Culture Wikia

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1908 in various calendars
Gregorian calendar1908
Ab urbe condita2661
Armenian calendar1357
Assyrian calendar6658
Bahá'í calendar64–65
Balinese saka calendar1829–1830
Bengali calendar1315
Berber calendar2858
British Regnal yearEdw. 7 – 8 Edw. 7
Buddhist calendar2452
Burmese calendar1270
Byzantine calendar7416–7417
Chinese calendar丁未(Fire Goat)
4604 or 4544
    — to —
戊申年 (Earth Monkey)
4605 or 4545
Coptic calendar1624–1625
Discordian calendar3074
Ethiopian calendar1900–1901
Hebrew calendar5668–5669
Hindu calendars
 - Vikram Samvat1964–1965
 - Shaka Samvat1829–1830
 - Kali Yuga5008–5009
Holocene calendar11908
Igbo calendar908–909
Iranian calendar1286–1287
Islamic calendar1325–1326
Japanese calendarMeiji 41
Javanese calendar1837–1838
Julian calendarGregorian minus 13 days
Korean calendar4241
Minguo calendar4 before ROC
Nanakshahi calendar440
Thai solar calendar2450–2451
Tibetan calendar阴火羊年
(female Fire-Goat)
2034 or 1653 or 881
    — to —
(male Earth-Monkey)
2035 or 1654 or 882

1908 (MCMVIII) was a leap year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar and a leap year starting on Tuesday of the Julian calendar, the 1908th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 908th year of the , the 8th year of the , and the 9th year of the decade. As of the start of Template:Year article header/Julian day, which remained in localized use until 1923.

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According to NASA reports, 1908 was the coldest recorded year since 1880.[1]



File:WikiProject Scouting fleur-de-lis dark.svg

January 24: Boy Scout movement.

  • January 1Nimrod Expedition: Ernest Shackleton sets sail from New Zealand on the Nimrod for Antarctica.
  • January 12 – A long-distance radio message is sent from the Eiffel Tower for the first time.
  • January 13 – A fire at the Rhoads Opera House in Boyertown, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., kills 170.
  • January 24 – Start of publication of Robert Baden-Powell's Scouting for Boys in London. The book will over time sell over 100 million copies and effectively begin the worldwide Boy Scout movement.



  • March – The Children's Encyclopædia begins publication in London.
  • March 4
    • The Pretoria branch of the Transvaal University College, precursor to the University of Pretoria, is established.
    • The Collinwood school fire, near Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.A., kills 174.
  • March 9Inter Milan, as well known for football club in Italy, founded.[citation needed]
  • March 21 – French aviator Léon Delagrange pilots the first passenger flight with Henri Farman on board.[2]
  • March 23 – American diplomat Durham Stevens, an employee of Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is assassinated in San Francisco by two Korean immigrants unhappy with his recent support for the increasing Japanese presence in Korea.
  • March 27 – The first Scout troop outside the U.K. is formed in Gibraltar.


  • April 20Sunshine rail disaster: A rear-end collision of two trains in Melbourne, Australia, kills 44 people and injures more than 400.[3]
  • April 21Frederick Cook claims to have reached the North Pole on this date.


  • May 26–October – Franco-British Exhibition (1908) held in London.
  • May 26 – At Masjed Soleyman in southwest Persia, the first major commercial oil discovery in the Middle East is made. The rights to the resource are quickly acquired by the United Kingdom.


File:Tunguska event fallen trees.jpg

Evidence of the Tunguska event (June 30). Photo taken 19 years later.

