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1717 (MDCCXVII) was a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Tuesday of the Julian calendar, the 1717th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 717th year of the 2nd millennium, the 17th year of the 18th century, and the 8th year of the 1710s decade. As of the start of 1717, the Gregorian calendar was 11 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.
- January 1 – Count Carl Gyllenborg, the Swedish ambassador to the Kingdom of Great Britain, is arrested in London, over a plot to assist the Pretender to the British throne, James Francis Edward Stuart.
- January 4 (December 24, 1716 Old Style) – Great Britain, France and the Dutch Republic sign the Triple Alliance, in an attempt to maintain the Treaty of Utrecht (1713), Britain having signed a preliminary alliance with France on November 28 (November 17, 1716).
- February – Following the treaty between France and Britain, James Stuart leaves France, and seeks refuge with Pope Clement XI.
- February 1 – The Silent Sejm, in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, marks the beginning of the Russian Empire's increasing influence and control over the Commonwealth.
- February 26–March 6 – What is now the northeastern United States is paralyzed by a series of blizzards, that bury the region.
- March 2 – Dancer John Weaver performs in the first ballet in Britain, shown at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, The Loves of Mars and Venus.
- March 31 – Benjamin Hoadly, Bishop of Bangor, brings the Bangorian Controversy within the Church of England into the open by delivering a sermon to, and supposedly at the request of, King George I of Great Britain, on The Nature of the Kingdom of Christ with the text "My kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36), concluding there is no Biblical justification for church government.
- April 26 – The Whydah Gally, flagship of "Black Sam" Bellamy, is wrecked in a storm off Wellfleet, Massachusetts. The Whydah sinks with a reputed 4½ tons of treasure on board, and all but two of her crew are lost, including Bellamy.
- May 27 – Spain unites its South American colonies, as the Viceroyalty of New Granada.
- June 24 – The Premier Grand Lodge of England, the Modern and first Free-Masonic Grand Lodge (which merges with the Ancient Grand Lodge of England in 1813 to form the United Grand Lodge of England), is founded in London.
- July 17 – Water Music by George Frederick Handel is first performed, on a Thames barge in London,
- August 17 – The month-long Siege of Belgrade ends, with Prince Eugene of Savoy's Austrian troops capturing the city from the Ottoman Empire.
- August 22 – Spanish troops land on Sardinia beginning the Spanish conquest of Sardinia.
- September – The first known Druid revival ceremony is held by John Toland at Primrose Hill, in London, at the Autumnal Equinox, to found the Mother Grove, what will later become the Ancient Order of Druids.
- September 29 – Guatemala earthquake: A 7.4 magnitude earthquake strikes Antigua Guatemala, destroying much of the city, and making authorities consider moving the capital of Guatemala to a different location.
- December – Blackbeard teams up with Stede Bonnet, but later takes his ship and demotes Bonnet to guest. The Queen Anne's Revenge and Revenge take several ships as prizes in the Caribbean. Blackbeard eventually adds two more ships to his party, and sails north to the North American coast.
- December 24–25 – Christmas flood: A disastrous flood hits the North Sea coast, between the Netherlands and Denmark; thousands die or lose their houses.
- 1717 Omani invasion of Bahrain.
- François-Marie Arouet is sentenced to imprisonment in the Bastille for eleven months, because of a satirical verse against the Régent of France and his infamous daughter Marie Louise Élisabeth d'Orléans, who at the time was hiding an illegitimate pregnancy and soon to give birth; Arouet will emerge with the pseudonym Voltaire, and the completed text of his first play, OEdipe.
- The Tatar invasions in Transylvania, devastate many towns, including Cavnic, Sighet and Dej.
- Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, wife of the British ambassador to Istanbul, has her son inoculated.
- The Casa de Contratación (House of Trade) is set up in Cádiz.
- Maharaja Pamheiba of Manipur is converted to Hinduism by Shantidas Goswami, and decrees it to be the official religion of his state.
- Most recent rupture of New Zealand's Alpine Fault, with an earthquake estimated to have had a magnitude between 7.8 and 8.1.
- The Charleville musket enters service in France.
- Thomas Fairchild, a nurseryman at Hoxton in the East End of London, becomes the first person to produce a successful scientific plant hybrid, Dianthus Caryophyllus barbatus, known as Fairchild's Mule.
