Australia’s largest city, Sydney, put on its biggest-ever fireworks display in a spectacular welcome to the New Year, kicking off a wave of celebrations for billions around the world.
A record amount of pyrotechnics as well as new fireworks effects and colours lit up the city’s skyline for 12 minutes and dazzled the more than 1.5 million spectators who packed the harbour front and parks.
The party atmosphere swept across major cities in Asia, Europe, Africa and the America as the clock ticked past midnight.
Fireworks, concerts, spiritual services and political addresses were held across the globe as revellers marked the transition to 2019.
As the world parties, many will also look forward to the New Year and wonder whether the turmoil witnessed during the previous year will spill over into the next.
The political wrangling in Westminster over Brexit was one of the key stories of this year, with a resolution yet to be reached before the scheduled March 29 departure.
US President Donald Trump dominated headlines in 2018 as he ramped up his trade war with China, quit the Iran nuclear deal, moved the US embassy to Jerusalem and met his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong Un in Singapore for an historic summit.
North Korea’s commitment to denuclearisation will remain a major political and security issue into next year, as will Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s reassertion of control after Trump’s shock military withdrawal announcement.
The war in Yemen, which started in 2014 and has already killed about 10,000 people and left some 20 million at risk of starvation, could take a crucial turn after a ceasefire went into effect in mid-December.
Numerous countries go to the polls in 2019, with key elections in India, Afghanistan, Indonesia, South Africa, Argentina and Australia.
Major sporting events on the calendar include the Rugby World Cup in Japan, the cricket one-day international World Cup in England and the athletics World Championships in Qatar.