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1997 (MCMXCVII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar, the 1997th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 997th year of the 2nd millennium, the 97th year of the 20th century, and the 8th year of the 1990s decade.
- March 4 - U.S. President Bill Clinton bans federal funding for any research on human cloning.
- March 7 - In Sri Lanka, the Tamil Tigers overrun a military base and kill at least 100.
- March 13
- March 16 - Sandline affair: On Bougainville Island, soldiers of commander Jerry Singirok arrest Tim Spicer and his mercenaries of the Sandline International.
- 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 resulting in the grounding of all An-24s.
- March 21 - In Zaire, Étienne Tshisekedi is appointed prime minister; he ejects supporters of Mobutu Sese Seko from his cabinet.
- March 22 - The Comet Hale-Bopp makes its closest approach to Earth.
- March 24 - The 69th Academy Awards, hosted by Billy Crystal, are held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, with The English Patient winning Best Picture.
- March 24-26 - In San Diego, 39 Heaven's Gate cultists commit mass suicide at their compound.
- March 26 - Julius Chan resigns as prime minister of Papua New Guinea, ending the Sandline affair.
- March 30 - Channel 5 began broadcasting and was the fifth and final national terrestrial analogue network in the United Kingdom.
- May 2 - The Labour Party of the United Kingdom returns to power for the first time in 18 years, with Tony Blair becoming Prime Minister, in a landslide majority in the 1997 general election.
- May 3 - Katrina and the Waves win the Eurovision Song Contest 1997 for the UK with Love Shine a Light.
- May 9 - The first genetically modified three-parent baby is born.
- May 10 - The 7.3 Mw Qayen earthquake strikes eastern Iran with a maximum Mercalli intensity of X (Extreme). At least 1,567 were killed and 2,300 were injured.
- May 11 - IBM's Deep Blue defeats Garry Kasparov in the last game of the rematch, the first time a computer beats a chess World champion in a match.
- May 12
- The Russian-Chechen Peace Treaty is signed.
- An F1-rated tornado strikes downtown Miami, causing $525,000 in damages. Pictures and videos of this tornado made news headlines around the world.
- May 15 - The United States government acknowledges existence of the "Secret War" in Laos (1953-1975) during the Vietnam War, and dedicates the Laos Memorial in honor of Hmong and other "Secret War" veterans.
- May 16
- May 17 - Troops of Laurent Kabila march into Kinshasa.
- May 23 - Mohammad Khatami wins the 1997 Iranian presidential election and becomes the first Iranian Reformist president.
- May 25 - A military coup in Sierra Leone replaces President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah with Major Johnny Paul Koroma.
- May 27 - The second-deadliest tornado of the 1990s hits in Jarrell, Texas, killing 27 people.
- May 31 - The 13-kilometer Confederation Bridge, the world's longest bridge spanning ice-covered waters, opens between Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, Canada.
- June 1
- June 2 - In Denver, Colorado, Timothy McVeigh is convicted on 15 counts of murder and conspiracy for his role in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
- 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.
- June 11 - In the United Kingdom, the House of Commons votes for a total ban on handguns.
- June 13 - A jury sentences Timothy McVeigh to death for his part in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
- June 16 - About 50 people are killed in the Daïat Labguer (M'sila) massacre in Algeria.
- June 21 - The Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) plays its first game at The Great Western Forum in Los Angeles. 
- June 25
- June 26 - Bertie Ahern is appointed as the 10th Taoiseach of the Republic of Ireland and Mary Harney is appointed as the 16th, and first female, Tánaiste, after their parties, Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats respectively, win the 1997 General Election.
- June 26 - Bloomsbury Publishing publishes J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in London.
- July - The 1997 Central European flood occurs across Poland, Germany, and the Czech Republic.
- July 1 - The United Kingdom hands sovereignty of Hong Kong to the People's Republic of China.
- July 2 - The Bank of Thailand floats the baht, triggering the Asian financial crisis.
- July 4 - NASA's Pathfinder space probe lands on the surface of Mars.
- July 5
- 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 11 - Thailand's worst hotel fire at Pattaya kills 90.
- July 13 - The remains of Che Guevara are returned to Cuba for burial, alongside some of his comrades. Guevara and his comrades were executed on October 9 1967 in Bolivia.
- July 15 - Spree killer Andrew Cunanan shoots fashion designer Gianni Versace dead outside Versace's Miami residence.
- July 17 - The F. W. Woolworth Company closes after 117 years in business.
