2011 facts for kids
|Centuries:||20th century – 21st century – 22nd century|
|Decades:||1970s 1980s 1990s – 2000s – 2010s 2020s 2030s|
|Years:||2005 2006 2007 – 2008 – 2009 2010 2011|
2008 (MMVIII) was a leap year starting on Tuesday of the Christian or Common Era, in the Gregorian calendar. It was the 2008th year of the Common Era, or of Anno Domini; the 8th year of the 3rd millennium and of the 21st century; and the 9th of the 2000s.
- January 1 – Cyprus and Malta adopt the euro.
- January 2 – The price of petroleum hits $100 per barrel for the first time.
- January 3 – A car bomb detonates, killing at least 4 and injuring 68, in Diyarbakır, Turkey. Police blame Kurdish rebels.
- January 8 – An attempted assassination of Maldivian president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom is thwarted after a Boy Scout grabs the attacker's knife. The Boy Scout is injured, but after a scuffle police arrest the attacker.
- January 12 – A Macedonian Army Mil Mi-17 helicopter crashes in thick fog southeast of Skopje, killing all 11 military personnel on board.
- January 14 – At 19:04:39 UTC, the MESSENGER space probe is at its closest approach during its first flyby of the planet Mercury.
- January 15 – The Federal Court of Australia orders a Japanese whaling company to stop research whaling within their Exclusive Economic Zone.
- January 21 – Stock markets around the world plunge amid growing fears of a U.S. recession, fueled by the 2007 subprime mortgage crisis.
- January 22 – Russia stages the largest naval exercise since the fall of the Soviet Union in the Bay of Biscay. The Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, along with 11 support vessels and 47 long-range bomber aircraft, practises strike tactics off the coast of France and Spain, and test-launches nuclear-capable missiles in foreign waters.
- January 23 – Polish Air Force EADS CASA C-295 crashes on approach to the 12th Air Base near Mirosławiec. All 20 personnel on board die.
- January 23 – Thousands of Palestinians cross into Egypt, as the border wall with Gaza in Rafah is blown up by militants.
- January 24 – A peace deal ends the Kivu war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
- January 25 – China's worst snowstorm since 1954 kills 133, delays traffic, and causes massive power outages in central and southern parts of the country.
- January 29 – Iran's judiciary sentences to prison 54 Bahá'í Faith followers for 'anti-regime propaganda'.
- February 2 – Rebels attack the capital of Chad, N'Djamena.
- February 4 – Iran opens its first space center and launches a rocket into space.
- February 5 – U.S. stock market indices plunge more than 3% after a report shows signs of economic recession in the service sector. The S&P 500 fall 3.2%, The Dow Jones Industrial Average 370 points.
- February 5–6 – A tornado outbreak, the deadliest in 23 years, kills 58 in the Southern United States.
- February 7 – STS-122: Space Shuttle Atlantis launches to deliver the European-built Columbus science laboratory to the International Space Station.
- February 10 – The 2008 Namdaemun fire severely damages Namdaemun, the first National Treasure of South Korea.
- February 11 – President of East Timor José Ramos-Horta is seriously wounded in an attack on his home by rebel soldiers. Rebel leader Alfredo Reinado is killed by Ramos-Horta's security guards during the attack.
- February 12 – PDVSA, a state oil company in Venezuela, suspends sales of crude oil to ExxonMobil, in response to a legal challenge by them.
- February 12 – Bridgestone, under investigation for an alleged price-fixing cartel, uncovers improper payments of at least 150 million Japanese yen to foreign governments and withdraws from the marine hose business.
- February 13 – Prime Minister Kevin Rudd of Australia delivers a formal apology to the Stolen Generations.
- February 17 – Kosovo formally declares independence from Serbia, with support from some countries but opposition from others.
- February 18 – The British government introduces emergency legislation temporarily to nationalize Northern Rock, the 5th largest mortgage bank in the UK, due to the bank's financial crisis.
- February 18 – A general election is held in Pakistan, delayed from January 8 due to riots in the wake of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. Opposition parties, including Bhutto's, take more than half of the seats, while President Pervez Musharraf's party suffers a huge defeat.
- February 19 – Fidel Castro announces his resignation as President of Cuba, effective February 24.
- February 20 – The United States Navy destroys a spy satellite containing toxic fuel, by shooting it down with a missile launched from the USS Lake Erie in the Pacific Ocean.
- February 20 – A total lunar eclipse crosses North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Southwest Asia.
- February 22 – Former building society Northern Rock is the first bank in Europe to be taken into state control, due to the U.S. subprime mortgage financial crisis.
- February 22 – No survivors are found after a rescue helicopter discovers the wreckage of Santa Bárbara Airlines Flight 518 just northeast of Mérida, Venezuela. The commercial plane had 46 people on board, including crew.
- February 24 – Raúl Castro is unanimously elected as President of Cuba by the National Assembly.
- March–April – Rising food and fuel prices trigger riots and unrest in the Third World.
- March 1 – In Gaza Strip, at least 52 Palestinians and 2 Israeli soldiers are killed in the most intense Israeli air strikes since 2005.
