On Wikipedia's 13th Birthday, Revisit the Wikipedia Pages of 2001

Wikipedia was launched 13 years ago today, a fact you can duly confirm by scouring the Wikipedia page for Wikipedia before your Wifi implodes.

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Wikipedia was launched 13 years ago today, a fact you can duly confirm by scouring the Wikipedia page for Wikipedia before your Wifi implodes in protest of such meta activities. We're celebrating the occasion by digging up what some notable Wikipedia pages looked like in 2001, with help from Wikipedia's own history logs and the Internet Archive. (Note that many of these screenshots are too small to read without squinting, so click the captions to be directed to the actual pages.) Start the tour below.

Hillary Clinton

When it sprung into existence, rife with sentence fragments, in early August or late July of 2001, Hillary Clinton's Wikipedia page basically read like a second-grader's social studies report or a piece of experimental poetry. Behold:

George W. Bush

President Bush's page was a bit fuller, though it apparently wasn't written until October of that year:

 September 11 Attacks

This page appears to have been created in November, 2001. It also contained links to other pages, none of which seem to work today:

Harry Potter

Accio, Wikipedia archives. Though it's now a monstrous, 67-paragraph treatise that covers the plot, themes, reception, movie adaptations, and virtually any other aspect of the series worth covering, Harry's entry was pretty feeble the year the first film arrived in theaters. Mostly, it was a summary of the character rather than the franchise. Here it is, via Wikipedia's revision history:

Apple Inc.

Apple's Wikipedia entry in November of 2001 was a marvelously rambling account that referred to early CEO Mike Markkula as "the other guy" and gave no mention of the iPod that had premiered just the previous month. Here, have a taste:

Britney Spears

Yep, she had a page in 2001. Its concluding paragraph signaled concern about young fans of Spears's "melodic, bland pop music" following the pop star's lead and "unknowingly sending out sexual signals":


There were no Encyclopedia entries on Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, Friendster, or anything of the sort on 2001 Internet, so here, have a 2001 Wikipedia page on Napster. The author recounts that Napster "burst onto the Internet scene in a major way during the year 2000," but thoughtfully notes that "much is surely still up in the air." Err, indeed.

Martin Scorsese

As of February 2001, the legendary director's Wikipedia page was just a list of "famous films" he'd made. Weirdly, it placed Bringing Out the Dead over Casino and Mean Streets:


Okay, technically Wikipedia's editors didn't get around to putting this page together until early 2003. But we'd be remiss not to highlight one of the greatest sentences lost to Wikipedia history: "Netflix is a example about the odd situation about copyright issues on the Internet":

Barack Obama

Uh, he didn't have one. Shouldn't be too surprising, really, given that he was still a relatively obscure second-term state senator. Judging by the earliest entries on his talk page, President Obama's Wikipedia page was created sometime in March 2004, just months before his keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. Here's what the summary of his page looked like then:


Kanye West

Hahaha, no. He wasn't yet a God. Or if he was, it was a well-kept secret, because his solo debut wouldn't arrive until early 2004. In March of that year, this two-sentence delight blossomed on Wikipedia's servers:

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.