- July 25 - K. R. Narayanan is sworn in as India's 10th president and the first member of the Dalit caste to hold this office.
- July 27 - About 50 are killed in the Si Zerrouk massacre in Algeria.
- July 30 - 18 people are killed in the Thredbo landslide in the Snowy Mountains resort in Australia.
- September 1 - Dublin Regulation on treatment of applications for right of asylum under European Union law first comes into force.
- September 5
- September 6 - The funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, takes place at Westminster Abbey, watched by over two billion people worldwide.
- September 11 - Scotland votes in favour of a devolved Parliament forming the Scottish Parliament less than two years later
- September 13 - Iraq disarmament crisis: An Iraqi military officer attacks an UNSCOM weapons inspector on board an UNSCOM helicopter, while the inspector attempts to take photographs of unauthorized movement of Iraqi vehicles inside a site designated for inspection.
- September 15 - The Norwegian parliamentary election was held in Norway.
- 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 18
- September 19 - 53 are killed in the Guelb El-Kebir massacre in Algeria.
- September 21 - The Islamic Salvation Army, the Islamic Salvation Fronts' armed wing, declares a unilateral ceasefire in Algeria.
- 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
- December 1 - In the Indian state of Bihar, Ranvir Sena attacks the CPI(ML) Party Unity stronghold Lakshmanpur-Bathe, killing 63 lower caste people.
- December 3 - In Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, representatives from 121 countries sign a treaty prohibiting the manufacture and deployment of anti-personnel land mines. However, the United States, the People's Republic of China, Russia, South Korea and 32 other nations do not sign and/or ratify the treaty.
- December 10 - The capital of Kazakhstan is moved from Almaty to Astana.
- December 11 - The Kyoto Protocol is adopted by a United Nations committee.
- December 19
- December 21 - Brazil beats Australia 6-0 in the Confederations Cup final.
- December 24 - 50-100 villagers are killed in the Sid El-Antri massacre in Algeria.
- December 27 - Ulster loyalist paramilitary leader Billy Wright is assassinated in Northern Ireland, inside Long Kesh prison.
- 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 - Wilaya of Relizane massacres of December 30, 1997: In the worst incident in Algeria's insurgency, 400 are killed from four villages in the wilaya of Relizane.
- The Toyota Prius, the first hybrid vehicle to go into full production, is unveiled in Japan on October 24, and goes on sale in Japan on December 9. It comes to U.S. showrooms on July 11, 2000.
- January 1
- January 3 - Jérémie Boga, French footballer
- January 4 - Pauline Schäfer, German gymnast
- January 5 - Jesús Vallejo, Spanish footballer
- January 7
- January 8 - Jack Andraka, American scientist
- January 9
- January 11 - Cody Simpson, Australian singer-songwriter
- January 13
- January 14 - Francesco Bagnaia, Italian motorcycle racer
- January 15 - Valentina Zenere, Argentine actress, model, and singer
- January 17 - Jake Paul, American actor
- January 21
- January 23
- January 25 - Noah Hanifin, American ice hockey player
- January 29
- January 30 - Shim Suk-hee, South Korean speed skater
- January 31 - Anatoliy Ryapolov, Russian long jumper
- February 2 - Jaheel Hyde, Jamaican sprinter
- February 3 - Lewis Cook, English footballer
- February 5 - Luke Newton, English actor
- February 7
- February 8 - Kathryn Newton, American actress
- February 10
- February 11
- February 13 - Deondre Francois, American football player
- February 14 - Breel Embolo, Swiss footballer
- February 15
- February 20 - Mitchie Brusco, American professional skateboarder
- February 21 - Ben Rhodes, American racing driver
- February 22 - Anton Chupkov, Russian swimmer
- February 23
- February 24 - César Montes, Mexican footballer
- February 25
- February 26
- March 2
- March 3
- March 4 – Matisse Thybulle, American basketball player
- March 6
- March 8
- March 9 - Niamh Wilson, Canadian actress
