After a worldwide economic crash in the fall of 2008, the economy in 2009 continued to suffer. Thousands of people lost their jobs and homes. Learn more .
As companies suffered from the economic downturn, hundreds of thousands of people were laid off. Unemployment rates began to rise to the highest rates in years. Learn more .
Barack Obama was elected president of the United States in 2008 and sworn in on January 20, 2009. He is the first African American elected to the American presidency. Learn more .
Etta James's most famous recording is the song “At Last.” When Beyonce got to sing the song at Obama's inauguration, James was not very happy about it. Learn more .
President Obama created a stimulus plan to help reinvigorate the struggling American economy. The results of the plan were mixed, though it did help hedge the recession. Learn more .
A new political group called the Tea Party began to gain power and influence. The ultraconservative group, whose members sometimes dressed in colonial outfits, called for a much smaller government. Learn more .
President Obama appointed Sonia Sotomayor to become a Supreme Court justice. She is the first Hispanic justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. Learn more .
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad became president of Iran after 40 million people voted. But it quickly became clear that he may have fixed the election to win. Learn more .
People in Iran protested Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's presidency. Thousands of students led the way, using modern technology like Twitter to organize protesters. Despite the protests, he remained president. Learn more .
The Iceland economy crashed in 2009. The economic situation caused Iceland's biggest banks to fail, and the McDonald's restaurants in the country were forced to close, too. Learn more .
After two American journalists illegally entered North Korea, the North Korean government sentenced the women to 12 years of hard labor. Bill Clinton, former U.S. president, helped to win their freedom. Learn more .
The European Union (EU) helped negotiate an agreement with Russia and Ukraine to help get gas flowing again. Because Russia shut off its gas flow, the EU did not have as much petroleum as it needed. Learn more .
Despite running on an antiwar platform, President Obama ordered 30,000 more American troops to Afghanistan. Learn more .
Singer Michael Jackson died at age 50. People around the world who loved his lifetime of music making mourned his passing. Learn more .
So many people used the internet to spread the news of Michael Jackson's death that several major news websites crashed as well as Twitter. Learn more .
Scientists found the oldest skeleton of a human ancestor, and they named this ancient human relative Ardi. Fossil dating showed that Ardi lived approximately 4.2 million years ago. Learn more .
Scientists discovered at least 25 gallons of water on the moon. Finding water is significant because it means that life can possibly exist there. Learn more .
As a result of human-related emissions, Earth is getting warmer. Global warming affects the environment and could ultimately make the planet unlivable for the humans who caused the problem. ref=ref530412"> Learn more .
Twitter is an online program that allows people to send 140-character messages. It has exploded in popularity, as people learn about the minutiae of the daily lives of celebrities and friends. Learn more .
When Taylor Swift won the award for Best Female Video at the MTV Video Music Awards, Kanye West jumped onstage to proclaim that “Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time!” Awkward. Learn more .