- March 2 – 2008 Andean diplomatic crisis: Venezuela and Ecuador move troops to the Colombian border, following a Colombian raid against FARC guerrillas inside Ecuador's national territory, in which senior commander Raúl Reyes is killed.
- March 6 – Eight Israeli civilians are killed and 9 wounded when a Palestinian attacker opens fire at a Jewish seminary in Jerusalem.
- March 9 – The first European Space Agency Automated Transfer Vehicle, a cargo spacecraft for the International Space Station, launches from Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana.
- March 14 – Demonstrations by Tibetan separatists turn violent as rioters target government and Han Chinese-owned buildings.
- March 15 – A gun factory explosion in Gërdec, Albania kills more than 30. Over the following week, Albania, Kosovo, and some surrounding countries supply and support Gërdec's population with food, blood, etc.
- March 19 – An exploding star halfway across the visible universe becomes the farthest known object ever visible to the naked eye.
- March 24 – Bhutan holds its first-ever general elections.
- March 25 – A 414 square kilometer (160 sq. mi.2) chunk of Antarctica's Wilkins Ice Shelf disintegrates, leaving the entire shelf at risk.
- March 25 – African Union and Comoros forces invade the rebel-held island of Anjouan.
- March 29 – Presidential and parliamentary elections are held in Zimbabwe.
- April 8 – Privy Council of Sark dismantles its feudal system to comply with the European Convention on Human Rights. and the first elections under the new law will be held in December 2008 and the new chamber will first convene in January 2009.
- April 15 – A Hewa Bora Airways DC-9 crashes into a residential area of Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
- April 17 – Raila Odinga becomes the new Prime Minister of Kenya after the formation of a coalition government, ending the political crisis in Kenya.
- April 22 – Surgeons at London's Moorfields Eye Hospital perform the first operations using bionic eyes, implanting them into 2 blind patients.
- April 27 – The Taliban attempts to assassinate Afghan President Hamid Karzai in a military parade in Kabul.
- April 28 – India sets a world record by sending 10 satellites into orbit in a single launch.
- April 28 – 71 die in a train crash in Shandong, China.
- May 3 – Over 133,000 in Burma/Myanmar are killed by Cyclone Nargis, the deadliest natural disaster since the Boxing Day Tsunami in 2004.
- May 7 – Dmitry Medvedev takes office as President of Russia, replacing Vladimir Putin.
- May 8 – Start of armed clashes and fighting in Lebanon.
- May 11 – Burma/Myanmar holds a constitutional referendum.
- May 12 – Over 69,000 are killed in central south-west China by the Wenchuan quake, an earthquake measuring 7.9 Moment magnitude scale. The epicenter is 90 kilometers (55 miles) west-northwest of the provincial capital Chengdu, Sichuan province.
- May 13 – A series of bomb blasts kills at least 63 and injures 216 in Jaipur, India.
- May 14 – NASA announces the discovery of Supernova remnant G1.9+0.3.
- May 15 – An oil pipeline explosion in Ijegun, Nigeria kills 100.
- May 23 – The Union of South American Nations, a supranational union, is created by a union between the Andean Community and Mercosur.
- May 23 – The International Court of Justice awards Middle Rocks to Malaysia and Pedra Branca to Singapore, ending a 29-year territorial dispute between the 2 countries.
- May 25 – NASA's Phoenix spacecraft becomes the first to land on the northern polar region of Mars.
- May 28 – The Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal is established after the Assembly votes overwhelmingly in favor of abolishing the country's 240-year-old monarchy. Girija Prasad Koirala becomes temporary head of state.
- May 30 – The Convention on Cluster Munitions is adopted in Dublin.
- June 2 – A car bomb explodes outside the Danish embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, killing at least five.
- June 10 – Fire engulfs Sudan Airways Flight 109 after it lands in Khartoum, killing 44.
- June 11 – The Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope is launched.
- June 11 – Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologizes to Canada's First Nations for the Canadian residential school system.
- June 12 – Ireland votes to reject the Treaty of Lisbon, in the only referendum to be held by a European Union member state on the treaty.
- June 14 – A 6.9 magnitude earthquake in Iwate Prefecture, Japan, kills 12 and injures more than 400.
- June 14 – September 14 – Expo 2008 is held in Zaragoza, Spain, with the topic of "Water and sustainable development".
- June 22 – Typhoon Fengshen hits the Philippines and capsizes the ferry MV Princess of the Stars, leaving hundreds dead or missing.
- June 27 – President Robert Mugabe is reelected with 85.5% of the vote in the second round of the controversial Zimbabwean presidential election.
- June 27 – After three decades as the Chairman of Microsoft Corporation, Bill Gates steps down from daily duties to concentrate on philanthropy.
- July 2 – Íngrid Betancourt and 14 other hostages are rescued from FARC by Colombian security forces.
- July 7–9 – The 34th G8 summit is held in Tōyako, Hokkaidō, Japan.
- July 10 – Former Macedonian Interior Minister Ljube Boškoski is acquitted of all charges, by a UN Tribunal accusing him of war crimes.
- July 15–20 – World Youth Day takes place in Sydney, Australia. Pope Benedict XVI appears at the event.
