1876 1877 1878 - 1879 - 1880 1881 1882
1840s 1850s 1860s - 1870s - 1880s 1890s 1900s
18th century - 19th century - 20th century
1879 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar).
- January - The current constitution of The State of California, US was ratified.
- January 2 - Fred Spofforth claims the first Hat-trick in test cricket.
- January 11 - Anglo-Zulu War begins.
- January 22 - Zulu troops massacre British troops at the Battle of Isandlwana. At Rorke's Drift, outnumbered British soldiers drive the attackers away after hours of fighting.
- February 12 - At New York City's Madison Square Garden the first artificial ice rink in North America opens.
- February 14 - At Antofagasta, Chile: Chilean troops disembark in this port, then Bolivian. This is the beginning of the War of the Pacific between Chile and the joint forces of Peru and Bolivia.
- February 15 - Women's rights: American President Rutherford B. Hayes signs a bill allowing female attorneys to argue cases before the Supreme Court of the United States.
- February 22 - In Utica, New York, Frank Woolworth opens the first of many of 5 and 10-cent Woolworth stores.
- March 3 - The United States Geological Survey is created
- March 13 - Marriage of The Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, third son of Queen Victoria, to Princess Louise Marguerite of Prussia.
- March 14 - Albert Einstein: German-born physicist who would go on to revolutionize modern Physics.
- March 29 - Anglo-Zulu War: Battle of Kambula: British forces defeat 20,000 Zulus.
- May 26 - Russia and the United Kingdom sign the Treaty of Gandamak establishing an Afghan state.
- May 30 - New York City's Gilmores Garden is renamed Madison Square Garden by William Henry Vanderbilt and is opened to the public at 26th Street and Madison Avenue.
- May 30 - A F4 tornado struck Irving, Kansas, killing 18 people and injuring 60.
- July 4 - Taughannock Giant unearthed on the shore of Cayuga Lake in Ithaca, New York (later proven to be a hoax).
- July 19 - Doc Holliday kills for the first time after a man shoots-up Holliday's New Mexico saloon.
- August 21 - Virgin Mary, along with St. Joseph and St. John the Evangelist appeared in Knock to local people.
- October 7 - Dual Alliance formed by Germany and Austria-Hungary
- October 21 - Using a filament of carbonized thread, Thomas Edison tests the first practical electric light bulb (it lasted 13 1/2 hours before burning out).
- December 28 - The central part of the Tay Rail Bridge in Dundee, Scotland collapses as a train passed over it, killing 75.
- December 30 - The Pirates of Penzance is first performed (Paignton, Devon, England).
- December 31 - Thomas Edison demonstrates incandescent lighting to the public for the eighth time (Menlo Park, New Jersey).
- Hall effect discovered by Dr. Edwin Hall.
- Somerville College founded.
- Stefan-Boltzmann law discovered by Jožef Stefan.
- Football first played in Shepshed.
- Irish Lang League convinces tenants of Charles Boycott and neighboring townsfolk to isolate him by noncooperation - first boycott
- Ferdinand Cheval begins to build his Palais Idéal in France
- January 1 - E. M. Forster, English writer (d. 1970)
- January 3 - Grace Coolidge, First Lady of the United States (d. 1957)
- January 12 - Ray Harroun, American race car driver (d. 1968)
- January 13 - Melvin Jones, American founder of Lions Clubs International (d. 1961)
- January 28 - Francis Picabia, French painter and poet (d. 1953)
- February 22 - J. N. Brønsted, Danish chemist (d. 1947)
- February 26 - Frank Bridge, English composer (d. 1941)
- March 8 - Otto Hahn, German chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1968)
- March 14 - Albert Einstein, German-born physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1955)
- March 26 - Othmar Ammann, Swiss-born engineer (d. 1965)
- March 30 - Coen de Koning, Dutch speed skater (d. 1954)
- April 20 - Paul Poiret, French couturier (d. 1944)
- April 26 - Owen Willans Richardson, British physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1959)
- April 29 - Sir Thomas Beecham, English conductor (d. 1961)
- May 6 - Bedřich Hrzony´, Czech orientalist and linguist (d. 1952)
- May 17 - Simon Petlyura, Ukrainian independence fighter (d. 1926)
- May 19 - Nancy Astor, Viscountess Astor, American-born politician (d. 1964)
- May 19 - Viscount Waldorf Astor, British businessman and politician (d. 1952)
- May 22 - Alla Nazimova, Ukrainian-born stage and film actress (d. 1945)
- May 23 - Dezső Lauber, Hungarian sportsman (d. 1966)
- May 25 - Max Aitken, Canadian-born statesman and newspaper baron (d. 1964)
- July 1 - Léon Jouhaux, French labor leader, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (d. 1954)
- July 5 - Wanda Landowska, Polish harpsichordist (d. 1959)
- August 13 - John Ireland, English composer (d. 1962)
- August 31 - Emperor Yoshihito, 123rd Emperor of Japan (d. 1926)
- September 2 - An Jung-geun, assassin of the Japanese politician Ito Hirobumi (d. 1910)
- September 14 - Margaret Sanger, American birth control advocate (d. 1966)
- September 15 - Joseph Lyons, tenth Prime Minister of Australia (d. 1939)
- September 20 - Victor Sjöström, Swedish film actor and director (d. 1960)
- October 2 - Wallace Stevens, American poet (d. 1955)
- October 3 - Warner Oland, Swedish-born actor (d. 1938)
- October 9 - Max von Laue, German physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1960)
- October 21 - Joseph Canteloube, French composer and singer (d. 1957)
- October 29 - Leon Trotsky, Russian revolutionary (d. 1940)
- November 10 - Patrick Pearse Irish patriot (d. 1916)
- November 26 - Charles W. Goddard, playwright and screenwriter (d. 1951)
- December 3 - Nagai Kafu, Japanese writer (d. 1959)
- December 18 - Paul Klee, Swiss artist (d. 1940)
- December 28 - Billy Mitchell, U.S. general and military aviation pioneer (d. 1936)
- February 11 - Honoré Daumier, French caricaturist and painter (b. 1808)
- February 25 - Charles Peace, British criminal (executed) (b. 1832)
- March 1 - Joachim Heer, Swiss politician (b. 1825)
- March 30 - Thomas Couture, French painter and teacher (b. 1815)
- April 30 - Sarah Josepha Hale, American author (b. 1788)
- June 1 - Napoleon Eugene, Prince Imperial, son of French Emperor Napoleon III (b. 1856)
- August 30 - John Bell Hood, America Confederate general (b. 1831)
- November 5 - James Clark Maxwell, Scottish physicist (b. 1831)
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