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1708 (MDCCVIII) was a leap year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar and a leap year starting on Thursday of the Julian calendar, the 1708th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 708th year of the 2nd millennium, the 8th year of the 18th century, and the 9th year of the 1700s decade. As of the start of 1708, the Gregorian calendar was 11 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.
In the Swedish calendar it was a leap year starting on Wednesday, one day ahead of the Julian and ten days behind the Gregorian calendar.
- Fearful of a Swedish attack, the Russians blow up the city of Tartu, Estonia.
- One third of the population of Masuria dies of the plague.
- Johann Sebastian Bach is appointed as chamber musician and organist, at the court in Weimar.
- Italian philosopher Giambattista Vico delivers his inaugural lecture to the University of Naples, which will be published in 1709 as his first book, De Nostri Temporis Studiorum Ratione (On the Order of the Scholarly Disciplines of Our Times).
- Calcareous hard-paste porcelain is produced for the first time in Europe, at Dresden, Saxony, by Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus, and developed after his death (October) by Johann Friedrich Böttger.
- The Company of Merchants of London Trading (with consent of the Parliament of Great Britain) merges with the East Indies, and the more recently established English Company Trading to the East Indies, to form the United Company of Merchants of England Trading to the East Indies, known as the Honourable East India Company.
- January 25 – Pompeo Batoni, Italian painter (d. 1787)
- March 15 – John Hulse, British Anglican priest (d. 1790)
- April 23 – Friedrich von Hagedorn, German poet (d. 1754)
- September 16 – Catharina Freymann, Norwegian pietist leader (d. 1791)
- October 16 – Albrecht von Haller, Swiss anatomist and physiologist (d. 1777)
- October 22 – Frederic Louis Norden, Danish explorer (d. 1742)
- October 27 – Jean-Rodolphe Perronet, French architect and structural engineer (d. 1794)
- November 15 – William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (d. 1778)
- December 8 – Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor (d. 1765)
- date unknown
- January 31 – Friedrich Seyler, Swiss theologian (b. 1642)
- March 5 – William Beveridge, English Bishop of St. Asaph (b. 1637)
- March 15 – William Walsh, English/British politician (b. 1662)
- March 19 – Samuel Rodigast, German poet, hymnwriter (b. 1649)
- April 5 – Christian Heinrich, Margrave of Brandenburg-Bayreuth-Kulmbach, German prince (b. 1661)
- April 17 – Jacques Gravier, French Jesuit missionary in the New World (b. 1651)
- April 20 – Damaris Cudworth Masham, English philosopher (b. 1659)
- April 23 – Christian Augustus, Count Palatine of Sulzbach (1632-1708) (b. 1622)
- May 6 – François de Laval, first bishop of New France (b. 1623)
- May 11 – Jules Hardouin-Mansart, French Baroque architect (b. 1646)
- May 12 – Adolphus Frederick II, Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (b. 1658)
- June 21 – John Hamilton, 2nd Lord Belhaven and Stenton, Scottish politician (b. 1656)
- June 28 – Melchor Liñán y Cisneros, Spanish Catholic archbishop (b. 1629)
- June 30 – Emperor Tekle Haymanot I of Ethiopia (stabbed to death) (b. 1706)
- July 5 – Ferdinando Carlo Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua and Montferrat, only child of Duke Charles II (b. 1652)
- July 10 – James Kendall, English soldier, politician (b. 1647)
- July 21 – Conrad von Reventlow, Danish statesman and the first Grand Chancellor of Denmark (b. 1644)
- August 1 – Edward Tyson, British scientist (b. 1651)
- September 6 – Sir John Morden, 1st Baronet, English merchant and philanthropist (b. 1623)
- September 19 – Francis Newport, 1st Earl of Bradford, English politician (b. 1620)
- September 29 – Sir James Oxenden, 2nd Baronet, English politician (b. 1641)
- October 1 – John Blow, British composer (b. 1649)
- October 2 – Anne Jules de Noailles, French general (b. 1650)
- October 7 – Guru Gobind Singh, 10th Guru Sahib of Sikhism, social reformist, poet and revolutionary (b. 1666)
- October 9 – Olympia Mancini, French courtier (b. 1638)
- October 10 – David Gregory, Scottish astronomer (b. 1659)
- October 11 – Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus, German mathematician (b. 1651)
- October 21 – Christian Weise, German writer, dramatist, poet, pedagogue and librarian (b. 1642)
- October 22
- October 24 – Seki K?wa, Japanese mathematician (b. c. 1640)
- October 28 – Prince George of Denmark, consort of Anne, Queen of Great Britain (b. 1653)
- October 31 – Nathaniel Higginson, English politician (b. 1652)
- November 3 – Countess Henriette Catherine of Nassau, daughter of Frederick Henry (b. 1637)
- November 10 – David Makeléer, Swedish politician (b. 1646)
- November 13 – Charles, Count of Marsan, French noble (b. 1648)
- November 16 – Alexander Edward, Scottish landscape architect (b. 1651)
- November 17 – Ludolf Bakhuizen, Dutch painter (b. 1631)
- December 16
- December 22 – Hedvig Sophia of Sweden, Swedish princess (b. 1681)
- December 28 – Joseph Pitton de Tournefort, French botanist (b. 1656)
- Date unknown – Anna Maria Clodt, Swedish courtier (b. ?)