  • June 30 (June 17 OS) – Tunguska event or "Russian explosion" near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in Krasnoyarsk Krai, Siberia, Russian Empire, an explosion believed to have been caused by the air burst of a large meteoroid or comet fragment at an altitude of 5–10 kilometres (3–6 mi) above the Earth's surface.[4][5][6]


File:Olympic games 1908 London.jpg

1908 Summer Olympics

  • July 3Young Turk Revolution in the Ottoman Empire: Major Ahmed Niyazi, with 200 followers (Ottoman troops and civilians), begins an open revolution by defecting from the 3rd Army Corps in Macedonia, decamping into the hill country.
  • July 6Robert Peary sets sail for the North Pole.
  • July 1112 – The steamship Amalthea, housing 80 British strikebreakers in Malmö harbour, Sweden, is bombed by Anton Nilson; 1 is killed, 20 injured.
  • July 13251908 Summer Olympics held in London. The Winter Olympics are held here on 19–31 October.[7]
  • July 23 – Young Turk Revolution: The Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) issues a formal ultimatum to Sultan Abdul Hamid II to restore the constitution of 1876 within the Ottoman Empire. It is restored the following day.
  • July 24 – Italian Dorando Pietri wins the Olympic marathon (run from Windsor Castle to London) in one of the most dramatic arrivals of the Olympic history, only to be disqualified soon afterwards for receiving assistance; victory is awarded to the Irish American Johnny Hayes.
  • July 27-28 – The 1908 Hong Kong typhoon sinks the passenger steamer Ying King, losing 421 lives.


  • August 8Wilbur Wright flies in France for the first time demonstrating true controlled powered flight in Europe.
  • August 8The Hoover Company of Canton, Ohio, acquires manufacturing rights to the upright portable vacuum cleaner just invented by James M. Spangler.
  • August 17Émile Cohl makes the first fully animated film, Fantasmagorie.
  • August 24 – After an intense power struggle, Sultan Abdelaziz of Morocco is deposed, and is succeeded by his brother Abd al-Hafid.


  • September 10 – The first Minas Geraes-class Dreadnought battleship for Brazil, Minas Geraes is launched at Armstrong Whitworth's yard on the River Tyne in England, catalysing the "South American dreadnought race".
  • September 17 – At Fort Myer, Virginia, U.S.A., Thomas Selfridge becomes the first person to die in an airplane crash. The pilot, Orville Wright, is severely injured in the crash but recovers.
  • September 27Henry Ford produces his first Model T automobile at the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant in Detroit, Michigan.


  • October 1Penny Post established between the United Kingdom and United States.[8]
  • October 5Bulgaria declares its independence from the Ottoman Empire; Ferdinand I of Bulgaria becomes Tsar.
  • October 6 – The Bosnian crisis begins after the Austro-Hungarian Empire annexes Bosnia and Herzegovina.


  • November 3United States presidential election, 1908: Incumbent Theodore Roosevelt declined to run for a third term, paving the way for the Republican Party to nominate Secretary of War (and eventual winner with 321 electoral college votes) William Howard Taft. The Democratic Party nominated William Jennings Bryan, previously defeated in 1896 and 1900, received 162 EC votes.
  • November 6 – Western bandits Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid are supposedly killed in Bolivia, after being surrounded by a large group of soldiers. There are many rumors to the contrary however, and their grave sites are unmarked.
  • November 15 – King Leopold II of Belgium formally relinquishes his personal control of the Congo Free State to Belgium (becoming Belgian Congo) following evidence collected by Roger Casement of maladministration.
  • November 25The Christian Science Monitor newspaper is first published, in the United States.


  • December 2 – Young Emperor Puyi ascends the Chinese throne at age 2.
  • December 16 – Construction begins on the Template:RMS at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast.
  • December 28 – The 7.1 Mw Messina earthquake shakes Southern Italy with a maximum Mercalli intensity of XI (Extreme), killing between 75,000 and 200,000.

