- International Year of Ecotourism and Mountains
- National Science Year in the United Kingdom
- Autism Awareness Year in the United Kingdom
1999 2000 2001 – 2002 – 2003 2004 2005
| Decades: |
1970s 1980s 1990s – 2000s – 2010s 2020s 2030s
| Centuries: |
20th century – 21st century – 22nd century
2002 in topic:
Table of contents
- January 1 –
- January 5 – Charles Bishop, a 15 year-old student pilot, crashes a light aircraft into a Tampa, Florida building, evoking fear of a copycat 9/11 terrorist attack.
- January 9 – The United States Department of Justice announces it is going to pursue a criminal investigation of Enron.
- January 10 – Enrique Bolaños began his five-year term as President of the Republic of Nicaragua.
- January 13 – President George W. Bush faints after choking on a pretzel.
- January 16 –
- A student shoots 6 people at the Appalachian School of Law, killing three.
- John Ashcroft announces that American Taliban member John Walker Lindh would be tried in the United States.
- The UN Security Council unanimously establishes an arms embargo and the freezing of assets of Osama bin Laden, Al-Qaida, and the Taliban.
- January 17 – Eruption of Mount Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, displacing an estimated 400,000 people.
- January 18 – A Canadian Pacific Railway train carrying anhydrous ammonia derails outside of Minot, North Dakota, killing one.
- January 22 –
- AOL Time Warner brings a federal suit against Microsoft seeking damages. The suit alleges that the market for AOL's Netscape Navigator Internet browser was harmed when Microsoft started to give away a competing browser.
- Kmart Corp becomes the largest retailer in American history to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
- January 27 – Several explosions at a military dump in Lagos, Nigeria kill more than 1,000.
- February 3 – Costa Rica: elections for President and Congress
- February 8 through February 24 – 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah
- February 12
- February 13 – Queen Elizabeth II gives former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani an honorary knighthood.
- February 19 – NASA's Mars Odyssey space probe begins to map the surface of using its thermal emission imaging system.
- February 20 – In Reqa Al-Gharbiya, Egypt, a fire on a train injures over 65 and kills at least 370
- February 22 – Norwegian-facilitated ceasefire begins in Sri Lanka
- February 27 – Ethnic conflict in India: 59 Hindu pilgrims die aboard a train burned by a Muslim mob in Godhra, India, sparking a series of riots, leaving hundreds dead.
- March 1
- U.S. invasion of Afghanistan: In eastern Afghanistan, Operation Anaconda begins.
- 28 people die in continuing violence in Ahmedabad. Police shoot and kill five while attempting to control rioters.
- The Envisat environmental satellite successfully reaches an orbit 800km above the Earth on its 11th launch, carrying the heaviest payload to date at 8500kg.
- Space Shuttle Columbia flies Hubble Space Telescope service mission (STS-109).
- Peseta discontinued as official currency of Spain and is replaced with the euro (€)
- March 3 – São Tomé and Príncipe: elections for the legislature
- March 6 – France agrees to return the remains of Saartje Baartman to South Africa
- March 10 – Colombia: elections for the legislature; Togo: elections for the Parliament
- March 12 – In Texas, Andrea Yates is found guilty of drowning her five children on June 20, 2001. She is later sentenced to life in prison
- March 17 – Portugal: elections for the Parliament
- March 19 – US Attack on Afghanistan: Operation Anaconda ends (started on March 1) after killing 500 Taliban and al Qaeda fighters with 11 allied troop fatalities
- March 21 – In Pakistan, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh along with three other suspects are charged with murder for their part in the kidnapping and killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl
- March 31 – Ukraine: elections for the Parliament
- April 2 – Israeli forces surround the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, where Palestinian terrorists are holding around 200 hostages. A siege ensues.
- April 15 – An Air China Boeing 767-200 crashes into a hillside during heavy rain and fog near Pusan, South Korea, killing 128.
- April 17 – Four Canadian infantrymen are killed in Afghanistan by friendly fire from two U.S. F-16s.
