- North Pole reportedly reached by American explorers Robert E. Peary and Matthew Henson
- Japan begins 36-year occupation of Korea. Japanese prince Hirobumi Ito assassinated by Korean nationalist.
- The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is founded and led by W. E. B. Du Bois.
- The city of Tel Aviv is founded.
- The last United States troops leave Cuba after being there since the Spanish-American War.
- The United States Army purchases the world's first military airplane, a Wright Military Flyer, from the Wright Brothers.
Historical Highlights from 1909