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The 20th (twentieth) century began on January 1, 1901, and ended on December 31, 2000. It was the tenth and final century of the 2nd millennium. Unlike most century years, the year 2000 was a leap year, and the second century leap year in the Gregorian calendar after 1600.

The 20th century was dominated by a chain of events that heralded significant changes in world history as to redefine the era: Spanish flu pandemic, World War I and World War II, nuclear weapons, nuclear power and space exploration, nationalism and decolonization, the Cold War and post-Cold War conflicts; intergovernmental organizations and cultural homogenization through developments in emerging transportation and communications technology; poverty reduction and world population growth, awareness of environmental degradation, ecological extinction; and the birth of the Digital Revolution, enabled by the wide adoption of MOS transistors and integrated circuits. It saw great advances in power generation, communication and medical technology that by the late 1980s allowed for near-instantaneous worldwide computer communication and genetic modification of life.

The 20th century saw the largest transformation of the world order since the Fall of Rome: global total fertility rates, sea level rise and ecological collapses increased; the resulting competition for land and dwindling resources accelerated deforestation, water depletion, and the mass extinction of many of the world's species and decline in the population of others; consequences which are now being dealt with. Man-made global warming resulted in more extreme weather conditions; the average global temperature on Earth has increased by a little more than 1° Celsius (2° Fahrenheit) since 1880; Two-thirds of the warming has occurred since 1975, at a rate of roughly 0.15–0.20 °C per decade.

The repercussions of the World Wars, Cold War and globalization crafted a world where people are more united than any previous time in human history, as exemplified by the establishment of international law, international aid, and the United Nations. The Marshall Plan—which spent $13 billion ($100 billion in 2019 US dollars) to rebuild the economies of post-war nations—launched "Pax Americana". Throughout the latter half of the 20th century, the rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union created enormous tensions around the world which manifested in various armed conflicts and the omnipresent danger of nuclear proliferation. The dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 after the collapse of its European alliance was heralded by the West as the end of communism, though by the century's end roughly one in six people on Earth lived under communist rule, mostly in China which was rapidly rising as an economic and geopolitical power.

It took over two-hundred thousand years of human history up to 1804 for the world's population to reach 1 billion; world population reached an estimated 2 billion in 1927; by late 1999, the global population reached 6 billion, with over half being concentrated in East, South and Southeast Asia. Global literacy averaged 80%. Penicillin and other medical breakthroughs combined with the World Health Organization's global campaigns for the eradication of smallpox and other diseases responsible for more human deaths than all wars and natural disasters combined yielded unprecedented results; smallpox now only existed in labs. Machines were being utilized in all areas of production, feeding an increasingly intricate national supply chain, meaning for the first time in history, mankind was no longer constrained by how much it could produce, but rather by peoples' willingness to consume. Trade improvements reversed the limited set of food-producing techniques used since the Neolithic period, greatly enhancing the diversity of foods available, resulting in an upturn in the quality of human nutrition. Until the early 19th century, life expectancy was about thirty in most populations; global lifespan-averages exceeded 40+ years for the first time in history, with over half achieving 70+ years (three decades longer than a century earlier).

20th century Media

372,617 media by topicpage 1 of 3727
Deseronto, Ontario, Canada - HMR2-09-47

Deseronto, Ontario, Canada - HMR2-09-47

"John Gzowski & Adrian 'Socks' Apl 11/09"..The photographer's brother, Adrian Rathbun, and John Gzowski, comparing socks [!]. Photograph taken April 11, 1909, one of a series taken on the veranda of the Rathbun... More

Oldsmobile Sales Co., Rock Creek Park, [Washington, D.C.]
Facsimile: Scene of Fish Preparation and Net Making
Patchwork Bojagi (Wrapping Cloth)

Patchwork Bojagi (Wrapping Cloth)

Unidentified Artist Korean, 20th century

Patchwork wrapping cloth (jogakbo)

