13 moments that defined the 2010s

The 2010s was an eventful decade that saw several era-defining moments, rise of trends, history shaping events and an unprecedented change in the way we see the world.

Below is a list of 12 of the most impactful moments, trends and happenings that defined the past decade.

Climate change

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The past decade brought the unfortunate relalisation that climate change is here, and could ultimately get worse. The decade saw the hottest-ever year for the planet’s atmosphere as well as the hottest-ever year for its oceans. The Arctic experienced about 1.8 F degrees (1 degree C) of warming in the past decade alone—compared to just under 1 degree C for the planet at large over the past 50 years. Fortunately, people also began to take it seriously, especially the young ones whose future is under threat. Global attention to the problem grew and more climate actions were taken, even though much more still needs to be done.

Kidnap of Chibok girls

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On the night of 14–15 April 2014, 276 female students were kidnapped extremist terrorist group, Boko Haram, from the Secondary School in the town of Chibok in Borno State, Nigeria. 57 of the schoolgirls were rescued by the NA the next few months, In May 2016, one of the missing girls, Amina Ali, was found. She claimed that the remaining girls were still there, but that six had died. A further 21 girls were freed in October 2016, while another was rescued the next month. Another was found in January 2017. 82 more girls were freed in May 2017. One of the girls was rescued in January 2018. The kidnap caught the attention of the international community and brought about the #BringBackOurGirls trend.


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Netflix’s streaming service came into prominence in the 2010s and revolutionised the way we watch TV and movies, almost everyone soon bought into the idea and ‘Netflix and chill’ became a sensation. The rise of Netflix also led to the establishment of other streaming servises from Amazon, HBO and Disney.

Arab spring

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The Arab Spring was a series of anti-government protests, uprisings, and armed rebellions that spread across much of the Islamic world in the early 2010s. It began in response to oppressive regimes and a low standard of living, repression of free speech, human rights abuses, economic mismanagement, corruption, starting with protests in Tunisia. The Arab Spring has spilled over into this new decade as several middle eastern states are still deep in conflict.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

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One of the greatest mysteries of not just the last decade, but in history was the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 on March 8 2014. This became an international issue and triggered a worldwide search. The fate of the plane and its 239 passengers and crew onboard still remains a mystery and the only explanation was that of Malaysia’s former Prime Minister, Najib Razak, who stated that the aircraft’s flight ended somewhere in the Indian Ocean.


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Since June 2016 referendum, when 51.9% voted in favour of Britain leaving the European Union, Brexit has dominated the news. The UK government formally announced the country’s withdrawal in March 2017, starting a process that is currently due to conclude with the UK withdrawing no later than 31 January 2020

Selfies and selfie sticks

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Selfies became a such a big trend in the 2010s that phone companies even had to put it in their campaign ads. Of course this brought the opportunity for an innovaion–the selfie sticks, soon an array of selfie sticks filled the market and it became a number one starter pack for every wedding or event in Nigeria.

First image of a black hole

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Evidence of the existence of black holes – mysterious places in space where nothing, not even light, can escape – has existed for quite some time, but capturing it was thought impossible. However, on April 10th, in an unprecedented feat, astronauts captured the first image of a black hole.

Marvel Cinematic Universe

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There is no doubt that the 2010s was the decade of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They took the world by storm and delivered back to back comic book awesomeness. Every film was both a critical and commercial success with Endgame becoming the highest grossing film ever in 2019.

Norte-Dame de Paris fire

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On April 15 2019, at about 18:50 local time, catastrophe struck and left a nation in mourning. A huge fire that lasted for over 12 hours engulfed the roof of the Dame Cathedral, one of finest examples of French Gothic architecture, causing significant damage. President Emmanuel Macron said that the cathedral would be restored by 2024, and launched a fundraising campaign which brought in pledges of over €1 billion as of 22 April 2019. A complete restoration could require twenty years or more.

#MeToo movement

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The movie world was dealt a shock when a New York Times exposé revealed details about film producer Harvey Weinstein’s, alleged predatory behavior. This informed a wave of revelations as more women began to speak out about their experiences with sexual assault and harrassment. This ultimately brought about the #MeToo movement.

2019 Hong Kong protests

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The Hong Kong protests are ongoing demonstrations in Hong Kong which began in June 2019, triggered by the introduction of the Fugitive Offenders amendment bill by the Hong Kong government. This led to concerns that the bill would subject Hong Kong residents and visitors to the jurisdiction and legal system of mainland China, there by undermining the region’s autonomy and Hong Kong people’s civil liberties. Since the protest movement began , there have been two deaths: a student protester, Chow Tsz-lok, who fell to his death inside a car park, and an elderly man who died after being struck in the head by a brick thrown by a protester.

Game of Thrones

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Arguably the greatest TV show ever made started and ended in the 2010s. The HBO adaptation of George R.R Martin’s series of books defined an era and was a genuine worldwide phenomenon. Phrases like ‘Winter is coming’ and ‘Dracarys’ were on everyone’s lips and several characters became pop culture icons. Will Game of Thrones ever be matched?

Written by Emeka Nweze

Content writer and contributor.

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