Great Recoinage of 1696: The Parliament of England passes the Recoinage Act in England.
Colley Cibber's play Love's Last Shift is first performed at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in London in England.
January 27 – In England, the ship HMS Royal Sovereign (formerly HMS Sovereign of the Seas, 1638) catches fire and burns at Chatham, after 57 years of service.
January 29 (O.S.) – Peter the Great becomes sole tsar of Russia, upon the death of Tsar Ivan V.
January 31 – In the Netherlands, undertakers revolt after funeral reforms in Amsterdam.
March 7 – King William III of England departs from the Netherlands.
April – Fire destroys the Gra Bet (or Left Quarter) of Gondar, the capital of Ethiopia.
May 31 – John Salomonsz is elected chief of Sint Eustatius.
July 18 – The fleet of Tsar Peter The Great occupies Azov at the mouth of the Don River.
July 29 – King Louis XIV of France and Victor Amadeus, Duke of Savoy, sign a peace treaty.
August 13 – The Dutch state of Drenthe makes William III of Orange its Stadtholder.
August 22 – Forces of the Republic of Venice and the Ottoman Empire clash near Andros.
November 21 – John Vanbrugh's play The Relapse, or Virtue in Danger is first performed at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in London.
December 7 – Connecticut Route 108, one of Connecticut's oldest highways is laid-out to Trumbull.
December 19 – Jean-Francois Regnard's "Le Joueur" premieres in Paris.
December 24 – The Inquisition burns a number of Marrano Jews in Évora, Portugal.
Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville captures and destroys St. John's, Newfoundland.
Polish replaces Ruthenian as an official language of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
A famine wipes out almost a third of the population of Finland and a fifth of the population of Estonia.
Abington, Pennsylvania, is settled.
William Penn offers an elaborate plan for intercolonial cooperation largely in trade, defense, and criminal matters.
The Second Pueblo Revolt occurs.
Edward Lloyd (coffeehouse owner) probably begins publication of Lloyd's News, a predecessor of Lloyd's List, in London.
January 5 – Giuseppe Galli-Bibiena, Italian architect/painter (d. 1757)
March 5 – Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Italian painter (d. 1770)
March 27 – Antoine Court, French Huguenot minister (d. 1760)
April 2 – Francesca Cuzzoni, Italian operatic soprano (d. 1778)
June 11 – Francis Edward James Keith, Scottish soldier and Prussian field marshal (d. 1758)
June 27 – William Pepperrell, English colonial soldier (d. 1759)
July 14 – William Oldys, English antiquarian and bibliographer (d. 1761)
July 24 – Benning Wentworth, colonial governor of New Hampshire (d. 1770)
August 2 – Mahmud I, Ottoman Sultan (d. 1754)
August 12 – Maurice Greene, English composer (d. 1755)
September 27 – Alphonsus Liguori, Italian founder of the Redemptorist Order (d.1787)
October 10 – Chen Hongmou, Chinese scholar and philosopher (d. 1771)
October 13 – John Hervey, 2nd Baron Hervey, English statesman and writer (d. 1743)
November 2 – Conrad Weiser, Pennsylvania's ambassador to the Iroquois Confederacy (d. 1760)
December 22 – James Oglethorpe, English general and founder of the state of Georgia as a colony (d. 1785)
unknown date – Christine Kirch, German astronomer (d. 1782)
January 11 – Charles Albanel, French missionary explorer in Canada (b. 1616)
February – Ahom King Supaatphaa or Gadadhar Singha
February 8 – Tsar Ivan V of Russia (b. 1666)
March 14 – Jean Domat, French jurist (b. 1625)
March 18 – Robert Charnock, English conspirator (b. c. 1663)
April 17 – Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, marquise de Sévigné, French writer (b. 1626)
April 30 – Robert Plot, British naturalist (b. 1640)
May 10 – Jean de La Bruyère, French writer (b. 1645)
May 16 – Mariana of Austria, Queen consort of Spain(b. 1634)
May 26 – Albertine Agnes of Nassau, regent of Friesland, Groningen and Drenthe (b. 1634)
May 30 – Henry Capell, 1st Baron Capell, First Lord of the British Admiralty (b. 1638)
June – Greta Duréel, Swedish noblewoman and bank fraud
June 17 – John III Sobieski, King of Poland (b. 1629)
August 2 – Robert Campbell of Glenlyon, Scottish military commander at the Massacre of Glencoe (b. 1630)
December 4 – Meishō, empress of Japan (b. 1624)
date unknown – Daibhidh Ó Duibhgheannáin (b. 1651)
1696 (MDCXCVI) was a leap year starting on Sunday (dominical letter AG) of the Gregorian calendar and a leap year starting on Wednesday (dominical letter ED) of the Julian calendar, the 1696th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 696th year of the 2nd millennium, the 96th year of the 17th century, and the 7th year of the 1690s decade. As of the start of 1696, the Gregorian calendar was 10 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.