Historic timeline since September 2009

2009 - Pop icon Michael Jackson dies, creating the largest public mourning for an entertainer since the death of Elvis Presley.

2010 - The controversial Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is passed by razor-thin margins in Congress

2010 - The Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico explodes, sending millions of gallons of oil into the sea. The spill becomes the worst oil spill in American history.

2010 - Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act

2010 - Republicans regain control of the House of Representatives and reduce the Democratic majority in the Senate.

2010 - A series of measures pass through an historic lame-duck session of Congress including an extension of Bush-era tax cuts for all Americans, the ratification of the New START II treaty with Russia, signing of an agreement to repeal the don't ask don't tell policy concerning gays and lesbians openly serving in the US military, and passage of a 9/11 first responders health-care bill.

2011 - U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords is targeted in an assassination attempt, when a gunman went on a shooting spree, critically injuring Giffords, killing federal judge John Roll and five other people, and wounding at least 13 others, at a "Congress on Your Corner" event Giffords was hosting in suburban Tucson, Arizona.

2011 - The US launches Operation Odyssey Dawn as part of UN military intervention in the Libyan civil war.

2011 - A series of tornadoes devastate the South, Alabama being the hardest hit. 339 people are killed in the deadliest natural disaster in the US since Hurricane Katrina.

2011 - Osama bin Laden, leader of al-Qaeda and mastermind of the September 11 attacks, is confirmed dead in Abbottabad, Pakistan by President Barack Obama.

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