Patchwork wrapping cloth (jogakbo)

Unidentified Artist Korean, 20th century

Patchwork wrapping cloth (jogakbo)

Patchwork wrapping cloth (jogakbo)

Unidentified Artist Korean, 20th century

Patchwork Wrapping Cloth (Jogakbo)

Patchwork Wrapping Cloth (Jogakbo)

Unidentified Artist Korean, 20th century

Bloomsday

Bloomsday

Poets Patrick Kavanagh and Anthony Cronin at the church in Monkstown with the carriage in which they'd been proceeding about Dublin in the footsteps of Leopold Bloom, the main protagonist in Ulysses - 50 years ... More

Joseph Mallord William Turner - Grand Canal, Venice

Joseph Mallord William Turner - Grand Canal, Venice

After Joseph Mallord William Turner (British, London 1775–1851 London)

Arch Steam Vent, Yellowstone National Park

Arch Steam Vent, Yellowstone National Park

Historic photograph of Arch Steam Vent from 1967, before the arch collapsed.

Bartolomeo Vanzetti autographed letter signed to Vincenzo Brini, [Charlestown, ca. 17 June 1922]

Bartolomeo Vanzetti autographed letter signed to Vincenzo Brini, [Char...

Discussing the last installment of his own novel Eventi e Vittime in "L'Adunata de Refrattari" [of 30 May 1922] and philosophy about writing, and referring to [Errico] Malatesta and Fred H. Moore's commitment t... More

Bartolomeo Vanzetti autographed letter signed to Alfonsina [Brini], [Charlestown, ca. 17 June 1822]

Bartolomeo Vanzetti autographed letter signed to Alfonsina [Brini], [C...

On feeling reassured after receipt of letter from Beltrando and Lefevre [Brini]. making arrangements for them to see him, and writing to [Vincenzo] Brini. Courtesy of Boston Public Library

Bartolomeo Vanzetti autographed letter signed to Lefevre Brini, [Charlestown, ca. 17 June 1922]

Bartolomeo Vanzetti autographed letter signed to Lefevre Brini, [Charl...

Giving fatherly advice. Courtesy of Boston Public Library

Lighthouse Libby Island -- Maine

Lighthouse Libby Island -- Maine

Caption: View taken from bottom of boat-slip looking South. 10 ft. distant. Date: 12/3/1929 District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Libby Island

Lighthouse Libby Island -- Maine

Lighthouse Libby Island -- Maine

Caption: Libby Island Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Libby Island

Lighthouse Hendricks Head -- Maine

Lighthouse Hendricks Head -- Maine

Caption: Hendricks Head Light Station, Maine. Date: 1885 District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Hendricks Head

Lighthouse Marshall Point -- Maine

Lighthouse Marshall Point -- Maine

Caption: Marshall Point Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Marshall Point

Lighthouse Cape Neddick -- Maine

Lighthouse Cape Neddick -- Maine

Caption: Cape Neddick Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Cape Neddick

Lighthouse Doubling Point -- Maine

Lighthouse Doubling Point -- Maine

Caption: Doubling Point Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Doubling Point

Lighthouse Baker Island -- Maine

Lighthouse Baker Island -- Maine

Caption: Baker Island Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Baker Island

Lighthouse Lubec Channel -- Maine

Lighthouse Lubec Channel -- Maine

Caption: Lubec Narrows West Bar Day Beacon. Removed for dredging U.S. Engineers. Date: 1872 - 1897 District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Lubec Channel

Lighthouse Baker Island -- Maine

Lighthouse Baker Island -- Maine

Caption: Baker Island Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Baker Island

Lighthouse Egg Rock -- Maine

Lighthouse Egg Rock -- Maine

Caption: Egg Rock Fog Signal Station, Maine. Showing Hornsby-Akroyd oil engines, timing gear, etc. Taken 5 ft. distance, looking East. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Egg Rock

