1909 events in history

Jan 1 Drilling begins on the Lakeview Gusher
Jan 5 Colombia recognizes the independence of Panama
Jan 9 Ernest Shackleton, leading the Nimrod Expedition to the South Pole, plants the British flag 97 nautical miles (180 km; 112 mi) from the South Pole, the farthest anyone had ever reached at that time
Jan 16 Ernest Shackleton's expedition finds the magnetic South Pole
Jan 23 RMS Republic, a passenger ship of the White Star Line, becomes the first ship to use the CQD distress signal after colliding with another ship, the SS Florida, off the Massachusetts coastline, an event that kills six people. The Republic sinks the next day
Jan 25 Richard Strauss's opera Elektra receives its debut performance at the Dresden State Opera
Jan 27 The Young Left is founded in Norway
Jan 28 United States troops leave Cuba with the exception of Guantanamo Bay Naval Base after being there since the Spanish–American War
Feb 5 Belgian chemist Leo Baekeland announces the creation of Bakelite, the world's first synthetic plastic
Feb 12 The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is founded
Feb 12 New Zealand's worst maritime disaster of the 20th century happens when the SS Penguin, an inter-island ferry, sinks and explodes at the entrance to Wellington Harbour
Feb 15 The Flores Theater fire in Acapulco, Mexico kills 250
Feb 20 Publication of the Futurist Manifesto in the French journal Le Figaro
Feb 22 The sixteen battleships of the Great White Fleet, led by USS Connecticut, return to the United States after a voyage around the world
Feb 23 The AEA Silver Dart makes the first powered flight in Canada and the British Empire
Feb 26 Kinemacolor, the first successful color motion picture process, is first shown to the general public at the Palace Theatre in London
Mar 4 U.S. President William Taft used what became known as a Saxbe fix, a mechanism to avoid the restriction of the U.S. Constitution's Ineligibility Clause, to appoint Philander C. Knox as U.S. Secretary of State
Mar 10 By signing the Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909, Thailand relinquishes its sovereignty over the Malay states of Kedah, Kelantan, Perlis and Terengganu, which become British protectorates
Mar 23 Theodore Roosevelt leaves New York for a post-presidency safari in Africa. The trip is sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution and National Geographic Society
Mar 30 The Queensboro Bridge in New York City opens, linking Manhattan and Queens
Mar 31 Serbia accepts Austrian control over Bosnia and Herzegovina
Mar 31 Construction of the ill fated RMS Titanic begins
Apr 6 Robert Peary and Matthew Henson reach the North Pole
Apr 9 The U.S. Congress passes the Payne–Aldrich Tariff Act
Apr 11 The city of Tel Aviv is founded
Apr 13 The Turkish military reverses the Ottoman countercoup of 1909 to force the overthrow of Sultan Abdul Hamid II
Apr 14 A massacre is organized by Ottoman Empire against Armenian population of Cilicia
Apr 18 Joan of Arc is beatified in Rome
Apr 27 Sultan of Ottoman Empire Abdul Hamid II is overthrown, and is succeeded by his brother, Mehmed V
May 13 The first Giro d'Italia starts from Milan. Italian cyclist Luigi Ganna will be the winner
May 31 The National Negro Committee, forerunner to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, convenes for the first time
Jun 2 Alfred Deakin becomes Prime Minister of Australia for the third time
Jun 6 French troops capture Abéché (in modern-day Chad) and install a puppet sultan in the Ouaddai Empire
Jun 7 Mary Pickford makes her screen debut at the age of 16
Jun 15 Representatives from England, Australia and South Africa meet at Lord's and form the Imperial Cricket Conference
Jun 26 The Science Museum in London comes into existence as an independent entity
Jul 16 Persian Constitutional Revolution: Mohammad Ali Shah Qajar is forced out as Shah of Persia and is replaced by his son Ahmad Shah Qajar
Jul 25 Louis Blériot makes the first flight across the English Channel in a heavier-than-air machine from (Calais to Dover, England, United Kingdom) in 37 minutes
Aug 7 Alice Huyler Ramsey and three friends become the first women to complete a transcontinental auto trip, taking 59 days to travel from New York, New York to San Francisco, California
Aug 19 The first automobile race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Aug 24 Workers start pouring concrete for the Panama Canal
Aug 28 A group of mid-level Greek Army officers launches the Goudi coup, seeking wide-ranging reforms
Aug 30 Burgess Shale fossils are discovered by Charles Doolittle Walcott
Sep 7 Eugène Lefebvre crashes a new French-built Wright biplane during a test flight at Juvisy, south of Paris, becoming the first aviator in the world to lose his life in a powered heavier-than-air craft
Sep 20 The Parliament of the United Kingdom passes the South Africa Act 1909, creating the Union of South Africa from the British Colonies of the Cape of Good Hope, Natal, Orange River Colony, and the Transvaal Colony
Sep 23 The Phantom of the Opera (original title: Le Fantôme de l'Opéra), a novel by French writer Gaston Leroux, is first published as a serialization in Le Gaulois
Oct 16 William Howard Taft and Porfirio Díaz hold a summit, a first between a U.S. and a Mexican president, and they only narrowly escape assassination
Oct 26 Itō Hirobumi, four time Prime Minister of Japan (the 1st, 5th, 7th and 10th) and Resident-General of Korea, is assassinated by An Jung-geun at the Harbin train station in Manchuria
Nov 2 Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity is founded at Boston University
Nov 18 Two United States warships are sent to Nicaragua after 500 revolutionaries (including two Americans) are executed by order of José Santos Zelaya