1914 1915 1916 – 1917 – 1918 1919 1920
| Decades: |
1880s 1890s 1900s – 1910s – 1920s 1930s 1940s
| Centuries: |
19th century – 20th century – 21st century
Lists of leaders:
1917 was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar).
Table of contents
- January 2 – The Royal Bank of Canada takes over Quebec Bank.
- January 22 – World War I: President Woodrow Wilson calls for "peace without victory" in Europe.
- January 25 – The Danish West Indies is sold to the United States for $25 million
- January 25 – Anti-prostitution drive in San Francisco attracted huge crowds to public meetings. At one meeting attended by 7000 people, 20000 were kept out for lack of room. In a conference with Rev. Paul Smith, an outspoken foe of prostitution, 300 prostitutes made a plea for toleration explaining they had been forced into the practice by poverty. When Smith asked if they would take other work at $8 to $10 a week, the ladies laughed derisively, which lost them public sympathy. The police closed about 200 houses of prostitution shortly thereafter 
- January 28 – The United States ends search for Pancho Villa
- January 31 – World War I: Germany announces its U-boats will engage in unrestricted submarine warfare.
- February 3 – World War I: The United States breaks off diplomatic relations with Germany
- February 5 – The constitution of Mexico is adopted.
- February 23 – The Russian Revolution begins with the overthrow of the Tsar system.
- February 24 – World War I: United States ambassador to the United Kingdom Walter H. Page is given the Zimmermann Telegram, in which Germany offers to give the American Southwest back to Mexico if Mexico will declare war on the United States.
- March 1 – U.S. government releases the plaintext of the Zimmermann Telegram to the public
- March 1 – Japanese city Omuta, Fukuoka is founded
- March 2 – The enactment of the Jones Act grants Puerto Ricans United States citizenship.
- March 4 – Jeannette Rankin of Montana becomes the first woman member of the United States House of Representatives.
- March 8 – The United States Senate adopts the cloture rule in order to limit filibusters.
- March 15 – Tsar Nicholas II of Russia abdicates and the Russian Revolution begins.
- March 21 – The Danish West Indies become the Virgin Islands when Denmark transfers control over the islands to the United States after the purchase of the islands on January 25.
- March 26 – World War I: First Battle of Gaza – British cavalry troops retreat after 17,000 Turks block their advance.
- March 31 – The United States takes possession of the Virgin Islands after paying $25 million to Denmark.
- April 2 – World War I: US President Woodrow Wilson asks U.S. Congress for a declaration of war on Germany.
- April 6 – World War I: United States declares war on Germany. text
- April 9 – 12 – World War I: Canadians win the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
- April 11 – World War I: Brazil severs relations with Germany
- April 16 – Lenin arrives in Petrograd
- May 13 – Three peasant children claim to see the Virgin Mary above a holm oak tree in Cova da Iria near Fatima, Portugal.
- May 18 – World War I: The Selective Service Act passes the U.S. Congress giving the President the power of conscription.
- June 5 – World War I: Conscription begins in the United States as "Army registration day."
- June 15 – The United States enacts the Espionage Act.
- July 6 – Arabian troops led by T.E. Lawrence capture Aqaba from the Turks.
- July 7 – Aleksandr Kerensky forms the Provisional Government in Russia after the deposing of the tsar.
- July 17 – King George V of the United Kingdom issues a Proclamation stating that the male line descendants of the British royal family will bear the surname Windsor.
- July 20 – Corfu Declaration that enabled post-war Kingdom of Yugoslavia was signed by the Yugoslav Committee and Kingdom of Serbia
- July 25 – Sir Thomas Whyte introduces the first income tax in Canada as a "temporary" measure (lowest bracket is 4% and highest is 25%).
- August 29 – World War I: The Military Service Act is passed in the Canadian House of Commons giving the Canadian government the right to conscript men into the army.
- October 15 – World War I: At Vincennes outside of Paris, Dutch dancer Mata Hari is executed by firing squad for spying for Germany.
