A Look Back at the Biggest News of 2021 – The Wall Street Journal

A timeline told through The Wall Street Journal’s coverage
Jan. 6 – Mob Storms Capitol
A pro-Trump riot forces the evacuation of the House and Senate and delays Congress’s certification of Joe Biden’s election win into the overnight hours.
Rioters at the U.S. Capitol.
Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg News, Cover: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty
Jan. 13 – Trump Is Impeached Over Riot
The House votes to impeach President Trump, alleging that he encouraged the Jan. 6 mob to storm Congress as part of an effort to overturn his election defeat; the Senate will acquit him in February.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi displays the signed article of impeachment.
Alex Brandon/AP
Jan. 21 – Pandemic Push
On his first full day in office, President Biden signs 10 executive orders to combat the coronavirus, seeking to jump-start the U.S. response.
A pharmacist administers a vaccine at the Sequoia Living facility in Portola Valley, Calif.
Rachel Bujalski for WSJ
Jan. 27 – Meme-Stock Mania
Share prices soar for GameStop, AMC and BlackBerry —companies once left for dead—in a rally that pits day-trading amateurs against Wall Street shorts.
Keith Gill helped drive the GameStop stock mania.
Kayana Szymczak for WSJ
Feb. 2 – Russia Sentences Navalny
A Russian court sentences opposition leader Alexei Navalny to 3½ years in prison for violating parole while he was recovering from a near-fatal poison attack in 2020.
Alexei Navalny during a hearing in Moscow
Moscow City Court/AP
Feb. 4 – Chip Crunch at Auto Makers
Ford says it plans to reduce production of its F-150 pickup truck—the nation’s top-selling vehicle—because of the global chip shortage.
New Ford F-150 pickup trucks sit in a Detroit lot awaiting chip deliveries so they can be finished and shipped to dealers
Jim West/Zuma Press
Feb. 7 – Brady’s Bunch of Rings
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers win the Super Bowl, giving Tom Brady his seventh title in his first season after leaving New England.
Tom Brady reacts after defeating the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV in Tampa, Fla.
Mike Ehrmann/Getty
Feb. 15 – Deep Freeze and Power Outage in Texas
Millions of Texans are left without electricity as a winter storm boosts demand and crimps supplies, the start of outages that would last for days.
Alex Johnson and his 4-month-old daughter on their way to a relative’s house in Austin, Texas, amid the freeze.
Julia Robinson for WSJ
March 11 – Covid Stimulus
President Biden signs into law a $1.9 trillion Covid-19 stimulus package and urges states to make all adults eligible for vaccination by May 1.
Doug Mills/CNP/Zuma
March 11 – NFTs Arrive
The artist known as Beeple sells a digital collage at Christie’s for $69 million, launching the art world’s craze for nonfungible tokens.
Beeple’s ‘Everydays: The First 5000 Days.’
March 23 – Ship Blocks Suez Canal
The container ship Ever Given gets stuck sideways in the Suez Canal, blocking traffic for nearly a week.
The Ever Given is lodged sideways in the Suez Canal.
March 24 – Border Crossings Jump
Men looking for work drive a surge in illegal crossings at the southern U.S. border.
Migrants from Central America walk along the bank of the Rio Grande after crossing into the U.S. from Mexico.
Adrees Latif/Reuters
April 14 – Biden Sets Afghanistan Withdrawal
President Biden says he’ll withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, winding down the war there two decades after it began.
U.S. Marines in Helmand Province in Afghanistan in 2009.
Manpreet Romana/AFP/Getty
April 20 – Murder Conviction in George Floyd Case
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is found guilty of murder in the May 2020 death of George Floyd, which sparked racial-justice protests around the world.
People gather in front of Cup Foods in Minneapolis to mark the verdict at the site of George Floyd’s death.
Samuel Corum/CNP/Zuma
May 7 – Cyberattack Cuts Off Key Gasoline Supply
The main pipeline carrying gasoline and diesel fuel to the U.S. East Coast is shut down due to a cyberattack, an outage that will last nearly a week.
Colonial Pipeline Facility in Pelham, Alabama
Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg News
May 13 – CDC Eases Safety Guidance for Vaccinated People
Fully vaccinated people don’t need to wear a mask or physically distance during most outdoor or indoor activities, the CDC says.
Fully vaccinated customers gather at the bar inside Risky Business in North Hollywood, Calif., as restrictions ease.
Patrick T. Fallon/AFP/Getty
May 19 – Texas Abortion Law
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signs a bill banning most abortions after six to eight weeks of pregnancy.
LM Otero/AP
June 2 – Netanyahu Out in Israel
Benjamin Netanyahu’s rivals agree to form a coalition government that will dislodge Israel’s longest-serving leader.
Outgoing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Knesset in Jerusalem
Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times/Getty
June 24 – Florida Condo Collapse
A 12-story section of the Champlain Towers South condominium complex in Surfside, Fla., collapses, leaving 98 people dead.