- March 10
- March 11
- March 12 - Allan Saint-Maximin, French footballer
- March 13 - Ruben Neves, Portuguese footballer
- March 14
- March 16
- March 17
- March 18
- March 19 - R?ta Meilutyt?, Lithuanian swimmer
- March 20 - Bobby Cheng, Australian chess champion
- March 21 - Martina Stoessel, Argentine actress, singer, dancer, and model
- March 22 - Harry Wilson, Welsh footballer
- March 23 - Thiago Maia, Brazilian footballer
- March 27
- A-Reece, South African hip hop artist
- Lisa, Thai rapper, singer, dancer, and model
- March 29 - Ezequiel Ponce, Argentine footballer
- April 1 - Asa Butterfield, English actor
- April 2 - Abdelhak Nouri, former Dutch footballer
- April 3 - Gabriel Jesus, Brazilian footballer
- April 5 - Borja Mayoral, Spanish footballer
- April 6 - Pavel Zacha, Czech ice hockey player
- April 8 - Roquan Smith, American football player
- April 9 - Michael ?pa?ek, Czech ice hockey player
- April 10 - Alla Sosnitskaya, Russian artistic gymnast
- April 11
- April 12 - Katelyn Ohashi, American artistic gymnast
- April 13 - Mateo Cassierra, Colombian footballer
- April 14 - D. J. Moore, American football player
- April 15
- April 16 - Daniel Rioli, Australian rules footballer
- April 17 - Jorge Meré, Spanish footballer
- April 18
- April 20 - Alexander Zverev, German tennis player
- April 21 - Mikel Oyarzabal, Spanish footballer
- April 23 - Kim Hae-jin, South Korean figure skater
- April 24
- April 27
- April 28 - Denzel Ward, American football player
- April 29 - Ekaterina Baturina, Russian artistic gymnast
- May 2
- May 3
- May 4 - Nicolas Prattes, Brazilian actor
- May 5 - Mitch Marner, Canadian ice hockey player
- May 6 - Duncan Scott, Scottish swimmer
- May 7
- May 10
- May 11 - Lana Condor, American actress and dancer
- May 12
- May 14 - Manushi Chhillar, Indian model and beauty pageant
- May 15 - Ousmane Dembélé, French footballer
- May 17
- May 19
- May 21 - Kevin Quinn, American actor
- May 22 - Lauri Markkanen, Finnish basketball player
- May 23 - Joe Gomez, English footballer
- May 26
- May 27 - Daron Payne, American football player
- May 30 - Jake Short, American actor
- May 31 - Cupcakke, American rapper
- June 1 - Youssef En-Nesyri, Moroccan footballer
- June 5
- June 6 - Grant Shoults, American swimmer
- June 8 - Je?ena Ostapenko, Latvian tennis player
- June 9 - Shen Duo, Chinese swimmer
- June 10 - Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, Ukrainian basketball player
- June 11
- June 13
- June 16 - Jean-Kévin Augustin, French footballer
- June 15 - Madison Kocian, American artistic gymnast
- June 17 - KJ Apa, New Zealand actor
- June 21
- June 22
- June 23
- June 25
- June 26 - Jacob Elordi, Australian actor
- June 27
- June 28 - Shakur Stevenson, American boxer
- June 29 - Jia Yifan, Chinese badminton player
- June 30
- July 1 - Grigoriy Oparin, Russian chess grandmaster
- July 2 - Marquese Chriss, American basketball player
- July 3
- July 4
- July 5
- July 7 - Gatlin Green, American actress and singer
- July 8 - Bryce Love, American football player and sprinter
- July 11 - Rasmus Nissen Kristensen, Danish footballer
- July 12 - Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani Nobel Prize activist
- July 13 - Leo Howard, American actor and martial artist
- July 14 - Cengiz Ünder, Turkish footballer
- July 17 - Amadou Diawara, Guinese footballer
- July 18
- July 19
- July 22 - Field Cate, American actor
- July 24
- July 25
- July 26 - Ewa Swoboda, Polish track and field sprinter
- July 27 - Craig Wighton, Scottish footballer
- July 28 - Bilal Ould-Chikh, Dutch-Moroccan footballer
- July 30 - Finneas O'Connell, American musician and actor
- August 1 - Yomif Kejelcha, Ethiopian long-distance runner
- August 2
- August 3
- August 4 - Cinzia Zehnder, Swiss footballer
- August 5
- August 6 - Sander Svendsen, Norwegian footballer
- August 7 - Kyler Murray, American football player
- August 9 - Leon Bailey, Jamaican footballer
- August 10 - Kylie Jenner, American reality television personality
- August 11 - Kyle Guy, American basketball player
- August 16
- August 18 - Renato Sanches, Portuguese footballer