- July 21 – Radovan Karadžić, the first president of the Republika Srpska, is arrested in Belgrade, Serbia on allegations of war crimes, following a 12-year long manhunt.
- July 22 – The United Progressive Alliance-led government in India survives a crucial no-confidence vote, based on disagreements between the Indian National Congress and Left Front, over the Indo-US nuclear deal.
- July 23 – Ram Baran Yadav is sworn in as the first President of Nepal.
- July 25 – A series of seven bomb blasts rock Bangalore, India, killing two and injuring 20; the next day, a series of bomb blasts in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India, kills 45 and injures over 160 people.
- July 27 – At least 17 are killed and over 154 wounded in 2 blasts in Istanbul.
- August 1 – A total eclipse of the Sun is visible from Canada and extends across northern Greenland, the Arctic, central Russia, Mongolia, and China.
- August 1 – George Tupou V is crowned as the new King of Tonga, an event that had been delayed for over two years following the 2006 Nuku'alofa riots.
- August 3 – A stampede at a Hindu temple at Naina Devi in Bilaspur, Himachal Pradesh, India kills 162 and injures 400.
- August 4 – Two members of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, which had threatened to attack the Beijing Olympics, kill 16 and injure another 16 officers at a police station in Kashgar, Xinjiang, China.
- August 6 – President Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi of Mauritania is deposed in a military coup d'état.
- August 7 – The 2008 South Ossetia war begins, as Georgia and Russia launch a major offensive inside the separatist region of South Ossetia after days of border skirmishes between the two sides.
- August 8–24 – The 2008 Summer Olympics take place in Beijing, China.
- August 15 – Pushpa Kamal Dahal (known as Prachanda) is sworn in as the first Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, after the Nepalese monarchy was abolished in May.
- August 17 – Michael Phelps surpasses Mark Spitz in Gold Medals won at a single Olympics, winning eight.
- August 18 – Pervez Musharraf resigns as President of Pakistan, under impeachment pressure from the coalition government.
- August 19 – Taliban insurgents kill 10 and injure 21 French soldiers in an ambush in Afghanistan.
- August 20 – Spanair Flight 5022, from Madrid to Gran Canaria, skids off the runway and crashes at Barajas Airport with 172 on board. Of them, 154 die and 18 survive.
- August 22 – Pirates hijack German, Iranian, and Japanese cargo ships off the coast of Somalia, in seven such attacks since June 20.
- August 24 – An aircraft crashes in Guatemala, killing 10, including four Americans on a humanitarian mission.
- August 24 – Iran Aseman Airlines Flight 6895 crashes upon takeoff near Manas International Airport in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, killing 68.
- August 26 – Russia unilaterally recognizes the independence of Georgian breakaway republics Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
- August 26 – September 1 – Hurricane Gustav makes landfall on Louisiana as Category 2 and kills seven in the United States, after making landfall on western Cuba as Category 4, and killing 66 in Haiti, eight in the Dominican Republic, and 11 in Jamaica.
- August 28 – September 7 – Hurricane Hanna kills seven in the United States, and 529 in Haiti, mostly due to floods and mudslides.
- September 1–14 – Hurricane Ike makes landfall on Texas as Category 2 and kills 27 in the United States, after killing four in Cuba, one in the Dominican Republic, and 75 in Haiti.
- September 2 – Prime Minister of Japan Yasuo Fukuda resigns, less than a year after taking office following Shinzo Abe's resignation.
- September 2 – Political crisis in Thailand: Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej of Thailand declares a state of emergency in Bangkok.
- September 3 – Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani of Pakistan survives an assassination attempt near Islamabad, while on his way to meet British Leader of the Opposition David Cameron.
- September 3 – President's Dimitris Christofias and Mehmet Ali Talat hold peace talks in Nicosia, aimed at reunifying Cyprus.
- September 6 – Asif Ali Zardari is elected President of Pakistan by the Electoral College of Pakistan.
- September 6 – At least eight boulders dislodge from a cliff near Cairo, Egypt, killing at least 90 and burying an estimated 500 people.
- September 9 – Political crisis in Thailand: The Constitutional Court of Thailand orders Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej to resign, after he is paid for appearing on a television cooking show.
- September 10 – The proton beam is circulated for the first time in the Large Hadron Collider, the world's largest and highest-energy particle accelerator, located at CERN, near Geneva, under the Franco-Swiss border.
- September 12 – A Metrolink train collides head-on into a freight train in Los Angeles, California, killing 25 and injuring 130.
- September 14 – Aeroflot Flight 821 crashes near the city of Perm, Russia, killing all 88 on board.
- September 15 – Following negotiations, President Robert Mugabe and opposition leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara sign a power-sharing deal, making Tsvangirai the new Prime Minister of Zimbabwe.
- September 15 – Lehman Brothers files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
- September 17 – The International Astronomical Union classifies Haumea as the 5th dwarf planet in the Solar System.
- September 19–25 – Typhoon Hagupit kills 17 in China, eight in the Philippines, one in Taiwan, and 41 in Vietnam.
- September 21 – President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa resigns after accepting a call by the African National Congress.
- September 24 – The Diet of Japan elects Taro Aso as the new Prime Minister of Japan.
