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|Centuries:||18th century – 19th century – 20th century|
|Decades:||1840s 1850s 1860s – 1870s – 1880s 1890s 1900s|
|Years:||1876 1877 1878 – 1879 – 1880 1881 1882|
Year 1879 (MDCCCLXXIX) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Monday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar).
Events of 1879
January - March
- January 1 - The Specie Resumption Act takes effect. The Greenback is valued the same as Gold for the first time since the Civil War.
- 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.
- February 27 - The discovery of saccharin is announced.
- March 3 - The United States Geological Survey is created
- March 12 - Anglo-Zulu War: A British force over one-hundred strong is ambushed and destroyed by Zulu forces.
- March 13 - Marriage of The Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, third son of Queen Victoria, to Princess Louise Marguerite of Prussia.
- March 28 - Anglo-Zulu War: British forces suffer a defeat at the Battle of Hlobane.
- March 29 - Anglo-Zulu War: Battle of Kambula: British forces defeat 20,000 Zulus.
April - June
- April 3
- The Anti Revolutionary Party is formed in the Netherlands by Abraham Kuyper. It is the first political party formed advocating Christian Democracy; in opposition to the secularism of Dutch society, which was following a course in the militant secularism of the French Revolution.
- Anglo-Zulu War: British forces successfully lift the two-month Siege of Eshowe.
- April 4 - Sofia becomes the official capital of the Third Bulgarian State.
- April 21 ( San Jacinto Day) - Texas governor Oran M. Roberts authorized the establishment of Sam Houston Normal Institute (today known as Sam Houston State University).
- April 24 - Swedish explorer Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld arrives in Stockholm with the S/S Vega, concluding the world's first circumnavigation of Eurasia.
- May 14 - The first group of 463 Indian indentured labourers arrive in Fiji abroad the Leonidas.
- 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.
- June 1 - Napoléon Eugène, Prince Imperial (Napoléon IV), great-nephew of Napoléon Bonaparte, Bonapartist Pretender to the throne, died in Africa during the Anglo-Zulu War
- June 14 - Sidney Faithorn Green, an Anglican priest in the Church of England, is tried and convicted for using Ritualist practices
July - September
- July 4 - Anglo-Zulu War: The Anglo-Zulu War effectively ends at the Battle of Ulundi.
- 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 - December
- 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 13½ 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 first time ( Menlo Park, New Jersey).
- Simmons College of Kentucky, a historically black school, is founded.
- Hall effect discovered by Dr. Edwin Hall.
- Somerville College, Oxford, is founded.
- Stefan-Boltzmann law discovered by Jožef Stefan.
- Ferdinand Cheval begins to build his Palais Idéal in France.
- The Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) was formed.
- Fulham F.C. was founded
- Wilhelm Wundt establishes the first psychology research laboratory at the University of Leipzig.
- While living in Italy, Henrik Ibsen publishes his masterpiece, A Doll’s House.
The following are references to 1879 in literature:
- November - Occult Date of the Archangel Michael overcoming the Dragon
|Ab urbe condita||2632|
|British Regnal year||42 Vict. 1 – 43 Vict. 1|
|Chinese calendar|| 戊寅年十二月初九日
— to —己卯年十一月十九日
|- Vikram Samvat||1935–1936|
|- Shaka Samvat||1801–1802|
|- Kali Yuga||4980–4981|
|- Ǹrí Ìgbò||879–880|
|Japanese calendar|| Meiji 12
|Juche calendar||N/A (before 1912)|
|Julian calendar||Gregorian minus 12 days|
|Minguo calendar||33 before ROC
|Thai solar calendar||2422|
January - June
- January 1 - E. M. Forster, English writer (d. 1970)
- January 3 - Grace Coolidge, First Lady of the United States (d. 1957)
- January 10 - Bobby Walker, Hearts and Scotland Footballer, Record Cap Holder for 25 years(d. 1930)
- January 12 - Ray Harroun, American race car driver (d. 1968)
