Call it what you will, "the noughties", "the two-thousands" or something else, the first decade of the 21st century (2000-2009) is now over. Looking back on the past ten years through news photographs, it becomes clear that it was a dramatic, often brutal decade. Natural disasters, terrorist attacks and wars were by far the most dominant theme.
Ten years ago, Bill Clinton was ending his final term in office, very few had ever heard of Osama bin Laden, the Taliban ruled Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein still ruled Iraq - all that and much more has changed in the intervening time.
In the 22 April 2000 file photo, six-year-old Elian Gonzalez screams while holding on to Donato Dalrymple, the man who saved him at sea in November of 1999, while federal agents rush to take custody of the boy in his Miami relative's home in the Little Havana district of Miami, FL, 22 April, 2000 in an early morning raid on the house. The US Supreme Court ruled 28 June 2000 that it had rejected an asylum hearing for the boy, clearing the way for his return home to Cuba later 28 June.
Broward County canvassing board member Judge Robert Rosenberg looks over a questionable ballot, 25 November 2000, at the Broward County Courthouse in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The Broward County canvassing board continues a manual recount of votes to make the 26 November deadline as mandated by the Florida State Supreme Court to accept hand-counted ballots for certification.
A hijacked commercial plane approaches the World Trade Center shortly before crashing into the landmark skyscraper 11 September 2001 in New York.
Smoke covers the presidential palace compound in Baghdad 21 March 2003 during a massive US-led air raid on the Iraqi capital. Smoke billowed from a number of targeted sites, including one of President Saddam Hussein's palaces, an AFP correspondent said.
An Iraqi man, bottom right, looks at Cpl. Edward Chin, of the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines Regiment, cover the face of a statue of Saddam Hussein with an American flag before toppling the statue in downtown in Bagdhad, April 9, 2003. Moments later the American flag was removed.
US President George W. Bush meets pilots and crew members of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln as they return to the US after being deployed in the Gulf region 01 May 2003. President Bush landed on the aircraft carrier which is scheduled to dock in San Diego 02 May. Bush in a speech to be delivered from the ship is expected to tout Saddam Hussein's ouster as "a crucial advance" in the war on terrorism but warned "difficult work" lies ahead in that campaign and in Iraq.
An unidentified detainee stands on a box with a bag on his head and wires attached to him in late 2003 at the Abu Gharib prison in Baghdad, Iraq.
A Russian police officer carries a released baby from the school seized by heavily armed masked men and women in the town of Beslan in the province of North Ossetia near Chechnya, September 2, 2004. An armed gang, holding hundreds of people hostage in a Russian school, on Thursday freed four infants and at least two women. By the end of the crisis, over 385 people were killed including 31 hostage takers and 186 children.
Members of the military honor guard stand on duty by the casket of former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, June 10, 2004 in Washington, DC.
An Indian woman mourns the death of her relative who was killed in a tsunami on Sunday in Cuddalore, some 180 kilometres (112 miles) south of the southern Indian city of Madras December 28, 2004.
The body of a victim of Hurricane Katrina floats in flood waters in New Orleans 01 September, 2005. Katrina was the costliest hurricane on record, and took the lives of over 1,800 people.
YouTube co-founders Chad Hurley, 29, left, and Steven Chen, 27, pose with their laptops at their office loft in San Mateo, Calif., in this March 29, 2006, file photo.
A photo taken 09 July 2006 shows French midfielder Zinedine Zidane (left) gesturing after head-butting Italian defender Marco Materazzi during the World Cup 2006 final football match between Italy and France at Berlin's Olympic Stadium.
A Kenyan boy screams as he sees kenyan policeman with a baton approach the door of his home in the Kibera slum of Nairobi 17 January 2008. Hundreds of police who had earlier clashed with supporters of Kenya's opposition leader Raila Odinga at the entrance of the slum moved into the shantytown and did a house to house search for protesters.
An indigenous woman holds her child while trying to resist the advance of Amazonas state policemen who were expelling the woman and some 200 other members of the Landless Movement from a privately-owned tract of land on the outskirts of Manaus, in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon March 11, 2008.
Swiss pilot Yves Rossy, the world’s first man to fly with a jet-powered fixed-wing apparatus strapped to his back, flies during his first official demonstration, on May 14, 2008 above Bex, Switzerland.
A woman cries as she cannot find her four-year-old daughter and husband on top of the ruins of a destroyed school in earthquake-hit Beichuan county, Sichuan province, May 17, 2008. Nearly 70,000 Chinese lost their lives in the earthquake and resulting landslides and floods.
Kenyan athletes train at Eldoret’s Chepkoilel stadium on May 30, 2008 in preparation for the upcoming Beijing Olympic Games 2008. Recently the Kenyan athletics federation announced the setting up of two training camps in Eldoret and Nairobi to cater for a selected team of 120 athletes ahead of the Beijing Olympic trials on July 4-5.
Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Barack Obama D-Ill., center, is covered in hands as supporters after his primary election night speech in St Paul, Minn., June 3, 2008.
Kartoula, 14, a refugee from Sudan’s western Darfur region, enters a distribution centre to receive monthly food rations at Djabal camp near Gos Beida in eastern Chad, June 5, 2008.
Jamaica's Usain Bolt crosses the finish line to win the gold in the men's 200-meter final during the athletics competitions in the National Stadium at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in Beijing, in this Aug. 20, 2008 photo.
Fish remain stuck in a fence as flood waters caused by Hurricane Ike recede, in West Orange, Texas, Sept. 15, 2008.
Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. Chief Executive Richard S. Fuld Jr., wearing tie, is heckled by protesters as he leaves Capitol Hill in Washington after testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Oct. 6, 2008, on the collapse of Lehman Brothers.
Pigeons fly as the Taj Hotel continues to burn in Mumbai, India, Nov. 27, 2008. Teams of heavily armed gunmen stormed luxury hotels, a popular restaurant, hospitals and a crowded train station in coordinated attacks across India's financial capital, killing at least 82 people and taking Westerners hostage, police said. A previously unknown group, apparently Muslim militants, took responsibility for the attacks.
Seven-month-old Alexa Zuniga wears a surgical mask at the airport in Tijuana, Mexico, April 28, 2009. In Mexico, more than 150 deaths were believed to have been caused by swine flu.
SOURCE: Pixcetera | Boston.com's "The Big Picture" series
There are full galleries of dozens of amazing pics at each source site. Please note, though, that Boston.com's site actually "shields" graphic images with the option of viewers to click them (like I tried to do with this post), whereas Pixcetera shows all graphic pics uncensored.