Twin terror attacks in Paris book-ended a year dominated by the fight against Islamic State in Syria and the resulting exodus of refugees.
In Britain, the Conservatives swept back into power in a surprise election victory, the SNP took almost complete control of Scotland, support for the Lib Dems evaporated, and Labour lurched to the left with the appointment of Jeremy Corbyn as party leader. The US saw yet more mass shootings, accusations of police brutality and race riots, while Donald Trump somehow emerged as the leading Republican candidate in the bid to succeed Obama.
IBTimes UK, we have chosen the 100 biggest and best news photos of the year. This gallery contains the first 50, covering January to July 2015.
See part two of our round-up of the year's biggest news photos here. 1 January 2015: A man rides a stand-up paddle board as fireworks explode above him during New Year's festivities on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Mario Tama/Getty Images 11 January 2015: A passenger waits for a train during the No Pants Subway Ride in Mexico City, an annual flash mob that occurs in different cities around the world Edgard Garrido/Reuters 11 January 2015: Demonstrators make their way along Boulevard Voltaire to pay tribute to the victims of terrorist attacks on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket in Paris Christopher Furlong/Getty Images 11 January 2015: A man holds a giant pencil as he takes part in a solidarity march in the streets of Paris following the shootings at the offices of the satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo Stephane Mahe/Reuters 14 January 2015: A man walks along the famous Dark Hedges avenue of trees in Antrim, Northern Ireland. The province experienced heavy snowfall as a cold weather front hit the northern part of the United Kingdom, causing major traffic disruption and school closures Charles McQuillan/Getty Images 15 January 2015: Amid tight security, members of the public arrive to pay their respects at the funeral of Charlie Hebdo cartoonist Bernard 'Tignous' Verlhac at Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris Christopher Furlong/Getty Images 30 January 2015: Musa, a 25-year-old Kurdish marksman, looks at the destroyed Syrian town of Kobani, also known as Ain al-Arab. Kurdish forces recaptured the town on the Turkish frontier in a symbolic blow to the jihadists who have seized large swathes of territory in their onslaught across Syria and Iraq Bulent Kilic/AFP 8 February 2015: Madonna performs on stage at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles Robyn Beck/AFP 20 February 2015: Ice floes are seen along the Hudson River in Manhattan as New York, and much of the northern United States is gripped by unusually cold weather Spencer Platt/Getty Images 12 March 2015: The Soyuz TMA-14M capsule with International Space Station crew members Barry Wilmore of the US and Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova of Russia descend through the clouds on a parachute just before landing southeast of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan Bill Ingalls/Nasa/Reuters 13 March 2015: A female Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) fighter stands near a security position in Sinjar in northwest Iraq during their battle against Islamic State Asmaa Waguih/Reuters 30 March 2015: A fox runs past the door of 10 Downing Street in London on the morning the Queen dissolved Parliament to signal the start of campaigning for the election Carl Court/Getty Images 31 March 2015: Solar panels cover a hill in a photovoltaic park in Les Mees, in the department of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, southern France. The Colle des Mees solar farm covers an area of 200 hectares (494 acres) Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters 1 April 2015: A train passes through a tunnel as tourists walk along the El Caminito del Rey (King's Little Path) in Malaga, Spain. The footpath, which was built in 1905 and winds through the Gaitanes Gorge, reopened after two fatal accidents in 1999 and 2000 David Ramos/Getty Images 5 April 2015: Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party, David Cameron, feeds orphaned lambs on Dean Lane farm, south of Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, during campaigning for the general election Leon Neal/AFP 10 April 2015: A "nail house", the last building in the area, sits in the middle of a road under construction in Nanning, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China. According to local media, the owner of the house failed to reach an agreement with the local authority about compensation for demolition 15 April 2015: An aerial view of flower fields near Keukenhof, also known as the Garden of Europe, in Lisse, the Netherlands Yves Herman/Reuters 16 April 2015: Greek riot policemen are splattered with red paint thrown by protesters outside Athens University Aris Messinis/AFP 22 April 2015: Smoke and ash rise from the Calbuco volcano as seen from the city of Puerto Montt. The volcano in southern Chile erupted for the first time in more than five decades, sending a thick plume of ash and smoke several kilometres into the sky Rafael Arenas/Reuters 23 April 2015: Volcanic lightning crackles as ash and lava erupt from the Calbuco volcano in southern Chile Martin Bernetti/AFP 25 April 2015: A huge cloud of snow and debris triggered by the Nepal earthquake flies towards Everest Base Camp, moments before flattening part of the camp in the Himalayas Roberto Schmidt/AFP 27 April 2015: A mixture of milk and water rolls down a man's chest after he was pepper-sprayed by the Baltimore Police during violent protests following the funeral of Freddie Gray Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images 28 April 2015: A