1997 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar), and was designated the International Year of the Reef.
1994 1995 1996 - 1997 - 1998 1999 2000
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1960s 1970s 1980s - 1990s - 2000s 2010s 2020s
| Centuries: |
19th century - 20th century - 21st century
- January 3 - NBC's Today Show Bryant Gumbel signs off for the last time
- January 8 - Mister Rogers receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
- January 9 - Yachtsman Tony Bullimore found alive five days after his boat capsized in the Southern Ocean
- January 16 - Ennis Cosby, the only son of actor Bill Cosby, is killed by a gunman while changing a flat tire in Los Angeles, California
- January 18 - In north west Rwanda, Hutu militia members kill 3 Spanish aid workers, 3 soldiers and seriously wound one other.
- January 19 - Yasser Arafat returns to Hebron after more than 30 years and joins celebrations over the handover of the last Israeli controlled West Bank city
- January 20 - Bill Clinton starts his second term as President of the United States
- January 21 - Newt Gingrich becomes the first leader of the United States House of Representatives to be internally disciplined for ethical misconduct
- January 22 - Madeleine Albright becomes the first female secretary of state after confirmation by the United States Senate.
- January 23 - Mir Aimal Kasi receives the death sentence for a 1993 assault rifle attack outside CIA headquarters that killed two and wounded three others.
- January 27 - It is revealed that French museums had nearly 2,000 pieces of art that were stolen by Nazis.
- January 28 - Clive Davis receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
- February 4 - O. J. Simpson is found to be civilly liable for the deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. Simpson is ordered to pay $35,000,000 in damages to the families of the two victims
- February 4 - On their way to Lebanon two Israeli troop-transport helicopters collide killing 73
- February 4 - After at first contesting the results, Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic recognizes opposition victories in the November 1996 elections
- February 5 - The so-called "Big Three" banks in Switzerland announce the creation of a $71 million fund to aid Holocaust survivors and their families
- February 5 - Morgan Stanley and Dean Witter investment banks announce a $10 billion merger.
- February 6 - British Diane Blood wins the right to use the sperm of her dead husband to have a child
- February 9 - The Simpsons surpasses The Flintstones as the longest-running prime-time animated series.
- February 10 - The United States Army suspends Sgt. Major Gene McKinney, its top-ranking enlisted soldier, after hearing allegations of sexual misconduct
- February 11 - Bill Parcells becomes head coach of New York Jets.
- February 13 - Tune-up and repair work on the Hubble Space Telescope is started by astronauts from the Space Shuttle Discovery
- February 19 - The last of the People's Republic of China's major revolutionaries, Deng Xiaoping dies at 92
- February 22 - In Roslin, Scotland, scientists announce that an adult sheep named Dolly had been successfully cloned and was born in July 1996.
- March 1 - the band Phish record Slip Stitch and Pass live at Markthalle, Hamburg, Germany
- March 1 - Northern Ireland band Ash release the single Barbie
- March 4 - United States President Bill Clinton bars federal funding for any research on human cloning
- March 6 - Picasso's Tete de Femme is stolen from a London gallery (it was recovered a week later).
- March 11 - An explosion at a nuclear waste reprocessing plant in Japan exposes 35 workers to low-level radioactive contamination in the worst nuclear accident in Japan's history
- March 12 - Mikail Markhasev is arrested in Los Angeles, California and charged with shooting Bill Cosby's 27-year-old son, Ennis Cosby.
- March 13 - India's Missionaries of Charity chooses Sister Nirmala to succeed Mother Teresa as its leader
- March 18 - The tail of a Russian An-24 charter plane breaks off while en-route to Turkey causing the plane to crash killing all 50 on board and later the grounding of all An-24s.
- March 22 - 14 year, 10 month old Tara Lipinski becomes the youngest champion of the women's world figure skating competition.
- March 26 - Thirty-nine bodies found in Heaven's Gate cult suicide.
- March 26 – Survey of a claimed gold site of Bre-X Minerals in Indonesia reveals it is worthless – Bre-X complains and accuses Internet rumors
- April 11 - Fire damages Turin Cathedral in Italy
- April 14 - Fire breaks out in a pilgrim camp on the Plain of Mena, seven miles form Mecca - 343 dead
- April 14 - Former SS captain Erich Priebke in retried. On July 22 he is sentenced for five years in prison
- April 16 - Houston, Texas socialite Doris McGowen Beck Angleton is murdered in her River Oaks home. Roger Nicholas Angleton admits to the crime in the suicide note. Despite being found innocent of the crime by a Texas jury, he later gets arrested by the Department of Justice for similar charges.