Lighthouse Burnt Island -- Maine

Lighthouse Burnt Island -- Maine

Caption: Burnt Island Light Station, Maine. Date: 1885 District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Burnt Island

Lighthouse Franklin Island -- Maine

Lighthouse Franklin Island -- Maine

Caption: Franklin Island Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Franklin Island

Lighthouse Hendricks Head -- Maine

Lighthouse Hendricks Head -- Maine

Caption: Hendricks Head Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Hendricks Head

Lighthouse Heron Neck -- Maine

Lighthouse Heron Neck -- Maine

Caption: Heron Neck Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Heron Neck

Lighthouse Avery Rock -- Maine

Lighthouse Avery Rock -- Maine

Caption: View of station showing breakwater washed away and damage to bell tower and house by storm of January 25-26, 1928. Looking NW. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Avery Rock

Lighthouse Doubling Point -- Maine

Lighthouse Doubling Point -- Maine

Caption: Doubling Point Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Doubling Point

Lighthouse Marshall Point -- Maine

Lighthouse Marshall Point -- Maine

Caption: Marshall Point Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Marshall Point

Lighthouse Avery Rock -- Maine

Lighthouse Avery Rock -- Maine

Caption: Avery Rock Light Station, Maine. Date: 1892 District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Avery Rock

Lighthouse Marshall Point -- Maine

Lighthouse Marshall Point -- Maine

Caption: Marshall Point Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Marshall Point

Lighthouse Manana Island -- Maine

Lighthouse Manana Island -- Maine

Caption: General view of Manana from Monhegan, looking West - distance about 3000 ft. Date: 7/22/1932 District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Manana Island

Lighthouse Deer Island Thorofare -- Maine

Lighthouse Deer Island Thorofare -- Maine

Caption: Deer Island Thorofare Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Deer Island Thorofare

Lighthouse Bear Island -- Maine

Lighthouse Bear Island -- Maine

Caption: Bear Island Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Bear Island

Lighthouse Little River -- Maine

Lighthouse Little River -- Maine

Caption: Little River Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Little River

Lighthouse Little River -- Maine

Lighthouse Little River -- Maine

Caption: Little River Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Little River

Lighthouse Little River -- Maine

Lighthouse Little River -- Maine

Caption: Little River Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Little River

Lighthouse Bear Island -- Maine

Lighthouse Bear Island -- Maine

Caption: Bear Island Light and Depot, Maine. Date: 1925 District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Bear Island

Lighthouse Little River -- Maine

Lighthouse Little River -- Maine

Caption: Little River Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Little River

Lighthouse Great Duck Island -- Maine

Lighthouse Great Duck Island -- Maine

Caption: Great Duck Island Light Station, Maine. Date: 1925 District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Great Duck Island

Lighthouse Halfway Rock -- Maine

Lighthouse Halfway Rock -- Maine

Caption: Halfway Rock Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Halfway Rock

Lighthouse Burnt Coat Harbor -- Maine

Lighthouse Burnt Coat Harbor -- Maine

Caption: Burnt Coat Harbor Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Burnt Coat Harbor

Lighthouse Marshall Point -- Maine

Lighthouse Marshall Point -- Maine

Caption: Marshall Point Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Marshall Point

Lighthouse Little River -- Maine

Lighthouse Little River -- Maine

Caption: Little River Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Little River

Lighthouse Burnt Coat Harbor -- Maine

Lighthouse Burnt Coat Harbor -- Maine

Caption: Burnt Coat Harbor Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Burnt Coat Harbor

Lighthouse Indian Island -- Maine

Lighthouse Indian Island -- Maine

Caption: Indian Island Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Indian Island

Lighthouse Burnt Island -- Maine

Lighthouse Burnt Island -- Maine

Caption: Burnt Island Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Burnt Island

Lighthouse Baker Island -- Maine

Lighthouse Baker Island -- Maine

Caption: Baker Island Light Station, Maine. Date: 1897 District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Baker Island

