2008 will forever be remembered as the year when Barack Obama was elected, becoming the first African-American President of the USA.
That’s not all that happened in 2008, though! Across the Gulf of Mexico, Cuban President Fidel Castro retired after nearly 50 years of rule.
It was also a massive year for science, as construction was completed on one of the biggest and most impressive scientific experiments in history, the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva.
2008 saw the first movie of the cinematic Marvel Universe, Iron Man, the start of The Twilight Saga with Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, and the premiere of The Dark Knight.
This year was quite an eventful year in the world of celebrities, too. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie had twins, and Beyoncé and Jay-Z finally married.
Continue reading to uncover the significant events, groundbreaking news, chart-topping music, thought-provoking quotes, and impactful deaths that made 2008 an unforgettable year.
Here you can explore the unforgettable moments that shaped the unforgettable year of 2008.
The first episode of Breaking Bad premiered on AMC.
Amy Winehouse scored five awards at the 50th Grammy Awards.
The British soul singer wasn’t able to attend even though she won big, including an award for her song about her own struggles called “Rehab.”
The Republic of Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia.
Serbia disputed the separation of Kosovo and has repeatedly sought out international support to invalidate Kosovo’s independence.
Fidel Castro stepped down as President of Cuba after keeping the position for thirty-two years.
Fidel was one of the leading men behind the Cuban Revolution, and after achieving victory, he assumed complete power over the nation. In his tenure as President of Cuba, he survived countless attempts on his life by the US. While his initial actions may have been just, he ended up a despot and a dictator.
The New York Philharmonic Orchestra performed in Pyongyang, North Korea.
The concert was possible thanks to an invitation sent by North Korea’s Ministry of Culture to the orchestra in August 2007. The orchestra played the US and North Korean national anthems, among other pieces.
The UK’s Prince Harry was withdrawn from a military tour of Afghanistan.
The UK’s Ministry of Defense made the decision after the media began reporting on Prince Harry’s presence in Afghanistan, fearing that both he and the units he was serving with would be at an increased risk of attack.
Dmitry Medvedev was elected as the third President of Russia.
After recording for four years, Duffy released her debut studio album “Rockferry.”
Space shuttle Endeavour successfully docked with the International Space Station during NASA’s STS-123 mission.
The Gordon Ramsay Plane Food restaurant opened within terminal 5 at London Heathrow Airport.
The one-off airport restaurant cost a staggering $3.4 million (£2.5 million) to build.
Beyoncé and Jay-Z married with only 40 guests present on their special day.
Construction of the Bahrain World Trade Center was officially completed.
The Bahrain WTC was the first skyscraper in the world to integrate wind turbines into its design, which provide approximately 11-15% of the tower’s total power consumption.
Danica Patrick won the Indy Japan 300, becoming the first woman to win an Indy car race.
Patrick, just 26 at the time, finished the race 5.86 seconds ahead of pole-sitter Helio Castroneves at Japan’s Twin Ring Motegi oval.
Rockstar Games released Grand Theft Auto IV, the sixth in the GTA series, for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
GTA IV is set in Liberty City, a fast-paced coastal city based on New York City. It cost over $100 million to produce, making it one of the most expensive games developed at its release.
139,000 people lost their lives when Cyclone Nargis made landfall in Myanmar.
More than 69,000 people lost their lives to a magnitude 8.0 earthquake in Sichuan, China.
The Californian Supreme Court ruled that the state ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.
At the time, less than 50% of Californians polled were in favor of same-sex marriage. Nevertheless, the first couples were married under the new changes in June of the same year.
The Discovery Space Shuttle was launched from the Kennedy Space Center on mission STS-124.
The mission’s primary payload was the Japanese Kibō Experiment Module, which the shuttle ferried to the International Space Station (ISS). It’s the largest single module ever installed on the ISS. It was astronaut Gregory E. Chamitoff’s first mission, and he brought the first bagels into space!
The Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope was launched into Earth’s orbit atop a Delta II rocket.
Previously known as the Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST), the telescope was designed to observe gamma rays from a low Earth orbit. At the time of its launch, it was the most highly advanced and sensitive gamma-ray telescope in space.
The state of California began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Bill Gates stepped down as chairman of Microsoft Corporation.
Gates resigned to have more time to focus on his charity organization Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Batman’s “The Dark Knight” premiered in London.
Morgan Freeman’s car flipped over several times on the highway in Mississippi.
Two days later, he had a four-hour operation, where the doctors repaired nerve damage in his shoulder and arm.
Airbedandbreakfast.com was launched by its three founders, which is now known as Airbnb.
Michael Phelps won the 100-meter butterfly swim in a record 50:58 at the Beijing Olympic finals.
American swimmer Michael Phelps became the first person to win eight gold medals at one Olympic Games.
Danny Boyle and Loveleen Tandan’s Slumdog Millionaire premiered at Colorado’s Telluride Film Festival.