- August 19
- August 22 - Lautaro Martínez, Argentine footballer
- August 23 - Lil Yachty, American rapper, singer and songwriter
- August 24 - Alan Walker, British-Norwegian music producer
- August 25
- August 28
- August 29 - Ainsley Maitland-Niles, English footballer
- August 30 - Dana Gaier, American actress
- September 1 - Jungkook, South Korean singer
- September 1 - Maria Stavitskaia, Russian figure skater
- September 2 - Brandon Ingram, American basketball player
- September 3 - Salome Phajava, Georgian rhythmic gymnast
- September 6 - Tsukushi, Japanese wrestler
- September 7 - Dean-Charles Chapman, English actor
- September 9 - Shriya Sharma, Indian actress
- September 12 - Sydney Sweeney, American actress
- September 13 - Leah Keiser, American figure skater
- September 14 - Benjamin Ingrosso, Swedish singer-songwriter
- September 15
- September 16
- September 17
- September 18
- September 20 - Aurélie Fanchette, Seychellois swimmer
- September 23 - John Collins, American basketball player
- September 24 - Malaya Watson, American singer and tuba player
- September 30
- November 1
- November 3 - Lázaro Martínez, Cuban triple jumper
- November 4
- November 6
- November 7 - The8, Chinese singer
- November 9
- November 10 - Daniel James, English footballer
- November 12 - Dexter Lawrence, American football player
- November 14 - Christopher Nkunku, French footballer
- November 17
- November 18 - Olivier Boscagli, French footballer
- November 19 - Rachel Parsons, American ice dancer
- November 23 - Akari Takeuchi, Japanese singer
- November 25 - Dennis Smith Jr., American basketball player
- November 26
- November 29
- November 30 - Liu Huixia, Chinese diver
- December 1 - Jung Chae-yeon, South Korean singer and actress
- December 3
- December 5
- December 8 - Ilaria Käslin, Swiss artistic gymnast
- December 11
- December 12 - Ed Oliver, American football player
- December 15
- December 16
- December 17 - Shoma Uno, Japanese figure skater
- December 18 - Ronald Acuña, Venezuelan baseball outfielder
- December 20
- December 22 - Taylor Rapp, American football player
- December 23 - Luka Jovi?, Serbian footballer
- December 24 - Oreoluwa Cherebin, Grenadian swimmer
- December 27
- December 28 - Nash Grier, American Internet personality
- December 30 - Anastasiya Malyavina, Ukrainian swimmer
- December 31 - Cameron Carter-Vickers, American soccer player
- February 1 - Marjorie Reynolds, American actress (b. 1917)
- February 5 - Pamela Harriman, American diplomat (b. 1920)
- February 9
- February 10 - Milton Cato, Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (b. 1915)
- February 11 - Don Porter, American actor (b. 1912)
- February 12 - James Cossins, English actor (b. 1933)
- February 16 - Ethel Owen, American actress (b. 1893)
- February 19 - Deng Xiaoping, Chinese revolutionary and statesman (b. 1904)
- February 23 - Tony Williams, American musician (b. 1945)
- February 25 - Arthur Hewlett, English actor (b. 1907)
- February 26 - David Doyle, American actor (b. 1929)
- April 1 - Jolie Gabor, Hungarian socialite (b. 1896)
- April 5
- April 8 - Laura Nyro, American singer and composer (b. 1947)
- April 7 - Georgy Shonin, Russian cosmonaut (b. 1935)
- April 10 - Michael Dorris, American author (b. 1945)
- April 12 - George Wald, American scientist (b. 1906)
- April 15 - Don Bexley, American actor and comedian (b. 1910)
- April 16
- April 17 - Chaim Herzog, Israel politician, 6th President of Israel (b. 1918)
- April 19 - Eldon Hoke, American singer and drummer (b. 1958)
- April 20 - Jean Louis, American costume designer (b. 1907)
- April 21
- April 23 - Abdurakhman Avtorkhanov, Chechen historian (b. 1908)
- April 24
- April 26 - John Beal, American actor (b. 1909)
- April 30 - Henry Picard, American golfer (b. 1906)
- May 1 - Bo Widerberg, Swedish film director (b. 1930)
- May 2
- May 4 - Wijeyananda Dahanayake, 5th Prime Minister of Sri Lanka (b. 1901)
- May 5 - Walter Gotell, German actor (b. 1924)
- May 13 - Laurie Lee, English author (b. 1914)
- May 16 - Giuseppe De Santis, Italian film director (b. 1917)
