- January 1 - Brooklyn, New York merges with New York City.
- January 4 - A British force is ambushed by Chief Ologbosheri, son-in-law of the Oba of Benin. This leads to a Punitive Expedition against Benin.
- February 2 - Harrisburg, The Pennsylvania state capitol is destroyed by fire.
- 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.
- April 5 - "Ordinance of April 5," equalizing German and Czech in Bohemia, signed in Austria-Hungary (see Kasimir Felix Graf von Badeni).
- April 27 - Grant's Tomb is dedicated.
- May 19 - Oscar Wilde is released from prison.
- 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."
- 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.
- 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.
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