On January 20, 2017, Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. A Republican, the reality TV star and controversial businessman had won the election in a surprise contest against Democrat Hillary Clinton in November 2016.
From uprisings across the Arab world and the deaths of Osama Bin Laden and Kim Jong-il, to a magnitude-nine earthquake that shook north-eastern Japan unleashing a savage tsunami, 2011 was a tumultuous year worldwide.
After many months of deadlock, frustration and setbacks, trying to get a Brexit deal accepted by both her own Parliament and the European Union, an exhausted-looking Theresa May resigned in July. Boris Johnson succeeded her as Prime Minister and soon called a General Election, which took place just before Christmas. In what was becoming an increasingly chaotic UK political environment, the Tories won by a convincing margin in England and made significant gains in Wales. In Scotland, however, the SNP scored a landslide victory, winning 48 seats and delivering what First Minister Nicola Sturgeon called a clear message for a second independence referendum. The General Election was a disaster for Labour, which lost ground nationwide.
It was the year that the deadliest outbreak of ebola started in West Africa and began to spread, the year that Russian conflict in Ukraine and Crimea raised global tensions and the year that a Malaysian Airlines flight from Kuala Lumpur destined for Beijing vanished – just four months before a different, unrelated Malaysian Airlines flight was shot down near the Ukrainian border.
The #MeToo movement went global, after taking off in the United States in 2017 as a response to the allegations of sexual harassment and abuse made against heavyweight Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. In addition, the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded jointly to Congolese physician Denis Mukwege and Yazidi assault survivor Nadia Murad “for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.”
It was the year that David Cameron and Nick Clegg joined forces at Westminster to send Labour’s Gordon Brown packing and when thousands of US embassy cables by Julian Assange’s Wikileaks website caused global controversy.
It was a year that saw a number of notable deaths, including Margaret Thatcher, Nelson Mandela and Hugo Chavez, the Pope's resignation and a meteorite crash in Russia.
It was the year UNESCO granted World Heritage Status to the Forth Bridge, when Scotland’s population was around 5,347,600 and Mhairi Black, 20, became the youngest elected MP since before the Reform Act of 1832. It was also the year Abellio ScotRail took over the ScotRail franchise, the Church of Scotland voted to allow the ordination of gay ministers in civil partnerships and Andy Murray married Kim Sears in Dunblane. It was also, according to the Met Office, the windiest Scottish summer in decades, and the winter of 2015/16 the wettest since records began in 1910.
It was the year that the Queen celebrated 60 years on the throne, the UK basked in the reflected glory of its Olympic and Paralympic athletes and the US re-elected Barack Obama as president.
It was a big year for politics. First, in May, came the Scottish Parliament elections, only the fifth since devolution in 1999 – and the first time 16 and 17-year-olds could vote. It was also the first time three major parties were led by women.