Date unknown

  • A 40,000-year-old Neanderthal boy skeleton is found at Le Moustier in southwest France by Otto Hauser.
  • The University of Pittsburgh was organized.
  • Madison College, precursor to James Madison University founded



File:Simone de Beauvoir.jpg

Simone de Beauvoir

  • January 8William Hartnell, British actor (d. 1975)
  • January 9Simone de Beauvoir, French feminist writer (d. 1986)
  • January 10Paul Henreid, Austrian-American actor (d. 1992)
  • January 12Jean Delannoy, French film director (d. 2008)
  • January 14Russ Columbo, Italian-American singer, bandleader, and composer (d. 1934)
  • January 15Edward Teller, Hungarian-born physicist (d. 2003)
  • January 16Günther Prien, German submarine commander (d. 1941)
  • January 17Cus D'Amato, American Boxing trainer (d. 1985)
  • January 22Lev Landau, Russian physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1968)
  • January 24Duncan Sandys, British politician (d. 1987)
  • January 26
    • Rupprecht Geiger, German painter (d. 2009)
    • Stéphane Grappelli, French jazz violinist and composer (d. 1997)


File:Amintore Fanfani 1983-04-14.jpg

Amintore Fanfani

File:RB 1975.jpg

Rómulo Betancourt

  • February 1George Pal, Hungarian-born animator (d. 1980)
  • February 5
    • Peg Entwistle, English actress (d. 1932)
    • Eugen Weidmann, German serial killer, last person publicly executed in France (d. 1939)
  • February 6
    • Amintore Fanfani, 32nd Prime Minister of Italy (d. 1999)
    • Michael Maltese, American screenwriter (d. 1981)
  • February 7Buster Crabbe, American swimmer and actor (d. 1983)
  • February 11
    • Philip Dunne, American screenwriter, director, and producer (d. 1992)
    • Vivian Fuchs, English geologist and explorer (d. 1999)
  • February 12Jean Effel, French painter and journalist (d. 1982)
  • February 17Bo Yibo, Chinese politician (d. 2007)
  • February 22
    • Rómulo Betancourt, President of Venezuela (d. 1981)
    • John Mills, British actor (d. 2005)
  • February 23William McMahon, Prime Minister of Australia (d. 1988)
  • February 25George Duning, American film composer (d. 2000)
  • February 26
    • Tex Avery, American cartoonist (d. 1980)
    • Jean-Pierre Wimille, French race car driver (d. 1949)
  • February 29
    • Balthus, French painter (d. 2001)
    • Dee Brown, American writer and historian (d. 2002)


File:Olympia-Kanone 1936.jpg

Walter Bruch behind camera


David Lean

  • March 2Walter Bruch, German engineer (d. 1990)
  • March 5Rex Harrison, English actor (d. 1990)
  • March 7Anna Magnani, Italian actress (d. 1973)
  • March 14Ed Heinemann, American aircraft designer (d. 1991)
  • March 19George Rodger, British photojournalist (d. 1995)
  • March 20
    • Kermit Murdock, American actor (d. 1981)
    • Michael Redgrave, English actor and playwright (d. 1985)
    • Frank Stanton, American businessman (d. 2006)
  • March 22Louis L'Amour, American author (d. 1988)
  • March 25
    • Helmut Käutner, German actor and director (d. 1980)
    • David Lean, English film director (d. 1991)
  • March 29Arthur O'Connell, American actor (d. 1981)


Template:Double image


File:Annex - Stewart, James (Call Northside 777) 01.jpg

James Stewart

  • May 1Krystyna Skarbek, Polish-born heroine of World War II (d. 1952)
  • May 5Kurt Böhme, German bass (d. 1989)
  • May 7Max Grundig, German inventor and industrialist (d. 1989)
  • May 8Cristian Vasile, Romanian singer (d. 1974)
  • May 19Percy Williams, Canadian athlete (d. 1982)
  • May 20James Stewart, American actor (d. 1997)
  • May 23
    • Max Abramovitz, American architect (d. 2004)
    • John Bardeen, American physicist, twice awarded the Nobel Prize (d. 1991)
    • Hélène Boucher, French aviator (d. 1934)
  • May 25Theodore Roethke, American poet (d. 1963)
  • May 26
    • Robert Morley, British actor (d. 1992)
    • Nguyễn Ngọc Thơ, First prime minister of South Vietnam (d. 1976)
  • May 25Barbara Luddy, American voice actress (d. 1979)
  • May 28Ian Fleming, English writer (d. 1964)
  • May 30
    • Hannes Alfvén, Swedish physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1995)
    • Mel Blanc, American voice actor (d. 1989)
    • Bernard Fitzalan-Howard, 16th Duke of Norfolk, English peer and Earl Marshal (d. 1975)
  • May 31Don Ameche, American actor (d. 1993)


