British Prime Minister David Cameron appeared emotional as he announced his resignation on Friday
Britain voted Thursday to leave the European Union – and the historic decision has sent shock waves around the world.
In the wake of the Brexit vote, the British pound dropped in value, stars have spoken out about and British Prime Minister David Cameron gave an emotional speech announcing his resignation.
The actual exit from the European Union could take two years or longer, experts say, but the decision has already changed the world.
Here are five things that have happened in the wake of the historic vote:
1. David Cameron Announced His Resignation
The Brexit vote came much to the dismay of British Prime Minister David Cameron. The Conservative leader called for the Brexit vote, but also led the campaign for Britain to remain in the EU. He looked solemn on Friday as he announced his resignation from the position he’s held for the last six years.
“I fought this campaign in the only way I know how, which is to say directly and passionately what I think and feel – head, heart and soul. I held nothing back,” he said.
“I will do everything I can as Prime Minister to steady the ship over the coming weeks and months. But I do not think it would be right for me to try to be the captain that steers our country to its next destination.”
Cameron appeared emotional as he spoke to reporters in front of his official residence, 10 Downing street in central London as his wife, Samantha, stood solemnly just feet away.
2. A Record Number of Voters Cast Their Ballots Over the Brexit
A record-setting 46.5 million people in the U.K. were registered to vote in the Brexit referendum and 71 percent headed out to the polls.
In a nation of less than 65 million people, 33.5 million went to the polls on day that saw torrential rains, floods and long lines. 16.1 million people voted to stay in the EU. 17.4 million – 51.9 percent – voted to leave.
3. Global Stock Markets Are Plunging
The historic vote to Brexit shocked investors and stock markets plummeted worldwide with key market indexes dropping between 7 and 12 percent across Europe. In Britain, the FTSE 100 shed $137 million in value as it plunged nearly 4 percent. The Nikkei in Japan is down nearly 8 percent.
U.S. stock markets took a sharp hit Friday morning. Dow Jones Industrial Average opened Friday with a 3 percent decline – and down more than 500 points – and Nasdaq opened down nearly 3.5 percent.
But experts expected as much.
“It’s going to be ugly in the morning,” Mike Ellinges, a trader at an investment firm in Texas, told Reuters.
The value of both the Euro and the British pound also plunged. The pound dropped to its lowest value in 31 years; $1.36 will now buy a pound. The euro dropped, too – down to $1.10.
4. J.K. Rowling and Other British Stars are Not Happy About the Brexit
The Harry Potter author posted a simple message to Twitter after the decision, writing, “Goodbye, UK.” In a follow-up post, Rowling tweeted, “I don’t think I’ve ever wanted magic more.”
She then retweeted and posted a string of tweets criticizing the decision – and those she called “Brexiteers”.
In a now-deleted tweet, Lindsay Lohan, a London resident, wrote, “Good luck with the pound.. will take you about 15 years to get it back up #REMAIN instead.”
Trump weighed in on the Brexit on Friday during a business trip to Scotland, calling the vote to leave “a great thing.”
“Basically, they took back their county,” Trump told reporters, apparently referring to those who voted in favor of Britain leaving the E.U.
Palin tweeted her approval of the decision Thursday night, writing, “Time out between kids soccer games to tune in to good news of UK voting to leave the European Union.”
President Obama issues a statement about the Brexit, noting that Britain’s departure would not affect the U.S.’ and the U.K.’s “special relationship.”
“The United Kingdom and the European Union will remain indispensable partners of the United States even as they begin negotiating their ongoing relationship to ensure continued stability, security, and prosperity for Europe, Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the world,” he said.
“We respect the choice the people of the United Kingdom have made,” she said. “We also have to make clear America’s steadfast commitment to the special relationship with Britain and the transatlantic alliance with Europe.”
BONUS: Scotland Could Leave the U.K. to Stay in EU
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told reporters on Friday that the possibility of a second Scottish independence referendum is “highly likely.” In September 2014, Scottish voters narrowly opted to remain a part of Britain.
“It is a statement of the obvious that the option of a second independence referendum must be on the table and it is on the table,” she said.
“As things stand, Scotland faced the prospect of being taken out of the EU against her will. I regard that as democratically unacceptable.”
She added: “There are many people who voted against independence in 2014 who are today reassessing their decision.”
Every voting district in Scotland voted to stay in the EU.