Defiant demonstrations around the globe dominated headlines in 2011. From the Arab Spring to Europe's financial crisis, protesters pushed for change.
A massive revolution swept through the Middle East with hundreds of thousands demanding democracy. Egyptian protesters camped in Cairo's Tahrir Square for weeks and eventually overthrew President Hosni Mubarak, ending his 30-year reign.
Revolutionary fighters in Libya seized Tripoli and spent two months hunting down and killing Muammar Qaddafi.
A huge earthquake hit Japan in March and triggered a deadly tsunami that killed more than 15,000 people. The disaster swept away cars and homes and sent nuclear reactors into meltdown in the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl.
Norway saw its worst violence since World War II when a man gunned down dozens of teenagers at a summer camp in Oslo.
Confessed killer Anders Behring Breivik said he was fighting the spread of Islam in Europe when he murdered 77 people.
European leaders spent 2011 trying to dig the continent out of debt, eventually clinching a deal to stop the Euro currency from collapsing. The financial fallout led to mass protests and new Prime Ministers in Greece and Italy.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange spent much of the year at Britain's high court fighting extradition to Sweden for sex crimes. The whistle blower outraged U.S. officials when he published hundreds of thousands of classified documents.
The royal wedding of the century captivated Britain and much of the world as Prince William married longtime girlfriend Kate Middleton. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge exchanged vows at Westminster Abbey as crowds of up to a million gathered outside to celebrate.
The same weekend, U.S. Navy Seals killed Osama bin Laden.
"This is a good day for America," said President Obama.
U.S. forces found bin Laden in a secret hide-out in Pakistan, ending a decade long manhunt.
American forces ended their mission in Iraq nearly nine years after it began. Soldiers rolled up the U.S. flag they flew during the campaign then flew back home in time for the holidays.
Copyright 2011 CBS News. All rights reserved.