CBS's Ian Lee has a look back at the stories that shaped the year
LONDON, UK (CBS News) - Much of the world entered 2021 in lockdown as countries struggled to stop new strains of COVID-19.
Israel led the vaccine race, and as millions across the glove rolled up their sleeves, restrictions began to life.
The Summer Olympics in Tokyo went on, but, for the first time in history, not spectators were allowed.
In China, international investigators looking for COVID's origin came up empty-handed.
It was a summer of tensions in the Middle East. 11 days of fighting between Israel and militants in Gaza killed more than 250 people.
North Korea vowed to build an unstoppable military, launching ballistic missiles from a submarine, and a train.
The Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan after 20-years. Hundreds of Americans and Afghan civilians faced chaotic evacuations. A suicide bomb at the Kabul Airport during the final pull-out killed at least 180 people, including 13 American service members.
Terror struck Britian, when an ISIS inspired attacker stabbed a lawmaker to death at a church in England.
A volcano unleashed spectacular rivers of lava on the Spanish island of La Palma, for months. Lava swallowed up more than 2,000 homes and forced the evacuation of thousands of people.
After 15-days of marathon talks in Scotland, diplomats from nearly 200 countries struck a major agreement to intensify global efforts to fight climate change.
In Rome, 85-year-old Pope Francis spent ten days in the hospital for intestinal surgery. The Pontiff recovered and made several international visits across Europe and the Middle East.
Prince Harry and wife Meghan shocked the Royal Family, giving a bombshell interview to Oprah. They accused someone in the family of questioning what color their baby's skin would be. Their second child, Lilibet, was born this summer.
Britain said farewell to Queen Elizabeth's husband of 73-years, Prince Philip. The 99-year-old was laid to rest at Windsor Castle.
Later in the year, the Queen had a health scare, skipping several key events on doctors orders. But the 95-year-old was back at work after several key events on doctor's orders.
In 2022, Queen Elizabeth celebrates her Platinum Jubilee, marking 70-years on the British throne.