1894 1895 1896 - 1897 - 1898 1899 1900
1860s 1870s 1880s - 1890s - 1900s 1910s 1920s
18th century - 19th century - 20th century
1897 was a common year starting on Friday (see link for calendar).
- January 1 - Brooklyn, New York merges with New York City.
- January 4 - A British force is ambushed by Chief Ologbosere, son-in-law of the Oba of Benin. This leads to a Punitive Expedition against Benin.
- February 2 - Harrisburg, the Pennsylvania state capitol, is destroyed by fire.
- February 18- Benin is put to the torch by the Punitive Expedition.
- March 4 - William McKinley succeeds Grover Cleveland as President of the United States.
- March 13 - San Diego State University founded.
- April 5 - "Ordinance of April 5," equalizing German and Czech in Bohemia, signed in Austria-Hungary (see Kasimir Felix Graf Badeni).
- April 27 - Grant's Tomb is dedicated.
- May 19 - Oscar Wilde is released from prison.
- June 2 - Mark Twain, responding to rumors that he was dead, is quoted by the New York Journal as saying, "The report of my death was an exaggeration."
- July 17 - Klondike Gold Rush begins when first successful prospectors arrive in Seattle.
- July 25 - Writer Jack London sails to join the Klondike Gold Rush where he will write his first successful stories.
- July 31 - First ascent of Mount Saint Elias, second highest peak in the United States and Canada.
- August 29 - First Zionist Congress convenes in Basel, Switzerland.
- September 1 - The Boston subway opens, becoming the first underground metro in North America.
- September 10 - In the Lattimer Massacre, a sheriff's posse killes more than nineteen unarmed immigrant miners in Pennsylvania.
- September 11 - After months of searching, generals of Menelik II of Ethiopia capture Gaki Sherocho, the last king of Kaffa, bringing an end to that ancient kingdom.
- December 9 - First issue of the feminist newspaper La Fronde is published by Marguerite Durand.
- December 28 - The play Cyrano de Bergerac, by Edmond Rostand, premieres in Paris.
- December 30 - Natal annexes Zululand.
- Queen Victoria celebrates her Diamond Jubilee.
- France allows women to study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.
- First use of the word computer meaning an electronic calculation device.
- Coseley Urban District Council formed
- Dos Equis first brewed in anticipation of new century
- January 3 - Marion Davies, American actress (d. 1961)
- January 23 - Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky, Austrian architect and anti-Nazi activist (d. 2000)
- February 4 - Ludwig Erhard, Chancellor of Germany (d. 1977)
- February 7 - Quincy Porter, American composer (d. 1966)
- February 10 - John F. Enders, American scientist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (d. 1985)
- February 10 - Dame Judith Anderson, Australian actress (d. 1992)
- February 27 - Marian Anderson, American contralto (d. 1993)
- March 1 - Shoghi Effendi Rabbani, Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith (d.1957)
- March 4 - Lefty O'Doul, baseball player and restaurateur (d. 1969)
- March 15 - Jackson Scholz, American sprinter (d. 1986)
- March 24 - Wilhelm Reich, Austrian psychotherapist (d. 1957)
- March 28 - Sepp Herberger, German football coach (d. 1977)
- April 1 - Nita Naldi, American film actress (d. 1961)
- April 7 - Walter Winchell, American broadcast journalist (d. 1972)
- April 9 - John B. Gambling, American radio talk-show host (d. 1974)
- April 19 - Peter de Noronha, Indian businessman
- April 23 - Lester B. Pearson, Prime Minister of Canada, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (d. 1972)
- April 26 - Douglas Sirk, German-born director (d. 1987)
- April 26 - Eddie Eagan, American boxer and bobsledder (d. 1967)
- April 27 - Mary, Princess Royal of England (d. 1965)
- May 14 - Sidney Bechet, American musician (d. 1959)
- May 17 - Odd Hassel, Norwegian chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1981)
- May 18 - Frank Capra, American producer, director, and writer (d. 1991)
- May 19 - Frank Luke, American World War I pilot (d. 1918)
- May 21 - Nikola Avramov, Bulgarian painter (d. 1945)
- May 27 - John Cockcroft, English physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1967)
- May 29 - Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Austrian composer (d. 1957)
- June 7 - George Szell, Hungarian conductor (d. 1970)
- June 10 - Grand Duchess Tatiana of Russia (d. 1918)
- June 13 - Paavo Nurmi, Finnish runner (d. 1973)
- June 16 - Georg Wittig, German chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1987)
- June 19 - Cyril Norman Hinshelwood, English chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1967)
- July 24 - Amelia Earhart, American aviator
- July 29 - Sir Neil Ritchie, British general (d. 1983)
- August 2 - Max Weber, Swiss Federal Councilor (d. 1974)
- August 28 - Charles Boyer, French actor (d. 1978)
- September 8 - Jimmie Rodgers, American singer (d. 1933)
- September 12 - Irene Joliot-Curie, French physicist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry (d. 1956)
- September 17 - Earl Webb, baseball player (d. 1965)
- September 23 - Walter Pidgeon, Canadian actor (d. 1984)
- September 25 - William Faulkner, American writer, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1962)
- September 26 - Pope Paul VI (d. 1978)
- September 26 - Arthur Rhys Davids, English pilot (d.1917)
- October 3 - Louis Aragon, French author (d. 1982)
- October 15 - Johannes Sikkar, Estonian statesman (d. 1960)
- October 20 - Yi, Eun, Korean Crown Prince (d. 1970)
- October 29 - Joseph Goebbels, German Nazi propagnadist (d. 1945)
- November 9 - Ronald George Wreyford Norrish, British chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1978)
- November 15 - Sacheverell Sitwell, English author (d. 1988)
- November 18 - Patrick Blackett, English physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1974)
- November 23 - Nirad C. Chaudhuri, Bengali author (d. 1999)
- December 18 - Fletcher Henderson, American musician (d. 1952)
- December 30 - Alfredo Bracchi, Italian author (d. 1976)
- February 4 - Major Charles Bendire, U.S. Army captain and ornithologist (b. 1836)
- February 19 - Karl Weierstrass, German mathematician (b. 1815
- March 19 - Antoine Thomson d'Abbadie, Irish-born traveler (b. 1810)
- April 3 - Johannes Brahms, German composer (b. 1833)
- September 9 - Richard Holt Hutton, English writer and theologian (b. 1826)
- September 21 - Wilhelm Wattenbach, German historian (b. 1819)
- October 29 - Henry George, American economist (b. 1839)
- November 19 - William Seymour Tyler, American educator and historian (b. 1810)
- November 20 - Ernest Giles, Australian explorer (b. 1835)
- December 17 - Alphonse Daudet, French writer (b. 1840)
- Jang Seung-eop, Korean painter (b. 1843)
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