As the world began to slowly open up, 2022 was filled with no shortage of major events.
Here are just some of the many big stories that changed the world this year.
1. Russia Invaded Ukraine
In the days that have since followed, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky embodied the spirit of Ukraine as it continues to defend itself
2. Women In Iran Risked Everything To Protest For Freedom After The Death Of Mahsa Amini
On Sep. 16, 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, an Iranian-Kurdish woman, died after she was arrested by “morality” police for allegedly not complying with Iran’s mandatory hijab law.
Hundreds of women in Iran have taken to the streets in unprecedented protests, risking everything to protest for justice for Amini and freedom.
3. A Man In China Held A Rare Protest Against President Xi Jinping And Started A Movement Around The World
Posters protesting Chinese president Xi Jinping, who has been confirmed for a third term, have been popping up in countries around the world, inspired by a man who held a rare one-man protest against the Chinese president in Beijing, China.
On the afternoon of Thursday Oct. 13, the man, reportedly dressed as a construction worker, unfurled two protest banners on the Sitong Bridge in Beijing’s Haidian District, while black smoke billowed up from a fire on the bridge.
The banners read: “No COVID tests, but life. No Cultural Revolution, but reform. No lockdowns, but freedom. No rulers but elections. No lies, but dignity. No slaves, but citizens” and “Students, workers, strike. Depose the dictator and national traitor Xi Jinping.”
The demonstration came three days ahead of the start of the week-long Chinese Communist Party Congress, where Xi was confirmed for a third five-year term on Oct. 23, thus making him the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong.
4. People In China Held Huge Unprecedented Protests Against President Xi Jinping And COVID Restrictions
People across China held unprecedented mass anti-government protests after a fire killed 10 people who were in COVID lockdown.
Protests started on Nov. 25 after a fire broke out at an apartment complex in Xinjiang’s capital, Urumqi – which has been locked down for three months – at around 7:50pm local time a day before.
The fire, which killed 10 people and injured at least nine, was not extinguished until three hours later, and protestors say the strict lockdown had slowed down the rescue process.
The news sparked public sadness and anger, and protests erupted across major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, with people calling for an end to China’s zero COVID-19 policy.
Protests against the government are incredibly rare in China, and this is one of the biggest acts of civil disobedience China has seen since Tiananmen Square.
5. Queen Elizabeth II Died At Age 96 After Ruling For 70 Years
Queen Elizabeth II died at the age of 96 at Balmoral Castle, her estate in the Scottish Highland, in the United Kingdom.
The Queen died peacefully on the afternoon of Sep. 8, Buckingham Palace said in a statement.
With her death, her eldest son Charles became the new king.
6. Argentina Beat France To Win The Qatar World Cup In One Of The Most Dramatic Finals In History
In one of the most exciting World Cup finals in history, Argentina beat France 4-2 in a penalty kick shootout on Sunday Dec. 18 to win the 2022 World Cup.
Argentina was leading by 2-0 at half time, but France made an extraordinary comeback with about 10 minutes left.
With the teams tied 3-3 after extra time, Argentina ultimately won after France missed twice during penalties.
With the win, Lionel Messi finally achieved his lifelong dream of taking Argentina to World Cup glory.
Although his team ended up on the losing side, France’s Kylian Mbappe led its spectacular comeback by scoring a hat-trick – three goals in one match – a feat that has not happened in a World Cup final since 1966.
7. Ethiopia's Government And Tigray Forces Agreed To End The Civil War That Killed 600,000 People
The Ethiopian government and Tigray forces agreed to a ceasefire to end the two-year civil war that has killed as many as 600,000 people and displaced millions of others.
The deal on Wednesday Nov. 2 – struck a day before the second anniversary of the beginning of the war on Nov. 3, 2020 – came earlier than expected after 10 days of peace talks in South Africa led by the African Union.
The conflict has led to one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises and is “one of the world’s bloodiest contemporary conflicts“, according to the New York Times.
The war forced at least 2.4 million people from their homes and left an estimated 13 million people requiring humanitarian assistance as of June 2022, according to the United Nations.
8. US Speaker Nancy Pelosi Visited Taiwan And Met With The Woman President Despite China's Threats
US house speaker Nancy Pelosi met with Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen after arriving in the country in a historic visit on Tuesday Aug. 2.
The visit makes her the most senior US politician to visit Taiwan in more than 20 years.
The controversial visit comes amid rising cross-strait relations between Taiwan and China, which claims Taiwan as its terroritory.
9. People In Sri Lanka Held Mass Anti-Government Protests Against The Economic Crisis, Forcing The President To Resign
Sri Lanka’s president finally agreed to resign, officials said on Monday July 11, two days after thousands of protesters stormed his residence and set the prime minister’s home on fire.
People across Sri Lanka had been holding mass protests since March demanding president Gotabaya Rajapaksa resign over his handling over the country’s worst economic crisis since independence in 1948.
Sri Lanka has been facing an ongoing economic crisis due to years of accumulated foreign debt, compounded by the 2019 Easter bombings and the COVID-19 pandemic, which ravaged the tourism industry, a major source of income for the country.
10. The Winter Olympics Were Held In Beijing
11. Japan's Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Was Assassinated While Giving A Speech
Japan’s former prime minister Shinzo Abe died after he was shot in the chest while giving a speech at a campaign event. He was 67.
A 42-year-old man had opened fired with a handmade handgun while Abe was carrying out a speech in Japan’s Nara at around 11:30 am local time on Friday July 8, according to authorities.
12. New Zealand Became The First Country In The World To Ban Smoking For All Future Generations
New Zealand has passed a law that makes it illegal for anyone born after Jan. 1, 2009, to ever buy tobacco, including cigarettes.
“Thousands of people will live longer, healthier lives and the health system will be $5 billion better off from not needing to treat the illnesses caused by smoking,” Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall said after the law passed on Tuesday Dec. 1.
It will also reduce the amount of nicotine in tobacco products and prohibit them from being sold at supermarkets and corner shops, making them only available in specialty tobacco stores.
The law aims to make smoking less affordable and accessible and is part of the government’s plan to make New Zealand smokefree by 2025.