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|Centuries:||18th century – 19th century – 20th century|
|Decades:||1860s 1870s 1880s – 1890s – 1900s 1910s 1920s|
|Years:||1894 1895 1896 – 1897 – 1898 1899 1900|
Year 1897 (MDCCCXCVII) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian Calendar (or a common year starting on Wednesday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar).
Events of 1897
January - March
- 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.
- January 23 - Elva Zona Heaster found dead in Greenbrier County, West Virginia. The resulting murder trial of her husband was perhaps the only case in United States history where the testimony of a ghost helped secure a conviction.
- February 2 - Harrisburg, the Pennsylvania state capitol, is destroyed by fire.
- February 10 - Freedom of religion is proclaimed in Madagascar.
- 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 is founded.
April - June
- April 5 - "Ordinance of April 5," equalizing German and Czech in Bohemia, signed in Austria-Hungary (see Kasimir Felix Graf Badeni).
- April 24 - The first ever Rugby League Challenge Cup final is played at Headingley.
- April 27 - Grant's Tomb is dedicated.
- May 1 - The Tennessee Centennial Exposition opens in Nashville, for 6 months, illuminated by many electric lights.
- May 10 - Snaefell Mining Disaster in the Isle of Man, 1897
- May 18 - Dracula, a novel by Irish author Bram Stoker is published.
- May 19 - Oscar Wilde is released from prison.
- June 1 - The miners strike of 1897 begins. The strike would successfully establish the United Mine Workers Union and brought about the 8-hour work day to the mines.
- 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."
- June 12 - World's first Fingerprint Bureau opens in Calcutta (now Kolkata) India after the Council of the Governor General approved a committee report that fingerprints should be used for classification of criminal records.
- June 22 - Queen Victoria celebrates her Diamond Jubilee.
July - September
- July 11 - S. A. Andrée's Arctic balloon expedition of 1897 begins. The ill-fated expedition to fly over the Arctic results in the death of the entire team within months.
- 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.
- September 20 - Greece and Turkey sign a peace treaty to end the Greco-Turkish War.
October - December
- October 2 - The first issue is published of the radical paper Tocsin.
- October 6 - Ethiopia uses tricolore flag: green is for the land, yellow for peace, and red is symbolic of strength.
- October 12 - The USS Baltimore (Cruiser # 3, later CM-1) is recommissioned, since 1890, for several months of duty in the Hawaiian Islands.
- October 13 - The HMS Canopus (1898), a pre-Dreadnought battleship of the British Royal Navy, is launched at Portsmouth, England (will be deployed widely in World War I).
- 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.
- 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 is formed.
- Dos Equis is first brewed in anticipation of new century.
- J. J. Thomson discovers the electron as a subatomic particle, over 1800 times smaller than a proton (in the nucleus).
- The Ayrshire Yeomanry Cavalry, a British Yeomanry Cavalry Regiment, adopted the sub-title Earl of Carrck's Own in honour of the future King Edward VII.