- October 19 – Love Field in Dallas, Texas is opened.
- October 26 – World War I: Brazil declared in state of war with Germany.
- November 2 – Zionism: The Balfour Declaration proclaims British support for Jewish settlement in Palestine.
- November 6 – World War I: Third Battle of Ypres ends: After three months of fierce fighting, Canadian forces take Ypres in Belgium.
- November 7 – Russian Revolution begins: In Russia, Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin leads his leftist revolutionaries in a nearly bloodless coup d'état against the ineffective Kerensky Provisional Government (Russia was still using the Julian Calendar at the time, so period references show a October 25 date).
- November 7 – World War I: Third Battle of Gaza ends – United Kingdom forces capture Gaza from the Ottoman Empire.
- November 15 – Finland takes a step towards full sovereignty recognizing the personal union with Russia finished after the Tsar being dethroned
- November 20 – World War I: Battle of Cambrai begins – British forces make early progress in an attack on German positions but are soon beat back.
- November 20 – Ukraine is declared a republic.
- December 3 – After nearly 20 years of planning and construction, the Quebec Bridge opens to traffic (the bridge partially collapsed on August 29 1907 and September 11 1916).
- December 6 – Finland's declaration of independence.
- December 6 – Halifax explosion: Two freighters collide in the harbour at Halifax, Nova Scotia and cause a huge explosion that kills at least 1963 people, injures 9000 and destroys part of the city. Until Hiroshima, this was the biggest manmade explosion.
- December 25 – Why Marry?, first dramatic play to win a Pulitzer Prize, opens at the Astor Theatre in New York City.
- December 26 – United States president Woodrow Wilson uses the Federal Possession and Control Act to take control of nearly all American railroads under the United States Railroad Administration so they can be more efficiently used to transport troops and materials for the war effort.
- Lions Clubs International was formed.
- First commercially issued recordings of jazz music, by Original Dixieland Jazz Band.
- Tolkien starts writing the original Book of Lost Tales (the first version of the Silmarillion), thus Middle-earth is first written this year (After the war, Tolkien tries to publish the stories, but he is neglected, as writers call his work a "fairy tale"; unsuitable for adult readership).
- Conscription crisis in Canada.
- Female suffrage in the Netherlands
- January 2 – Vera Zorina, dancer, actress
- January 10 – Hilde Krahl, actress (d. 1999)
- January 10 – Jerry Wexler, American record producer
- January 19 – John Raitt, American actor and singer (d. 2005)
- January 24 – Ernest Borgnine, American actor
- January 25 – Ilya Prigogine, Belgian winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry (d. 2003)
- February 4 – Yahya Khan, President of Pakistan (d. 1980)
- February 6 – Zsa Zsa Gabor, Hungarian-born actress
- February 11 – Richard Jock Kinneir, graphic designer
- February 11 – Sidney Sheldon, American author
- February 14 – Herbert A. Hauptman, American biophysicist, winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry
- February 19 – Carson McCullers, American author (d. 1967)
- February 25 – Anthony Burgess, English author (d. 1993)
- February 27 – John Connally, Governor of Texas (d. 1993)
- February 28 – Fidel Sánchez Hernández, President of El Salvador (d. 2003)
- March 1 – Harry Caray, American baseball broadcaster (d. 1998)
- March 1 – Robert Lowell, American poet (d. 1977)
- March 2 – Desi Arnaz, Cuban-born actor, bandleader, and musician (d. 1986)
- March 19 – Dinu Lipatti, Romanian pianist (d. 1950)
- March 20 – Dame Vera Lynn, English actress and singer
- March 26 – Rufus Thomas, American singer (d. 2001)