File:Salvador Allende 2.jpg

Salvador Allende

  • June 11Francisco Marto, Portuguese, beatified (d. 1919)
  • June 12Marina Semyonova, Russian ballerina (d. 2010)
  • June 21Yun Bong-gil, Korean resister against the Japanese occupation of Korea (d. 1932)
  • June 24
    • Alfons Rebane, Estonian military commander (d. 1976)
    • Hugo Distler, German composer (d. 1942)
  • June 26
    • Salvador Allende, President of Chile (d. 1973)
    • William F. Knowland, American politician (d. 1974)
  • June 27Bill Kennedy, American actor (d. 1997)
  • June 29Leroy Anderson, American composer (d. 1975)
  • June 30Winston Graham, English writer (d. 2003)


File:Nelson Rockefeller.jpg

Nelson Rockefeller

  • July 1Estée Lauder, American cosmetics entrepreneur (d. 2004)
  • July 2Thurgood Marshall, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (d. 1993)
  • July 8Nelson Rockefeller, American businessman, philanthropist, public servant, and politician, 41st Vice President of the United States (d. 1979)
  • July 12Milton Berle, American comedian (d. 2002)
  • July 16Gerd Achgelis, German aviator, test pilot, and pioneer in the development of helicopters (d. 1991)
  • July 23
    • Karl Swenson, American actor (d. 1978)
    • James C. Tison, Jr., American admiral and civil engineer, sixth Director of the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey, first director of the Environmental Science Services Administration Corps (d. 1991)


File:37 Lyndon Johnson 3x4.jpg

Lyndon B. Johnson

  • August 4Kurt Eichhorn, German conductor (d. 1994)
  • August 5Harold Holt, Prime Minister of Australia (d. 1967)
  • August 6Will Lee, American actor (d. 1982)
  • August 8Arthur Goldberg, American politician, diplomat, and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (d. 1990)
  • August 9A. I. Bezzerides, American screenwriter (d. 2007)
  • August 10Rica Erickson, Australian naturalist and botanical artist (d. 2009)
  • August 21
    • M. M. Kaye, British writer (d. 2004)
    • Tom Tully, American actor (d. 1982)
  • August 22Henri Cartier-Bresson, French photographer (d. 2004)
  • August 27
    • Donald Bradman, Australian cricketer (d. 2001)
    • Lyndon B. Johnson, 36th President of the United States (d. 1973)
  • August 28Robert Merle, French writer (d. 2004)
  • August 30
    • Leonor Fini, Argentine artist (d. 1996)
    • Fred MacMurray, American actor (d. 1991)
  • August 31William Saroyan, American writer (d. 1981)



File:Carole Lombard - Paramount.JPG

Carole Lombard


File:Levi-strauss 260.jpg

Claude Lévi-Strauss

  • November 3Giovanni Leone, 68th Prime Minister of Italy, 6th President of Italy (d. 2001)
  • November 4Joseph Rotblat, Polish physicist, Nobel Peace Prize laureate (d. 2005)
  • November 12Harry Blackmun, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (d. 1999)
  • November 14Joseph McCarthy, American politician (d. 1957)
  • November 16Sœur Emmanuelle, French nun (d. 2008)
  • November 18Imogene Coca, American actress (d. 2001)
  • November 20Alistair Cooke, English-born American journalist (d. 2004)
  • November 23Nelson S. Bond, American author and playwright (d. 2006)
  • November 28Claude Lévi-Strauss, Belgian-born French anthropologist (d. 2009)