|Ab urbe condita||2650|
|British Regnal year||60 Vict. 1 – 61 Vict. 1|
|Chinese calendar|| 丙申年十一月廿八日
— to —丁酉年十二月初八日
|- Vikram Samvat||1953–1954|
|- Shaka Samvat||1819–1820|
|- Kali Yuga||4998–4999|
|- Ǹrí Ìgbò||897–898|
|Japanese calendar|| Meiji 30
|Juche calendar||N/A (before 1912)|
|Julian calendar||Gregorian minus 12 days|
|Minguo calendar||15 before ROC
|Thai solar calendar||2440|
January - June
- January 3 - Marion Davies, American actress (d. 1961)
- January 21 - René Iché, French sculptor (d. 1954)
- January 23
- January 28 - Ivan Stedeford, British Industrialist (d. 1975)
- February 4 - Ludwig Erhard, Chancellor of Germany (d. 1977)
- February 7 - Quincy Porter, American composer (d. 1966)
- February 10
- February 21 - Elizabeth Harrison, daughter of President Benjamin Harrison and Mary Dimmick Harrison (d. 1955)
- February 27
- March 1 - Shoghi Effendi, Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith (d. 1957)
- March 4 - Lefty O'Doul, baseball player and restaurateur (d. 1969)
- March 5 - Set Persson, Swedish communist politician (d. 1960)
- March 15 - Jackson Scholz, American sprinter (d. 1986)
- March 16 - Flora Eldershaw, Australian novelist, critic, and historian (d. 1956)
- March 20 - Ruby Muhammad, African Americans' rights activist
- 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
- April 21 - Aiden Wilson Tozer, American Protestant pastor (d. 1963)
- April 23 - Lester B. Pearson, Prime Minister of Canada, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (d. 1972)
- April 25 - Mary, Princess Royal of England (d. 1965)
- April 26
- May 2 - J. Fred Coots, American songwriter (d. 1985)
- 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
- Grand Duchess Tatiana of Russia, (d.1918)
- Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Austrian composer (d. 1957)
- June 7 - George Szell, Hungarian conductor (d. 1970)
- June 12 - Anthony Eden, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (d. 1977)
- June 13 - Paavo Nurmi, Finnish runner (d. 1973)
- June 16 - Georg Wittig, German chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1987)
- June 19
- June 22 - Edmund A. Chester, American Broadcaster and journalist (d. 1973)
July - December
- July 7 - Mikhail Kovalyov, Soviet Military officer, colonel-general (d. 1967)
- July 20 - Tadeus Reichstein, Polish-born chemist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (d. 1996)
- July 24 - Amelia Earhart, American aviator (d. 1937 - presumed)
- July 29 - Sir Neil Ritchie, British general (d. 1983)
- August 2 - Max Weber, Swiss Federal Councilor (d. 1974)
- August 5 - Aksel Larsen, Danish politician (d. 1972)
- August 28 - Charles Boyer, French actor (d. 1978)
- September 1 - Andy Kennedy, Northern Irish footballer (d. 1963)
- 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
- October 2 - Bud Abbott, American actor (d. 1974)
- October 3 - Louis Aragon, French author (d. 1982)
- October 15 - Johannes Sikkar, Estonian statesman (d. 1960)
- October 20 - Yi Un, Korean Crown Prince (d. 1970)
- October 29 - Joseph Goebbels, German Nazi propagandist (d. 1945)
- November 9 - Ronald George Wreyford Norrish, British chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1978)
- November 15 - Sacheverell Sitwell, English author (d. 1988)
- November 17 - Frank Fay, American actor and first husband of Barbara Stanwyck (d. 1961)
- November 17 - George Hendric Houghton, American Protestant Episcopal clergyman (b. 1820)
- November 18 - Patrick Blackett, English physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1974)
- November 23 - Nirad C. Chaudhuri, Bengali author (d. 1999)
- November 24 - Lucky Luciano, Sicilian-American mafia boss. Considered the builder of the modern mafia. (d. 1962)
- November 30 - Virginia Henderson, American nurse theorist (d. 1996)
- 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 11 - Henry Drummond, Scottish evangelical writer and lecturer (b. 1851)
- March 19 - Antoine Thomson d'Abbadie, Irish-born traveler (b. 1810)
- April 1 - Jandamarra, Aborigine who led armed insurrections against white settlement in Australia.
- April 3 - Johannes Brahms, German composer (b. 1833)
- April 10 - Friedrich Franz III, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (b. 1851)
- May 4 - Duchess Sophie Charlotte in Bavaria (b. 1847)
- May 10 - Andrés Bonifacio, Filipino revolutionary (b. 1863)
- September 9
- September 21 - Wilhelm Wattenbach, German historian (b. 1819)
- September 30 - St Therese of Lisieux, Catholic saint (b. 1873)
- October 29 - Henry George, American economist (b. 1839)
- November - Francisco Gonzalo Marin, Cuban poet and freedom fighter (b. 1863)
- November 3 - Thomas Lanier Clingman, "Prince of Politicians" (b. 1812)
- 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)
- December 28 - William Corby, American Catholic priest (b. 1833)
- date unknown - Owon, Korean painter (b. 1843)