- April 18 – New order of insects, Mantophasmatodea, announced.
- April 25 – South African Mark Shuttleworth blasts off from the Baikonur cosmodrome; he had paid £15 million for the trip.
- April 26 – Robert Steinhauser opens fire on his former teachers and other students in Erfurt, Germany and then kills himself: 16 dead.
- April 30 – Pakistan: Pakistani voters approve a referendum granting a five-year term for Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf.
- May 4 – In Germany, BV Borussia Dortmund wins the Bundesliga title after a 2–1 victory over SV Werder Bremen.
- May 6 – In the Netherlands, politician Pim Fortuyn is killed by Volkert van der Graaf.
- May 7 – Gay Canadian teenager Marc Hall is granted a court injunction ordering that he be allowed to attend his high school prom with his boyfriend.
- May 9 –
- The 38-day stand-off in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem comes to an end when the Palestinians inside agreed to have 13 suspected militants among them deported to several different countries. The standoff started April 2.
- In Kaspiysk, Russia, a remote-control bomb explodes during a holiday parade, killing 43 and injuring at least 130.
- May 10 – FBI agent Robert Hanssen is sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for selling American secrets to Moscow for $1.4 million in cash and diamonds.
- May 12 – Former President Jimmy Carter arrives in Cuba for a five-day visit with Fidel Castro becoming the first President of the United States, in or out of office, to visit the island since Castro's 1959 revolution.
- May 15 – The Netherlands: elections for the Lower House
- May 20 – Restoration of East Timor independence
- May 22 –
- May 23 – First Eurovision Song Contest in a former Soviet country: Estonia
- May 25 – A China Airlines Boeing 747-200 breaks apart in mid-air and plunges into the Taiwan Strait, killing 225.
- May 26 – The Mars Odyssey finds signs of huge water ice deposits on the planet Mars.
- May 28 – Washington DC's medical examiner declares that Chandra Levy's death was the result of homicide.
- May 31 through June 30 – 17th Football World Cup in south korea and japan
- June 3 – The "Party in the Palace" takes place at Buckingham Palace, London for Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee celebrations.
- June 4 -
- June 5 -
- June 6 – The United States House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee announces it is probing Martha Stewart's ImClone stock sales.
- June 10 – Annular solar eclipse.
- June 11 – Antonio Meucci was recognised as the first inventor of the telephone by the United States Congress
- June 13 – The Detroit Red Wings def the Carolina Hurricanes 4 games to 1 in the 2002 Stanley Cup Finals
- June 14 – In Karachi, Pakistan, a car bomb in front of the U.S. consulate kills twelve Pakistanis and injures fifty.
- June 18 – Arizona experiences its worst forest fire, burning 462,606 acres (1,872 km²) near the Mogollon Rim.
- June 30 – Brazil defeats Germany to win the Football World Cup 2002.
- July 1 – Russian passenger jet and a cargo plane collide over the town of Uberlingen in Southern Germany – 72 dead
- July 5 – Iraq disarmament crisis: Iraq once again rejects new U.N. weapons inspections proposals
- July 10 – At a Sotheby's auction, Peter Paul Rubens' painting "The Massacre of the Innocents" is sold for £49.5million (US$76.2 million) to Lord Thomson
- July 13 – A lighting strike sets off the Sour Biscuit Fire in Oregon and northern California, which is left to burn 499,570 acres (2,022 km²) when finally contained on September 5.
- July 14 – During Bastille Day celebrations, Jacques Chirac escapes an assassination attempt unscathed.
- July 15 – So-called "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh pleads guilty to supplying aid to the enemy and for the possession of explosives during the commission of a felony. Lindh agrees to serve 10 years in prison for each of the charges
- July 19 – K-19: The Widowmaker starring Harrison Ford is released.
- July 21 – Telecommunications giant WorldCom files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the largest such filing in United States history
- July 27 – A Sukhoi Su-27 fighter crashes at an air show in Ukraine killing 78 and injuring more than 100 others, the largest air show disaster in history.