Lighthouse Little Diamond Island -- Maine

Lighthouse Little Diamond Island -- Maine

Caption: Little Diamond Island Depot, Maine. Date: 5/20/1925 District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Little Diamond Island

Lighthouse Cape Elizabeth -- Maine

Lighthouse Cape Elizabeth -- Maine

Caption: Cape Elizabeth Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Cape Elizabeth

Lighthouse Halfway Rock -- Maine

Lighthouse Halfway Rock -- Maine

Caption: Halfway Rock Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Halfway Rock

Lighthouse Cape Elizabeth -- Maine

Lighthouse Cape Elizabeth -- Maine

Caption: Cape Elizabeth Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Cape Elizabeth

Lighthouse Baker Island -- Maine

Lighthouse Baker Island -- Maine

Caption: Baker Island Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Baker Island

Lighthouse Halfway Rock -- Maine

Lighthouse Halfway Rock -- Maine

Caption: Halfway Rock Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Halfway Rock

Lighthouse Crabtree Ledge -- Maine

Lighthouse Crabtree Ledge -- Maine

Caption: Crabtree Ledge Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Crabtree Ledge

Lighthouse Fort Point -- Maine

Lighthouse Fort Point -- Maine

Caption: Fort Point Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Fort Point

Lighthouse Little River -- Maine

Lighthouse Little River -- Maine

Caption: Little River Light Station, Maine. Date: 1892 District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Little River

Lighthouse Great Duck Island -- Maine

Lighthouse Great Duck Island -- Maine

Caption: Great Duck Island Light Station, Maine. Date: 1925 District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Great Duck Island

Lighthouse Cape Elizabeth -- Maine

Lighthouse Cape Elizabeth -- Maine

Caption: Cape Elizabeth, East, Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Cape Elizabeth

Lighthouse Little River -- Maine

Lighthouse Little River -- Maine

Caption: Little River Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Little River

Lighthouse Cape Neddick -- Maine

Lighthouse Cape Neddick -- Maine

Caption: Cape Neddick Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Cape Neddick

Lighthouse Avery Rock -- Maine

Lighthouse Avery Rock -- Maine

Caption: View of southeast corner of house, showing cornice of roof smashed, and window broken in by storm of January 25-26, 1928. Looking NE. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Avery Rock

Lighthouse Manana Island -- Maine

Lighthouse Manana Island -- Maine

Caption: Manana Island Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Manana Island

Lighthouse Avery Rock -- Maine

Lighthouse Avery Rock -- Maine

Caption: Avery Rock Light Station, Maine. Date: 1890 District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Avery Rock

Lighthouse Manana Island -- Maine

Lighthouse Manana Island -- Maine

Caption: Remington Oil Engine Fog Signal Installation. Date: 4/7/1914 District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Manana Island

Lighthouse Indian Island -- Maine

Lighthouse Indian Island -- Maine

Caption: Indian Island Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Indian Island

Lighthouse Little River -- Maine

Lighthouse Little River -- Maine

Caption: Little River Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Little River

Lighthouse Little River -- Maine

Lighthouse Little River -- Maine

Caption: Little River Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Little River

Lighthouse Doubling Point -- Maine

Lighthouse Doubling Point -- Maine

Caption: Doubling Point Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Doubling Point

Lighthouse Cape Elizabeth -- Maine

Lighthouse Cape Elizabeth -- Maine

Caption: Cape Elizabeth Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Cape Elizabeth

Lighthouse Cape Neddick -- Maine

Lighthouse Cape Neddick -- Maine

Caption: Cape Neddick Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Cape Neddick

Lighthouse Great Duck Island -- Maine

Lighthouse Great Duck Island -- Maine

Caption: Great Duck Island Light Station, Maine. Date: 1925 District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Great Duck Island

Lighthouse Cuckolds Fog -- Maine

Lighthouse Cuckolds Fog -- Maine

Caption: Cuckholds Fog Signal Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Cuckolds Fog

Lighthouse Fort Point -- Maine

Lighthouse Fort Point -- Maine

Caption: Fort Point Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Fort Point

