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1905 was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar).
- January 2 - Russo-Japanese War: The Russian Army surrenders at Port Arthur, China; an event which shocked the world.
- January 22 - Massacre of Russian demonstrators at the Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg, one of the triggers of the abortive Russian Revolution of 1905.
- January 26 - The Cullinan Diamond is found near Pretoria, South Africa at the Premier Mine.
- February 10 - Bomb kills grand duke Sergei in Moscow
- February 18 - Tsar orders A. G. Bulygin, the new minister of internal affairs, to make a plan for representative assembly
- February 23 - Foundation of Rotary International
- February 24 - Workmen from the Italian side of the Simplon Tunnel under the Swiss Alps break through the Swiss side
- March 1 - Australian Conservative leader Richard Butler takes office as Premier of South Australia
- March 3 - Tsar Nicholas II of Russia agrees to create an elected assembly (the Duma).
- March 5 - Russian troops begin to retreat from Mukden, Manchuria after losing 100,000 troops in 3 days.
- March 10 Japanese capture of Mukden (now Shenyang) completes rout of Russian armies in Manchuria.
- March 10 - Cassie Chadwick sentenced for 14 years in Cleveland for fraud
- March 17 - Albert Einstein publishes his paper "On a heuristic viewpoint concerning the production and transformation of light" in which he explains the photoelectric effect using the notion of light quanta
- March 31 - During his visit in Morocco, German emperor William II asserts German equality with France in Morocco, triggering the Tangier (or First Moroccan) Crisis.
- April 2 - The Simplon Tunnel dedicated
- April 4 - In India, an earthquake near Kangra, kills 20,000.
- April - Albert Einstein works on the special theory of relativity as well as the theory of Brownian motion
- May 8 - In Russia, Union of Unions, an umbrella group for newly-formed Russian trade and professional organizations, is found with Paul Milyakov as its leader
- May 11 - Albert Einstein submits his doctoral dissertation "On the Motion of Small Particles..." where he explains the Brownian motion
- May 13 - Mata Hari debuts in Paris
- May 15 - Las Vegas, Nevada is founded when 110 acres (0.4 km²), in what later would become downtown, are auctioned off.
- May 27-28 - Russo-Japanese War: Battle of Tsushima - The Japanese fleet under Admiral Heihachiro Togo destroys Russian fleet under Admiral Zinovi Petrovich Rozhdestvenski in this two day battle
- June 7 - The Norwegian Parliament declares the union with Sweden dissolved, thus Norway achieves its independence.
- June 14-15 - Mutiny in the Russian ironclad Potemkin
- June 15 - Princess Margaret of Connaught marries Gustav, Crown Prince of Sweden.
- June 30 - Albert Einstein publishes the article "On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies" where he discovers special relativity.
- July 6 - Alfred Deakin becomes Prime Minister of Australia for the second time.
- July 11 - July 14 - first meeting of the Niagara Movement
- August 13 - Norway holds referendum in favour of dissolving the union with Sweden.
- August 20 - Lord Curzon resigns as viceroy of India
- September 1 - The Canadian province of Alberta is established from the southwestern part of the Northwest Territories.
- September 4 - The Canadian province of Saskatchewan is established.
- September 5 - Russo-Japanese War: Treaty of Portsmouth signed - In New Hampshire a treaty mediated by US President Theodore Roosevelt, is signed by victor Japan and defeated party Russia. In the agreement, Russia cedes the island of Sakhalin and port and rail rights in Manchuria to Japan.
- September 20 - Printer's strike in Moscow
- October 3 - HMS Dreadnought is laid down, revolutionizing battleship design and triggering a naval arms race.
- October 13 - St. Petersburg Soviet of worker's deputies formed
- October 17 - Russian chief minister Sergei Witte announces October Manifesto, plan for representative assembly, increased voting rights and freedom of speech, religion and association
- October 18 - Naval students demonstrate in St Petersburg
- October 26 - Sweden agrees to the repeal of the union with Norway. King Oscar abdicates.