- August 2 – Iraq disarmament crisis: Iraq invites chief weapons inspector Hans Blix to Iraq for discussions on remaining disarmament issues.
- August 6 – Marquis de la Fayette is made Honorary Citizen of the United States.
- August 13 – Human Rights Campaign released the first Corporate Equality Index.
- August 19 – Iraq disarmament crisis: The U.N. Secretary General rejects Iraq's August 2 proposal as the "wrong work program", and instead recommends that Iraq allow weapons inspectors to return to the country, in accordance with previous U.N. resolutions.
- September 2 – The opening of the United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development, successor of the 1972 Conference on the Human Environment, 1983 World Commission on Environment and Development, and the 1992 Conference on Environment and Development.
- September 5 –
- September 11 – The World Summit on Sustainable Development comes to a close.
- September 12 – Iraq disarmament crisis: U.S. President George W. Bush, addresses the U.N. and challenges its members to confront the "grave and gathering danger" of Iraq or stand aside as the United States and likeminded nations act.
- September 15 – The Swedish parliamentary election leaves Prime Minister Göran Persson and the Social Democrats in power.
- September 22 – The German federal election leaves Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, his Social Democrats and the the Greens in power
- October 2 – Iraq disarmament crisis: The U.S. Congress passes a joint resolution which explicitly authorizes the President to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate.
- October 7 – Discovery of Quaoar is announced.
- October 11 – Lone bomber explodes a home-made bomb in the Myyrmanni shopping mall north of Helsinki, Finland – casualties include himself. See Myyrmanni bombing.
- October 12 – Bali bombing: Terrorists detonate massive bombs in two nightclubs in Kuta, Bali, killing 202 and injuring over 300.
- October 16 – Iraq disarmament crisis: George W. Bush signs the Iraq war resolution.
- October 24 – The Beltway snipers are arrested.
- October 25 – U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone, his family and staff, are killed by a plane accident at Eveleth, Minnesota.
- November 5 – U.S. Elections: The Republican Party maintains control of the House of Representatives and regains control of the Senate.
- November 7 – Iran bans advertising of US products.
- November 8 – Iraq disarmament crisis: UN Security Council Resolution 1441 – The United Nations Security Council unanimously approves a resolution on Iraq, forcing Saddam Hussein to disarm or face "serious consequences".
- November 9 – In Los Angeles, California, television and film actor Merlin Santana is shot to death while sitting in the passenger seat of a friend's car parked on the 3800 block of Victoria Avenue.
- November 13
- November 14 – Argentina defaults on a US$805 million World Bank payment
- November 15 – Hu Jintao becomes general secretary of the Communist Party of China.
- November 16 – A Campaign Against Climate Change march takes place in London from Lincoln's Inn Fields, past Esso offices to the United States Embassy.
- November 18 – Iraq disarmament crisis: United Nations weapons inspectors led by Hans Blix arrive in Iraq.
- November 21 – NATO invites Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia to become members.
- November 22 – In Nigeria, more than 100 people are killed at an attack aimed at the contestants of the Miss World contest.
- November 25 – US President George W. Bush signs the Homeland Security Act into law, establishing the Department of Homeland Security in the largest US government reorganization since the creation of the Department of Defense in 1947 (the Senate passed the bill 90–9 on November 19).
- December 4 – Total solar eclipse
- December 7 – Iraq disarmament crisis: As required by the recently passed U.N. resolution, Iraq files a 12,000 page weapons declaration with the U.N. Security Council. Although it is supposed to be a complete declaration, it is seen as incomplete by the Security Council and weapons inspectors.
- December 10 – High Court of Australia hands down its judgement in the Internet defamation dispute in the case of Gutnick v Dow Jones.
- December 27 – Suicide truck-bomb attack destroys headquarters of Chechnya's Moscow-backed government, killing 72 people.
- December 29 – Communist New People's Army blows up a bust of Ferdinand Marcos in Benguet, Philippines.