- September 25 – Kgalema Motlanthe is elected by the National Assembly of South Africa as the President of South Africa, succeeding Thabo Mbeki.
- September 25 – Shenzhou 7, the third manned Chinese spaceflight and the first with three crew members, is successfully launched. China becomes the third country ever to conduct a spacewalk.
- September 28 – SpaceX Falcon 1 becomes the world's first privately developed space launch vehicle to successfully make orbit.
- September 30 – A Jodhpur temple stampede in western India kills over 224 people, and injures 400.
- October 3 – Global financial crisis: U.S. President George W. Bush signs the revised Emergency Economic Stabilization Act into law, creating a 700 billion dollar Treasury fund to purchase failing bank assets.
- October 6 – NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft makes its second of three flybys of Mercury, decreasing the velocity for orbital insertion on March 18, 2011.
- October 6 – An earthquake measuring 6.6 magnitude kills at least 65 in Kyrgyzstan.
- October 7 – Global financial crisis: Russia agrees to provide Iceland with a four-billion-euro loan.
- October 7 – The meteoroid 2008 TC3 impacts Earth, becoming the first such object to be discovered prior to impact.
- October 9 – Global financial crisis: Following a major banking and financial crisis in Iceland, the Icelandic Financial Supervisory Authority takes control of the three largest banks in the country: Kaupthing Bank, Landsbanki, and Glitnir.
- October 17 – The United Nations General Assembly elects Turkey, Austria, Japan, Uganda, and Mexico to two-year terms on the Security Council.
- October 21 – The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is officially inaugurated. It is a collaboration of over 10,000 scientists and engineers from over 100 countries as well as hundreds of universities and laboratories.
- October 22 – The Indian Space Research Organisation successfully launches theChandrayaan-1 spacecraft on a lunar exploration mission.
- October 29 – Global financial crisis: Hungary's currency and stock markets rise on the news that it will receive an international economic bailout package worth $25 billion from the IMF, European Union, and World Bank.
- October 29 – Delta Air Lines merges with Northwest Airlines, forming the world's largest commercial carrier.
- November 4 – United States presidential election, 2008: Barack Obama is elected the 44th President of the United States and Joe Biden is elected the 47th Vice President. Barack Obama becomes the first African-American President-elect.
- November 6 – King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck of Bhutan is crowned, having ascended to the throne in 2006.
- November 7 – The 2008 Pétionville school collapse kills at least 92 in Pétionville, Haiti.
- November 8 – An accident aboard Russian submarine K-152 Nerpa kills 20.
- November 11 – The RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 departs on her last voyage from Southampton, UK to Dubai, UAE. She will become a floating hotel at Palm Jumeirah.
- November 14 – STS-126: The Space Shuttle Endeavour uses the MPLM Leonardo to deliver experiment and storage racks to the International Space Station. There will be only three more launches of Space Shuttle Endeavour after this mission.
- November 19 – Claudia Castillo of Spain becomes the first person to have a successful trachea transplant using a tissue-engineered organ.
- November 20 – The 2008 Prairie meteoroid falls over Canada.
- November 22 – 23 – The APEC Peru 2008 Summit is held in Lima.
- November 24 – The 2008 Santa Catarina floods in Santa Catarina, Brazil kill 126 and force the evacuation of over 78,000 people.
- November 25 – Greenland holds a referendum for increased autonomy from Denmark. The vote is over 75% in favour.
- November 25 – Political crisis in Thailand: Protesters from the People's Alliance for Democracy party storm into Suvarnabhumi Airport and block flights from taking off. More protesters seize control of Don Mueang Airport the following day.
- November 25 – A car bomb in St. Petersburg, Russia, kills three people and injures one.
- November 26 – November 29 – A series of terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India by Pakistan-based Islamic militants kills 195, and injures at least 250.
- November 27 – The longest serving Ocean Liner in history, QE2 is retired from service.
- November 29 – Riots in Jos, Nigeria kill 381, and injure at least 300.
- December 1 – A triangular conjunction formed by a new Moon, Venus and Jupiter is a prominent object in the evening sky.
- December 2 – Political crisis in Thailand: After weeks of opposition-led protests, the Constitutional Court of Thailand dissolves the governing People's Power Party and two coalition member parties, and bans leaders of the parties, including Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat, from politics for five years. As such, Wongsawat promptly resigns and is replaced by Deputy Prime Minister Chaovarat Chanweerakul as caretaker Prime Minister.
- December 3 – The Convention on Cluster Munitions opens for signature in Oslo.
- December 4 – Political crisis in Canada: Governor General Michaëlle Jean grants the request of Prime Minister Stephen Harper to prorogue Parliament until January 26, 2009, averting a motion of no-confidence by the new opposition coalition led by the Leader of the Opposition Stéphane Dion, and the New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton, with Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe as a coalition partner.
- December 5 – Human remains found in 1991 are identified as Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, using DNA analysis.
- December 6 – Riots spread across Greece after a 15-year-old boy is shot dead by a special guard of the Greek Police.
- December 10 – The Channel Island of Sark, a British crown dependency, holds its first fully democratic elections under a new constitutional arrangement, becoming the last European territory to abolish feudalism.