- March 27 – Cyrus Vance, American politician (d. 2002)
- April 17 – Bill Clements, Governor of Texas
- April 25 – Ella Fitzgerald, American jazz singer (d. 1996)
- May 14 – Lou Harrison, American composer (d. 2003)
- May 21 – Raymond Burr, Canadian actor (d. 1993)
- May 22 – Georg Tintner, Austrian conductor (d. 1999)
- May 28 – Papa John Creech, fiddler (d. 1994)
- May 29 – John F. Kennedy, President of the United States (d. 1963)
- June 1 – William S. Knowles, American chemist, Nobel Prize laureate
- June 15 – John Fenn, American chemist, Nobel Prize laureate
- June 15 – Lash La Rue, American cowboy actor (d. 1996)
- June 17 – Atle Selberg, Norwegian mathematician
- July 4 – Manolete, Spanish bullfighter (d. 1947)
- July 19 – William Scranton, U.S. politician
- August 15 – Jack Lynch, Taoiseach of the Republic of Ireland (d. 1999)
- August 18 – Caspar Weinberger, United States Secretary of Defence
- August 22 – John Lee Hooker, American blues musician (d. 2001)
- August 28 – Jack Kirby, American comic book artist (d. 1994)
- August 29 – Isabel Sanford, American actress (d. 2004)
- September 10 – Miguel Serrano, Chilean fascist ideologist
- September 11 – Ferdinand Marcos, President of the Philippines (d. 1989)
- September 13 – Robert Ward, American composer (d. 1994)
- September 25 – Johnny Sain, baseball pitcher
- October 8 – Danny Murtaugh, Major League Baseball player and manager (d. 1976)
- October 15 – Jan Miner, American actress (d. 2004)
- October 21 – Dizzy Gillespie, American jazz musician (d. 1993)
- October 30 – Maurice Trintignant, French race car driver (d. 2005)
- November 11 – Madeleine Damerment, French World War II heroine (d. 1944)
- November 19 – Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India (d. 1984)
- December 6 – Kamal Jumblatt, leader of the Lebanese Druze (d. 1977)
- December 6 – Eliane Plewman, World War II heroine (d. 1944)
- December 10 – Sultan Yahya Petra, Sultan of Kelantan and 6th Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia (d. 1979)
- December 21 – Heinrich Böll, German writer (d. 1985)
- December 22 – Gene Rayburn, American television host (d. 1999)
- December 30 – Seymour Melman, American industrial engineer (d. 2004)
- January 10 – William F. Cody (Buffalo Bill), American frontiersman (b. 1846)
- January 16 – George Dewey, U.S. admiral (b. 1837)
- February 10 – John William Waterhouse, Italian-born artist (b. 1849)
- March 8 – Ferdinand von Zeppelin, German inventor (b. 1838)
- March 17 – Franz Brentano, German philosopher and psychologist (b. 1838)
- March 31 – Emil Adolf von Behring, German winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (b. 1854)
- April 1 – Scott Joplin, American musician and composer
- April 14 – L. L. Zamenhof, Polish creator of Esperanto (b. 1859)
- May 17 – Charles Anthoni Johnson Brooke, ruler of Sarawak (b. 1829)
- May 20 – Philipp von Ferrary, Italian stamp collector (b. 1850)
- June 30 – Antonio de La Gandara, French painter (b. 1861)
- July 27 – Emil Kocher, Swiss medical researcher (b. 1841)
- August 12 – Eduard Buchner, German chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1860)
- August 20 – Adolf von Baeyer, German chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1835)
- August 30 – Alan Leo, British astrologer (b. 1860)
- September 27 – Edgar Degas, French painter (b. 1834)
- October 13 – Florence La Badie, Canadian actress (b. 1888)
- October 15 – Mata Hari, Dutch dancer and spy (executed) (b. 1876)
- October 23 – Eugène Grasset, Swiss artist (b. 1845)
- October 28 – Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein (b. 1831)
- November 8 – Colin Blythe, English cricketer (b. 1879)
- November 11 – Queen Liliuokalani of Hawai'i (b. 1838)
- November 17 – Auguste Rodin, French sculptor (b. 1840)
- December 8 – Mendele Moykher Sforim, Russian Yiddish and Hebrew writer (b. 1836)