20th Century


The 20th century refers to the period between January 1, 1901 and December 31, 2000. This period was characterized by different events, technological changes, wars, economic crisis and political changes. In this period, nations fought for territories and dominance in the first and second world wars and cold wars. Some nations were colonized and fought for their freedom. Inventions in science and technology including information technology changed the quality and standard of life across nations. New transportation systems and automobile were invented in this period, which changed the world’s business environment. Globalization and collaborations among nations increased in this period. Nations experienced major natural and manmade catastrophes including floods, eruptions, tornadoes, cyclones, famines, fires and earthquakes among others.

Major Events in America in the 20th Century

At the start of the 20th century, America was a powerful industrial country without a strong army. The country’s priority was to build its military strength. One of the major events that shaped the history of America in the 20th century was the Triangle Waist Factor Fire. Hundreds of immigrants died in this fire, most of which were young girls and women. This tragedy led to new labor laws including the New Deal by Franklin Roosevelt. Other events include the First World War between 1914 and 1918, the Great Depression between 1929 and 1939, and the Cold War between 1945 and 1989. These events shaped other nations’ histories as well. Other notable events in America include the establishment of the Great Society (1965) and the American Civil Rights Movements. These movements brought freedom to many slaves and reduced abuse of human rights especially against blacks in America.

Natural Catastrophes in the 20th Century

Different countries experienced different natural disasters in this period that led to thousands of deaths. One of these disasters is the eruption of Mt. Pelee in 1902 that killed of the inhabitants of St. Pierre. A powerful earthquake in San Francisco and sinking of the Titanic ship in 1912 followed this eruption. Over 70 million people died between 1918 and 1919 from the influenza pandemic. Millions of Chinese died from floods and famine. The Yellow River in China flooded in the 1930s after a period of famine causing millions of deaths. Other notable disasters in this century include the cyclone in Bangladesh that killed over 300, 000 people and the series of tornadoes in the United States in the 1970s. Thousands of people in Central America lost their lives to Hurricane Mitch in the 1990s.



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