The world celebrates the turn of the millennium
The year 2000 was the first year of the 2000s decade. Popular culture holds the year 2000 as the first year of the 21st century and third millennium, due to a tendency to group the years according to decimal values, as if year zero were counted. According to the Gregorian calendar, however, this distinction falls to the year 2001, because the first century was retroactively said to start with year AD 1. Since the calendar has no year "zero", its first millennium spans from years 1 to 1000, inclusively, its second millennium from years 1001 to 2000 and its third from 2001 to 3000.
The Pyrenean Ibex goes extinct
One of two subspecies of Spanish Ibex, the Pyrenean Ibex once ranged across the Pyrenees in France and Spain and the surrounding area, including the Basque Country, Navarre, north Aragon and north Catalonia. A few hundred years ago they were numerous, but by 1900 their numbers had fallen to less than 100. After 1910 their numbers never rose above 40.
The last natural Pyrenean Ibex, a female named Celia, was found dead on 6th January 2000 next to a fallen tree. Although her cause of death is known, the reason for the extinction of the subspecies as a whole is a mystery. Hypotheses include the inability to compete with other species for food, infections and diseases, and poaching.
In January 2009, the Pyrenean Ibex became the first taxon ever to become "un-extinct" – for seven minutes – when a cloned female was born alive, before dying from lung defects.*
The dot-com bubble bursts
The dot-com bubble was a speculative bubble covering roughly 1998–2000, during which stock markets in industrialised nations saw their equity value rise sharply from growth in the more recent Internet sector and related technology fields.
A combination of rapidly increasing stock prices, market confidence that the companies would turn future profits, individual speculation in stocks, and widely available venture capital created an environment in which many investors were willing to overlook traditional metrics in favour of confidence in technological advancements.
The bubble reached its peak on 10th March 2000, with the NASDAQ at 5132. This was followed by a crash with huge numbers of startups going bust. Between 2000 and 2002, more than $5 trillion was wiped off the value of technology companies.
Vladimir Putin is elected president of Russia
Vladimir Putin rose to the presidency after the unexpected resignation of Boris Yeltsin. He continued through with many of his same policies. Putin began his presidency with an aggressive legal reform of the Russian government. Among his first actions was to group the 89 federal subjects (states of the Russian Federation) into seven federal districts, each directly reporting to his office in order to facilitate his administration.
Overall, Putin worked to reorganise the government in a stricter and more vertically structured manner. From this, he began to focus on domestic change, beginning with a refinement of criminal, tax, and land law. He addressed some of the more serious demographic trends in Russia – including its high death rate, cyclical poverty and housing issues. During his two terms, Russia made huge gains in purchasing power, saw GDP increase six-fold and experienced rapid increases in industry and investment, by 76% and 125% respectively. Poverty fell by 16% and a flat tax rate was introduced.
From 2000 to 2008, oil and natural gas more than doubled their share of GDP. Despite these economic gains, inflation remained a problem, while the gap between rich and poor continued to widen.
In 2006, Russia hosted the G8 Summit for the first time since joining the forum in 1997. Throughout his presidency, Putin maintained a cool relationship with the West, though often criticised foreign countries and their affairs, notably the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
Putin himself was criticised for suppression of the media and his borderline fascist policies. After his reelection, accusations were made that he suppressed other political factions and reduced pluralism in Russian society. Many in the West saw him as anti-democratic.
Euro 2000 is hosted by Belgium and the Netherlands
Consisting of 31 matches played between 16 teams, this was the first UEFA European football championship to be hosted by two countries. France defeated Italy 2-1 in the final, becoming the tournament's eleventh victor.
Credit: Presidenza della Repubblica
Concorde crashes in France, killing 113 people
Air France Flight 4590 was a Concorde flight from Charles de Gaulle International Airport near Paris, France, travelling to JFK International Airport in New York. On 25th July 2000 it crashed in Gonesse, France – killing all 100 passengers and nine crew on board the flight, as well as four people on the ground. As a result of this crash – together with the economic effects of 9/11 – the iconic aircraft was retired in 2003.
Personal home computers break the 1 gigahertz barrier
During 2000, clock speeds in home PCs were undergoing their biggest ever rate of increase. Later in the decade, however, this race to produce ever more gigahertz was abandoned in favour of multi-core systems.
Credit: Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity is Near
Sydney hosts the Olympic Games
This was the second occasion that the Olympics were held in the Southern Hemisphere, the first being in Melbourne in 1956. The United States won the most medals with 93, while Australia came in 4th with 58.
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1 Extinct ibex is resurrected by cloning, The Telegraph:
Accessed 29th July 2012.