For more deaths see: Deaths in 2002
- January 3 – Freddy Heineken, beer magnate (b. 1923)
- January 8 – Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy's International (b. 1932)
- January 12:
- January 13 – Ted Demme, film and television director (b. 1963)
- January 16:
- January 17 – Camilo José Cela, Spanish writer (b. 1916)
- January 22 – Peggy Lee, American singer, actress
- January 23:
- January 28:
- January 29 – Harold Russell, actor
- January 29 or January 30 – Daniel Pearl, journalist (b. 1963) (beheaded in Pakistan)
- February 6 – Max Perutz, founder of molecular biology (b. 1914)
- February 8 – Joachim Hoffmann, German historian (b. 1930)
- February 9 – The Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, sister of Queen Elizabeth II of England (b. 1930)
- February 10 – Harold Furth, American leader in plasma physics and nuclear fusion
- February 11 – Barry Foster, British actor
- February 12 – Theresa Ferber Bernstein, artist
- February 14 – Nándor Hidegkuti, Hungarian footballer (b. 1922)
- February 15:
- February 16 – Walter Winterbottom, the first England football manager (b. 1913)
- February 21 – John Thaw, actor (b. 1942)
- February 22:
- February 24 – Leo Ornstein, composer and pianist (b. 1912)
- February 26 – Lawrence Tierney, actor
- February 27:
- February 28 – Helmut Zacharias, German violinist (b. 1920)
- March 1 – Doreen Waddell, vocalist of bands Soul II Soul and KLF
- March 14 – Cherry Wilder, author (b. 1930)
- March 15 – Sylvester Weaver, television executive
- March 18 – Gösta Winbergh, tenor
- March 25 – Kenneth Wolstenholme, British football commentator
- March 27:
- March 30 – HM Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother of England (b. 1900)
- March 31 – Barry Took, British comedian and writer
- April 5 – Layne Staley, singer with band Alice in Chains
- April 8 – Maria Felix, Mexican actress
- April 9 – Leopold Vietoris, Austrian mathematician
- April 15 – Byron White, US athlete and Supreme Court justice
- April 16:
- April 18:
- April 25:
- April 27:
- April 28:
- May 5 – Hugo Bánzer Suarez, President of Bolivia
- May 6 – Pim Fortuyn, Dutch politician (assassinated)
- May 7 – Seattle Slew, American thoroughbred racehorse
- May 11 – Joseph Bonanno, Sicilian Mafia boss
- May 13 – Valeri Lobanovsky, Ukrainian football manager
- May 19 – John Gorton, nineteenth Prime Minister of Australia
- May 20 – Stephen Jay Gould, paleontologist and author (b. 1941)
- May 21 – Niki de Saint Phalle, French artist (b. 1930)
- May 23 – Sam Snead, American golfer
- May 26 – Mamo Wolde, Ethiopian marathon runner (b. 1932)
- May 28 – Jean Berger, German-born composer (b. 1909)
- June 1 – Hansie Cronje, South African cricketer (b. 1969)
- June 4 – Fernando Belaunde Terry, Peruvian politician, president of Peru (1963-1968) (1980-1985)
- June 5 – Dee Dee Ramone, American musician, bassist with The Ramones (b. September 18, 1952)
- June 6 – Hans Janmaat, controversial far-right politician in the Netherlands
- June 7 – Mary Lilian Baels, Princess of Rethy, Belgium
- June 10 – John Gotti, imprisoned mobster
- June 11 – Robbin Crosby, guitarist of rock band Ratt
- June 12 – Bill Blass, fashion designer
- June 17:
- June 18 – Jack Buck, Major League Baseball announcer
- June 22:
- June 23 – Pedro 'El Rockero' Alcazar, Panamian boxer
- June 24 – Pierre Werner, former Prime Minister of Luxembourg, "father of the euro"
- June 26 – Jay Berwanger, college football player, first winner of the Heisman Trophy
- June 27 – John Entwistle, bassist for The Who
- June 29 – Rosemary Clooney, singer, actress
- July 4 – Benjamin O. Davis Jr., African-American general
- July 5:
- July 6 – John Frankenheimer, film director
- July 8 – Ward Kimball, Disney animator
- July 9:
- July 13 – Yousuf Karsh, celebrity portrait photographer
- July 14 – Joaquín Balaguer, Dominican politician, president of Dominican Republic (1960-1962, 1966-1978, 1986-1996)
- July 16 – John Cocke, key figure in the development of RISC architecture
