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Template:C19 year in topic

1868 (MDCCCLXVIII) was a leap year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar and a leap year starting on Monday of the Julian calendar, the 1868th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 868th year of the , the 68th year of the , and the 9th year of the decade. As of the start of Template:Year article header/Julian day, which remained in localized use until 1923.

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File:Meiji Emperor.jpg

January 3: Emperor Meiji.

  • January 2British Expedition to Abyssinia: Robert Napier leads an expedition to free captive British officials and missionaries.[1]
  • January 3 – The 15-year-old Mutsuhito, Emperor Meiji of Japan, declares the "Meiji Restoration", his own restoration to full power, under the influence of supporters from the Chōshū and Satsuma Domains and against the supporters of the Tokugawa shogunate, triggering the Boshin War.[2][3]
  • January 5Paraguayan War: Brazilian Army commander Luís Alves de Lima e Silva, Duke of Caxias enters Asunción, Paraguay's capital. Some days later he declares the war is over. Nevertheless, Francisco Solano López, Paraguay's president, prepares guerrillas to fight in the countryside.
  • January 7 – Arkansas constitutional convention meets in Little Rock.
  • January 9Penal transportation from Britain to Australia ends with arrival of the convict ship Hougoumont in Western Australia after an 89-day voyage from England. There are 62 Fenians among the transportees.
  • January 10Shogun Tokugawa Yoshinobu declares the emperor's declaration "illegal" and prepares to attack Kyoto.
  • January 2731Battle of Toba–Fushimi: forces of the Tokugawa shogunate and the allied pro-Imperial forces of the Chōshū, Satsuma and Tosa Domains clash near Fushimi, Kyoto, ending in a decisive victory for the Imperial forces (although in the January 28 naval Battle of Awa the Shogunate is victorious against Satsuma).
  • February – Foreign ministers meeting in Hyōgo are persuaded to recognise the restored Emperor Meiji of Japan with promises that harbours will be open in accordance with international treaties.[4]
  • February 13 – The British War Office sanctions the formation of what becomes 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
    • Impeachment of Andrew Johnson: Three days after his action to dismiss United States Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, the United States House of Representatives votes 126 to 47 in favor of a resolution to impeach Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, the first of two Presidents to be impeached by the full House. Johnson is later acquitted by the United States Senate.
    • The first parade to have floats takes place at Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
  • March – French geologist Louis Lartet discovers the first identified skeletons of Cro-Magnon, the first early modern humans (early Homo sapiens sapiens), at Abri de Crô-Magnon, a rock shelter at Les Eyzies, Dordogne, France.
  • March 12Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Duke of Edinburgh, is shot in the back in Sydney, Australia, at a fundraising event for the Sydney Sailors Home by Irishman Henry James O'Farrell. The prince survives and quickly recovers; O'Farrell is executed on April 21 despite attempts by the prince to gain clemency for him.
  • March 23 – The University of California is founded in Oakland, California, when the Organic Act is signed into California law.
  • March 24 – The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company is formed.
  • March 27 – The Lake Ontario Shore Railroad Company is organized in Oswego, New York.
  • March – The first transnational women's organization, Association internationale des femmes, is founded.


  • April 1 – The Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute is established in Hampton, Virginia.
  • April 7 – The Charter Oath, drawn up by his councilors, is promulgated at the enthronement of the Emperor Meiji of Japan, promising deliberative assemblies and an end to feudalism.[5]
  • April 9 – Emperor Tewodros II of Ethiopia massacres at least 197 of his own people at Magdala. These are prisoners incarcerated, for the most part, for very trivial offenses, and are killed for requesting bread and water.
  • April 9April 13Battle of Magdala: A British-Indian task force under Robert Napier inflicts 700 deaths and a crushing defeat on the army of Emperor Tewodros II; the British and Indians suffer 30 wounded, 2 of whom die subsequently. Tewodros commits suicide and Magdala is captured, ending the British Expedition to Abyssinia.
  • April 11–July – Fall of Edo: the Japanese city is surrendered to the Emperor Meiji. The Shogun Tokugawa Yoshinobu submits to the Emperor.
  • April 29 – General William Tecumseh Sherman brokers the Treaty of Fort Laramie between the federal government of the United States and the Plains Indians.
  • May 1014Battle of Utsunomiya Castle (Boshin War) in Japan: forces of the Emperor Meiji resist the retreating troops of the Tokugawa shogunate.
  • May 16, May 26President Andrew Johnson is twice acquitted during his impeachment trial, by one vote in the United States Senate.
  • May 26Fenian bomber Michael Barrett becomes the last person publicly hanged in the United Kingdom.
  • May 29 – The Parliament of the United Kingdom passes the Capital Punishment Amendment Act, thus ending public hanging.
  • May 30Memorial Day is observed in the United States for the first time (it was proclaimed on May 5 by General John A. Logan).
  • May 31
    • Thomas Spence declares himself president of the Republic of Manitobah; he soon alienates the locals.
    • The first popular bicycle race is held at Parc de Saint-Cloud, Paris.
  • June 2 – The first Trades Union Congress is held in Manchester, England.
  • June – Tītokowaru's War breaks out in the South Taranaki District of New Zealand's North Island between the Ngāti Ruanui Māori tribe and the New Zealand Government.
  • June 20 – Fort Fred Steele is established to protect what is at this time the western terminus of the Union Pacific Railway, near the modern-day Sinclair, Wyoming.


