1865 1866 1867 - 1868 - 1869 1870 1871
1830s 1840s 1850s - 1860s - 1870s 1880s 1890s
18th century - 19th century - 20th century
1868 was a leap year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar).
- January 3 - Meiji Emperor declares "Meiji Restoration", his own restoration to full power, against the supporters of the Tokugawa Shogunate.
- January 6 - Asa Mercer and number of new "Mercer Girls" sail from Massachusetts for West Coast - they arrive in Seattle in May 23
- January 10 - Shogun Tokugawa Yoshinobu declares emperor's declaration "illegal" and attacks Kyoto. Pro-Emperor forces drive his troops away. Shogun surrenders in May.
- February 13 - The War Office sanctions the formation of what will become the Army Post Office Corps
- February 16 - In New York City the Jolly Corks organization is renamed the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE).
- February 24 - The first parade to have floats occurs at Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Louisiana.
- February 24 - After Andrew Johnson tried to dismiss United States Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, he becomes the first President of the United States to be impeached by the United States House of Representatives. Johnson would later be acquitted by the United States Senate.
- March 5 - A court of impeachment is organized in the United States Senate to hear charges against President Andrew Johnson.
- March 23 - The University of California is founded in Oakland, California when the Organic Act is signed into California law.
- April 1 - Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute is established in Hampton, Virginia
- March 24 - Metropolitan Life Insurance Company is formed.
- May 16 - President Andrew Johnson is acquitted during his impeachment trial, by one vote in the United States Senate.
- May 30 - Memorial Day is observed in the United States for the first time (it was proclaimed on May 5 by General John Logan).
- May 31 - Thomas Spence declares himself president of the Republic of Manitoba. He soon alienates the locals
- July 5 - Preacher William Booth establishes the Christian Mission, predecessor of the Salvation Army, in the East End of London
- July 25 - Wyoming becomes a United States territory.
- July 28 - The 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution is adopted guaranteeing African Americans full citizenship and all persons in the United States due process of law.
- late September - Queen Isabella II of Spain effectively deposed and goes into exile; she will formally abdicate June 25, 1870.
- September 23 - Rebels in the town of Lares declare Puerto Rico independent. Local militia defeats them a week later.
- October 28 - Thomas Edison applied for his first patent, the electric vote recorder.
- November - Ulysses S. Grant defeats Horatio Seymour in the U.S. presidential election.
- November 2 - New Zealand officially adopts nationally observed standard time, and was perhaps the first country to do so.
- December 25 - US President Andrew Johnson grants unconditional pardon to all Civil War rebels.
- November 27 - Indian Wars: Battle of Washita River - In the early morning, United States Army Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer leads an attack on a band of peaceful Cheyenne living on reservation land with Chief Black Kettle, killing 103 Cheyenne (later regarded as the first substantial US victory in the war).
- Thomas Henry Huxley discovers what he thinks is a primordial matter and names it bathybius haecklii (he admits his mistake in 1871)
- German ophthalmologist August Rothmund defines Rothmund-Thompson's syndrome.
- First edition of the World Almanac published.
- Académie Julian - a major art school in Paris, France that admitted women.
- January 9 - S.P.L. Sørensen, Danish chemist (d. 1939)
- January 31 - Theodore William Richards, American chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1928)
- February 10 - William Allen White, American journalist (d. 1944)
- February 23 - W.E.B. DuBois, American civil rights leader (d. 1963)
- March 22 - Robert Millikan, American physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. ])
- March 25 - William Lockwood, English cricketer (d. 1932)
- March 28 - Maxim Gorky, Russian author (d. 1936)
- April 10 - George Arliss, English actor (d. 1946)
- May 6 - Nicholas II of Russia (d. 1918)
- May 6 - Gaston Leroux, French writer (d. 1927)
- May 29 - Abdul Mejid II, last Caliph of the Ottoman Empire (d. 1944)
- June 7 - Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Scottish architect (d. 1928)
- June 18 - Georges Lacombe, French artist (d. 1916)
- July 12 - Stefan George, German poet (d. 1933)
- July 14 - Gertrude Bell, English archaeologist, writer, spy, and administrator (d. 1926)
- August 26 - Charles Stewart, Premier of Alberta (d. 1946)
- September 1 - Henri Bourassa, French-Canadian politician and publisher (d. 1952).
- October 18 - Ernst Didring, Swedish writer (d. 1931)
- November 8 - Felix Hausdorff, German mathematician (d. 1942)
- November 9 - Marie Dressler, Canadian actress (d. 1934)
- November 24 - Scott Joplin, American musician and composer (d. 1917)
- December 9 - Fritz Haber, German chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1934)
- February 11 - Léon Foucault, French astronomer (b. 1819)
- February 29 - King Ludwig I of Bavaria (b. 1786)
- March 4 - Jesse Chisholm, American pioneer (b. 1805)
- March 28 - James Thomas Brudenell, 7th Earl of Cardigan, British military leader (b. 1797)
- April - Isami Kondo, Japanese fighter (b. 1834)
- April 3 - Franz Berwald, Swedish composer (b. 1796)
- April 7 - Thomas D'Arcy McGee, Irish-Canadian journalist and politician (assassinated) (b. 1825)
- May 7 - Henry Peter Brougham, Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain (b. 1778)
- May 23 - Kit Carson, American trapper, scout, and Indian agent (b. 1809)
- June 1 - James Buchanan, 15th President of the United States (b. 1791)
- June 22 - Heber C. Kimball, Mormon church leader (b. 1801)
- September 26 - August Ferdinand Möbius, German mathematician and astronomer (b. 1790)
- October 17 - Laura Secord, Canadian patriot (b. 1775)
- November 13 - Gioacchino Rossini, Italian composer (b. 1792)
- November 15 - James Mayer Rothschild, German-born banker (b. 1792)
- December 6 - August Schleicher, German linguist (b. 1821)
- Charles Thomas Longley, Archbishop of Canterbury (b. 1794)
- August Ferdinand Möbius, German mathematician and theoretical astronomer (b. 1790)
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