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1909 was a common year starting on Friday (see link for calendar).
January – March
- January 16 - Ernest Shackleton's expedition finds the magnetic South Pole.
- January 28 - United States troops leave Cuba after being there since the Spanish-American War.
- February 12 - The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is founded.
- February 23 - The Silver Dart makes the first powered flight in Canada and the British Empire.
- February 24 - The Hudson Motor Car Company is founded.
- March 4 - End of term for Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States. He is succeeded by William Howard Taft.
- March 18 - Einar Dessau uses a short-wave radio transmitter becoming the first to broadcast as a ham radio operator.
- March 23 - Theodore Roosevelt leaves New York for a post-presidency safari in Africa. The trip was sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution and National Geographic Society.
- March 31 - Serbia accepts Austrian control over Bosnia-Herzegovina.
April – June
- April 6 - Robert Peary allegedly reaches the North Pole.
- April 27 - Sultan of the Ottoman Empire Abdul Hamid II is overthrown and succeeded by his brother, Muhammad V. He leaves the country the next day.
- May - Choosing a vocation by Frank Parsons (died 1908) is published.
- June 1 - The Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition opens in Seattle.
- June 2 - Alfred Deakin becomes Prime Minister of Australia for the third time.
- June 9 – Alice Huyler Ramsey, a 22-year-old housewife and mother from Hackensack, New Jersey, became the first woman to drive across the United States. With three female companions, none of whom could drive a car, for fifty-nine days she drove a Maxwell automobile the 3,800 miles from Manhattan, New York to San Francisco, California.
- June 15 - Representatives from England, Australia and South Africa meet at Lords and form the Imperial Cricket Conference.
- June 22 - Construction begins on the Cape Cod Canal, which would separate Cape Cod from mainland Massachusetts, United States.
July – September
- July 13 - Gold discovered near Cochrane, Ontario.
- July 16 - A revolution forces Mohammad Ali Shah, Persian Shah of the Qajar dynasty to abdicate in favor of his son Ahmad Shah Qajar. He proceeds in leaving Persia for Imperial Russia, reportedly seeking the assistance of Nicholas II of Russia in regaining the throne.
- July 25 - Louis Bleriot is the first man to fly across the English Channel in a heavier-than-air craft.
- August 8 - Launching of The Rosicrucian Fellowship at Seattle (Washington). Later, in October 28 1911, its international headquarters, till today, were physically launched at Mount Ecclesia, Oceanside (California, United States) and the Healing Temple "The Ecclesia" was lauched in December 25 1920.
- September 9 - Comet Halley first recorded on a photographic plate.
- September 10-21 – Hurricane sweeps over Louisiana and Mississippi - 350 dead
- September 25 – Auroras seen in Singapore.
October – December
- October 2 - The first rugby football match played in Twickenham
- November 11 - US Navy founds a navy base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
- November 13 - Ballinger-Pinchot scandal begins: Collier's magazine accuses US Secretary of the Interior Richard Ballinger of questionable dealings in Alaskan coal fields.
- November 18 - Two United States warships are sent to Nicaragua after 500 revolutionaries (including two Americans) are executed by order of dictator José Santos Zelaya.
- November - First edition of Max Heindel's magnum opus The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception.
- December 4 - The University of Bristol was founded and received its Royal Charter.
- December 17 - Léopold II of Belgium dies and is succeeded by his nephew Albert I of Belgium.
- William Dickson Boyce, a United States businessman visiting London, England, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland is introduced to members of the Scouting movement. The following year Boyce becomes founder of the Boy Scouts of America.
- Karl Landsteiner develops system of blood groups.
- Leon's, a Canadian furniture chain is first opened.
- Britain introduces Minimum Wage Laws.