File:Simon Wiesenthal (1982).jpg

Simon Wiesenthal

  • December 2Aron Schvartzman, Argentine chess player (d. 2013)
  • December 4Alfred Hershey, American bacteriologist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1997)
  • December 6
    • Pierre Graber, Swiss Federal Councilor (d. 2003)
    • "Baby Face" Nelson, American gangster (d. 1934)
  • December 10Olivier Messiaen, French composer (d. 1992)
  • December 11
    • Elliott Carter, American composer (d. 2012)
    • Manoel de Oliveira, Portuguese film director (d. 2015)
    • Alfred Proksch, Austrian Olympic athlete (d. 2011)
  • December 16Frances Day, American actress and singer (d. 1984)
  • December 17Willard Libby, American chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1980)
  • December 22
    • Kočo Racin, Macedonian poet and revolutionary (d. 1943)
    • Giovanni Luigi Bonelli, Italian comic book author and writer (d. 2001)
  • December 25Quentin Crisp, English gay icon, author and raconteur (d. 1999)
  • December 28Lew Ayres, American actor (d. 1996)
  • December 31Simon Wiesenthal, Austrian Nazi-hunter (d. 2005)

Date unknown

  • Aden Abdullah Osman Daar, Somali politician (d. 2007)



File:Wilhelm Busch.jpg

Wilhelm Busch

File:Carlos I de Portugal.jpg

Carlos I of Portugal

File:Picture of Henry Campbell-Bannerman.jpg

Henry Campbell-Bannerman

File:HIH Yamashina Kikumaro on Yagumo.jpg

Prince Yamashina Kikumaro


Grover Cleveland

  • January 9Wilhelm Busch, German painter and poet (b. 1832)
  • January 14Holger Drachmann, Danish poet (b. 1846)
  • January 17Ferdinand IV, Grand Duke of Tuscany (b. 1835)
  • January 23Edward MacDowell, American composer (b. 1860)
  • January 25Ouida, English writer (b. 1839)
  • February 1
    • King Carlos I of Portugal (b. 1863)
    • Luís Filipe, Prince Royal of Portugal (b. 1887)
  • February 7Manuel Curros Enríquez, Spanish Galician writer (b. 1851)
  • February 17Baron Ignaz von Plener, 3rd Minister-President of Cisleithania (b. 1810)
  • February 29John Hope, 1st Governor-General of Australia (b. 1860)
  • March 11Edmondo De Amicis, Italian novelist (b. 1846)
  • March 27Charles N. Sims, American Methodist preacher and third chancellor of Syracuse University (b. 1835)
  • March 30Chester Gillette, American murderer (executed) (b. 1883)
  • April 22
    • Qasim Amin, Egyptian writer (b. 1863)
    • Henry Campbell-Bannerman, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (b. 1836)
  • April 26Karl Möbius, German ecologist (b. 1825)
  • May 2Prince Yamashina Kikumaro, Japanese Prince (b. 1873)
  • May 23François Coppée, French poet and novelist (b. 1842)
  • May 24Old Tom Morris, Scottish golfer (b. 1821)
  • May 26Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, founder of the Ahmadiyya movement in Islam (b. 1835)
  • June 2Redvers Buller, British general and Victoria Cross recipient (b. 1839)
  • June 5
    • Jonas Lie, Norwegian author (b. 1833)
    • Jef Lambeaux, Belgian sculptor (b. 1852)
  • June 14Frederick Stanley, Governor-General of Canada and founder of the Stanley Cup (b. 1841)
  • June 20Federico Chueca, Spanish composer (b. 1846)
  • June 21Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Russian composer (b. 1844)
  • June 24Grover Cleveland, 22nd and 24th President of the United States (b. 1837)


