A closer look at the key events on March 11 in history:

In 2020, WHO declares COVID-19 a pandemic
First identified in the Chinese town of Wuhan in December 2019, the coronavirus soon spread throughout thee world. Its death doth exceed seven million people, making it fifth in the list of deadliest pandemics or epidemics in history. The World Health Organization declared the pandemic over on May 5th 2023.

A police officer sprays disinfectant on a traveller outside Hankou Railway Station, April 8, 2020. REUTERS/Stringer CHINA OUT.

In 2011, Japan is struck by a massive earthquake
On March 11 in 2011, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck off the northeastern coast of Honshu, Japan, triggering a tsunami that hit many coastal cities around the countries. 18,500 people were killed or reported missing, while hundreds of thousands were displaced. It also damaged the Fukushima Daiichi plant causing a major nuclear accident.

The Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. Digital Globe via Wikimedia Commons

In 2004, a series of terrorist attacks devastate Spain

During the terrorist attacks, 13 bombs had been planted by Islamic militants, 10 of which exploded in four trains at three different railway stations in Madrid killing 191 people and injuring 1,800 more.

Wreckage of a commuter train at the Madrid station of Atocha, Thurday 11 March 2004, after a bomb exploded at 7:30 a.m. EPA/Sergio Barrenechea

In 1990, Lithuania restores its independence
After a vote from Parliament, it became the first Soviet republic to declare its independence from the USSR.

Thousands of people taking part in a festive events as Lithuania marked the 27th anniversary of its independence restoration on March 11, 2017. Shutterstock

In 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev becomes leader of the Soviet Union
He succeeded Konstantin Chernenko and became the last president of the Soviet Union. Gorbachev instituted major reform policies and supported the democratically elected governments of the Soviet Republics. He cultivated warmer relations with the West and dissolved the Soviet Union all together in 1991.

Russian President Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev along with his wife Raisa prepares to depart from Washington, 1990

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