- Murshid Quli Khan declares himself the first Nawab of the Bengal Subah. The Nawabs of Bengal will effectively function as near-sovereign rulers of Bengal while being nominally loyal to the Mughal Empire.
- January 2 – Edward Seymour, 9th Duke of Somerset, English nobleman, son of Edward Seymour, 8th Duke of Somerset and Mary Webb (d. 1792)
- January 5 – William Barrington, 2nd Viscount Barrington, English statesman (d. 1793)
- January 18 – Jean-François-Marie de Surville, French trader and navigator (d. 1770)
- January 21 – Antonio María de Bucareli y Ursúa, Spanish military officer (d. 1779)
- January 23 – Benjamin Beddome, English Baptist minister and hymnist (d. 1795)
- January 28 – Mustafa III, Ottoman Sultan (d. 1773)
- January 29 – Jeffrey Amherst, 1st Baron Amherst, British soldier and conqueror of Quebec (d. 1797)
- February 2 – Ernst Gideon Freiherr von Laudon, Austrian field marshal (d. 1790)
- February 3 – Nicholas Cooke, first Governor of Rhode Island (d. 1782)
- c. February 11 – William Williams Pantycelyn, Welsh hymn-writer, a key leader of the 18th century Methodist revival (d. 1791)
- February 17 – Adam Friedrich Oeser, German etcher (d. 1799)
- February 19 – David Garrick, English actor (d. 1779)
- February 27 – Johann David Michaelis, German biblical scholar and teacher (d. 1791)
- April – Pieter Barbiers, Dutch artist (d. 1780)
- April 9 – Georg Matthias Monn, Austrian composer (d. 1750)
- April 10 – Isaac de Pinto, Dutch Jew of Portuguese origin, investor and scholar (d. 1787)
- May 8 – Charles Guillaume Le Normant d'Étiolles, French official, husband of Madame de Pompadour (d. 1799)
- May 13 – Maria Theresa of Austria, Archduchess of Austria and Queen of Hungary and Bohemia, consort of the Holy Roman Emperor (d. 1780)
- June 5 – Emanuel Mendez da Costa, English botanist (d. 1791)
- June 8 – John Collins, Continental Congressman, third Governor of Rhode Island (d. 1795)
- June 19 – Johann Stamitz, Czech-born composer (d. 1757)
- June 20 – Jacques Saly, French sculptor (d. 1776)
- June 27 – Louis Guillaume Lemonnier, French botanist (d. 1799)
- June 28 – Matthew Stewart, Scottish mathematician (d. 1785)
- July 5 – Peter III of Portugal, consort of Queen Maria I of Portugal (d. 1786)
- August – Sophie de Lafont, Russian educator (d. 1797)
- August 13 – Louis François, Prince of Conti, French nobleman, military leader (d. 1776)
- August 15
- September 4 – Job Orton, English dissenting minister (d. 1783)
- September 7
- September 22 – Pehr Wilhelm Wargentin, Swedish astronomer (d. 1783)
- September 24 – Horace Walpole, English art historian, man of letters, antiquarian and politician (d. 1797)
- September 28 – William Nassau de Zuylestein, 4th Earl of Rochford, British diplomat and statesman (d. 1781)
- October – James Paine, English architect (d. 1789)
- October 5 – Marie-Anne de Mailly-Nesle duchess de Châteauroux, French mistress of King Louis XV of France (d. 1744)
- October 13 – John Armstrong, American civil engineer, major general in the Revolutionary War (d. 1795)
- October 30 – Jonathan Hornblower, English pioneer of steam power (d. 1780)
- November 13 – Prince George William of Great Britain, member of the British Royal Family (d. 1718)
- November 16 – Jean le Rond d'Alembert, French mathematician and encyclopædist (d. 1783)
- November 17 – Caroline Townshend, 1st Baroness Greenwich, English peeress (d. 1794)
- November 23 – Antoine Guenée, French priest and Christian apologist (d. 1803)
- November 25 – Alexander Sumarokov, Russian poet and playwright (d. 1777)
- December 9 – Johann Joachim Winckelmann, German classical scholar and archaeologist (d. 1768)
- December 16 – Elizabeth Carter, English writer (d. 1806)
- December 25 – George Augustus Eliott, 1st Baron Heathfield, British army officer (d. 1790)