File:Grand Tetons11.jpg

July 25: Wyoming Territory.

  • July 1 – The cable-operated West Side and Yonkers Patent Railway in Manhattan becomes the first elevated railway in the United States.
  • July 4Battle of Ueno: Imperial Japanese troops defeat the Shōgitai (forces remaining loyal to the Shogun).
  • July 5 – Preacher William Booth establishes the Christian Mission, predecessor of The Salvation Army, in the East End of London.
  • July 9 – The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified.
  • July 18 – The Navajo people begin their long march home.
  • July 25Wyoming becomes a United States territory.
  • July 25 – the Allies in an amphibious operation capture the fortress of Humaitá in the Paraguayan War.
  • July 27 – The United States Expatriation Act ("An Act concerning the Rights of American Citizens in foreign States") is adopted.[6]
  • July 28 – The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution is adopted, including the Citizenship Clause and the Equal Protection Clause, legally, if not actually, guaranteeing African Americans full citizenship and equal protection and all persons in the United States due process of law.
  • August 13Arica earthquake in southern Peru (at this time) with an estimated magnitude between 8.5 and 9.0 kills around 25,000 with the resultant tsunami recorded on the far side of the Pacific Ocean.[7][8]
  • August 18 – The element later named as helium is first detected in the spectrum of the Sun's chromosphere by French astronomer Jules Janssen during a total eclipse in Guntur, British India, but is assumed to be sodium.[9]
  • August 20Abergele rail disaster in Wales: An Irish Mail passenger train collides with 4 cargo trucks loaded with paraffin oil (more akin to modern kerosine): 33 are killed (the first major train disaster in Britain).
  • August 22 – The Yangzhou riot in China targets a station of the China Inland Mission, and nearly leads to war between Britain and China.
  • September – Glorious Revolution: Queen Isabella II of Spain is effectively deposed and sent into exile; she formally abdicates on June 25, 1870.
  • September 3 – The Emperor Meiji of Japan announces that the name of the city of Edo is to be changed to Tokyo.
  • September 7Tītokowaru's War: Māori leader Titokowaru defeats a New Zealand military force at Te Ngutu o Te Manu, North Island.
  • September 18 – The University of the South holds its first convocation in Sewanee, Tennessee.
  • September 23Grito de Lares: Rebels (some 400–600 led by Ramón Emeterio Betances) in the town of Lares declare Puerto Rico independent; the local militia easily defeats them a week later.
  • September 24Croatian–Hungarian Settlement (Template:Lang-hr, Hungarian: Horvát–magyar kiegyezés, German: Kroatisch-Ungarischer Ausgleich) is concluded, governing Croatia's political status in the Hungarian-ruled part of Austria-Hungary until 1918.[10]


  • October 1Chulalongkorn starts to rule in Siam.
  • October 6 – The City of New York grants Mount Sinai Hospital a 99-year lease for a property on Lexington Avenue and 66th Street, for the sum of $1.00.
  • October 10Carlos Manuel de Céspedes declares a revolt against Spanish rule in Cuba in an event known as El Grito de Yara, initiating a war that lasts ten years (Cuba ultimately loses the war at a cost of 400,000 lives and widespread destruction).
  • October 20
    • English astronomer Norman Lockyer observes and names the D3 Fraunhofer line in the solar spectrum and concludes that it is caused by a hitherto unidentified element which he later names helium.[11]
    • Pedro Figueredo creates the Cuban national anthem, El Himno de Bayamo.
  • October 23 – The current Japanese era name is changed to the Meiji period. The 265-year-long Edo period is at an end.
  • October 28Thomas Edison applies for his first patent, the electric vote recorder.
  • November 2Time zone: New Zealand officially adopts a standard time to be observed nationally.
  • November 3U.S. presidential election, 1868: Ulysses S. Grant defeats Horatio Seymour in the election.
File:The Seventh U. S. Cavalry charging in Black Kettle's village at daylight (Battle of Washita).jpg

November 27: Battle of Washita River.

