The best photos of the decade show some of the most tragic, courageous, and heartwarming moments of the 2010s

Some of these photos captured defining moments of the decade.

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Some of these photos captured defining moments of the decade.
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White House/Pete Souza/Handout via Reuters
  • This decade had its share of disaster, war, and unfortunate truths. But it was also filled with heartwarming moments and passionate people enacting change.
  • Reuters recently compiled a list of its best photos from the 2010s, and the photo series captures people’s resilience during the dark times, some unforgettable world events, and the bright, heartfelt moments in between.
  • Take a look at some of the best photos of the decade.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

This decade saw some devastating fires. In 2019, this tree in the Amazon jungle burned as farmers cleared parts of Brazil. Farmers start most of the fires in the Amazon to clear the area for crops and livestock, but in 2019 the rainforest burned at a record rate.

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The fires in the Amazon tend to be seasonal burning that farmers do every year.
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Ricardo Moraes/Reuters

Source: Business Insider


In the same year, the Notre-Dame Cathedral, a symbol of Paris that dates back to the 13th century, burned as well. The exact cause of the fire remains unknown.

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Prosecutors have suggested that a smoldering cigarette might have caused the fire, though the exact cause has not been determined.
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Benoit Tessier/Reuters

Source: Reuters, Business Insider


Two years earlier, a fire started at a protest in Caracas, Venezuela. Here, a protester holds a national flag as a bank branch in a government building burns during a rally against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

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There were protests in the streets of Caracas from April to July 2017.
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Carlos Garcia Rawlins/File Photo/Reuters

Source: PRI


The Philippines saw disaster in 2011 too. Residents sifted through the ruins of their houses after a fire in Makati City. These low-income areas see many fires because homes are made of flammable materials.

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“Fire safety and building codes are unheard of” in this area, Reuters reported.
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Erik de Castro/File Photo/Reuters

Source: Reuters, Reuters


Tsunamis and typhoons destroyed coastlines this decade. In 2011, a tsunami in Japan killed almost 20,000 people.

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This wave struck the northeastern coast of Japan.
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Mainichi Shimbun/Reuters

Source: Reuters, Business Insider


And in 2013, this Philippine coastal town was devastated by Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful typhoons ever recorded.

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Typhoon Haiyan’s reach extended over 1,000 miles.
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Erik De Castro/Reuters

Source: The Atlantic


In 2010, flood victims tried to escape disaster in Pakistan by grabbing the sidebars of a hovering Army helicopter distributing food supplies. The floods left 14 million people homeless.

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The floods damaged or destroyed about 1.6 million houses.
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Adrees Latif/File Photo/Reuters

Source: Britannica, Reuters


There were droughts this decade too. Here, a lone tree survived near a water trough in New South Wales, Australia, in 2018. Australia’s agricultural production shrank because of the drought.

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Much of New South Wales received less than a half-inch of rain in July 2018.
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David Gray/Reuters

Source: Reuters


The world also faced hyperinflation this decade. This photo shows the price of a chicken at a mini-market in Caracas, Venezuela, in 2018: 14.6 million bolivars, or $2.22, a lot for residents of Caracas.

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Venezuela is battling hyperinflation.
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Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

Source: The Guardian


There were wars this decade too. This Kurdistan Workers’ Party fighter standing near a security position in Sinjar, Iraq, in 2015 was fighting the terrorist group ISIS.

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The Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, was formed in the late 1970s.
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Asmaa Waguih/Reuters

Source: Reuters, BBC


This 2017 photo of a man crying as he carries his daughter to Iraqi special forces during a battle in Mosul was considered one of the most powerful Reuters images, taken during the Iraqi-led assault to remove ISIS from its stronghold.

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The man and his child were running away from US-led coalition airstrikes that hit the Tahrir district of Mosul.
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Goran Tomasevic/Reuters

Source: Reuters


Many people were displaced by conflict in the past 10 years. These people were fleeing violence in Sinjar, Iraq, in 2014.

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Yazidi people walking toward the Iraq-Syria border from the Sinjar Mountains.
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Rodi Said/File Photo/Reuters

Source: Reuters


While some were displaced by war, others were displaced by encroachment. Some indigenous tribes in the Amazon think that illegal logging has forced other tribes to move into their areas.

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This tribe is in the Amazon basin near the Xinane River in Brazil.
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Lunae Parracho/File Photo/Reuters

Source: Reuters


This man and child were fleeing poverty and violence in Honduras in 2018, en route to the US. They crossed through the Suchiate River into Mexico from Guatemala.

