The War on Terror continued with conflict in Africa, as an Islamist insurgency in Northern Mali led France to respond by deploying 5,000 troops in military Operation Serval. After a month of fierce fighting in towns such as Konna and Diabaly, the French and Malian forces had managed to recapture all major cities in the country.

In response, Al-Qaeda linked terrorists took over 800 people hostage at the In-Amenas gas plant in Algeria, demanding that the French end their military operations in Northern Mali. Despite being taken back by Algerian forces, the death toll was high, with 37 foreigners, including six Britons and one UK resident killed.

The United States then suffered a terrorist attack on home soil in April, when the explosion of two bombs killed three people at the Boston marathon. A manhunt began for the two suspects, brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Whilst Tamerlan was killed after being shot by police and run over by his brother, the severely injured Dzhokar was apprehended and could now go on trial next year.

Even closer to home, in May British Army soldier Lee Rigby was killed by two men in Woolwich, Southeast London. After the murder, the two suspects, Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, waited for police and told bystanders they were avenging the killing of Muslims by British armed forces. The attack was condemned by political and Muslim leaders in the UK.

In September, gunmen launched a major attack on the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya. 72 people, including four Britons, were killed in the three-day siege. Islamist group al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack, with a report by the New York Police Department suggesting the four gunmen all likely escaped the mall alive.

2013 also saw the aftershocks of the Arab Spring continue to ripple across Africa and Middle East. A year after becoming the first democratically elected president in Egypt's history, tens of thousands of protestors took to the streets to demonstrate against the rule of Mohamed Morsi. A few days later, he was ousted from power by the military in a coup d'état, with a subsequent crackdown by the army on any pro-Morsi demonstrators.

The Syrian Civil War took on global significance this year, when the government of president Bashar al-Assad was accused of using chemical weapons. The attack sparked debate amongst western nations whether to intervene in the conflict, with UK MPs rejecting Prime Minister David Cameron's proposal of military strikes on the regime. Whilst the war still rages, the US and Russia did announce an agreement to destroy Syria's chemical weapon stockpiles by mid-2014.

Nationwide protests spilled outside the Arab Spring. The death of a 23 year old woman after being beaten and gang raped on a bus in New Delhi prompted public protests across India for the government's failure to protect women in the country.

In May environmentalists occupied Istanbul's Gezi Park in opposition to its urban development. Excessive use of police force during raids on the encampment sparked the largest demonstrations across Turkey for decades, as a broad range of the population voiced their concerns that their freedom of expression was being encroached on by Prime Minister Erdoğan's government.

With Brazil's politicians mainly worried about completing stadiums and infrastructure in time to host the 2014 World Cup, the government was not expecting the wave of protests across the county against inequality and corruption. With demonstrations initially over the increase in bus and train fares in some Brazilian cities, soon over a million marched against the country spending billions of pounds hosting a major sports event over providing better social services.

And in Ukraine pro-EU rallies continue to take place in Kiev after the government backtracked on a partnership deal with the EU in favour of boosting relations with neighbours Russia.

2013 saw the most powerful country on earth suffer from spying scandals and government shutdowns. In June former CIA analyst turned whistle-blower Edward Snowden, here speaking to Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras of the Guardian, leaked documents to the press showing the extent to which the United States National Security Agency spies on foreign nationals as well as US citizens.

With its international reputation damaged by the leaks, the US government then shut down for two weeks in October due to disagreements between Republicans and Democrats over federal government spending. Obama accused Republicans of waging an ideological crusade against his healthcare law, but in the end won out as Congress eventually agreed a deal to re-open the government and extend the debt ceiling.

Natural disasters also featured throughout 2013. In November Powerful tornadoes ripped through the US Midwest, whilst in May and June central Europe was plagued by severe floods. But the greatest natural disaster was to hit the Philippines, as in November Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Southeast Asian nation. Over 6,000 people were killed, and more than a million left homeless.

2013 also saw the deaths of major political figures, both past and present. Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez died of cancer in March, having held office for 14 years. Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher died in April aged 87, sparking mixed reactions over her legacy. December then saw the death of the world's most revered statesman, Nelson Mandela. His passing at the age of 95 prompted an outpouring of grief around the world, as well as dedications from major political figures over his struggle, and ultimate success, in ending apartheid and bringing racial reconciliation to South Africa.

Aside from these deaths came a shock resignation, as Pope Benedict XVI became the first pope in almost 600 years to resign from office. He was succeeded by Francis I, the first South American pope, whose refocus of the Catholic Church away from social issues such as abortion and homosexuality towards helping the poor and needy saw him named Time magazine's person of the year.

And finally, a future world figure was born. The British public was whipped up in to a frenzy when Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, gave birth to Prince George, the baby boy who now stands third in line to the throne.

Written by Alfred Joyner

Narrated by Adam Justice

Produced by Torfinnur Jakupsson