2008: Facts & Events That Happened in This Year

2008: Facts & Historical Events That Happened in This Year




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 discover the momentous events, headline-making news, iconic music releases, and notable losses that marked the year 2008.


Discover the remarkable milestones and game-changing moments that made 2008 a year to be remembered.

Jan 20

The first episode of Breaking Bad premiered on AMC.

Feb 10

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.”

Feb 17

The Republic of Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia.

OTD in 2008: 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.

Feb 24

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.

Feb 26

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.

Feb 29

The UK’s Prince Harry was withdrawn from a military tour of Afghanistan.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.

Mar 2

Dmitry Medvedev was elected as the third President of Russia.

OTD in 2008: Dmitry Medvedev was elected as the third President of Russia.

Mar 3

After recording for four years, Duffy released her debut studio album “Rockferry.”

Mar 12

Space shuttle Endeavour successfully docked with the International Space Station during NASA’s STS-123 mission.

Mar 27

The Gordon Ramsay Plane Food restaurant opened within terminal 5 at London Heathrow Airport.

OTD in 2008: 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.

Apr 4

Beyoncé and Jay-Z married with only 40 guests present on their special day.

Apr 8

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.

Apr 20

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.

Apr 29

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.

May 2

139,000 people lost their lives when Cyclone Nargis made landfall in Myanmar.

May 12

More than 69,000 people lost their lives to a magnitude 8.0 earthquake in Sichuan, China.

May 15

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.

May 31

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!

Jun 11

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.

Jun 16

The state of California began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Jun 27

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.

Jul 14

Batman’s “The Dark Knight” premiered in London.

OTD in 2008: Batman's "The Dark Knight" premiered in London.

Aug 3

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.

Aug 11

Airbedandbreakfast.com was launched by its three founders, which is now known as Airbnb.

Aug 16

Michael Phelps won the 100-meter butterfly swim in a record 50:58 at the Beijing Olympic finals.

Aug 17

American swimmer Michael Phelps became the first person to win eight gold medals at one Olympic Games.

OTD in 2008: American swimmer Michael Phelps became the first person to win eight gold medals at one Olympic Games.

Aug 30

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.

Sep 2

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.

Sep 27

Zhai Zhigang became the first person from China to perform a spacewalk while on the Shenzhou 7 mission.

Oct 7

Swedish music streaming service Spotify was launched by Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon.

OTD in 2008: Swedish music streaming service Spotify was launched by Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon.

Oct 17

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!

Oct 19

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.

Oct 22

Google Play was launched.

OTD in 2008: Google Play was launched.

The app store gives android users a platform to find and install applications.

Oct 29

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.

Nov 4

Barack Obama became the first African American to win a United States Presidential Election.

Nov 10

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.

Nov 22

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.

Dec 5

Former NFL star O.J. Simpson was sentenced to 33 years in prison for kidnapping and armed robbery.

Dec 28

Luke Ward launched the Funky-Facts blog, which later became The Fact Site.

Famous Deaths

Unfortunately, 2008 was also the year we said goodbye to…



Heath Ledger



Heath Ledger



Heath Ledger

Heath Ledger was an Australian actor born on April 4, 1979. He died on January 22, 2008, at age 28 in New York City, New York, USA.

Died On:

Jan 22, 2008 (Age 28)

Died In:

New York, USA



Yves Saint Laurent


Fashion Designer

Yves Saint Laurent



Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent was a French fashion designer born on August 1, 1936. He died on June 1, 2008, at age 71 in Paris, France.

Died On:

Jun 1, 2008 (Age 71)

Died In:

Paris, France


Here’s a roundup of the most memorable quotes people said in 2008.

Jul 9

I can’t pretend that I’m brave and that I can beat the whole world.

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela

South African President

Sep 26

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

George W. Bush

American Politician

2008 In Music

2008 was a year that delivered an array of sensational tracks that became the soundtrack of our lives!

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.

Stay tuned with these music highlights from 2008 that deserve your attention.

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

In 2007, an astrological event known as the Lucky 7’s happened on July 7th (7/7/2007), which was claimed to be a day of incredibly good fortune. Many people from all over the world scrambled to get married on this day, so at least wedding planners had some good fortune!

Also, did you know that 2008 can be written as MMVIII in Roman numerals and as 11111011000 in binary?

Leap Year

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

Chinese Zodiac 2008: Year of the Earth Rat

As per the Chinese zodiac tradition, 2008 was recognized as The Year of the Rat within the twelve-year cycle.

The Chinese zodiac isn’t just animals though, they also include five elements, Wood, Fire, Earth, Gold (Metal), and Water. This actually makes 2008 the Year of the Earth Rat, a cycle that repeats every sixty years.

In the Chinese calendar, the Year of the Rat didn’t begin on January 1st. Instead, it kicked off on February 7th. This is due to the fact that the Chinese calenar is based off the lunar cycle.

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.

The Notorious B.I.G., Jake Paul and Katy Perry are shining examples of the success and talent that can be found among those born in the Years of the Rat!

2008 Trivia

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.


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