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Migrants crossed the river because Mexican federal police officers were blocking the long bridge that connects Mexico to Guatemala.
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Adrees Latif/File Photo/Reuters

Source: Business Insider


Some people who were displaced this decade had nowhere to go. This Guatemalan migrant embracing her son was praying for a member of the Mexican National Guard to let them cross into the US.

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The soldier said he was only following orders, according to the photographer, who took this photo in July 2019.
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Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters

Source: Reuters


Others were rescued by Proactiva Open Arms, a charity that helps migrants get from northern Africa to Europe. These migrants came from various countries, but most were from Sudan.

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These migrants were on an inflatable raft with a broken motor when they were rescued in 2018.
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Juan Medina/File Photo/Reuters

Source: Reuters, ABC News


While sexual harassment has always been an issue, people faced consequences this decade — especially celebrities. Here, the film producer Harvey Weinstein is taken to a court in New York in May 2018.

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Weinstein was charged with rape and sexual abuse of two women.
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Shannon Stapleton/File Photo/Reuters

Source: Reuters


This decade wasn’t all bad — it actually brought out the strength of some kids. Here, the environmental activist Greta Thunberg and others from the Youth for Climate Action movement attend the National Assembly in Paris in July 2019.

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Ivy-Fleur Boileau, Virgile Mouquet, Adelaide Charlier, and Alicia Arquetoux are French activists with the movement.
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Philippe Wojazer/File Photo/Reuters

Source: Reuters


The activist Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by the Taliban in 2012 for campaigning for girls’ education, signed a copy of her memoir before a launch event in London in 2013.

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Her memoir is called “I Am Malala.”
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Olivia Harris/Reuters

Source: Time


This decade, people fought for their beliefs. Here, a demonstrator looks directly into the eyes of a riot police officer during a 2016 protest honoring victims of the dictator Augusto Pinochet in Santiago, Chile. This photo went viral after the protest.

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Seven police officers were injured and about 49 people were detained during the protest, CNN reported.
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Carlos Vera/Reuters

Source: Business Insider, CNN


Two years earlier, as people in Hong Kong protested Beijing’s restrictions on democracy, a protester raised his umbrellas in front of tear gas fired by riot police.

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The protestor was nicknamed the “Umbrella Man.”
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Tyrone Siu/Reuters

Source: Business Insider


This portrait of Kandy Freeman participating in a Black Lives Matter protest in front of Trump Tower in New York in 2017 was considered one of the most beautiful photographs of the year.

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The Black Lives Matter movement began in 2013.
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Stephanie Keith/File Photo/Reuters

Source: Insider, CNN


And in 2011, anti-government protesters celebrated Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s resignation in Cairo. They gathered in Tahrir Square and had a carnival-like celebration.

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Tahrir Square is commonly referred to as “Liberation Square.”
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Amr Abdallah Dalsh/File Photo/Reuters

Source: Reuters


In 2016, demonstrators protested to show London’s solidarity with the European Union after the UK voted to leave the EU.

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The protest was in Trafalgar Square.
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Dylan Martinez/File Photo/Reuters

Source: Business Insider


Some of these photos depicted major world events. This photo of the national-security team in the Situation Room was taken during the mission to kill Osama bin Laden a decade after September 11, 2001.

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An image on the laptop in front of Hillary Clinton is blurred.
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White House/Pete Souza/Handout via Reuters

Source: Business Insider


Other photos were just heartwarming. This photo of first lady Michelle Obama adjusting President Barack Obama’s tie at the White House in 2015 was a delight.

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He wore the same tuxedo for his entire presidency, Michelle said.
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Mike Theiler/Reuters

Source: Business Insider


And this photo evoked a similar feeling in 2018 when Britain’s Prince Harry married Meghan Markle.

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They married on May 19, 2018.
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Damir Sagolj/Reuters

Source: Business Insider


This photo of a smiling Usain Bolt at the men’s 100-meter semifinals at the 2016 Rio Olympics showed us the fun side of intense competition.

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Bolt was the fastest person in the world for almost a decade, until he retired in 2017.
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Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

Source: Business Insider


And this photo of France’s men’s soccer team celebrating winning the World Cup against Croatia in Moscow in 2018 was a happy human moment.

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France’s Ousmane Dembele, Presnel Kimpembe, and Alphonse Areola celebrating the victory.
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Michael Dalder/Reuters

Source: Reuters


Finally, this image of two cowboys kissing at the International Gay Rodeo Association’s 2015 “Rodeo in the Rock” party in Little Rock, Arkansas, gave us hope for equality.

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Gordon Satterly, from Michigan, and Richard Brand, from Texas, are married.
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Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

Source: PBS