- December 12 – Switzerland becomes the 25th European country to join the Schengen Agreement, whereby cross-border passport checks will be abolished.
- December 12 – The Moon moves into its nearest point to Earth, called perigee, at the same time as its fullest phase of the Lunar Cycle. The Moon appears to be 14% bigger and 30% brighter than the year's other full moons. The next time these two events coincide will be in 2016.
- December 16 – Ruins of an ancient Wari city are discovered in northern Peru.
- December 18 – The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda convicts Théoneste Bagosora and two other senior Rwandan army officers of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes and sentences them to life imprisonment.
- December 21 – Gwadar port, Pakistan becomes fully operational.
- December 23 – A military coup d'état is announced in Guinea shortly after the death of long-time President Lansana Conté.
- December 27 – Israel initiates a series of airstrikes followed by an invasion in Gaza Strip, killing at least 1300 (including at least 416 children) and wounding over 2,700.
- December 29 – Bangladesh holds its general elections after two years of political unrest over the interim government.
- December 31 – An extra leap second (23:59:60) is added to end the year. The last time this occurred was in 2005.
- January 3 – Yo-Sam Choi, Korean boxer (b. 1972)
- January 10 – Maila Nurmi, Finnish-American actress and television personality (b. 1921)
- January 11 – Edmund Hillary, New Zealand mountaineer, explorer, and philanthropist (b. 1919)
- January 15 – Brad Renfro, American actor (b. 1982)
- January 16 – Nikola Kljusev, Macedonian Prime Minister (b. 1927)
- January 17 – Bobby Fischer, American-Icelandic chess grandmaster (b. 1943)
- January 19 – Suzanne Pleshette, American actress (b. 1937)
- January 22 – Heath Ledger, Australian actor (b. 1979)
- January 22 – Claude Piron, Swiss linguist and psychologist (b. 1931)
- January 26 – George Habash, Palestinian politician (b. 1926)
- January 27 – Gordon B. Hinckley, American Mormon leader (b. 1910)
- January 27 – Suharto, President of Indonesia (b. 1921)
- January 28 – Christodoulos, Archbishop of Athens (b. 1939)
- February 2 – Joshua Lederberg, American molecular biologist and Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1925)
- February 5 – Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Indian spiritual leader (b. 1917)
- February 7 – Andrew Bertie, British Grand Master of the Order of Malta (b. 1929)
- February 9 – Baba Amte, Indian social activist (b. 1914)
- February 10 – Roy Scheider, American actor (b. 1932)
- February 11 – Alfredo Reinado, East Timorese rebel (b. 1967)
- February 11 – Tom Lantos, American politician (b. 1928)
- February 12 – Imad Mughniyah, Lebanese militant (b. 1962)
- February 12 – Badri Patarkatsishvili, Georgian businessman and politician (b. 1955)
- February 13 – Kon Ichikawa, Japanese movie director (b. 1915)
- February 13 – Henri Salvador, French singer (b. 1917)
- February 18 – Alain Robbe-Grillet, French writer and movie maker (b. 1922)
- February 19 – Natalia Bessmertnova, Russian ballerina (b. 1941)
- February 19 – Yegor Letov, Russian singer (b. 1964)
- February 23 – Janez Drnovšek, Slovenian President and Prime Minister of (b. 1950)
- February 23 – Paul Frère, Belgian racing driver (b. 1917)
- February 27 – William F. Buckley, Jr., American writer and conservative commentator (b. 1925)
- February 27 – Ivan Rebroff, German singer (b. 1931)
- March 1 – Raúl Reyes, Colombian guerrilla (b. 1948)
- March 2 – Jeff Healey, Canadian musician (b. 1966)
- March 3 – Giuseppe Di Stefano, Italian operatic tenor (b. 1921)
- March 3 – Norman Smith, English singer and record producer (b. 1923)
- March 4 – Gary Gygax, American writer and game designer (b. 1938)
- March 6 – Peter Poreku Dery, Ghanaian cardinal (b. 1918)
- March 5 – Joseph Weizenbaum, German-American writer and computer scientist (b. 1923)
- March 14 – Chiara Lubich, Italian Catholic activist (b. 1920)
- March 18 – Anthony Minghella, English movie director and screenwriter (b. 1954)
- March 19 – Arthur C. Clarke, English writer, inventor, and futurist (b. 1917)
- March 19 – Hugo Claus, Flemish writer, painter and movie director (b. 1929)
- March 19 – Paul Scofield, English actor (b. 1922)
- March 22 – Adolfo Suárez Rivera, Mexican cardinal (b. 1927)
- March 24 – Neil Aspinall, British record producer and business executive (b. 1942)
- March 24 – Richard Widmark, American actor (b. 1914)
- March 26 – Manuel Marulanda, Colombian guerrilla (b. 1930)
- March 27 – Jean-Marie Balestre, French sports executive (b. 1921)
- March 30 – Dith Pran, Cambodian-American photojournalist (b. 1942)
- March 31 – Jules Dassin, American movie director (b. 1911)
- April 3 – Hrvoje Ćustić, Croatian footballer (b. 1983)
