Joe Biden has entered the White House as America’s 46th president, and after taking his oath of office he told his country it has been “a day of victory and hope”.
To the sound of cheers and applause from former presidents, he swore to preserve, protect and defend the US.
And while his predecessor Donald Trump headed to Florida, Mr Biden said that “democracy has prevailed” and urged Americans to “start afresh”.
“Let’s begin to listen to one another,” he said. And he added: “We can see each other, not as adversaries, but as neighbours.”
After storming performances from Lady Gaga, J.Lo and Garth Brooks, the new president went to Arlington National Cemetery to pay his respects to America’s fallen, before heading up Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House with his family.
Turning to wave to waiting media, he and his wife Dr Jill Biden embraced before crossing the threshold of their new residence for the next four years – and he got straight to work signing executive orders.
Giving his inaugural address outside the Capitol building earlier, Mr Biden stressed that last November’s election result was fair – declaring: “This is democracy’s day. The will of the people has been heard and the will of the people has been heeded.
“We’ve learned again that democracy is precious, democracy is fragile and at this hour my friends, democracy has prevailed.”
Mr Biden promised to “press forward with speed and urgency” during a “winter of peril” to tackle the “once-in-a-century virus that silently stalks the country” – and also vowed to confront white supremacy and terrorism.
He said his prevailing focus will now be on “uniting our nation”, adding: “With unity, we can do great things, important things – we can right wrongs.”
In an apparent snub to Mr Trump, he said he wanted to “make America once again a leading force for good in the world” – continuing: “Let’s start afresh… all of us.”
Mr Biden urged people to “join forces, stop the shouting and lower the temperature”, and said without unity there will be “no nation, only a state of chaos”.
Speaking as he looked out on to the National Mall, lit by bright sunshine, Mr Biden continued: “Politics doesn’t have to be a raging fire destroying everything in its path.
“Every disagreement doesn’t have to be a cause for total war and we must reject the culture in which facts themselves are manipulated and even manufactured.”
Repeating a motif from his victory speeches in the days after winning the Electoral College vote, Mr Biden promised to be “a president for all Americans”.
Winding up his address, he struck an optimistic tone, saying: “Together we shall write an American story of hope not fear, of unity not division, of light not darkness.”
He ended with: “May God bless America and may God protect our troops, thank you America.”
Vice President Kamala Harris – the first woman of colour to hold the office – also took the oath and was sworn in this afternoon.
Entertainment at the ceremony was provided by Lady Gaga, who performed a rousing rendition of the national anthem holding a golden microphone and wearing a dove broach, while Jennifer Lopez supplied an “American musical selection”.
Former presidents Barack Obama, George W Bush and Bill Clinton attended, with Mr Obama and Mr Biden sharing a fist-bump before the pair took their seats at the start of the ceremony.
But as the event began, Mr Trump was landing in Florida.
He is the first outgoing president since 1869 to skip an inauguration ceremony, though departing vice president Mike Pence was in the audience, representing the outgoing administration.
Mr Trump gave a parting message before boarding Air Force One, telling a small group of supporters and family members gathered on the tarmac of Joint Base Andrews that “we will be back in some form”.
“I wish the new administration great luck and great success,” he added, before boarding the plane, which took off to the booming soundtrack of Frank Sinatra’s My Way.
During the brief spell when the White House was unoccupied, it got a deep clean expected to cost $ 500,000 (£366,000).
After the inauguration, Mr Biden and Ms Harris climbed into vehicles to travel to Arlington National Cemetery in neighbouring Virginia for a wreath-laying ceremony at the tomb of the unknown soldier.
Later, the new president walked up to the entrance to the White House with his family, greeting a few supporters lining the route after they shouted “we love you”.
His team have already announced the new administration will sign a series of executive orders reversing several of Mr Trump’s policies, including on COVID-19, climate change and racial inequality.
On Twitter, the social media platform Mr Trump was permanently suspended from due to the risk he would use it to incite violence, the @POTUS handle switched to reflect Joe Biden’s new role.
The account’s new biography read: “46th President of the United States, husband to @FLOTUS, proud dad & pop.”
Mr Biden’s first tweet from the account said: “There is no time to waste when it comes to tackling the crises we face. That’s why today, I am heading to the Oval Office to get right to work delivering bold action and immediate relief for American families.”
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson congratulated Mr Biden and Ms Harris for being sworn in, and added: “America’s leadership is vital on the issues that matter to us all, from climate change to COVID, and I look forward to working with President Biden.”
The Queen also sent a private message to Mr Biden ahead of the inauguration.