- October 30 - Tsar Nicholas II is forced to grant Russia's first constitution, conceding a national assembly (Duma) with limited powers.
- October 31 - Local peasants in Volokolamsk declare the Markovo Republic (Russian troops overrun it July 18 1906)
- 70 Onion Johnnies die when the steamer Hilda sinks off France.
- November 9 - The Province of Alberta, Canada holds its 1st General Election.
- November 18 - Prince Carl of Denmark becomes King Haakon VII of Norway.
- November 21 - Moscow soviet formed
- November 28 - Irish nationalist Arthur Griffith founds Sinn Féin in Dublin as a political party whose goal is the independence for all of Ireland.
- December 6 - St Petersburg soviet calls for a general strike
- December 8 - Armed uprising in Moscow is defeated
- December 9 - In Novorossiisk in Siberia, local Socialist Soviet declares independence. 19 days later Russian artillery forces them to surrender
- December 30 - Bomb kills Frank Steunenberg, ex-governor of Idaho. Case leads to a trial against leaders of the Western Federation of Miners
- Einstein publishes four papers. In particular, he formulates the theory of special relativity and explains the photoelectric effect by quantization. 1905 is regarded as his "miracle year".
- The Butcharts begin working on their Japanese Garden addition to their Butchart Gardens.
- The title Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is officially recognized by King Edward VII.
- Pathé Frères colors black and white films by machine.
- Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer banned from Brooklyn Public Library for "bad example"
- Druidic rituals begin (again) in Stonehenge
- Albert Einhorn introduces novocaine
- The first U-boat
- The Ancient Egyptian Order of Sciots is formed.
- January 2 - Michael Tippett, English composer (d. 1998)
- January 3 - Anna May Wong, American actress (d. 1961)
- January 12 - Tex Ritter, American actor and singer (d. 1974)
- January 18 - Joseph Bonanno, American gangster (d. 2002)
- January 21 - Christian Dior, French couturier (d. 1957)
- January 26 - Charles Lane, American actor
- January 26 - Maria von Trapp, Austrian singer (d. 1987)
- January 29 - Barnett Newman, American painter (d. 1970)
- January 31 - John O'Hara, American writer (d. 1970)
- February 1 - Emilio G. Segrè, Italian physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1989)
- February 2 - Ayn Rand, American author (d. 1982)
- February 7 - Paul Nizan, French author (d. 1940)
- February 14 - Thelma Ritter, American actress (d. 1969)
- February 15 - Harold Arlen, American composer (d. 1986)
- February 23 - Derrick Henry Lehmer, American mathematician (d. 1991)
- February 27 - Franchot Tone, American actor (d. 1968)
- March 6 - Bob Wills, American singer (d. 1975)
- March 15 - Berthold Graf Schenk von Stauffenberg, German lawyer and Nazi opponent (d. 1944)
- March 16 - Elisabeth Flickenschildt, German actress (d. 1977)
- March 18 - Thomas Townsend Brown, American scientist (d. 1985)
- March 18 - Robert Donat, English actor (d. 1958)
- March 18 - Benny Friedman, American football player (d. 1982)
- March 19 - Albert Speer, Nazi official (d. 1981)
- March 23 - Lale Andersen, German singer (d. 1972)
- March 23 - Joan Crawford, American actress (d. 1977)
- March 27 - Elsie MacGill, Canadian aeronautical engineer (d. 1980)
- April 8 - Erwin Keller, German field hockey player (d. ??)