- April 5 – Charlton Heston, American actor (b. 1923)
- April 10 – Ernesto Corripio y Ahumada, Mexican cardinal (b. 1919)
- April 12 – Patrick Hillery, 6th President of Ireland (b. 1923)
- April 13 – John Archibald Wheeler, American theoretical physicist (b. 1911)
- April 14 – Ollie Johnston, American animator (b. 1912)
- April 15 – Benoît Lamy, Belgian movie writer-director (b. 1945)
- April 16 – Edward Norton Lorenz, American mathematician and meteorologist (b. 1917)
- April 17 – Aimé Césaire, French Martinican poet and politician (b. 1913)
- April 29 – Albert Hofmann, Swiss chemist and writer, discoverer of LSD (b. 1906)
- May 1 – Anthony Mamo, 1st President of Malta (b. 1909)
- May 2 – Philipp von Boeselager, German military officer (b. 1917)
- May 3 – Leopoldo Calvo Sotelo, Spanish Prime Minister of (b. 1926)
- May 8 – François Sterchele, Belgian footballer (b. 1982)
- May 10 – Leyla Gencer, Turkish soprano (b. 1928)
- May 12 – Robert Rauschenberg, American pop artist (b. 1925)
- May 12 – Irena Sendler, Polish humanitarian (b. 1910)
- May 13 – Saad Al-Abdullah Al-Salim Al-Sabah, Emir of Kuwait (b. 1930)
- May 13 – Bernardin Gantin, Beninese cardinal (b. 1922)
- May 15 – Willis Lamb, American physicist and Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1913)
- May 23 – Cornell Capa, Hungarian-American photographer (b. 1918)
- May 24 – Rob Knox, British actor (b. 1989)
- May 26 – Sydney Pollack, American actor, director, and producer (b. 1934)
- May 28 – Sven Davidson, Swedish tennis player (b. 1928)
- May 29 – Luc Bourdon, Canadian Hockey player (b. 1987)
- June 1 – Yves Saint Laurent, French fashion designer (b. 1936)
- June 1 – Tommy Lapid, Israeli television presenter, journalist, and politician (b. 1931)
- June 2 – Bo Diddley, American musician (b. 1928)
- June 3 – Mel Ferrer, American actor, director, and producer (b. 1917)
- June 4 – Agata Mróz-Olszewska, Polish volleyball player (b. 1982)
- June 7 – Dino Risi, Italian director (b. 1916)
- June 8 – Šaban Bajramović, Serbian musician (b. 1936)
- June 9 – Algis Budrys, Lithuanian-American science fiction writer (b. 1931)
- June 9 – Karen Asrian, Armenian chess grandmaster (b. 1980)
- June 10 – Chinghiz Aitmatov, Kyrgyzstani writer (b. 1928)
- June 11 – Ove Andersson, Swedish rally driver (b. 1939)
- June 11 – Võ Văn Kiệt, Vietnamese prime minister (b. 1922)
- June 13 – Tim Russert, American journalist (b. 1950)
- June 15 – Stan Winston, American special effects and makeup artist (b. 1946)
- June 17 – Cyd Charisse, American actress and dancer (b. 1922)
- June 18 – Jean Delannoy, French movie director (b. 1908)
- June 22 – George Carlin, American writer, actor, and comedian (b. 1937)
- June 23 – Arthur Chung, President of Guyana (b. 1918)
- June 24 – Leonid Hurwicz, American economist and mathematician, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1917)
- June 27 – Sam Manekshaw, Field Marshall of Indian Army (b.1914)
- June 28 – Ruslana Korshunova, Kazakhstani model (b. 1987)
- June 29 – Don S. Davis, American actor (b. 1942)
- July 4 – Jesse Helms, American politician (b. 1921)
- July 4 – Evelyn Keyes, American actress (b. 1916)
- July 5 – René Harris, President of Nauru (b. 1947)
- July 9 – Seamus Brennan, Irish politician (b. 1948)
- July 11 – Michael E. DeBakey, American surgeon and inventor (b. 1908)
- July 12 – Tony Snow, American political commentator (b. 1955)
- July 13 – Bronisław Geremek, Polish social historian and politician (b. 1932)
- July 15 – György Kolonics, Hungarian canoeist (b. 1972)
- July 22 – Estelle Getty, American actress (b. 1923)
- July 23 – Kurt Furgler, Swiss politician (b. 1924)
- July 25 – Johnny Griffin, American saxophonist (b. 1928)
- July 25 – Randy Pausch, American writer and computer scientist (b. 1960)
- July 27 – Youssef Chahine, Egyptian movie director (b. 1926)
- July 29 – Mate Parlov, Croatian boxer (b. 1948)
- August 1 – Harkishan Singh Surjeet, Indian politician (b. 1916)
- August 3 – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Russian writer, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1918)
- August 9 – Bernie Mac, American actor and comedian (b. 1957)
- August 9 – Mahmoud Darwish, Palestinian poet (b. 1941)
- August 10 – Isaac Hayes, African-American musician (b. 1942)
- August 11 – Fred Sinowatz, Austrian politician (b. 1929)
- August 13 – Henri Cartan, French mathematician (b. 1904)
- August 15 – Jerry Wexler, American music producer (b. 1917)
- August 16 – Ronnie Drew, Irish singer (b. 1934)
- August 16 – Masanobu Fukuoka, Japanese microbiologist (b. 1913)
- August 19 – Levy Mwanawasa, President of Zambia (b. 1948)
- August 20 – Hua Guofeng, Chinese premier (b. 1921)
- August 23 – Thomas Huckle Weller, American virologist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1915)
- August 28 – Phil Hill, American race car driver (b. 1927)
