The 2011 Person of the Year issue is the product of a year's worth of reporting and thinking
History often emerges only in retrospect. Events become significant only when looking back
Person of the Year 1927 - 2011
No one could have known that when a Tunisian fruit vendor set himself on fire in a public square, it would incite protests that would topple dictators and start a global wave of dissent. In 2011, protesters didn't just voice their complaints; they changed the world.
TIME's Person of the Year is bestowed by the editors on the person or persons who most affected the news and our lives, for good or ill, and embodied what was important about the year. See who made the grade over TIME's first eight decades. See them all