- April 21 - Edmund G. Brown, Governor of California (d. 1996)
- May 3 - Sebastian Shaw, English actor (d. 1994)
- May 8 - Red Nichols, American jazz musician (d. 1965)
- May 15 - Joseph Cotten, American actor (d. 1994)
- May 16 - Henry Fonda, American actor (d. 1982)
- May 24 - Michail Aleksandrovich Sholokhov, Russian writer, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1984)
- June 12 - Ray Barbuti, American athlete (d. 1975)
- June 21 - Jean-Paul Sartre, French philosopher and writer, Nobel Prize laureate (declined) (d. 1980)
- July 4 - Irving Johnson, American sail training pioneer (d. 1991)
- July 5 - Jock Cameron, South African cricketer (d. 1935)
- July 12 - Edward Bernds, American director (d. 2000)
- July 12 - Prince John of the United Kingdom (d. 1919)
- July 15 - Dorothy Fields, American songwriter (d. 1988)
- July 22 - Doc Cramer, baseball player (d. 1990)
- July 25 - Elias Canetti, Bulgarian-born writer, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1994)
- July 29 - Dag Hammarskjöld, Swedish United Nations Secretary-General, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (d. 1961)
- August 2 - Karl Amadeus Hartmann, German composer (d. 1963)
- August 3 - Franz König, Austrian Catholic archbishop (d. 2004)
- August 8 - André Jolivet, French composer (d. 1974)
- August 11 - Erwin Chargaff, Austrian biochemist (d. 2002)
- August 16 - Marian Rejewski, Polish mathematician and cryptologist (d. 1980)
- August 20 - Jean Gebser, German-born writer (d. 1973)
- August 21 - Friz Freleng, American animator (d. 1995)
- August 23 - Constant Lambert, British composer (d. 1951)
- August 29 - Dhyan Chand, Indian hockey player (d. 1979)
- August 31 - Dore Schary, American screenwriter, director, and producer (d. 1980)
- September 1 - Elvera Sanchez, Puerto Rican dancer (d. 2000)
- September 3 - Carl David Anderson, American physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1991)
- September 16 - Vladimír Holan, Czech poet (d. 1980)
- September 18 - Eddie Anderson, American actor (d. 1977)
- September 18 - Greta Garbo, Swedish actress (d. 1990)
- September 22 - Eugen Sänger, Austrian aerospace engineer (d. 1964)
- September 24 - Severo Ochoa, Spanish–born biochemist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1993)
- September 30 - Savitri Devi, Greek writer and National Socialist philosopher (d. 1982)
- September 30 - Nevill Francis Mott, English physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1996)
- September 30 - Michael Powell, British director (d. 1990)
- October 5 - Helen Wills Moody, American tennis player (d. 1998)
- October 23 - Felix Bloch, Swiss-born physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1983)
- November 7 - William Alwyn, English composer (d. 1985)
- November 9 - Erika Mann, oldest daughter of Thomas Mann (d. 1969)
- November 15 - Mantovani, Italian-born conductor and arranger (d. 1980)
- November 17 - Queen Astrid of Belgium (d. 1935)
- November 26 - Bob Johnson, baseball player (d. 1982)
- December 11 - Gilbert Rowland, Mexican-born actor (d. 1994)
- December 24 - Howard Hughes, American filmmaker, industrialist, aircraft designer, and airline founder (d. 1976)
- December 27 - Leonard Goldenson, American television executive (d. 1999)
- December 30 - Jule Styne, English-born composer (d. 1994)
- January 14 - Ernst Abbe, German physicist (b. 1840)
- January 19 - Debendranath Tagore, Indian philosopher (b. 1817)
- February 4 - Louis-Ernest Barrias, French sculptor (b. 1841)
- March 6 - John Henninger Reagan, American Confederate politician (b. 1818)
- March 24 - Jules Verne, French author (b. 1828)
- June 22 - Francis Lubbock, Governor of Texas (b. 1815)
- July 8 - Walter Kittredge, American musician and composer (b. 1834)
- August 14 - Simeon Solomon, British artist (b. 1840)
- September 18 - George MacDonald, Scottish writer (b. 1824)
- October 13 - Henry Irving, English actor (b. 1838)
- October 29 - Étienne Desmarteau, Canadian athlete (b. 1873)
- Muhammad Abduh, Egyptian philosopher and jurist (b. 1849)
- Chemistry - Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Adolf von Baeyer
- Medicine - Robert Koch
- Literature - Henryk Sienkiewicz
- Peace - Baroness Bertha Sophie Felicita Von Suttner
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