Lighthouse Boon Island -- Maine

Lighthouse Boon Island -- Maine

Caption: Boon Island Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Boon Island

Lighthouse Boon Island -- Maine

Lighthouse Boon Island -- Maine

Caption: Boon Island Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Boon Island

Lighthouse Manana Island -- Maine

Lighthouse Manana Island -- Maine

Caption: Manana Island Fog Signal Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Manana Island

Lighthouse Cape Neddick -- Maine

Lighthouse Cape Neddick -- Maine

Caption: Cape Neddick Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Cape Neddick

Lighthouse Boon Island -- Maine

Lighthouse Boon Island -- Maine

Caption: Boon Island Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Boon Island

Lighthouse Baker Island -- Maine

Lighthouse Baker Island -- Maine

Caption: Baker Island Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Baker Island

Lighthouse Libby Island -- Maine

Lighthouse Libby Island -- Maine

Caption: Libby Island Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Libby Island

Lighthouse Avery Rock -- Maine

Lighthouse Avery Rock -- Maine

Caption: Avery Rock Light Station, Maine. Date: 1893 District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Avery Rock

Lighthouse Doubling Point -- Maine

Lighthouse Doubling Point -- Maine

Caption: Doubling Point Range Light Station, Maine. Date: 1898 District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Doubling Point

Lighthouse Browns Head -- Maine

Lighthouse Browns Head -- Maine

Caption: Browns Head Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Browns Head

Lighthouse Libby Island -- Maine

Lighthouse Libby Island -- Maine

Caption: Libby Island Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Libby Island

Lighthouse Doubling Point -- Maine

Lighthouse Doubling Point -- Maine

Caption: Doubling Point Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Doubling Point

Lighthouse Deer Island Thorofare -- Maine

Lighthouse Deer Island Thorofare -- Maine

Caption: Deer Island Thorofare Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Deer Island Thorofare

Lighthouse Dice Head -- Maine

Lighthouse Dice Head -- Maine

Caption: Dice Head Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Dice Head

Lighthouse Grindel Point -- Maine

Lighthouse Grindel Point -- Maine

Caption: Grindel Point Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Grindel Point

Lighthouse Goat Island -- Maine

Lighthouse Goat Island -- Maine

Caption: Goat Island Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Goat Island

Lighthouse Marshall Point -- Maine

Lighthouse Marshall Point -- Maine

Caption: Marshall Point Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Marshall Point

Lighthouse Cape Elizabeth -- Maine

Lighthouse Cape Elizabeth -- Maine

Caption: Cape Elizabeth Light Station, Maine. Date: 1925 District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Cape Elizabeth

Lighthouse Hendricks Head -- Maine

Lighthouse Hendricks Head -- Maine

Caption: Hendricks Head Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Hendricks Head

Lighthouse Bear Island -- Maine

Lighthouse Bear Island -- Maine

Caption: Bear Island Light and Depot, Maine. Date: 1925 District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Bear Island

Lighthouse Little Diamond Island -- Maine

Lighthouse Little Diamond Island -- Maine

Caption: Little Diamond Island Depot, Maine. Date: 5/20/1925 District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Little Diamond Island

Lighthouse Marshall Point -- Maine

Lighthouse Marshall Point -- Maine

Caption: Marshall Point Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Marshall Point

Lighthouse Marshall Point -- Maine

Lighthouse Marshall Point -- Maine

Caption: Marshall Point Light Station, Maine. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Marshall Point

Lighthouse Cape Elizabeth -- Maine

Lighthouse Cape Elizabeth -- Maine

Caption: Cape Elizabeth, NW 3/4 mile. District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Cape Elizabeth

Lighthouse Libby Island -- Maine

Lighthouse Libby Island -- Maine

Caption: View of Keepers dwelling, Asst. Keepers dwelling, rain-shed and barn, taken from lantern gallery looking NW, 50 ft. distant. Date: 12/3/1929 District: 1 State: ME Maine -- Libby Island

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