement of copyright” lawsuit.
Protests were held in front of their facility by Anonymous sympathizers in reaction. The centers and websites of the church faced black faxes, phone line interruptions, and DoS attacks as a result.
What were some other woes of 2008?
Myanmar was devastated by Cyclone Nargis on May 3rd, which claimed the lives of over 138,000 people.
A magnitude 7.9 earthquake rocked Sichuan, China, on May 12, killing an estimated 69,000 people.
Approximately 175,000 master recordings by over 700 artists from the 1930s to the 2000s were reportedly destroyed when the fire broke out at Universal Studios Hollywood on June 1.
It wasn’t until 2019 that the entire scope of the devastation was made public. Mount Kumgang has been closed to tourists from South Korea since July 11 after a South Korean tourist was slain by a North Korean soldier.
Eleven international excursion members died in July while attempting to summit K2.
Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy, the Bank of America was acquired by Merrill Lynch, and AIGs made an extraordinary request for a short period of financial assistance from the Federal Reserve.
These factors all contributed to a significant fall in the stock market on September 15.
The Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan, was leveled by a suicide vehicle bomber on September 20th, killing at least 54 people and injuring 266 more.
When Android was released on September 23, five days later SpaceX Falcon 1 became the first privately manufactured space launch vehicle to successfully circle the Earth.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 777.68 points on September 29 following the collapse of Lehman Brothers and Washington Mutual, the greatest single-day point drop in the index’s history.
Bagosora alongside two other senior Rwandan army officers were found guilty by the Rwandan International Criminal Tribunal and sentenced to life imprisonment for their role in Rwanda’s genocide.
To mark the conclusion of 2008, an extra second was added (23:59:60) on December 31. The last time that happened was in 2005.