- September 1 – Don LaFontaine, American voice actor (b. 1940)
- September 6 – Antonio Innocenti, Italian cardinal (b. 1915)
- September 6 – Anita Page, American actress (b. 1910)
- September 9 – Nouhak Phoumsavanh, President of Laos (b. 1910)
- September 12 – David Foster Wallace, American writer (b. 1962)
- September 15 – Richard Wright, English musician (b. 1943)
- September 18 – Mauricio Kagel, Argentine composer (b. 1931)
- September 26 – Paul Newman, American actor (b. 1925)
- October 1 – Boris Efimov, Russian political cartoonist (b. 1900)
- October 6 – Paavo Haavikko, Finnish poet (b. 1931)
- October 8 – George Emil Palade, Romanian cell biologist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1912)
- October 10 – Kazuyoshi Miura, Japanese businessman (b. 1947)
- October 10 – Alexey Prokurorov, Russian cross-country skier (b. 1964)
- October 11 – Jörg Haider, Austrian politician (b. 1950)
- October 13 – Guillaume Depardieu, French actor (b. 1971)
- October 13 – Antonio José González Zumárraga, Ecuadorian cardinal (b. 1925)
- October 13 – Alexei Cherepanov, Russian Hockey Player (b. 1989)
- October 20 – Sœur Emmanuelle, Belgian-born French nun (b. 1908)
- October 25 – Muslim Magomayev, Azerbaijani singer (b. 1942)
- October 26 – Tony Hillerman, American writer (b. 1925)
- October 31 – Studs Terkel, American writer and liberal commentator (b. 1912)
- November 1 – Jacques Piccard, Swiss explorer and engineer (b. 1922)
- November 1 – Yma Sumac, Peruvian soprano (b. 1922)
- November 4 – Michael Crichton, American writer and producer (b. 1942)
- November 4 – Juan Camilo Mouriño, Mexican politician (b. 1971)
- November 10 – Kiyoshi Itō, Japanese mathematician (b. 1915)
- November 10 – Miriam Makeba, South African singer (b. 1932)
- November 12 – Mitch Mitchell, English drummer (b. 1946)
- November 13 – Paco Ignacio Taibo I, Mexican writer and journalist (b. 1924)
- November 14 – Tsvetanka Khristova, Bulgarian athlete (b. 1962)
- November 22 – Ibrahim Nasir, Maldivian President (b. 1926)
- November 27 – Vishwanath Pratap Singh, Indian Prime Minister (b. 1931)
- November 29 – Jørn Utzon, Danish architect (b. 1918)
- December 1 – Mikel Laboa, Basque singer and songwriter (b. 1934)
- December 2 – Odetta, American singer (b. 1930)
- December 5 – Alexy II, Russian Orthodox Patriarch (b. 1929)
- December 5 – Nina Foch, Dutch-born American actress (b. 1924)
- December 9 – Yuri Glazkov, Russian cosmonaut (b. 1939)
- December 9 – Dražan Jerković, Croatian football player and manager (b. 1936)
- December 11 – Daniel Carleton Gajdusek, American physician, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1923)
- December 11 – Bettie Page, American pin-up model (b. 1923)
- December 12 – Avery Dulles, American Roman Catholic Cardinal (b. 1918)
- December 12 – Van Johnson, American actor (b. 1916)
- December 12 – Tassos Papadopoulos, 5th President of Cyprus (b. 1934)
- December 13 – Horst Tappert, German actor (b. 1923)
- December 15 - León Febres Cordero, 46th President of Ecuador (b. 1931)
- December 18 – Majel Barrett, American actress (b. 1932)
- December 18 – Mark Felt, American FBI agent, "Deep Throat" from the Watergate scandal (b. 1913)
- December 20 – Olga Lepeshinskaya, Russian ballerina (b. 1916)
- December 20 – Robert Mulligan, American director (b. 1925)
- December 22 – Lansana Conté, President of Guinea (b. 1934)
- December 24 – Harold Pinter, English playwright (b. 1930)
- December 24 – Samuel P. Huntington, American political scientist (b. 1927)
- December 25 – Eartha Kitt, American singer and actress (b. 1927)
- December 29 – Freddie Hubbard, American jazz trumpeter (b. 1938)
- Chemistry – Martin Chalfie, Osamu Shimomura, Roger Y. Tsien
- Economics – Paul Krugman
- Literature – Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio
- Peace – Martti Ahtisaari
- Physics – Makoto Kobayashi, Toshihide Maskawa, Yoichiro Nambu
- Physiology or Medicine – Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, Harald zur Hausen, Luc Montagnier
Major religious holidays
|Ab urbe condita||2764|
|Balinese saka calendar||1932–1933|
|British Regnal year||59 Eliz. 2 – 60 Eliz. 2|
|Chinese calendar||庚寅年 (Metal Tiger)
4707 or 4647
— to —
辛卯年 (Metal Rabbit)
4708 or 4648
|- Vikram Samvat||2067–2068|
|- Shaka Samvat||1932–1933|
|- Kali Yuga||5111–5112|
|Japanese calendar||Heisei 23
|Julian calendar||Gregorian minus 13 days|
|Minguo calendar||ROC 100
|Thai solar calendar||2554|
2137 or 1756 or 984
— to —
2138 or 1757 or 985
|Unix time||1293840000 – 1325375999|
- January 7 – Christmas in Eastern Christianity
- January 10 – Islamic New Year by Lunar calendar
- February 5 – Carnival (Shrove Tuesday)
- February 6 – Ash Wednesday, observance of Lent begins
- February 7 – Chinese New Year
- March 1 – Saint David's Day, celebrated in Wales and the United States.
