1898 1899 1900 - 1901 - 1902 1903 1904
1870s 1880s 1890s - 1900s - 1910s 1920s 1930s
- January 1
- The world celebrates the beginning of the 20th century.
- The British colonies of New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia federate as the Commonwealth of Australia. Edmund Barton becomes first Prime Minister.
- Nigeria becomes a British protectorate.
- The birth of Pentecostalism at a prayer meeting at Bethel Bible College in Topeka, Kansas.
- January 4 – The first deaf Greek organization, Kappa Gamma Fraternity is founded at Gallaudet University.
- January 5 – Typhoid fever breaks out in a Seattle jail, the first of 2 typhoid outbreaks in the USA during the year.
- January 7 – Alferd Packer is released from prison after serving 18 years for cannibalism.
- January 10 – In the first great Texas gusher, oil is discovered at Spindletop in Beaumont, Texas.
- January 22 – After reigning for almost 64 years, longer than any other British monarch, Queen Victoria dies at the age of 81. Her eldest son, Prince Albert Edward, Prince of Wales becomes King, reigning as King Edward VII until 1910. His son, Prince George, Duke of York becomes Duke of Cornwall.
- January 28 – Baseball's American League declares itself a Major League.
- February 14 – King Edward VII opens his first parliament.
- February 15 – The Alianza Lima Foundation is created in Peru.
- February 20 – The Hawaii Territory Legislature convenes for the first time.
- March 2 – The U.S. Congress passes the Platt Amendment, limiting the autonomy of Cuba as a condition for the withdrawal of American troops.
- March 4 – United States President William McKinley begins his 2nd term. Theodore Roosevelt is sworn in as Vice President of the United States.
- March 6 – In Bremen, an assassin attempts to kill Wilhelm II of Germany.
- March 17 – A showing of 71 Vincent van Gogh paintings in Paris, 11 years after his death, creates a sensation.
- March 31 – The United Kingdom Census 1901 is taken.
- April 25 – New York State becomes the first to require automobile license plates.
- April 29 – Anti-Jewish rioting breaks out in Budapest.
- May 3 – The Great Fire of 1901 begins in Jacksonville, FL.
- May 5 – The Caste War of Yucatán officially ends, although Mayan skirmishers continue sporadic fighting for another decade.
- May 9 – Australia opens its first parliament in Melbourne.
- May 17 – The U.S. stock market crashes.
- May 24 – 78 miners die in the Caerphilly pit disaster in South Wales.
- May 25 – The Club Atlético River Plate is founded in Argentina.
- May 27 – In New Jersey, the Edison Storage Battery Company is founded.
- May 28 – Iran (known as Persia until 1935) grants William Knox D'Arcy a concession, giving him the right to prospect for oil.
- July 4 – The 1,282 foot (390 meters) covered bridge crossing the St. John River at Hartland, New Brunswick, Canada opens. It is the longest covered bridge in the world.
- July 24 – O. Henry is released from prison in Columbus, Ohio after serving 3 years for embezzlement from the First National Bank in Austin, Texas.
- August 5 – Peter O'Connor sets the first International Association of Athletics Federations recognised long jump world record of 24 ft 11¾ins. The record will stand for 20 years.
- August 6 – Discovery Expedition: Robert Falcon Scott sets sail on the RRS Discovery to explore the Ross Sea in Antarctica.
- August 28 – Silliman University is founded in the Philippines. The first Protestant and American school in Asia.
- August 30 – Hubert Cecil Booth patents an electric vacuum cleaner.
- September 2 – U.S. Vice President Theodore Roosevelt utters the famous phrase, "Speak softly and carry a big stick" at the Minnesota State Fair.
- September 5 – The National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues (later renamed Minor League Baseball), is formed in Chicago.
- September 6 – American anarchist Leon Czolgosz shoots U.S. President William McKinley at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. McKinley dies 8 days later.
- September 7 – The Boxer Rebellion in China officially ends with the signing of the Boxer Protocol.
- September 14 – Theodore Roosevelt succeeds William McKinley as President of the United States.
- September 26 – The body of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln is exhumed and reinterred in concrete several feet thick.
- October 2 – The Royal Navy's first submarine is launched at Barrow.
- October 4 – The American yacht Columbia defeats the Irish Shamrock in the America's Cup yachting race.
- October 16 – U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt invites African American leader Booker T. Washington to the White House. The American South reacts angrily to the visit, and racial violence increases in the region.
- October 23 – Yale University celebrates its bicentennial.
- October 24 – Michigan schoolteacher Annie Taylor goes down Niagara Falls in a barrel and survives.
- October 29
- November 1 – Sigma Phi Epsilon is founded in Richmond, VA.
- November 9 – Prince George, Duke of Cornwall becomes Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester.
- November 15 – The Alpha Sigma Alpha Fraternity is founded at Longwood University.
- November 28 – The new state constitution of Alabama requires voters to have passed literacy tests.
- December 3 – U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt delivers a 20,000-word speech to the House of Representatives asking Congress to curb the power of trusts "within reasonable limits."
- December 10 – The first Nobel Prize ceremony is held in Stockholm on the 5th anniversary of Alfred Nobel's death.
- December 12 – Guglielmo Marconi receives the first trans-Atlantic radio signal in Newfoundland, Canada;reference required it is Morse code for the letter "S."
- December 20 – The final spike is driven into the Mombasa-Victoria-Uganda Railway in what is now Kisumu, Kenya.
- April 29 - Hirohito, Japanese Emperor (d. 1989)
- October 2 - Roy Campbell, South African poet and satirist (d. 1957)
- December 5 - Walt Disney, American animated film producer (d. 1966)