- December 27 – Pope Pius VI, born Count Giovanni Angelo Braschi, Italian pontiff (d. 1799)
- December 28 – Johann Heinrich Gottlob Justi, leading German Kameralist in the 18th century (d. 1771)
- December 29 – Charles Gravier, comte de Vergennes, French statesman and diplomat (d. 1785)
- date unknown
- Giambattista Almici, Italian jurist (d. 1793)
- Claude Humbert Piarron de Chamousset, French philanthropist (d. 1773)
- Gottlieb Sigmund Gruner, Swiss cartographer and geologist (d. 1778)
- Elimelech of Lizhensk, Polish Orthodox Jewish rabbi, one of the great founding rebbes of Hasidic Judaism (d. 1787)
- Henry Middleton, South Carolina plantation owner, second President of the Continental Congress (d. 1784)
- Lewis Nicola, Irish-born officer in the American army during the American Revolutionary War (d. 1807)
- Anne Steele ("Theodosia"), English Baptist hymn-writer (d. 1778)
- Molla Panah Vagif, Azerbaijani poet (d. 1797)
- February 18 – Giovanni Maria Morandi, Italian painter (b. 1622)
- February 21 – Jan Dobrogost Krasi?ski, Polish nobleman (szlachcic) (b. 1639)
- February 23 – Magnus Stenbock, Swedish military officer (b. 1664)
- March 3 – Pierre Allix, French Protestant clergyman (b. 1641)
- March 5 – François de Callières, French diplomat, member of the Académie française (b. 1645)
- March 8 – Abraham Darby I, English ironmaster, first of that name of three generations of a Quaker family that was key to the development of the Industrial Revolution (b. 1678)
- March 19 – John Campbell, 1st Earl of Breadalbane and Holland, Scottish royalist (b. 1636)
- April 3 – Jacques Ozanam, French mathematician (b. 1640)
- April 5 – Jean Jouvenet, French painter (b. 1647)
- April 11 – Abraham ben Saul Broda, Bohemian Talmudist (b. c. 1640)
- April 26
- May 10 – John Hathorne, American magistrate (b. 1641)
- May 17 – Bon Boullogne, French painter (b. 1649)
- May 20 – John Trevor, Welsh lawyer and politician, Speaker of the House of Commons of England (b. 1637)
- June 3 – Fernando de Alencastre, 1st Duke of Linares, Spanish nobleman and military officer (b. c. 1641)
- June 9 – Jeanne Guyon, French mystic (b. 1648)
- June 11 – Louis de Carrières, French priest and Bible commentator (b. 1662)
- June 15 – Fabrizio Spada, Italian Catholic cardinal (b. 1643)
- June 23 – John Verney, 1st Viscount Fermanagh, British politician (b. 1640)
- July 1 – Princess Anna Sophie of Denmark, daughter of King Frederick III of Denmark (b. 1647)
- July 17 – Juan María de Salvatierra, Milanese Jesuit missionary to the Americas (b. 1648)
- August – William Cochrane, Scottish MP in the Parliament of Great Britain
- August 10 – Nicolaes Witsen, Mayor of Amsterdam, Netherlands (b. 1641)
- August 16 – William Blathwayt, English civil servant and politician (b. 1649)
- August 30 – William Lloyd, English bishop (b. 1627)
- September 17 – Robert Cotton, English politician (born 1644)
- October – Philippe Pastour de Costebelle, French naval officer and Governor of Newfoundland (b. 1661)
- October 22 – Henry Luttrell, Irish army officer, Jacobite commander (b. c. 1655; shot and mortally wounded in his sedan chair in Dublin)
- October 26 – Catherine Sedley, Countess of Dorchester, English mistress of James II of England (b. 1657)
- November 16 – Hester Davenport, English stage actress (b. 1642)
- November 21 – Jean-Baptiste Santerre, French painter (b. 1650)
- November 26 – Daniel Purcell, English composer (b. 1664)
- December 4 – William Hamilton, surgeon in the British East India Company
- December 5 – Richard Onslow, 1st Baron Onslow, English politician (b. 1654)
- December 13 – Nicholas Noyes, Massachusetts colonial minister, during the time of the Salem witch trials (b. 1647)
- December 25 – Robert Shirley, 1st Earl Ferrers, English peer and courtier (b. 1650)
- date unknown