- January 13 - Melvin Jones, American founder of Lions Clubs International (d. 1961)
- January 20 - Ruth St. Denis, dancer (d. 1968)
- 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 27 - Edward Steichen, Luxembourgeois-born painter/photographer (d. 1973)
- March 30 - Coen de Koning, Dutch speed skater (d. 1954)
- April 16 - Gala Galaction, Romanian writer (d. 1961)
- 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 Hrozny´, Czech orientalist and linguist (d. 1952)
- May 17 - Simon Petlyura, Ukrainian independence fighter (d. 1926)
- May 19
- May 22 - Alla Nazimova, Ukrainian-born stage and film actress (d. 1945)
- May 23 - Dezső Lauber, Hungarian sportsman (d. 1966)
- May 25 - Max Aitken, 1st Baron Beaverbrook, Canadian-born statesman and newspaper publisher (d. 1964)
- June 3 - Raymond Pearl, American biologist (d. 1940)
- June 10 - Rafael Erich, Prime minister of Finland (d. 1946)
July - December
- July 1 - Léon Jouhaux, French labor leader, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (d. 1954)
- July 5 - Wanda Landowska, Polish harpsichordist (d. 1959)
- July 22 - Janusz Korczak ( Henryk Goldszmit), Polish-Jewish children's author, pediatrician, and child pedagogist (possibly born in 1878) (d. 1942)
- August 8 - Emiliano Zapata, Mexican revolutionary (d. 1919)
- August 13 - John Ireland, English composer (d. 1962)
- August 15 - Ethel Barrymore, stage & film actress (d. 1959)
- August 21 - Claude Grahame White, British aviation pioneer, (d. 1959)
- August 31 - Emperor Taishō, 123rd Emperor of Japan (d. 1926)
- September 2 - An Jung-geun, assassin of the Japanese politician Ito Hirobumi (d. 1910)
- September 6 - Joseph Wirth, Chancellor of Germany (d. 1956)
- September 14 - Margaret Sanger, American birth control advocate (d. 1966)
- September 15 - Joseph Lyons, the Prime Minister of Australia (d. 1939)
- September 20 - Victor Sjöström, Swedish film actor and director (d. 1960)
- September 25 - Lope K. Santos, Filipino writer, Father of Philippine National Language and Grammar, (d. 1963)
- October 2 - Wallace Stevens, American poet (d. 1955)
- October 3 - Warner Oland, Swedish-born actor (d. 1938)
- October 5 - Francis Peyton Rous, American pathologist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (d. 1970)
- October 9 - Max von Laue, German physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1960)
- October 21 - Joseph Canteloube, French composer and singer (d. 1957)
- October 29 - Franz von Papen, Chancellor of Germany (d. 1969)
- November 4 - Will Rogers, American humorist (d. 1935)
- November 7 - Leon Trotsky, Russian revolutionary (d. 1940)
- November 10
- December 12 - Laura Hope Crews, stage & film actress (aunt PittyPat), (d. 1942)
- November 26 - Charles W. Goddard, playwright and screenwriter (d. 1951)
- December 4 - Nagai Kafu, Japanese writer (d. 1959)
- December 10 - Jouett Shouse, American politician (d. 1968)
- December 18 - Paul Klee, Swiss artist (d. 1940)
- December 28 - Billy Mitchell, U.S. general and military aviation pioneer (d. 1936)
- December 29 - Florence Mary Taylor, Australia's first female architect (d. 1969)
- date unknown
January - June
- January 8 - Baldomero Espartero, Prince of Vergara (b. 1793)
- February 11 - Honouré Daumier, French caricaturist and painter (b. 1808)
- February 23 - Albrecht Graf von Roon, Prime Minister of Prussia (b. 1803)
- February 25 - Charles Peace, British criminal (executed) (b. 1832)
- March 1 - Joachim Heer, Swiss politician (b. 1825)
- March 2 - John Eberhard Faber, pencil manufacturer (b. 1822)
- March 27
- 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)
July - December
- July 19 - Louis Favre, engineer
- August 11 - George Willison Adams, Ohio abolitionist (b.1799)
- August 30 - John Bell Hood, America Confederate general (b. 1831)
- September 30 - Francis Gillette, politician (b. 1807)
- November 5 - James Clerk Maxwell, Scottish physicist (b. 1831)
- December 2 - Ferdinand Lindheimer, German-born botanist (b. 1801)
- December 7 - Jón Sigurðsson, campaigner for Icelandic independence (b. 1811)