- January 8 - Jared Lee Loughner attempts to assassinate U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords while she is holding a constituent meeting in a supermarket parking lot in Tucson, Arizona. She would survive the attack, but six others were killed.
- January 14 - Zine El Abidine Ben Ali resigns as President of Tunisia after a month of protests.
- February - Ross William Ulbricht launches Silk Road.
- February 11 - Hosni Mubarak resigns as President of Egypt following 18 days of protests.
- February 17 - Beginning of the First Libyan Civil War.
- March 15 - Beginning of the Syrian Civil War.
- March 24 to 29 - Los Zetas massacres 193 people at La Joya ranch in the municipality of San Fernando, Tamaulipas, Mexico.
- March 30 - The State Peace and Development Council formally dissolves.
- May 2 - Osama bin Laden is killed by U.S. Navy SEALs in his private compound in Abottabad, Pakistan. Ayman al-Zawahiri succeeds him as General Emir of Al-Qaeda.
- June 27 - The International Criminal Court (ICC) indicts Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, and his brother-in-law Abdullah Senussi on charges of crimes against humanity.
- July 5 - Casey Anthony is found not guilty for the murder of her 2-year old daughter Caylee.
- July 22 - Anders Behring Breivik perpetrates the 2011 Norway attacks, killing 77 people.
- July 29 - The Free Syrian Army is founded.
- August 6 to 11 - 2011 London riots
- April 19 - Fidel Castro steps down as First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba, ceding the position to his brother Raúl.
- September 6 - 2011 IHOP shooting
- October 4 - Al-Shabaab perpetrates a suicide bombing by driving a truck into the gate of the Transitional Federal Government's ministerial complex in Mogadishu, Somalia. The resulting explosion kills 100 people and injures over 110 others.
- October 16 - The Sesame Street YouTube Hack takes place.
- October 20 - Muammar Gaddafi is captured and brutally lynched by anti-Gaddafi rebels in the town of Sirte. The Libyan Arab Jamahiriya regime officially collapses.
- October 23 - End of the First Libyan Civil War.
- December 17 - After the death of his father Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong-un becomes the Supreme Leader of North Korea (DPRK).
- December 18 - End of the Iraq War.
- January 6 - Anthony Seminerio
- February 17 - Frank Spisak
- March 27 - Dorothea Puente
- April 5 - Ange-Félix Patassé
- May 1 - Jeff Hall
- May 2 - Osama bin Laden
- July 17 - Juan María Bordaberry
- September 6 - Eduardo Sencion
- September 25 - Gusty Spence
- September 30 - Anwar al-Awlaki & Clifford Olson
- October 20 - Muammar Gaddafi
- October 29 - Jimmy Savile
- December 17 - Kim Jong-il
- December 18 - Donald Neilson
- January 27 - Calyx & Beau Schenecker
- May 25 - Hamza Ali Al-Khateeb