(CNN)The past year packed some of the biggest stories of our lifetimes into just 365 days. From the insurrection and a new administration to viral missing persons cases, with the Covid-19 pandemic looming above it all, readers had a lot to catch up on.
These were CNN's top 100 digital stories of 2021
One of the year's most read stories happened during the first week of the year: the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol. Readers followed that story from its first few minutes to the weeks and months of fallout that followed, as well as coverage of the Georgia runoffs that won Democrats the Senate, former President Donald Trump's second impeachment trial, and the lead-up to President Joe Biden's inauguration.
Audiences continued to seek answers about Covid-19 and its Delta and Omicron variants as the pandemic evolved. While Trump's exit and mass shootings in Colorado and Indiana dominated the news during the first half of the year, the second half saw readers focus on the disappearances (and later deaths) of Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie, a case that came to wide attention through TikTok, the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan and the deadly crowd crush at the Astroworld music festival.
This year was a challenging one, punctuated by upsetting losses. But it also saw the mass availability of Covid-19 vaccines in the US, a peaceful inauguration after a tumultuous transfer of power and a ship so big it got lodged in the Suez Canal, offering a bizarre alternative to the heavier news of the day.
If the last two years have taught us anything, it's that we can never predict what the future has in store. Revisiting these stories isn't easy, but here's hoping it inspires us to make our world safer and stabler in 2022.
1. Live story: Congress finalizes Biden's win after riot disrupts Capitol
2. Live story: Democrats take control of the Senate
4. Interactive: Tracking Covid-19 cases in the US
5. Live story: House impeaches Trump for role in deadly Capitol riot
6. Live story: The inauguration of Joe Biden
7. Live story: Derek Chauvin guilty in death of George Floyd
8. Live story: Calls grow for Trump's removal after Capitol riot
16. Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito were involved in an incident in Wyoming restaurant in late August, witnesses say
17. Colin Powell, first Black US secretary of state, dies of Covid-19 complications amid cancer battle
18. Interactive: Steer through the Suez Canal
28. At least 8 dead and many injured after crowd surge at Travis Scott's Astroworld Festival in Houston, officials say
32. Live story: Donald Trump acquitted in second impeachment trial
35. Live story: Hurricane Ida makes landfall in Louisiana
36. Live story: Fallout intensifies over Trump's response to Capitol riot
37. After two months in office, Kamala Harris is still living out of suitcases -- and she's getting frustrated with it
43. A California couple vanished after stealing millions in Covid-19 relief funds. They left a goodbye note for their three kids
44. Live story: Multiple dead in shooting at Colorado supermarket
45. Biden signs orders to get checks and food aid to low-income Americans -- plus a federal pay raise
46. Already shunned from polite society, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner face new cold post-insurrection reality
47. Police ID gunman who killed 8 people at an Indianapolis FedEx facility as 19-year-old former employee
48. Warnock wins Georgia runoff, CNN projects, as control of Senate comes down to Perdue-Ossoff race
49. Live story: At least 13 US service members killed in Kabul airport attack
51. Live story: House pushes for Trump's removal after deadly Capitol riot
53. With Trump a no-show, Mar-a-Lago guests left to party maskless with Rudy Giuliani and Vanilla Ice
55. Live story: Kyle Rittenhouse found not guilty on all charges
56. Derek Chauvin's body camera video shows his reaction just after George Floyd left in an ambulance
59. Melania Trump disengaged from her husband's second impeachment trial and bitter over Jill Biden's publicity
60. Live story: Partial building collapse near Miami
61. Live story: Harry and Meghan interview fallout