January 1 – Ernest Shackleton sets sail from New Zealand on the Nimrod, for Antarctica.
January 13 – A fire at the Rhoads Opera House in Boyertown, Pennsylvania kills 170
February 1 – King Carlos I of Portugal and Infante Luis Filipe are shot dead in Lisbon.
February 12 – The first around-the-world car race, the 1908 New York to Paris Race, begins.
March 4 – The Collinwood school fire near Cleveland, Ohio kills 174.
April 20 – A rear-end collision of two trains in Melbourne, Australia kills 44 people, and injures more than 400.
May 14 – The Franco-British Exhibition, celebrating the ‘Entente Cordiale’ opens in London, on the site later used for BBC Television Centre.
June 30 – The Tunguska event in Krasnoyarsk Krai, Siberia, Russian Empire, flattens 2000 square kilometers of uninhabited forest
July 3 – The Young Turk Revolution in the Ottoman Empire – Major Ahmed Niyazi, with 200 followers, begins an open revolution by defecting from the 3rd Army Corps in Macedonia.
July 13 – The 1908 Summer Olympics open in London
September 17 – At Fort Myer, Virginia, Thomas Selfridge becomes the first person to die in an airplane crash. The pilot, Orville Wright, is severely injured in the crash but recovers.
September 27 – Henry Ford produces his first Model T automobile at the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant, in Detroit, Michigan.
October 6 – The Bosnian crisis begins, after the Austro-Hungarian Empire annexes Bosnia and Herzegovina.
November 3 – Republican candidate William Howard Taft defeats William Jennings Bryan, 321 electoral votes to 162, in the United States presidential election
November 6 – Western bandits Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid are supposedly killed in Bolivia, after being surrounded by a large group of soldiers.
December 2 – Emperor Puyi ascends the Chinese throne at age 2.
December 28 – The 7.1 Mw Messina earthquake shakes Southern Italy, killing between 75,000 and 200,000 people.