- May 18 - Bridgette Andersen, American actress (b. 1975)
- May 20 - Virgilio Barco Vargas, 27th President of Colombia (b. 1921)
- May 22 - Alfred Hershey, American biochemist (b. 1908)
- May 24 - Edward Mulhare, Irish actor (b. 1923)
- May 26 - Manfred von Ardenne, German physicist and inventor (b. 1907)
- May 29 - Jeff Buckley, American musician (b. 1966)
- June 2 - Helen Jacobs, American tennis champion (b. 1908)
- June 3 - Dennis James, American game show host (b. 1917)
- June 4 - Ronnie Lane, English musician (b. 1946)
- June 6 - Magda Gabor, American actress (b. 1915)
- June 8 - Reid Shelton, American actor (b. 1924)
- June 12 - Bulat Okudzhava, Soviet singer (b. 1924)
- June 14
- June 15 - Son Sen, Cambodian politician and criminal (b. 1930)
- June 18 - Lev Kopelev, Soviet writer and dissident (b. 1912)
- June 21 - Shintaro Katsu, Japanese actor, singer, producer, and director (b. 1931)
- June 22
- June 23 - Betty Shabazz, American educator and activist (b. 1936)
- June 24
- June 25 - Jacques Cousteau, French explorer (b. 1910)
- June 26 - Israel Kamakawiwo?ole, Hawaiian singer (b. 1959)
- June 29 - William Hickey, American actor (b. 1927)
- July 1 - Robert Mitchum, American actor (b. 1917)
- July 2 - James Stewart, American actor and soldier (b. 1908)
- July 5 - Mrs. Miller, American singer (b. 1907)
- July 8 - Abu Sadat Mohammad Sayem, 6th President of Bangladesh (b. 1916)
- July 13 - Alexandra Danilova, Russian-American ballerina and dance instructor (b. 1903)
- July 14 - Sir Garfield Barwick, Australian Chief Justice (b. 1903)
- July 15 - Gianni Versace, Italian fashion designer (b. 1946)
- July 18 - Eugene Merle Shoemaker, American astronomer (b. 1928)
- July 20 - John Akii-Bua, Ugandan hurdler (b. 1949)
- July 23
- July 24
- July 25 - Ben Hogan, American golf champion (b. 1912)
- July 28
- July 30 - B?o i, Emperor of Vietnam (b. 1913)
- September 1 - Zoltán Czibor, Hungarian footballer (b. 1929)
- September 2 - Viktor Frankl, Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist (b. 1905)
- September 5
- September 7 - Mobutu Sese Seko, 2nd President of Zaire (b. 1930)
- September 9 - Burgess Meredith, American actor (b. 1907)
- September 10 - Fritz Von Erich, American professional wrestler (b. 1929)
- September 12
- September 17
- September 18 - Jimmy Witherspoon, American blues singer (b. 1920)
- September 19
- September 23 - Shirley Clarke, American filmmaker (b. 1919)
- September 25 - Jean Françaix, French composer (b. 1912)
- September 29 - Roy Lichtenstein, American artist (b. 1923)
- September 30 - Nobuo Fujita, Japanese aviator (b. 1911)
- October 1 - Jerome H. Lemelson, American inventor (b. 1923)
- October 4
- October 5 - Brian Pillman, American professional wrestler (b. 1962)
- October 7 - Orlando Ramón Agosti, Argentine general (b. 1924)
- October 9 - Arch Johnson, American actor (b. 1922)
- October 12 - John Denver, American musician (b. 1943)
- October 13 - Adil Çarçani, Albanian politician (b. 1922)
- October 14 - Harold Robbins, American writer (b. 1916)
- October 16
- October 19
- October 23 - Bert Haanstra, Dutch filmmaker (b. 1916)
- October 24 - Don Messick, American voice actor (b. 1926)
- October 25 - Tina Lattanzi, Italian actress (b. 1897)
- October 28 - Paul Jarrico, American screenwriter (b. 1915)
- October 29 - Anton LaVey, American author, musician, and occultist (b. 1930)
- October 30 - Samuel Fuller, American screenwriter and director (b. 1912)
- November 1 - Victor Mills, American chemical engineer (b. 1897)
- November 2 - Sh?shin Nagamine, Japanese author and soldier, police officer, and karate master (b. 1907)
- November 5 - Isaiah Berlin, Russian-British social and political theorist (b. 1909)
- November 8 - Mohammad-Ali Jamalzadeh, Iranian author (b. 1892)
- November 11 - Rod Milburn, American athlete (b. 1950)
- November 17 - Mili? ?apek, Czech-American philosopher (b. 1909)
- November 21 - Robert Simpson, English composer (b. 1921)
- November 22
- November 24 - Barbara, French singer (b. 1930)
- November 25 - Hastings Banda, 1st President of Malawi (b. 1898)
- November 30 - Kathy Acker, American author (b. 1947)