The British drama loosely adapted Vikas Swarup’s novel Q & A. It won eight of the ten Academy Awards it was nominated for, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay. It also won seven BAFTA awards.
Google launched Google Chrome, its own cross-platform web browser.
By 2011 Chrome was the preferred browser over Mozilla Firefox, and in 2013 it overtook Internet Explorer in the US. As of September 2022, it was the most commonly used browser in the world.
Zhai Zhigang became the first person from China to perform a spacewalk while on the Shenzhou 7 mission.
Swedish music streaming service Spotify was launched by Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon.
Iran attempted to create the world’s largest sandwich at 1,500 meters long but failed due to a crowd eating it before it was measured.
Over 1,000 people gathered to put the sandwich together in Tehran in hopes of making it into the Guinness Book of World Records. However, the sandwich was just too delicious to wait!
NASA launched its IBEX satellite from the Stargazer mother ship launch pad above the Marshall Islands.
The primary purpose of the Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) was to use energetic neutral atoms to take photos of the boundary between our solar system and interstellar space. It was launched using a Pegasus XL launch vehicle, a special type of rocket launched from the air, as opposed to a launchpad on the ground, hence why the Stargazer mother ship was required.
Google Play was launched.
The app store gives android users a platform to find and install applications.
The James Bond spy movie “Quantum of Solace” with Daniel Craig premiered in London.
It was the first Bond movie to feature a blonde James Bond and was a reboot of the series.
Barack Obama became the first African American to win a United States Presidential Election.
NASA declared the conclusion of the Phoenix mission after contact was lost with the Phoenix lander.
The uncrewed space probe landed on Mars on May 25, 2008, with a mission to study the history of water on Mars and determine the planet’s overall habitability. Despite being concluded so soon after commencing, the $420 million mission was declared a success, as the lander managed to complete all its planned projects by August.
YouTube Live had the largest viewed broadcast ever, with guest artists performing from San Francisco and Tokyo.
It featured performances from celebrities like The Black Eyed Peas, will.i.am, Katy Perry, and more.
Former NFL star O.J. Simpson was sentenced to 33 years in prison for kidnapping and armed robbery.
Luke Ward launched the Funky-Facts blog, which later became The Fact Site.
Here’s a glimpse at a few famous people who bid us farewell in 2008.
Here’s a roundup of the most memorable quotes people said in 2008.
I can’t pretend that I’m brave and that I can beat the whole world.
South African President
I didn’t grow up in the ocean, as a matter of fact – er, near the ocean. I grew up in the desert. Therefore, it was a pleasant contrast to see the ocean.
George W. Bush
2008 In Music
2008 brought us a diverse range of musical gems that had us hooked from the very first note!
From the infectious pop sound of “Viva La Vida” by Coldplay to the soulful vocals of “Bleeding Love” by Leona Lewis, these songs struck a chord with our emotions and had us captivated by their mesmerizing melodies.
Make sure you’re familiar with these music highlights from 2008.
Album of the Year
Herbie Hancock’s jazz album “River: The Joni Letters” showcased his musical prowess and earned him the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 2008.
Song of the Year
Amy Winehouse’s soulful and honest “Rehab” took the world by storm in 2008, earning her the Grammy Award for Song of the Year.
Best New Artist
Amy Winehouse’s soulful voice and raw talent won her the Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 2008, cementing her as a musical legend despite her untimely passing.
Eurovision Song Contest Winner
The 53rd Eurovision Song Contest, held in 2008 in Belgrade, Serbia, brought together an eclectic mix of performers from around Europe.
Dima Bilan, a captivating artist from Russia, touched hearts with his emotive song “Believe,” securing Russia’s first Eurovision win.
2008 in Numbers
Time for some number fun! The Roman numeral form of 2008 is MMVIII, and when converted to binary, it becomes 11111011000.
The year 2008, being a leap year, experienced an extra day in February. This adjustment accounts for the fact that a year is approximately 365.25 days long.
Chinese Zodiac 2008
According to the Chinese zodiac system, 2008 was designated as The Year of the Rat, which takes place once every twelve years.
But did you know that the Chinese zodiac cycle also incorporates the five elements – Wood, Fire, Earth, Gold (Metal), and Water? So 2008 was actually the Year of the Earth Rat, which only occurs every sixty years!
The fascinating thing about the Chinese calendar is that it operates on a lunar cycle, which means that the Year of the Earth Rat officially kicked off on February 7th, and lasted until January 25, 2009.
People born in the Year of the Rat are known to be resourceful, intelligent, and quick-witted. They are often adaptable, charming, and have a keen sense of observation.
Famous people born in Years of the Rat include The Notorious B.I.G. and Katy Perry!
Did you know that the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing became the most expensive Summer Olympics in history?
A staggering $40 billion went into the preparations for the Olympic Games!
Despite this substantial expenditure, it barely made a dent in China’s extensive financial resources.