2016 was a rollercoaster to say the least. From a rocky presidential election to the exciting summer Olympics, the news was filled with highs and lows throughout the year. In case you missed any of the controversial and important stories from the past 12 months, here’s a roundup of some of the major events that took place.

President-Elect Donald Trump

On November 9, America went to the polls and elected Donald Trump as the next President of the United States after a controversial and heated election cycle. Hillary Clinton was predicted to win in almost every poll that was conducted prior to Election Day, and she did win the popular vote. However, Donald Trump took home the win with more electoral votes, causing many to question what exactly happened. Donald Trump has since been assembling his transition team and stepping into his role as president-elect.

Dakota Pipeline Debate and Protests

It was proposed earlier this year that a pipeline be installed to transport domestically produced light sweet crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois. The idea behind this is to make the transportation of oil safer and more cost-effective, as well as to create local jobs. The problem arose because it would be close to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation of Native Americans, who are arguing that the pipeline will cut through ancestral burial grounds and poses an environmental threat to their reservation. Now, thousands are protesting the building of the pipeline, and the debate has traveled across the country.

Several Icons Lost

This year, many famous celebrities have passed away, breaking the hearts of people around the world. Among the most well-known names are David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Alan Rickman, Gene Wilder, Florence Henderson, Fidel Castro and Prince. People payed tribute to these legends largely on social media and expressed their sadness at the passing of these icons.

Virtual Reality Becomes a Reality

Recently, virtual reality headsets have become a hot commodity. These headsets allow the person wearing them to feel that they are inside of another world, and they can interact with this virtual world using three-dimensional images and computer simulation. This new technology is just beginning to take off and will probably continue to grow as the months pass.

Summer Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

This summer, Rio hosted the 2016 Summer Olympics. Over 11,000 athletes traveled to Brazil to compete in the summer games, which included golf, gymnastics, swimming, volleyball and more. The United States won the most gold medals and the most medals overall, with 46 gold and 121 overall. People around the world tuned in to watch the games and root for their home country’s athletes.

Orlando Night Club Shooting

In June, the deadliest mass shooting in United States history took place at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Omar Mateen was identified as the gunman who killed 49 people and wounded 53. He was later shot and killed by police following a three-hour standoff. This news shook the country, especially after the legalization of same-sex marriage last year, unsure about whether this was a terrorist attack, a hate crime or both. It was later revealed that the gunman had pledged allegiance to ISIS, the terror group that has been wreaking havoc in many countries.


In June, Britain voted to leave the European Union by a vote of 52% to 48%. This change shocked the world as governments and economies dealt with the shifting climate. The Prime Minister of Britain resigned the day after the vote occurred, the pound dropped dramatically in value in the months following the vote and the market surrounding Britain changed. The country and world will be adjusting to this change for years to come.

Supreme Court Justice Scalia Died

Supreme Justice Antonin Scalia passed away in February, leaving a chair open on the Supreme Court which will be filled by someone President-elect Trump nominates once he is in office. With Scalia’s passing, the court was left equally balanced between liberals and conservatives. This means President-elect Trump has the power to shift the majority in his favor. The Supreme Court is the highest federal court in the United States and has the power to decide the most controversial of cases, so a changing justice is an important story to follow.

Zika Virus Spreads

Earlier in the year, the Zika virus spread and reached the United States, causing some panic, especially among pregnant women who would be most affected by the virus. The virus, spread via mosquitoes, came to the country through travelers from countries that had been infected. Some of the symptoms include a rash, fever and joint pain.

This year has been one of change and controversy throughout the world, and many of these stories are still developing and constantly evolving. One can only imagine what will be in store for the United States and the world in 2017.

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Hi, I'm Kate Harveston. I'm originally from Williamsport, PA. After pursuing my degree in Professional Writing, it seemed only natural to get out there and start blogging! I am currently pursuing a career as a journalist and freelance writer, covering everything from human rights and gender equality, to US government and international politics. My life goal is to be one of the best female political writers online, while having some fun along the way (because politics can be fun!).

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