- July 19 – Alan Lomax, American folklorist and musicologist (b. 1915)
- July 23:
- August 4 – Carmen Silvera, British actress
- August 4 – (approximate date) Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, child-murder victims
- August 5:
- August 6 – Edsger Dijkstra, computer scientist
- August 12 – Enos Slaughter, baseball Hall of Famer
- August 14 – Dave Williams, the singer of Drowning Pool (found dead on the band's tour bus)
- August 16 – Abu Nidal, Palestinian terrorist
- August 23 – Hoyt Wilhelm, Baseball Hall of Fame member
- August 25 – Dorothy Hewett, Australian poet, playwright and novelist
- August 27 – Richard Ricci, Utah handyman and religious fanatic suspected of kidnapping 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart
- August 31 – Lionel Hampton, American jazz musician
- September 11 – Johnny Unitas, American football quarterback
- September 18 – Bob Hayes, American athlete
- September 19 – Sergei Bodrov Jr., Russian actor
- September 21:
- September 23 – Vernon Corea, broadcaster
- October 6:
- October 10 – Teresa Graves, actress
- October 12 – Ray Conniff, American musician and band leader
- October 13 – Stephen Ambrose, historian and Dwight Eisenhower biographer
- October 17 – Derek Bell, member of The Chieftans, harpist
- October 18 – Nikolai Rukavishnikov, cosmonaut
- October 24 – Harry Hay, US gay rights activist and Mattachine Society founder
- October 25:
- October 30 – Jam Master Jay, member of Run DMC
- November 2 – Charles Sheffield, science fiction author and physicist
- November 15 – Myra Hindley, Moors murderess
- November 17 – Abba Eban, Israeli foreign affair minister
- November 21 – Hadda Brooks, American jazz singer, pianist, and composer
- November 24 – John Rawls, political theorist
- November 26 – Verne Winchell, founder of Winchell's Donuts
- December 3 – Glenn Quinn, actor
- December 5 – Ne Win, Burmese dictator
- December 6 – Father Philip Berrigan, priest, political activist
- December 6 – Charles Rosen, pioneer in artificial intelligence
- December 9 – Stan Rice, painter, educator, poet, husband of author Anne Rice
- December 18 – Ray Hnatyshyn, former Governor General of Canada (b. 1934)
- December 22 – Joe Strummer, British musician, guitarist/vocalist with The Clash (b. August 21, 1952)
- Peace: Jimmy Carter, 39th US president "for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development."
- Literature: Imre Kertész, Hungarian writer "for writing that upholds the fragile experience of the individual against the barbaric arbitrariness of history".
- John B. Fenn (Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, USA) and Koichi Tanaka (Shimadzu Corp., Kyoto, Japan) "for their development of soft desorption ionisation methods for mass spectrometric analyses of biological macromolecules"
- Kurt Wüthrich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zürich, Switzerland and The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, USA) "for his development of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy for determining the three-dimensional structure of biological macromolecules in solution"
- Raymond Davis Jr. (Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA) and Masatoshi Koshiba (International Center for Elementary Particle Physics, University of Tokyo, Japan) "for pioneering contributions to astrophysics, in particular for the detection of cosmic neutrinos"
- Riccardo Giacconi (Associated Universities Inc., Washington DC, USA) "for pioneering contributions to astrophysics, which have led to the discovery of cosmic X-ray sources"
- Physiology or Medicine:
- Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel
- 2002 Year-End Google Zeitgeist – Google's Yearly List of Major Events and Top Searches for 2002
- 2002 was Autism Awareness Year in the United Kingdom – initiated by Ivan and Charika Corea of the Autism Awareness Campaign UK and 800 UK organisations led by the BIBIC and the Disabilities Trust.