- April 18 - The Red River of the North reaches flood stage in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
- April 21 - First space burial, carrying the remains of 24 people on a Pegasus rocket into earth orbit.
- April 22 - A 126-day hostage crisis at the residence of the Japanese ambassador in Lima, Peru ends after government commandos storm and capture the building rescuing 71 hostages. One hostage dies of a heart attack, two soldiers are killed from rebel fire and all 14 Tupac Amaru rebels are slain
- April 27 - Andrew Cunanan murders Jerffrey Trail, beginning a murder spree that will last until July and terminate with the murder of fashion designer Gianni Versace.
- April 28 - The Red River of the North returns to its banks in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
- May 1 - The UK's Labour Party end 18 years of Conservative rule in the 1997 UK general election
- May 2 - Tony Blair appointed Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
- May 10 - An earthquake near Ardekul in northeastern Iran kills at least 2,400
- May 11 - IBM's Deep Blue defeated Garry Kasparov, the first time a computer beat a chess grand master
- May 12 - Barnes and Noble Inc. filed a lawsuit against Amazon.com, a day before Amazon launched its initial public offering.
- May 12 - The Russian-Chechen Peace Treaty signed.
- May 14 - The Star Alliance is formed between Air Canada, Lufthansa, SAS, Thai Airways International and United Airlines
- May 22 - Women in the military: Kelly Flinn, US Air Force's first female bomber pilot certified for combat, accepts a general discharge in order to avoid a court martial
- May 25 - Strom Thurmond becomes the longest serving member in the history of the United States Senate (41 years and 10 months)
- May 25 - A military coup in Sierra Leone replaces President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah with Major Johnny Paul Koromah.
- May 27 - A strong tornado hits in Jarrell, Texas killing 27 people. It was the second deadliest tornado of the 1990s (see Jarrell Tornado).
- June - Iraq disarmament crisis: Iraqi military escorts on board an UNSCOM helicopter try to physically prevent the UNSCOM pilot from flying the helicopter in the direction of its planned destination, threatening the safety of the aircraft and their crews.
- June 2 - Timothy McVeigh is convicted on 15 counts of murder and conspiracy for his role in the 1995 terrorist bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
- June 5 - Kim Hyun Chul, son of Kim Young Sam, president of South Korea, is charged with bribery and corruption related to the awarding of government contracts
- June 7 - A computer user known as "_eci" published his Microsoft C source code on a Windows 95 and Windows NT exploit, which would later become WinNuke. The source code gets wide distribution across the internet, and Microsoft is forced to release a security patch.
- June 10 - Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot orders the killing of his defense chief Son Sen and 11 of Sen's family members before Pol Pot flees his northern stronghold (the news did not reach outside Cambodia for three days)
- June 11 - The British House of Commons votes for a total ban on handguns
- June 12 - The United States Department of the Treasury unveils a new $50 bill meant to be more counterfeit-resistant 
- June 13 - A jury sentences Timothy McVeigh to the death penalty for his part in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. 
- July 1 - The United Kingdom hands sovereignty of Hong Kong to the People's Republic of China
- July 4 - NASA's Pathfinder space probe lands on the surface of Mars.
- July 8 - Mayo Clinic researchers warn that the dieting-drug "fen-phen" can cause severe heart and lung damage
- July 8 - NATO invites the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland to join the alliance in 1999
- July 10 - In London, scientists report their DNA analysis findings from a Neanderthal skeleton which support the out of Africa theory of human evolution placing an "African Eve" at 100,000 to 200,000 years ago
- July 13 - Body of Che Guevara is returned to Cuba for burial alongside some of his other comrades
- July 15 - In Miami, Florida, serial killer Andrew Phillip Cunanan guns down Gianni Versace outside his home
- July 17 - The F.W. Woolworth Company closes after 117 years in business
- July 21 - The fully restored USS Constitution (aka "Old Ironsides") celebrates her 200th birthday by setting sail for the first time in 116 years
- July 22 - The second Blue Water Bridge opens between Port Huron, Michigan and Sarnia, Ontario
- July 23 - Digital Equipment Corporation files antitrust charges against chipmaker Intel
- July 25 - K.R. Narayanan is sworn-in as India's 10th president and the first member of the Dalits caste to hold this office.
- August 1 - Boeing and McDonnell Douglas complete merger.
- August 2 - Australian ski instructor Stuart Diver is rescued as the sole survivor from the Thredbo landslide in New South Wales, Australia, in which 18 lives were lost.
- August 4 - 185,000 Teamsters union United Parcel Service drivers walk off the job.
- August 6 - Microsoft buys a $150 million share of financially troubled Apple Computer.
- August 26 - The Independent International Commission on Decommissioning set up in Northern Ireland, as part of the peace process.
- August 29 - Christopher Maier of Lexington, Kentucky is bludgeoned to death by serial killer Angel Maturino Resendiz. Angel also rapes and beats Christopher's girlfriend, who survives. This is the first of a string of murders that Angel commits.
- August 31 - Diana, Princess of Wales is taken to a hospital after a car crash in the Pont de l'Alma road tunnel in Paris. She is pronounced dead at 4:00 the next morning.
- September 3 - Arizona Governor Fife Symington is convicted for various crimes tied to his real estate business, effectively forcing him out of office.
- September 4 - In Lorain, Ohio, the last Ford Thunderbird rolls off the assembly line.
- September 5 - Athens is picked to be the host city for the 2004 Summer Olympics
- September 6 - The funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales at Westminster Abbey draws large crowds.
- September 7 - First test flight of the F/A-22 Raptor.
- September 11 - Scotland votes to create its own Parliament after 290 years of union with England
- September 13 - Iraq disarmament crisis: An Iraqi military officer attacks an UNSCOM weapons inspector on board an UNSCOM helicopter while the inspector was attempting to take photographs of unauthorized movement of Iraqi vehicles inside a site designated for inspection
- September 17 - Iraq disarmament crisis: While waiting for access to a site, UNSCOM inspectors witness and videotape Iraqi guards moving files, burning documents, and dumping waste cans into a nearby river
- September 25 - Iraq disarmament crisis: UNSCOM inspector Dr. Diane Seaman catches several Iraqi men sneaking out the back door of an inspection site with log books for the creation of prohibited bacteria and chemicals.
- September 26 - 234 dies in air crash in Indonesia. Probable cause is the smoke rising from numerous forest fires in the area
- October 2 – UK scientists Moira Bruce and John Collinge with their colleagues independently show that the new variant form of the Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is the same disease as BSE or "mad-cow disease"
- October 15 - The first supersonic land speed record is set by the ThrustSSC team from the United Kingdom.
- October 26 - After a controversial collision ends Michael Schumacher's race, Williams F1 win their then-record ninth Formula One constructors crown.
- October 29 - Iraq disarmament crisis: Iraq says it will begin shooting down U-2 surveillance planes being used by UNSCOM inspectors
- October 30 - British au pair Louise Woodward is found guilty of the baby-shaking death of 8-month-old Matthew Eappen.
- November 10 - Telcoms WorldCom and MCI announce a US$37 billion merger to form MCI-WorldCom (the largest merger in US history).
- November 10 - A jury in Fairfax, Virginia finds Mir Aimal Kasi guilty of the murder of two CIA employees in 1993.
- November 11 - Mary McAleese is elected the eighth President of Ireland
- November 12 - Ramzi Yousef is found guilty of masterminding the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
- November 16 - After nearly 18 years of incarceration, the People's Republic of China releases Wei Jingsheng, a pro-democracy dissident, from jail for medical reasons.
- November 17 - In Luxor, Egypt, 62 people are killed by 6 Islamic militants outside the Temple of Hatshepsut (police killed the assailants)
- November 19 - In Carlisle, Iowa, Bobbi McCaughey gives birth to septuplets in the second known case where all seven babies were born alive.
- November 20 - Boeing 727 of Portuguese TAP airline crashes just before landing in Funchal airport in Madeira - 123 dead
- November 24 - Following a 554.26 point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), officials at the New York Stock Exchange for the first time invoke the "circuit breaker" rule to stop trading (this was a very controversial move and prompted a quick change in the rule; trading stops will only occur when the DJIA drops at least 10 or 20 percent).
- December 1 - Michel Carneal fires at students in West Paducah, Ky - 3 dead, five wounded
- December 2 - Actress/model Anat Elimelech is murdered by her boyfriend, the hairstyler David Afuta
- December 3 - In Ottawa, Canada, representatives from 121 countries sign a treaty prohibiting manufacture and deployment of anti-personnel landmines. The United States, People's Republic of China, and Russia do not sign the treaty, however
- December 19 - Astrophysicist David Schramm is killed in a plane crash near Denver, Colorado.
- December 27 - Protestant paramilitary leader Billy Wright is assassinated in Northern Ireland
- December 29 - Hong Kong begins to kill all the chickens within its territory (1.25 million) to stop the spread of a potentially deadly influenza strain
- December 30 - In the worst incident in Algeria's insurgency, 400 people are killed from four villages.
- Timothy McVeigh is found guilty of Oklahoma City bombing
- Miami police arrests Russian criminal who tries to sell a Russian submarine to the Columbian drug cartels
Year in topic
- 1997 in film
- 1997 in literature
- 1997 in music
- 1997 in sports
- 1997 in television
- The murder of [[JonBen�t Ramsey]] dominates the news in the United States.
- June 6 - Actress Farrah Fawcett makes a bizarre appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman. Fawcett tells long, rambling stories without a point, fails to understand simple questions, and gets easily distracted by things like blinking lights on the set.
- December 6 - The last episode of the Magic School Bus cartoon series is released.
- January 10 - Sheldon Leonard, producer, actor, director
- January 17 - Clyde Tombaugh, astronomer, discoverer of Pluto.
- January 19 - James Dickey, poet, novelist
- January 20 - Curt Flood, baseball star
- January 21 - Colonel Tom Parker, celebrity manager
- February 1 - Herb Caen, newspaper columnist
- February 2 - Chico Science, Brazillian musician.
- February 5 - Pamela Harriman, US Ambassador to France
- February 11 - Don Porter, actor.
- February 19 - Deng Xiaoping, Paramount Leader of the People's Republic of China
- February 20 - Edmond Yu, medical student
- March 9 - The Notorious B.I.G., rap musician
- March 10 - La Vern Baker, singer
- March 14 - Fred Zinnemann, director
- March 19 - Willem de Kooning, artist
- March 20 - Tony Zale, Boxer
- April 5 - Allen Ginsberg, US poet
- April 7 - Georgi Shonin, cosmonaut
- April 16 - Doris Angleton, Houston, Texas socialite
- May 14 - Harry Blackstone Jr., magician
- May 29 - Jeff Buckley, musician (accidental drowning)
- June 22 - [[G�rard Pelletier]], French journalist, politician and diplomat (b. 1919)
- June 24 - Brian Keith, actor (b. 1921)
- June 26 - Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, Hawaiian singer
- June 28 - Mrs. Miller, singer
- July 2 - James Stewart
- July 4 - Charles Kuralt, television reporter
- July 15 - Gianni Versace, fashion designer
- July 20 - John Akii-Bua Ugandan hurdler
- July 23 - Chuhei Nambu, Japanese athlete
- July 24 - William J. Brennan, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (b. 1906)
- August 2 - William S. Burroughs, US author
- August 2 - Fela Kuti, Nigerian musician and political activist
- August 10 - Conlon Nancarrow, composer
- August 10 - Selena Peart Taylor, daughter of Rush drummer Neil Peart, in an automobile accident
- August 24 - Louis Essen, physicist
- August 29 - Christopher Maier, student killed by Angel Maturino Resendiz
- August 31 - Diana, Princess of Wales
- August 31 - Dodi Al-Fayed
- September 5 - Georg Solti
- September 5 - Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu (Mother Teresa)
- September 9 - Burgess Meredith
- September 17 - Red Skelton
- September 19 - Rich Mullins, singer
- October 24 - Don Messick, cartoon voice-over actor
- November 5 - Isaiah Berlin, historian of ideas
- November 11 - Rodney Milburn, American athlete
- November 22 - Michael Hutchence, musician, INXS frontman
- November 25 - Monique Serf, French singer
- November 30 - Kathy Acker, author
- December 19 - David Schramm, astrophysicist
- December 27 - Billy Wright, Irish paramilitary leader
- December 30 - Stephen Carls, scientist
- (unknown) - Laurence Henry Hicks, composer
- Physics - Steven Chu, Claude Cohen-Tannoudji, William D. Phillips
- Chemistry - Paul D. Boyer, John E. Walker, Jens C. Skou
- Medicine - Stanley B. Prusiner
- Literature - Dario Fo
- Peace - International Campaign to Ban Landmines and Jody Williams
- Economics - Robert Merton, Myron Scholesaf:1997
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