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2001 (MMI)was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar, the 2001st year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 1st year of the 3rd millennium, the 1st year of the 21st century, and the 2nd year of the 2000s decade.
2001 was designated as International Year of Volunteers.
- January 1 – Kolkata officially restores name from Calcutta, West Bengal, India.
- January 10 – The U.S. Federal Trade Commission approves the merger of America Online and Time Warner to form AOL Time Warner.
- January 13 – A 7.6 magnitude earthquake hits all of El Salvador, killing at least 800 people and leaving thousands homeless.
- January 15 – Wikipedia is launched.
- January 20
- January 23 – The Tiananmen Square self-immolation incident occurs.
- January 26 – The 7.7 Mw Gujarat earthquake shakes Western India with a maximum Mercalli intensity of X (Extreme), leaving 13,805–20,023 dead and about 166,800 injured.
- January 26 – Diane Whipple, American lacrosse player and college coach, was mauled to death by two Presa Canarios, a large breed of dog.
- June 1
- June 5–9 – Tropical Storm Allison produces 36 inches (900 mm) of rain in Houston, killing 22, damaging the Texas Medical Center, and causing more than US$5 billion of damage overall.
- June 6 – U.S. Senator Jim Jeffords of Vermont leaves the Republican Party to caucus as an independent with Democrats, handing majority control of the Senate to the Democratic Party and Majority Leader Tom Daschle.
- June 7 – George W. Bush signs the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, the first tax cut of a series now known as the Bush tax cuts.
- June 19 – A missile hits a soccer field in northern Iraq (Tel Afr County), killing 23 and wounding 11. According to U.S. officials, it was an Iraqi missile that malfunctioned.
- June 21 – The world's longest train is set up by BHP Iron Ore and is recorded going between Newman and Port Hedland in Western Australia (a distance of 275 km (171 mi)) and the train consists of 682 loaded iron ore wagons and 8 GE AC6000CW locomotives, giving a gross weight of almost 100,000 tonnes and moves 82,262 tonnes of ore; the train is 7.353 km (4.569 mi) long.
- June 23 – The 8.4 Mw southern Peru earthquake shakes coastal Peru with a maximum Mercalli intensity of VIII (Severe). A destructive tsunami followed, leaving at least 75 people dead, and 2,687 injured.
- September 1 – Nakai, the first captive orca to be born as a result of artificial insemination, is born at SeaWorld San Diego.
- September 3
- In Belfast, Protestant loyalists begin a picket of Holy Cross, a Catholic primary school for girls. For the next 11 weeks, riot police escort the schoolchildren and their parents through hundreds of protesters, amid rioting and heightened violence.
- The United States, Canada and Israel withdraw from the U.N. Conference on Racism because they feel that the issue of Zionism is overemphasized.
- September 4 – Tokyo DisneySea opens to the public as part of the Tokyo Disney Resort in Urayasu, Chiba, Japan.
- September 5 – The piece As Slow as Possible, composed by John Cage, begins. It will last 639 years, finishing in the year 2640.
- September 6 – United States v. Microsoft Corp.: The United States Justice Department announces that it no longer seeks to break up software maker Microsoft, and will instead seek a lesser antitrust penalty.
- September 9
- September 10
- September 11 – Around 2,996 victims are killed or fatally injured in the September 11 attacks at the World Trade Center in New York City, The Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia, and in rural Shanksville, Pennsylvania after American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 are hijacked and crash into the World Trade Center's Twin Towers, American Airlines Flight 77 is hijacked and crashes into the Pentagon, and United Airlines Flight 93 is hijacked and crashes into grassland in Shanksville, due to the passengers fighting to regain control of the airplane. The World Trade Center towers collapse as a result of the crashes.
- September 12 – Ansett Australia Airlines is placed into administration, the company's fleet is grounded 2 days later on September 14.
- September 13 – Civilian aircraft traffic resumes in the United States after the September 11 attacks.
- September 14 – Historic National Prayer Service held at Washington National Cathedral for victims of the September 11 attacks. A similar service is held in Canada on Parliament Hill, the largest vigil ever held in the nation's capital.
- September 17 – The New York Stock Exchange reopens for trading after the September 11 attacks, the longest closure since the Great Depression.
- September 18 – The 2001 anthrax attacks commence as letters containing anthrax spores are mailed from Princeton, New Jersey, to ABC News, CBS News, NBC News, the New York Post, and the National Enquirer. Twenty-two people in total are exposed, with five resulting fatalities.
- September 20 – In an address to a joint session of Congress and the American people, U.S. President George W. Bush declares a "War on Terror".
- September 21
- September 27 – Zug massacre: In Zug, Switzerland, Friedrich Leibacher shoots 18 citizens, killing 14 and then himself.
- October 1 – Militants attack the state legislature building in Srinagar, Kashmir, killing 38.
- October 2 – Swissair seeks for bankruptcy protection and grounds its entire fleet, resulting in over 230 flights cancelled and stranding 18,000 people worldwide.
- October 4 – Siberia Airlines Flight 1812 crashes over the Black Sea en route from Tel Aviv, Israel, to Novosibirsk, Russia; 78 are killed.
- October 7 – War in Afghanistan: In response to the September 11 attacks, the United States invades Afghanistan, with participation from other nations, thus officially beginning the War on Terror.
- October 8
- October 9 – Second mailing of anthrax letters from Trenton, New Jersey in the 2001 anthrax attacks.
- October 15 – NASA's Galileo spacecraft passes within 180 kilometres (110 mi) of Jupiter's moon Io.
- October 17 – Israeli tourism minister Rehavam Ze'evi becomes the first Israeli minister to be assassinated in a terrorist attack.
- October 19 – SIEV X sinks en route to Christmas Island, killing 353 people.
- October 23
- October 25
- October 26 – U.S. President George W. Bush signs the Patriot Act into law.
Soldiers board a Chinook
- November 2 – The Glocal Forum, leading international organization in the field of city-to-city cooperation, is established by Ambassador Uri Savir.
- November 4
- November 7 – Sabena, the national airline of Belgium, goes bankrupt.
- November 10
- November 11 – Journalists Pierre Billaud, Johanne Sutton and Volker Handloik are killed in Afghanistan during an attack on the convoy they are traveling in.
- November 12
- November 13 – In the first such act since World War II, U.S. President George W. Bush signs an executive order allowing military tribunals against any foreigners suspected of having connections to terrorist acts or planned acts against the United States.
- November 14 – War in Afghanistan: Northern Alliance fighters take over the capital Kabul.
- November 23 – The Convention on Cybercrime is signed in Budapest, Hungary.
- November 27 – A hydrogen atmosphere is discovered on the Osiris by the Hubble Space Telescope, the first atmosphere detected on an extrasolar planet.
- November 30 – Gary Ridgway, a.k.a. The Green River Killer, is arrested outside the truck factory where he had worked in Renton, Washington. His arrest marked the end of one of the longest running homicide investigations in US history.