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1894 1895 1896 - 1897 - 1898 1899 1900
| Decades: |
1860s 1870s 1880s - 1890s - 1900s 1910s 1920s
Events of 1897
- January 1 – The National Alpha Omicron Pi Sorority is founded.
- 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 is found dead in Greenbrier County, West Virginia. The resulting murder trial of her husband is perhaps the only case in United States history where the testimony of a ghost helped secure a conviction.
- February 10 – Freedom of religion is proclaimed in Madagascar.
- February 18 – Benin is put to the torch by the Punitive Expedition.
- February 26 – The Sigma Pi Fraternity is founded.
- March 4 – William McKinley succeeds Grover Cleveland as President of the United States.
- March 13 – San Diego State University is founded.
- April 5 – The Ordinance of April 5, equalizing German and Czech in Bohemia, is signed in Austria-Hungary (see Count Kasimir Felix Badeni).
- April 24 – The first ever Challenge Cup final is played at Headingley.
- April 27 – Grant's Tomb is dedicated in New York.
- May 1 – The Tennessee Centennial Exposition opens in Nashville, for 6 months, illuminated by many electric lights.
- May 10 – The Snaefell Mining Disaster occurs in the Isle of Man.
- May 16 – The Teatro Massimo is built in Palermo, the largest opera theatre in Italy, the 3rd largest in Europe.
- May 18 – Dracula, a novel by Irish author Bram Stoker, is published.
- May 19 – Oscar Wilde is released from prison.
- June 1 – American miners begin a strike, which successfully establishes the United Mine Workers Union and brings about the 8-hour work day to mines.
- June 2 – Mark Twain, responding to rumors that he is dead, is quoted by the New York Journal as saying, "The report of my death was an exaggeration."
- June 12 – The world's first Fingerprint Bureau opens in Calcutta (now Kolkata), India, after the Council of the Governor General approves a committee report that fingerprints should be used for classification of criminal records.
- June 22 – Queen Victoria celebrates her Diamond Jubilee.
- June 22 The assassination of British colonial officers Rand and Ayerst in Pune, Maharashtra, India on their way back from a Government house party celebrating the diamond jubilee coronation anniversary of Queen Victoria, by the Chapekar brothers and Ranade, who were later caught and hanged. Considered the first martyrs to the cause of India's freedom from Britain. The film 22 June 1897 is based on the incident.
- 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 – The Klondike Gold Rush begins when the 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 – Mount Saint Elias, the second highest peak in the United States and Canada, is first ascended.
- August 21 – The Oldsmobile is founded in Lansing, MI by Ransom E. Olds.
- August 29 – The First Zionist Congress convenes in Basel, Switzerland.
- September 1 – The Boston subway opens, becoming the first underground metro in North America.
- September 10 – Lattimer Massacre: A sheriff's posse kills more than 19 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 12 -The Battle of Saragarhi one of history's most famous last stands was fought between twenty-one Sikhs of the 36th Sikh of the Sikh Regiment of British India, defending an army post, against 10,000 Afghan and Orakzai tribesmen. The battle occurred in the North-West Frontier Province Afghanistan, now a part of Pakistan, which then formed part of British India.
- September 20 – Greece and Turkey sign a peace treaty to end the Greco-Turkish War.
- October 2 – The first issue of the radical paper Tocsin is published .
- October 6 – Ethiopia uses the tricolor flag: green is for the land, yellow for gold, and red is symbolic of strength and the blood shed.
- October 12 – The USS Baltimore (Cruiser # 3, later CM-1) is recommissioned, since 1890, for several months of duty in the Hawaiian Islands.
- October 12 – The City of Belo Horizonte, Brazil was created. The construction of the first Brazilian Planned City was completed successfully, an immigration of 1,000,000 people was estimated.
- October 13 – The HMS Canopus (1898), a pre-Dreadnought battleship of the Royal Navy, is launched at Portsmouth, England (will be deployed widely in World War I).
- October 23 – The Kappa Delta Sorority is founded.
- November 1 – Juventus F.C. is founded in Turin.
- November 25 - Spain grants Puerto Rico autonomy
- December 9 – The 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.
- January 6 - Ferenc Szálasi, Hungarian National Socialist leader (d. 1946)
- January 11 - James A. Colescott, Imperial Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (d. 1950)
- January 19 - Emil Maurice, early NSDAP member and Hitler’s chauffeur (d. 1972)
- April 7 - Walter Winchell, Jewish gossip columnist and radio commentator (d. 1972)
- June 12 - Anthony Eden, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (d. 1977)
- June 23 - Winifred Wagner - Richard Wagner's daughter-in-law, close friend of Adolf Hitler (d. 1980)
- July 24 - Amelia Earhart, American aviation pioneer, declared deceased after disappearance July 2, 1937
- September 26 - Pope Paul VI (d. 1978)
- October 29 - Joseph Goebbels, German Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda (d. 1945)