Significant Events of the 20th Century

  • Federation of Australia

    Federation of Australia
    When the Constitution of Australia came into force, on 1 January 1901, the colonies collectively became states of the Commonwealth of Australia.
  • Queen Victoria dies after 63-year reigns

    Queen Victoria dies after 63-year reigns
    Queen Victoria died on 21 January 1901 at the age of 81. She had been the Queen of Great Britain for 63 years, presiding over the industrialization of Britain and the expansion of the British Empire overseas.
  • First Airplane Flies

    First Airplane Flies
    The brothers built a movable track to help launch the Flyer. This downhill track would help the aircraft gain enough airspeed to fly. After two attempts to fly this machine, one of which resulted in a minor crash, Orville Wright took the Flyer for a 12-second, sustained flight on December 17, 1903. This was the first successful, powered, piloted flight in history.
    In 1904, the first flight lasting more than five minutes took place on November 9. The Flyer II was flown by Wilbur Wright.
  • World War I breaks out

    World War I breaks out
    In the 20th century, European nations formed competing military alliances. War finally broke out in 1914 when a Serbian nationalist assassinated the heir to the throne of Austria. Austria went to war against Serbia, and many other countries joined in. On one side were the British, the French and Russian empires, Italy, and Japan (the Entente Powers). On the other side were the Germans, Austrians, Hungarians, Bulgarians, and Turks (the Central Powers).
  • World War I ends

    World War I ends
    1918 German offensive along the western front, United States forces entered the trenches and the Allies drove back the German armies in a series of successful offensives. Germany, which had its own trouble with revolutionaries at this point, agreed to a cease-fire on 11 November 1918, later known as Armistice Day. The war had ended in victory for the Allies.
  • Wall street crash triggers great depression

    Wall street crash triggers great depression
    The Wall Street Crash of 1929 (October 1929), also known as the Great Crash, and the Stock Market Crash of 1929, was the most devastating stock market crash in the history of the United States, taking into consideration the full extent and duration of its fallout.[1] The crash signaled the beginning of the 10-year Great Depression that affected all Western industrialized countries[2] and did not end in the United States until 1947.
  • World War II breaks out

    World War II breaks out
    The world war is generally said to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany, and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and most of the countries of the British Empire and Commonwealth. Germany set out to establish a large empire in Europe.
  • World War II ends

    World War II ends
    The war ended with the total victory of the Allies over the Axis in 1945.
  • Australia goes metric

    Australia goes metric
    Metric units first became legal for use in Australia in 1947 when Australia signed the Metre Convention
  • Vietnam War

    Vietnam War
    The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of South Vietnam, supported by the United States and other anti-communist nations.
  • Melbourne hosts the Olympic games

    Melbourne hosts the Olympic games
    The 1956 Melbourne Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XVI Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event which was held in Melbourne, Australia, in 1956, with the exception of the equestrian events, which could not be held in Australia due to quarantine regulations.
  • Cuban Missile Crisis brings world to brink of Nuclear War

    Cuban Missile Crisis brings world to brink of Nuclear War
    The Cuban Missile Crisis (known as the October Crisis in Cuba or Caribbean Crisis in the USSR) was a confrontation between the Soviet Union and Cuba on one side and the United States on the other in October 1962, during the Cold War.
  • Australia adopts decimal currency

    Australia adopts decimal currency
    In 1963, Australia initiated the change to decimal currency. More than 1000submissions were made about the name of the new currency unit. The Prime Minister of the day, Sir Robert Menzies, proposed the ‘royal’. The‘dollar’ was eventually chosen as the name, and decimal currency was introduced on 14 February 1966.
  • Referendum gives citizenship status to Aboriginal Australians

    Referendum gives citizenship status to Aboriginal Australians
    The referendum of 27 May 1967 approved two amendments to the Australian constitution relating to Indigenous Australians. Technically it was a vote on the Constitution Alteration (Aboriginal People) 1967, which became law on 10 August 1967 following the results of the referendum.
  • Australian prime minister Harold Holt drowns

    Australian prime minister Harold Holt drowns
    He was an Australian politician and the 17th Prime Minister of Australia.
  • Apollo 11 lands on the moon

    Apollo 11 lands on the moon
    Apollo 11 was the spaceflight which landed the first humans, Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, Jr, on Earth's Moon on July 20, 1969, at 20:17:39 UTC. The United States mission is considered the major accomplishment in the history of space exploration.
  • Cyclone Tracy flattens Darwin

    Cyclone Tracy flattens Darwin
    On Christmas Day 1974 Darwin was flooded and flattened by Cyclone Tracy, one of the worst civil disasters in Australian history. Thousands were left homeless, some died, and the threat of a widespread outbreak of disease was narrowly avoided.
  • Tiananmen Square massacre

    Tiananmen Square massacre
    Several hundred civilians have been shot dead by the Chinese army during a bloody military operation to crush a democratic protest in Peking's (Beijing) Tiananmen Square.
  • Berlin Wall collapses

    Berlin Wall collapses
    The Berlin Wall was erected in the dead of night and for 28 years kept East Germans from fleeing to the West. Its destruction, which was nearly as instantaneous as its creation, was celebrated around the world.
  • Nelson Mandela released from prison in South Africa

    Nelson Mandela released from prison in South Africa
    Following his release from prison on 11 February 1990, Mandela led his party in the negotiations that led to multi-racial democracy in 1994. As president, he frequently gave priority to reconciliation, while introducing policies aimed at combating poverty and inequality in South Africa.
  • US launches operation desert storm in Iraq

    US launches operation desert storm in Iraq
    On the morning of August 2, 1990 the mechanized infantry, armor, and tank units of the Iraqi Republican Guard invaded Kuwait and seized control of that country. The invasion triggered a United States response, Operation DESERT SHIELD, to deter any invasion of Kuwait's oil rich neighbor, Saudi Arabia.
  • United Nations forms, replacing League of Nations

    United Nations forms, replacing League of Nations
    The League of Nations (LON) was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace.
  • Port Arthur Massacre

    Port Arthur Massacre
    The Port Arthur massacre of 28 April 1996 was a killing spree in which 35 people were killed and 21 wounded. Martin Bryant, a 28-year-old from New Town, a suburb of Hobart, eventually pleaded guilty to the crimes and was given 35 life sentences without possibility of parole.
  • Princess Diana dies in car crash

    Princess Diana dies in car crash
    On 31 August 1997, Diana, Princess of Wales died as a result of injuries sustained in a car accident in the Pont de l'Alma road tunnel in Paris, France.
  • Strikes on Twin Towers New York

    Strikes on Twin Towers New York
    19 terrorists from the Islamist militant group al-Qaeda hijacked four passenger jets. The hijackers intentionally crashed two planes, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City; both towers collapsed within two hours.