In her 1992 speech at the Guildhall, marking the 40th year of her reign, Quess Elizabeth II spoke of her “annus horribilis,” describing it as “not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure.”
The same sentiment echoes for 2022, which hasn’t been a bumper year by any stretch of the imagination.
War visited Europe once again with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-serving British monarch, passed away, the UK saw itself mired in political quicksand, Elon Musk took on the Twitterverse, and the planet’s population broke the eight billion mark.
Let’s look at some main events that shaped the world in 2022.
Russia invades Ukraine.
In February, Russia launched its “special military operation” in Ukraine in the face of a perceived shift towards the West and NATO membership.
Almost a year later, the “special military operation” is still ongoing with the Ukrainian military, bolstered by weapon supplies from the West, proving to be more than a match for the Russian forces.
Ukrainian counter-offensives recaptured much of the territory lost to the Russian military in the early days of the conflict.
A major exporter of essential agricultural commodities such as grains and sunflower products along with significant quantities of steel, the war in Ukraine disrupted supplies of these materials with a marked increase in prices worldwide.
Xi Jinping elected for a third term in office.
In October, Xi Jinping’s re-election for a third term in office as the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist party and de-facto president of the country made him the longest-serving leader since Mao Zedong.
Traditionally party leaders in China retire after a 10-year term. However, Xi’s third term sees him potentially ruling China for life, a return to what many view as the autocratic days of absolute rule. Moreover, relations with regional neighbors are souring with heightened tensions with India and Taiwan.
2023 is the year of the Rabbit in the Chinese zodiac. So it looks like this could be a bunny with a bite!
Queen Elizabeth II passes away.
The longest-serving monarch in British history, Queen Elizabeth II, passed away on September 8th at Balmoral Castle in Scotland.
Elizabeth II ascended to the throne after the death of her father, King George VI, in February 1952.
Elizabeth II reigned for seventy years with her husband and King Consort Prince Philip by her side until his death in February 2021, a few weeks before his hundredth birthday!
Arguably the most respected and beloved monarch in British history, Elizabeth II bought continuity and a deep sense of duty to everything she did. That included taking part in a comedy opening sketch for the 2012 London Olympic games with none other than agent 007, James Bond, and a hilarious tea for two with Paddington Bear.
Lilibet will live on in fond memories!
All aboard, the UK Prime Minister merry-go-round!
Question: How many Prime ministers can you have in seven weeks? Answer: Three
That’s how many PMs the United Kingdom went through in 44 days.
It all started with the resignation of Boris Jonhson on July 7th, following what seemed like wave after wave of scandals.
Then came Liz Truss, who took over as Prime Minister on September 6th following a bitterly contested leadership battle among the Conservative ranks. Truss’s tenure saw bitter infighting among members of her party and abrupt u-turns on crucial policies, culminating in the sacking of Kwasi Kwarteng, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, on October 14th. Truss resigned on October 24th, giving her the unenviable title of the shortest reigning prime minister in British history!
The runner-up in the September tussle with Tuss, Rishi Shunak became Prime Minister following a fast-tracked Conservative Party leadership race designed to fill the void left by the departure of Liz Truss.
There are now over eight billion people on the planet.
The world’s population officially reached 8 billion on November 15th, with Vinice Mabansag, a baby girl born in Manila, Philippines, selected as the symbolic eight billionth person on Earth.
Birth rates are slowing around most of the planet, and while it took little more than a decade to reach eight billion from seven, the United Nations estimates it will take fifteen years to reach nine billion.
Elon Musk (finally) takes over Twitter.
Following a protracted legal battle, Elon Musk, the world’s erstwhile richest man, finally closed on his takeover deal at Twitter in October. The deal cost $44 billion and put Musk in control of the popular social media site, where he began an immediate cull of top executives and employees across the board.
After firing an estimated 50% of the Twitter workforce, Musk reportedly laid off close to 4,500 contract workers.
Musk reinstated banned accounts, including former US President Donald Trump, all to bring back free speech, as he put it.