File:Demetrius Vikelas.jpg

Demetrius Vikelas

File:Portrait of Antoine-Henri Becquerel.jpg

Henri Becquerel

File:Tomas estrada palma.jpg

Tomas Estrada Palma

File:Emperor Guangxu.jpg

Emperor Guangxu of China

  • July 3Joel Chandler Harris, American author (b. 1848)
  • July 6Felipe Calderón y Roca, Filipino politician (b. 1868)
  • July 20Demetrius Vikelas, 1st President of the International Olympic Committee (b. 1835)
  • July 22William Randal Cremer, English politician and pacifist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1828)
  • August 4Radoje Domanović, Serbian writer (b. 1873)
  • August 25Henri Becquerel, French physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1852)
  • August 26Tony Pastor, American theater impresario (b. 1837)
  • August 31Leslie Green, British architect (b. 1875)
  • September 17Thomas Selfridge, United States Army officer and first person killed in an airplane crash (b. 1882)
  • September 20Pablo de Sarasate, Spanish violinist and composer (b. 1844)
  • September 21Nicolás Salmerón, 3rd President of the First Spanish Republic (b. 1838)
  • September 29Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, Brazilian author (b. 1839)
  • October 11Rita Cetina Gutiérrez, Mexican educator, poet and activist (b. 1846)
  • October 18Nozu Michitsura, Japanese general (b. 1840)
  • October 26Enomoto Takeaki, Japanese samurai and admiral (b. 1836)
  • November 3Harro Magnussen, German sculptor (b. 1861)
  • November 4
    • Richard Gerstl, Austrian artist (b. 1883)
    • Tomás Estrada Palma, 1st President of Cuba (b. 1832)
  • November 7Butch Cassidy, American outlaw (b. 1866)
  • November 7Sundance Kid, American outlaw (b. 1867)
  • November 8Victorien Sardou, French dramatist (b. 1831)
File:The Ci-Xi Imperial Dowager Empress (5).JPG

Empress Dowager Cixi

  • November 14 – Emperor Guangxu of China (b. 1871)
  • November 15Empress Dowager Cixi, ruler of China (b. 1835)
  • November 17Lydia Thompson, English dancer and actress (b. 1838)
  • November 22Claude-Paul Taffanel French flautist and composer (b. 1844)
  • December 13Augustus Le Plongeon, American archaeologist (b. 1825)

Nobel Prizes


  1. NASA - GISS Surface Temperature Analysis (GISTEMP)
  2. "Leon Delagrange". Early Aviators. Retrieved January 15, 2013.
  3. "Ballarat Genealogy: Newspaper Report of the accident". Archived from the original on February 11, 2012.
  4. Pasechnik, I. P. (1986). "Refinement of the moment of explosion of the Tunguska meteorite from the seismic data". Cosmic Matter and the Earth (in Russian). Novosibirsk: Nauka. p. 66.
  5. Farinella, Paolo; Foschini, L.; Froeschlé, Christiane; Gonczi, R.; Jopek, T. J.; Longo, G.; Michel, Patrick (2001). "Probable asteroidal origin of the Tunguska Cosmic Body" (PDF). Astronomy & Astrophysics. 377: 1081–1097. Bibcode:2001A&A...377.1081F. doi:10.1051/0004-6361:20011054. Retrieved August 23, 2011.
  6. Trayner, Chris (1994). "Perplexities of the Tunguska Meteorite". The Observatory. 114: 227–231. Bibcode:1994Obs...114..227T. Retrieved August 23, 2011.
  7. Penguin Pocket On This Day. Penguin Reference Library. 2006. ISBN 0-14-102715-0.
  8. Blake, Richard. The Book of Postal Dates, 1635-1985. Caterham: Marden. p. 20.

Further reading

  • The Annual Register for 1908, British and world events online