- Old age pensions in Britain
- The laboratory of Paul Ehrlich creates the Salvarsan treatment for syphilis
- Mohorovičić discontinuity discovered
- Centennial anniversary of Miami University (Ohio)
- January 1 - Barry Goldwater, American politician (d. 1998)
- January 3 - Victor Borge, Danish entertainer (d. 2000)
- January 5 - Stephen Cole Kleene, American mathematician (d. 1994)
- January 8 - Willy Millowitsch, German actor (d. 1999)
- January 13 - Marinus van der Lubbe, Dutch communist accused of setting fire to the Reichstag (d. 1934)
- January 15 - Jean Bugatti, German-born automobile designer (d. 1939)
- January 15 - Gene Krupa, American drummer (d. 1973)
- January 16 - Clement Greenberg, American art critic (d. 1994)
- January 19 - Hans Hotter, German bass-baritone (d. 2003)
- January 22 - Ann Sothern, American actress (d. 2001)
- January 22 - U Thant, Burmese United Nations Secretary General (d. 1974)
- January 24 - Martin Lings, British Islamic scholar (d. 2005)
- February 3 - Simone Weil, French philosopher (d. 1943)
- February 9 - Carmen Miranda, Portuguese-born actress and singer (d. 1955)
- February 9 - Dean Rusk, United States Secretary of State (d. 1994)
- February 11 - Max Baer, American boxer and actor (d. 1959)
- February 11 - Joseph Mankiewicz, American filmmaker (d. 1993)
- February 15 - Guillermo Gorostiza Paredes, Spanish footballer (d. 1966)
- February 15 - Miep Gies, Dutch friend and biographer of Anne Frank
- February 18 - Wallace Stegner, American writer (d. 1993)
- February 24 - August Derleth, American writer (d. 1971)
- February 26 - King Talal of Jordan (d.1972)
- March 1 - David Niven, English actor (d. 1983)
- March 2 - Mel Ott, baseball player (d. 1958)
- March 4 - Harry Helmsley, American real estate entrepreneur (d. 1997)
- March 19 - Louis Hayward, South African-born actor (d. 1985)
- March 22 - Gabrielle Roy, Canadian author (d. 1983)
- March 24 - Clyde Barrow, American outlaw (d. 1934)
- March 27 - Golo Mann, German historian (d. 1994)
- April 13 - Stanislaw Marcin Ulam, Polish-born mathematician (d. 1984)
- April 30 - Queen Juliana of the Netherlands (d. 2004)
- May 7 - Edwin H. Land, American camera inventor (d. 1991)
- May 10 - Mother Maybelle Carter, American musician (d. 1978)
- May 15 - James Mason, British actor (d. 1984)
- May 18 - Fred Perry, English tennis player (d. 1995)
- May 30 - Benny Goodman, American musician (d. 1986)
- June 6 - Isaiah Berlin, Russian historian of ideas (d. 1997)
- June 7 - Jessica Tandy, English actress (d. 1994)
- June 14 - Burl Ives, American singer (d. 1995)
- June 17 - Elmer Lee Andersen, Governor of Minnesota (d. 2004)
- June 20 - Errol Flynn, Australian actor (d. 1959)
- June 26 - Colonel Tom Parker, Dutch-born celebrity manager (d. 1997)
- July 18 - Mohammed Daoud Khan, President of Afghanistan (d. 1978)
- July 28 - Malcolm Lowry, British novelist (d. 1957)
- July 30 - C. Northcote Parkinson, British historian and author (d. 1993)
- August 9 - Adam von Trott zu Solz, German lawyer and diplomat (d. 1944)
- August 25 - Ruby Keeler, Canadian singer and actress (d. 1993)
- August 25 - Michael Rennie, English actor (d. 1971)
- August 26 - Jim Davis, American actor (d. 1981)
- September 7 - Elia Kazan, Hungarian-born film director (d. 2003)
- September 14 - Peter Scott, British ornithologist and painter (d. 1989)
- September 21 - Kwame Nkrumah, Ghanian politician (d. 1972)
- September 24 - Carl Sigman, American songwriter (d. 2000)
- September 28 - Al Capp, American cartoonist (d. 1979)
- October 14 - Bernd Rosemeyer, German race car driver (d. 1938)
- October 24 - Bill Carr, American athlete (d. 1966)
- October 28 - Francis Bacon, British painter (d. 1992)
- November 4 - Skeeter Webb, baseball player (d. 1986)
- November 10 - Paweł Jasienica, Polish historian (d. 1970)
- November 18 - Johnny Mercer, American songwriter (d. 1976)
- November 23 - Nigel Tranter, Scottish historian and writer (d. 2000)
- November 24 - Gerhard Gentzen, German mathematician (d. 1945)
- November 27 - James Agee, American writer (d. 1955)
- December 20 - Vagn Holmboe, Danish composer (d. 1996)
- December 22 - Alan Carney, American actor (d. 1973)
- December 23 - Barney Ross, American boxer (d. 1967)
- December 23 - Donald Coggan, Archbishop of Canterbury (d. 2000)
- December 23 - Giulio Racah, Israeli mathematician and physicist (d. 1965)
- January 12 - Hermann Minkowski, German mathematician (b. 1864)
- January 14 - Arthur William a Beckett, British journalist (b. 1844)
- April 10 - Algernon Charles Swinburne, English poet (b. 1837)
- May 19 - Isaac Albéniz, Spanish composer (b. 1860)
- June 24 - Sarah Orne Jewett, American writer (b. 1849)
- August 27 - Emil Christian Hansen, Danish fermentation physiologist (b. 1842)
- September 4 - Clyde Fitch, American dramatist (b. 1865)
- October 26 - Prince Hirobumi Ito, Japanese governor of Korea (assassinated) (b. 1841)
- December 17 - Léopold II of Belgium (b. 1835)
- Physics - Guglielmo Marconi, Karl Ferdinand Braun for the development of wireless telegraphy (radio)
- Chemistry - Wilhelm Ostwald for his work on catalysis, chemical equilibria, and reaction velocities
- Medicine - Emil Theodor Kocher for his work on the physiology, pathology, and surgery of the thyroid gland
- Literature - Selma Lagerlöf
- Peace - Auguste Marie Francois Beernaert and Paul-Henri-Benjamin d'Estournelles de Constant
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