Search and rescue personnel work in the rubble of the Champlain Towers South condo.
Joe Raedle/Getty
July 1 – Delta Wave Delays Return to Normal
The fast spread of the Covid-19 Delta variant is thwarting many countries’ plans to lift lockdowns and reopen economies.
A volunteer undertaker prepares a body bag for a suspected Covid-19 victim in West Java, Indonesia.
Muhammad Fadli for WSJ
July 8 – The Games Will Go On, Without Spectators
Organizers of the Tokyo Olympics, opening July 23, ban spectators from the Games as Covid-19 cases surge.
Czech gymnast Aneta Holasova performs on the parallel bars to empty stands In Tokyo.
Paul Kuroda/Zuma
July 11 – Branson Takes Flight
Richard Branson reaches the edge of space and safely returns to Earth, beating Amazon founder Jeff Bezos by nine days.
Virgin Galactic/Zuma
July 29 – Federal Vaccine Mandate
President Biden says federal employees must get vaccinated against Covid-19 or wear a mask on the job and be tested regularly.
A healthcare worker in New York prepares to administer Pfizer’s vaccine.
Mary Altaffer/AP
Aug. 10 – Cuomo to Step Down
Andrew Cuomo says he is resigning as New York’s governor, following a report by the state’s attorney general that found he harassed multiple women who worked for him.
Ana Liss, one of Andrew Cuomo’s accusers whom the attorney general’s report found credible.
Libby March for WSJ
Aug. 15 – The Taliban Takes Over
Afghanistan’s government falls as Taliban fighters take over the capital; a U.S.-led military airlift begins to evacuate Western diplomats and others.
Taliban fighters drive through a Kabul neighborhood as they and their comrades sweep through the city.
Victor J. Blue for WSJ
Aug. 29 – Hurricane Hits Louisiana
Hurricane Ida makes landfall near New Orleans on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, with winds of 150 miles an hour and life-threatening storm surges.
Damaged power lines in Reserve, La., after Hurricane Ida.
Matt Slocum/AP
Aug. 30 – America’s Longest War Ends
The last U.S. troops in Afghanistan withdraw, ending nearly 20 years of fighting but leaving more than 100 Americans and tens of thousands of America’s Afghan allies to an uncertain future.
U.S. soldiers board an U.S. Air Force aircraft at the airport in Kabul.
Aamir Qureshi/AFP/Getty
Sept. 14 – The Facebook Files
Facebook knows Instagram is toxic for teenage girls, its research shows, but the company plays down the issue in public.
Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen.
Stephen Voss for WSJ
Sept. 22 – FDA Clears Vaccine Boosters
The FDA approves Covid-19 vaccine booster shots for people 65 and older and other adults at high risk of severe illness.
A patient receives his third dose of the Moderna vaccine in White Plains, N.Y.
Desiree Rios for WSJ
Oct. 11 – Xi Reshaping China’s Economy
Chinese officials are scrutinizing state banks’ ties with big private-sector players as part of President Xi’s push to curb capitalist forces in the economy.
President Xi, left, arrives for an event at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
Roman Pilipey/EPA/Shutterstock
Oct. 28 – Beyond Facebook
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says the company is changing its name to Meta Platforms to reflect opportunities in online digital realms known as the metaverse.
A sign with Meta’s logo outside company headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.
Liu Guanguan/CNS/Getty
Nov. 8 – Grand Reopening
U.S. borders reopen to citizens of 33 countries who were barred by Covid-19 restrictions for more than 18 months.
Paul Campbell greets his fiancée, Patricia Bittag, as she arrives in Boston. The pair was apart for nearly two years.
Brian Snyder/Reuters
Nov. 13 – Climate-Change Agreement
More than 190 nations reach a deal at the United Nations climate summit that aims to accelerate greenhouse-gas-emissions cuts across the world, but leaves big questions over how governments will follow through.
Greta Thunberg, Swedish environmentalist, speaks during a demonstration at the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland.
Jonne Roriz/Bloomberg News
Nov. 15 – Infrastructure Week
President Biden signs into law a roughly $1 trillion infrastructure package with spending on roads, bridges, rail and more.
President Biden signs the infrastructure bill on the South Lawn of the White House.
Evan Vucci/AP
Nov. 19 – Covid-19 Boosters for Adults
The FDA clears Covid-19 vaccine boosters from Pfizer -BioNTech and Moderna for all adults.
A pharmacist administers a booster shot at a vaccination clinic in San Rafael, Calif.
Justin Sullivan/Getty
Dec. 10 – Tornado Outbreak
Tornadoes rip through Kentucky and five other states, killing scores of people and leveling entire towns.
A home in Mayfield, Ky., after the town was badly damaged by a tornado.
Brandon Bell/Getty


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