- March 15 – Saint Patrick's Day, celebrated in Ireland, the United States, and most of the English-speaking world. (Held on March 15 instead of the usual 17th to avoid the second day in Holy Week). This March 17 will be the last one to fall within Holy Week until 2160.
- March 20 – March Equinox, also known as Ostara
- March 20 – Purim
- March 21 – Nowruz (Iranian New Year holiday)
- March 21 – Good Friday
- March 22 – Holi
- March 23 – Easter Sunday, the earliest Easter has fallen since 1913
- April 13 – Vaisakhi
- April 20 – Passover, Palm Sunday in Eastern Christianity
- April 27 – Pascha (or Easter) in Eastern Christianity
- May 1 – Ascension of Jesus in Western Christianity
- May 1 – Beltane, a Cross-quarter day
- May 19 or May 20 – Vesak (the birthday of the Buddha) in Buddhism
- June 5 – Ascension of Jesus in Eastern Christianity
- June 9 – Shavuot
- June 15 – Pentecost in Eastern Christianity
- June 20 – June Solstice, also known as Midsummer or Litha
- June 22 – All Saints' Day in Eastern Christianity
- July 5 – Saints Cyril and Methodius day in Eastern Christianity
- August 1 – Lammas, a Cross-quarter day
- August 15 – Assumption of Mary
- August 16 – Raksha Bandhan
- September 1 – New Liturgical Year in Eastern Christianity
- September 2 – Start of Ramadan
- September 4- Janmastami -Birth of Lord Krishna
- September 22 – September Equinox, also known as Mabon
- September 30 – Rosh Hashanah
- October 1 – Eid ul-Fitr
- October 9 – Yom Kippur
- October 13 – Sukkot
- October 28 – Diwali
- November 1 – Samhain, a Cross-quarter day and Neopagan new year
- December 8 – Immaculate Conception
- December 8 – Eid al-Adha
- December 21 – Hanukkah begins at sundown
- December 21 – December Solstice, also known as Yule
- December 25 – Christmas in Western Christianity
2008 in fiction
- Isaac Asimov's 1955 short story Franchise takes place in 2008, the premise being that the U.S. president will be selected by a computer program looking for the "most representative citizen".
- John Barnes, Mother of Storms (1995) begins with a 2008 UN resolution barring any nation from acquiring nuclear weapons after June 1, 2008, subject to penalty of preemptive strike.
- Gregory Benford's books The Jupiter War and The Threads of Time are set in 2008.
- The Galactic Milieu Series by Julian May features Earth's first contact with an alien race on June 20, 2008.
- Ian McDonald's "Chaga Saga" (Evolution's Shore and Kirinya) begins with the March 13, 2008 impact arrival of the plant form Chaga from outer space.
- Alan E. Nourse's 1957 book Rocket to Limbo begins with the March 3, 2008 launch of the starship Argonaut on a centuries-long trip to Alpha Centauri.
- The Mote in God's Eye (1974) by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle postulates that faster-than-light travel is perfected in 2008.
- The Next War, a controversial 1996 novel about the post-Soviet era, co-written by former U.S. Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, looks at a possible 2008 nuclear confrontation between the United States and Russia.
Set in 2008:
- Silent Running (1971)
- Deterrence (1999)
- The Manchurian Candidate (2004)
- The Lake House (2006): The ending takes place on Valentine's Day, 2008.
- Southland Tales (2007)
- Split Second (1992 movie) (1992)
- 5 Centimeters Per Second (2007): The final act takes place in Tokyo during 2008.
- Doomsday (2008): The start of the movie is set in 2008, when a virus has infected Scotland.
- Wall Street 2 (2010): Will be set in June 2008.
- The events of the Macross Zero OVA take place in 2008.
- Doraemon: According to the original manga story, a time machine will be invented in 2008.
- The Future Boy Conan anime (1978) story begins in July 2008, when a war results in five continents sinking into the sea.
- Dawson's Creek (2003 series finale): The characters meet once again. Dawson, now 25, is the creator of a television series, The Creek, based on his life.
- The 2007 series of Doctor Who: Present time (such as "Smith and Jones") is primarily set in 2008.
- Heroes: A possible future shown in Out of Time features the Shanti virus killing about 93% of the world's population by 2008.
2011 Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.