1893 1894 1895 - 1896 - 1897 1898 1899
| Decades: |
1860s 1870s 1880s - 1890s - 1900s 1910s 1920s
Events of 1896
- January 4 – Utah is admitted as the 45th U.S. state.
- January 5 – An Austrian newspaper reports that Wilhelm Röntgen has discovered a type of radiation later known as X-rays.
- January 12 – H.L. Smith takes the first X-ray photograph.
- January 18 – The X-ray machine is exhibited for the first time.
- January 28 Walter Arnold, of East Peckham, Kent, England, is fined 1 shilling for speeding at 8 mph, thus exceeding the contemporary speed limit of 2 mph. The first speeding fine.
- February 1 – The opera La bohème premieres in Turin, Italy.
- February 11 – Oscar Wilde's play Salomé premieres in Paris.
- March 1 – Battle of Adwa: Ethiopia defends its independence from Italy.
- March 9 – Responding to national outrage at the defeat at Adowa, Italian Prime Minister Francesco Crispi resigns.
- March 23 – The New York State Legislature passes the Raines Law, restricting Sunday alcoholic beverage sales to hotels.
- April 3 – The first edition of the Italian sports newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport is published.
- April 6 – The opening ceremonies of the 1896 Summer Olympics, the first modern Olympic Games, are held.
- April 9 – The National Farm School (later Delaware Valley College) is chartered in Doylestown, PA.
- May 8 – Cricket: Against Warwickshire, Yorkshire sets a still-standing County Championship record when they accumulate an innings total of 887.
- May 18 – Plessy v. Ferguson: The U.S. Supreme Court introduces the "separate but equal" doctrine and upholds segregation.
- May 26 – Charles Dow publishes the first edition of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
- May 27 – The costliest and third deadliest tornado in U.S. history levels a mile wide swath of downtown St. Louis, Missouri, incurring $2.9 billion (1997 USD) in normalized damages, killing more than 255 and injuring over 1,000 people.
- June 4 – The Ford Quadricycle, the first Ford vehicle ever developed, is completed, eventually leading Henry Ford to build the empire that "put America on wheels".
- June 12 – J.T. Hearne sets a record for the earliest date of taking 100 wickets. It is equalled by Charlie Parker in 1931.
- June 15 – An earthquake and tsunami in Sanriku, Japan, kills 27,000.
- June 28 – An explosion in the Newton Coal Company's Twin Shaft Mine in Pittston City, Pennsylvania resulted in a massive cave-in that killed 58 miners.   
- July 9 – William Jennings Bryan delivers his Cross of gold speech at the Democratic National Convention, which nominates him for President of the United States.
- July 11 – Wilfrid Laurier becomes Canada's seventh prime minister.
- July 26 International Socialist Workers and Trade Union Congress opens in London.
- July 27 – A causeway is opened between the islands of Saaremaa and Muhu in Estonia.
- July 30 – Shortly after 6:30 pm, at a crossing just west of Atlantic City, New Jersey, two trains collide, crushing five loaded passenger coaches, killing 50 and seriously injuring approximately 60, in the 1896 Atlantic City rail crash.
- August 16 – Skookum Jim Mason, George Carmack and Dawson Charlie discover gold in the Klondike.
- August 17 – Bridget Driscoll was run over by a Benz car at Crystal Palace, London. The first motoring fatality in England.
- August 27 – The shortest war in recorded history, the Anglo-Zanzibar War, starts at 9 in the morning and lasts for 45 minutes of shelling.
- September 15 – The Crash at Crush train wreck stunt is held in Texas.
- September 22 – Queen Victoria surpasses her grandfather King George III as the longest reigning monarch in British history.
- October 5 – After a long siege, Brazilian government troops take Canudos in north Brazil, crushing Antonio Conselheiro and his followers.
- November 3 – U.S. presidential election, 1896: Republican William McKinley defeats William Jennings Bryan.
- November 30 – A large carcass, later postulated to be the remains of a gigantic octopus, is found washed ashore near St. Augustine, Florida.
- 14 December – The Glasgow Subway, the third-oldest underground metro system in the world, opened.
- December 25 – John Philip Sousa composes his magnum opus, the Stars and Stripes Forever, on Christmas Day.
- December 30 – Jose Rizal, Filipino scholar and poet, is executed in the Philippines.
- January 21 - Paula Hitler, Adolf Hitler's sister (d. 1960)
- July 16 - Gottlob Berger, German general (d. 1975)