firefighter uses a saw to open a gate while fighting a fire at a convenience store and residence in Baltimore. The city erupted in violence following the funeral of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died after he was injured in police custody Eric Thayer/Reuters 28 April 2015: An injured girl is carried by a Nepal Army soldier to a helicopter in Sindhupalchowk following the devastating earthquake Danish Siddiqui/Reuters 4 May 2015: Rihanna arrives at the 2015 Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute Gala in New York Timothy A Clary/AFP 5 May 2015: Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish First Minister and leader of the SNP, poses with children at ABC nursery in Livingston as campaigning in the general election entered its last 48 hours Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images 6 May 2015: A man is carried by villagers and Nepalese soldiers towards an Indian helicopter in Lampuk, Nepal. He was injured by an aftershock, nearly two weeks after the country was devastated by an earthquake David Ramos/Getty Images 7 May 2015: A man begs for help from the military as he stands in a drain where he had hid to escape a lynch mob at the Cibitoke district of the Burundi capital, Bujumbura Aymeric Vincenot/AFP 11 May 2015: A man wears grass and leaves around his face during a protest against President Pierre Nkurunziza's decision to run for a third term, in Bujumbura, Burundi Goran Tomasevic/Reuters 11 May 2015: Palestinians travel on donkey carts through rubble and destroyed buildings in the eastern Gaza City neighbourhood of Shujaiya, which was devastaed during the 50-day war between Israel and Hamas militants in the summer of 2014 Thomas Coex/AFP 13 May 2015: Residents, with their belongings, return to their villages on a pickup truck after Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) fighters retook control of the area around Ras al-Ain in Syria from Islamic State Rodi Said/AFP 14 May 2015: Rohingya and Bangladeshi men pass food supplies dropped by a Thai army helicopter to others aboard a boat found drifting in the Andaman sea off the island of Koh Lipe, Thailand Christophe Archambault/AFP 14 May 2015: A man eats food dropped by a Thai army helicopter into the sea around a boat drifting off the island of Koh Lipe. The boat crammed with scores of starving Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants – including many young children – was found drifting in Thai waters Christophe Archambault/AFP 2 June 2015: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un inspects construction work at the Wonsan Baby Home and Orphanage KCNA 8 June 2015: German Chancellor Angela Merkel gestures while chatting with US President Barack Obama outside the Elmau Castle during the G7 summit near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, southern Germany Michael Kappeler 13 June 2015: Islamic State fighters laugh as they round people up at the Akcakale border crossing between Syria and Turkey and tell them to go back to Tel Abyad Bulent Kilic/AFP 14 June 2014: Refugees and migrants protect themselves from the weather with emergency blankets as they huddle on the seawall after being blocked at the Saint Ludovic border crossing between Vintimille, Italy and Menton, France Jean-Pierre Amet/Reuters 14 June 2015: A hippopotamus walks along a flooded street in Tbilisi, Georgia, as animals from the city's zoo escaped from their cages and enclosures Beso Gulashvili/Reuters 15 June 2015: A Syrian refugee holding a child waits to cross into Turkey at the Akcakale border gate while fleeing Islamic State Umit Bektas/Reuters 25 June 2015: A child looks on as mourners attend the funeral of Mohammad Hamidi, Hasan Ghafari and Ali Amrai, members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards killed in Syria while fighting against Islamic State Atta Kenare/AFP 26 June 2015: US President Barack Obama speaks during funeral services for Reverend Clementa Pinckney, one of nine victims of a mass shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina Brian Snyder/Reuters 27 June 2015: A woman grieves as she lays flowers on the beach near the Imperial Marhaba Hotel in Souuse, Tunisia, where 38 people were killed in a terrorist attack Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images 30 June 2015: A veterinarian stimulates a week-old panda cub to urinate at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Sichuan Province, China John Moore/Getty Images 30 June 2015: Security forces and rescue teams examine the wreckage of an Indonesian military C-130 Hercules transport plane after it crashed in the North Sumatra city of Medan. At least 30 people were killed when the plane crashed into a residential area two minutes after take-off Roni Bintang/Reuters 5 July 2015: Prince George looks into the pram of his sister Princess Charlotte after her christening at the Church of St Mary Magdalene in Sandringham Matt Dunham 6 July 2015: A pensioner argues with an official as he tries to enter a National Bank branch to receive part of his pension in Athens, Greece Christian Hartmann/Reuters 6 July 2015: A young woman gasps for air as crowds of revellers party on the streets of Pamplona during the opening day of the San Fermin Running of the Bulls festival David Ramos/Getty Images 6 July 2015: A dark thunderstorm dumps rain and hail on the Las Vegas Strip, causing flooding and power outages Ethan Miller/Getty Images 12 July 2015: A chimpanzee cools off with a drink to beat the summer heat at a zoo in Shenyang, Liaoning province, China China Daily/Reuters 20 July 2015: British comedian Lee Nelson throws banknotes at suspended Fifa President Sepp Blatter as he arrives for a news conference at footballing body's headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters