1908 is a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar).
- First Zionist colony in Palestine
- British suffragettes begin a campaign for female suffrage
- Due to the evidence collected by Roger Casement, Leopold II of Belgium is forced to make reforms in Congo, which is his personal colony
- Danish minister of Justice, Alberti, is revealed to be an embezzler
- The Children's Encyclopedia
- Bureau of Investigation, forerunner of FBI, founded
- Blackball coal miner strike in New Zealand lasts 11 weeks
- Isak Saba , the first Sami in the Norwegian parliament
- Henri Matisse open his own art academy
- Serial killer Belle Guinness disappears in Laporte
- Young Turks revolution in the Ottoman Empire
- Change of Emperor of Qing Dynasty from Guangxu Emperor of China (1875-1908) to Henry Puyi (1909-1911)
- Henry Ford produces its first Model T automobile.
- A 40,000-year-old Neandertal boy skeleton is found at Le Moustier in southwest France.
- The Child Labour Act of Ontario is passed.
- The Irish Universities Act, 1908 is passed and creates the National University of Ireland at Dublin and the Queen's University of Belfast.
- First Ideal Home Exhibition held.
- De Meester's Dutch government resigns.
- Discovery of oil deposits near the PPersian city of Abadan.
- Abd al-Aziz IV, sultan of Morocco is deposed and is succeeded by his brother Abd al-Hafiz.
- The Young Turks rebel and force sultan Abd al-Hamid II to adhere to the constitution of 1876.
- The University of the Philippines was founded at Manila.
- The University of Alberta was founded in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
- January 7 - Red Allen, jazz musician (d. 1967)
- January 9 - Simone de Beauvoir, French feminist writer (d. 1986)
- January 12 - Jean Delannoy, film director
- January 14 - Rus Columbo , singer, bandleader, and composer
- January 15 - Edward Teller, American physicist (d. 2003)
- January 22 - Lev Davidovich Landau, Russian physicist (d. 1968)
- January 26 - Stéphane Grappelli, musician, composer (d. 1997)
- January 27 - Oran "Hot Lips" Page, jazz trumpeter (d. 1954)
- February 1 - George Pál, director, producer (d. 1980)
- February 5 - Daisy and Violet Hilton, conjoined twins, actresses (d. 1969)
- February 7 - Buster Crabbe, Olympic Games swimming gold medalist, actor
- February 8 - Emil Staiger , scientist of literature (d. 1987)
- February 11 - Sutan Takdir Alishahbana , Indonesian linguistic/author/novelist.
- February 11 - Vivian Ernest Fuchs, geologist/explorer.
- February 11 - Josh White , musician
- February 15 - HAP Grieshaber , painter and graphic artist (d. 1981)
- February 17 - Red Barber, baseball announcer, sports journalist (d. 1992)
- February 22 - John Mills, actor
- February 23 - William McMahon, twentieth Prime Minister of Australia, (d. 1988)
- February 26 - Tex Avery, cartoonist (d. 1980)
- February 26 - Jean-Pierre Wimille, race car driver (d. 1949)
- February 29 - Balthus, painter (d. 2001)
- February 29 - Dee Brown, writer, historian (d. 2002)
- March 2 - Walter Bruch, engineer (d. 1990)
- March 5 - Rex Harrison, actor (d. 1990)
- March 7 - Anna Magnani, actress (d. 1973)
- March 8 - Claire Trevor, actress
- March 13 - Walter Annenberg, publisher, philanthropist (d. 2002)
- March 17 - Brigitte Helm, actress (d. 1996)
- March 20 - Sir Michael Redgrave, actor (d. 1985)
- March 22 - Louis L'Amour, author (d. 1988)
- March 23 - Joan Crawford, actor (d. 1977)
- March 25 - Helmut Käutner, actor and film director (d. 1980)
- March 25 - David Lean, film director (d. 1991)
- March 29 - Arthur O'Connell, actor (d. 1981)
- April 1 - Abraham Maslow, psychologist
- April 2 - Buddy Ebsen, actor, dancer
- April 5 - Bette Davis, US-American actress (d. 1989)
- April 5 - Herbert von Karajan, Austrian conductor (d. 1989)
- April 7 - Percy Faith, composer, musician (d. 1976)
- April 15 - Eden Ahbez, hermit, musician
- April 20 - Lionel Hampton, jazz musician, bandleader (d. 2002)
- April 25 - Edward R. Murrow, journalist (d. 1965)
- August 4 - Kurt Eichhorn, conductor
- August 5 - Harold Holt, seventeenth Prime Minister of Australia (d. 1967)
- August 27 - Don Bradman, cricket player
- August 27 - Lyndon Johnson, 36th president of the United States
- August 28 - Roger Tory Peterson, naturalist, artist, and educator
- August 30 - Leonor Fini, Argentinian/Italian artist (d. 1996)
- September 3 - Lev Semenovich Pontryagin, Soviet mathematician
- September 6 - Louis Essen, physicist (d. 1997)
- September 7 - Paul Brown, Pro Football Hall of Fame coach (d. 1991)
- September 7 - Michael E. DeBakey, inventor of the MASH
- September 29 - Eddie Tolan, American athlete
- September 30 - David Oistrakh, Ukrainian violinst (d. 1974)
- October 14 - Allan Jones, actor, singer (d. 1992)
- October 16 - Enver Hoxha, dictator of Albania (d. 1985)
- October 19 - Sydney MacEwan, Scottish singer
- October 19 - Geirr Tveitt, Norwegian composer
- November 2 - Fred Bakewell, exciting and unorthodox Northamptonshire and England batsman (d. 1983)
- November 20 - Alistair Cooke, television host (d. 2004)
- November 28 - Claude Lévi-Strauss
- December 6 - Pierre Graber, member of the Swiss Federal Council (d. 2003)
- December 10 - Olivier Messiaen, composer (d. 1992)
- December 31 - Simon Wiesenthal, Nazi hunter
- January 25 - Ouida, writer
- February 1 - King Charles of Portugal
- April 20 - Henry Chadwick, baseball writer and historian
- April 22 - Henry Campbell-Bannerman, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
- May 26 - Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Who claimed to be the Messiah and Mahdi died.(b. 1835)
- June 21 - Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, composer (b. 1844)
- July 5 - Jonas Lie, Norwegian author
- July 20 - Demetrius Vikelas, Greek IOC president
- May 26 - Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, founder of the Ahmadi sect
- August 25 - Henri Becquerel, French physicist
- August 26 Tony Pastor, vaudeville founder & theater impresario
- September 20 - Pablo de Sarasate, violinist
- October 30 Caroline Astor, American socialite
- November 14 5-7 pm - Guangxu Emperor of China
- November 15 1-3 pm - Empress Dowager Cixi
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