16/10/2013 19:47 BST | Updated 17/10/2013 11:44 BST

US Debt Ceiling Crisis: A Listicle Guide To Why Washington Came So Close To Financial Catastrophe

After 16 days of shutdown and having come within a day of breaching the debt ceiling, Republicans and Democrats reached a deal to reopen the US government and avoid default.

On Wednesday, Democratic leader Harry Reid said that Senate leaders had found agreement, with non-essential government services to reopened - but only until a new deadline of January 15. America's borrowing authority will be increased until February 7.

Reid said: "The compromise we reached will provide our economy with the stability it desperately needs."

Yet to outside observers, the past three weeks may have been somewhat baffling – a perplexing cocktail of Tea Partiers, Ted Cruz, Obamacare, furloughed workers and debt.

Here is a simple listicle guide to how and why Washington came so close to pushing the world back into financial chaos.

Why The US Is Close To Default