  • November 7 – The Battle of Moturoa in New Zealand ends in a British defeat due to an underestimate of Tītokowaru and his fortifications. Heavy casualties for the colonial army and light casualties for the Māori defenders.
  • November 27American Indian WarsBattle of Washita River: In the early morning, United States Army Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer leads an attack on a band of Cheyenne living on reservation land with Chief Black Kettle, killing 103 Cheyenne.
  • December 4Battle of Hakodate begins in Japan.
  • December 6Paraguayan WarBattle of Ytororó or Ytororó: Field-Marshal Luís Alves de Lima e Silva, Duke of Caxias leads 13,000 Brazilian troops against a Paraguayan fortified position of 5,000 troops.
  • December 9 – The world's first traffic signal lights are installed at the junction of Great George Street and Bridge Street in the London Borough of Westminster.[12]
  • December 25 – U.S. President Andrew Johnson grants unconditional pardon to all Civil War rebels.

Date unknown

  • Louis Arthur Ducos du Hauron patents methods of color photography.[13]
  • Thomas Henry Huxley discovers what he thinks is primordial matter and names it bathybius haecklii (he admits his mistake in 1871).[14]
  • The Académie Julian, a major art school in Paris, France that admits women, is established.
  • Brisbane Grammar School is founded, providing the opportunity for secondary education for the first time in the colony of Brisbane in Australia.
  • Maryland School for the Deaf is established.
  • The Dortmunder Actien Brauerei is founded in Germany.
  • Herrenhäuser Brewery is established in Hanover, Germany.
  • Tata Group is founded by Jamsetji Tata as a trading company in India.
  • The Roman Catholic See of Tucson is established as the Apostolic Vicariate of Arizona in 1868, taking its territory from the former Diocese of Santa Fe. The Diocese of Tucson is canonically erected on May 8, 1897.
  • The population of Japan reaches c. 30 million.



File:Felix Hoffman.jpg

Felix Hoffmann


File:Face Nicholas II.jpg

Nicholas II of Russia

File:Scott of the Antarctic crop.jpg

Robert Falcon Scott

File:Karl Landsteiner nobel.jpg

Karl Landsteiner

  • April 1Edmond Rostand, French poet and playwright (d. 1918)
  • April 8Herbert Jennings, American zoologist (d. 1947)
  • April 10George Arliss, English actor (d. 1946)
  • April 25
    • John Moisant, American aviator, (d. 1910)
    • Willie Maley, Scottish football player and manager (d. 1958)
  • April 28Lucy Booth, fifth daughter of William and Catherine Booth (d. 1953)
  • May 6
    • Nicholas II of Russia (d. 1918)
    • Gaston Leroux, French writer (d. 1927)
  • May 29Abdülmecid II, last Caliph of the Ottoman Empire (d. 1944)
  • June 5James Connolly, Irish-Scots socialist (d. 1916)
  • June 6Robert Falcon Scott, Antarctic Explorer (d. 1912)
  • June 7Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Scottish architect (d. 1928)
  • June 14Karl Landsteiner, Austrian biologist and physician, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (d. 1943)
  • June 18
    • Miklós Horthy, Austro-Hungarian admiral and regent of the Kingdom of Hungary (d. 1957)
    • Georges Lacombe, French artist (d. 1916)


  • July 12Stefan George, German poet (d. 1933)
  • July 14Gertrude Bell, English archaeologist, writer, spy and administrator (d. 1926)
  • July 15Nobuyoshi Mutō, Japanese field marshal and ambassador (d. 1933)
  • July 17Henri Nathansen, Danish writer and stage director (d. 1944)
  • July 19Florence Foster Jenkins, American socialite and amateur operatic soprano (d. 1944)
  • July 28Theodor Wulf, German physicist and Jesuit (d. 1946)
  • August 5Oskar Merikanto, Finnish composer (d. 1924)
  • August 10Hugo Eckener, German dirigible engineer, Commander of Graf Zeppelin I (d. 1954)
  • August 23Edgar Lee Masters, American poet, biographer and dramatist (d. 1950)
  • August 26Charles Stewart, Premier of Alberta (d. 1946)
  • September 1
    • Henri Bourassa, Canadian politician and publisher (d. 1952)
    • Victor Villiger, Swiss-German chemist (d. 1934)
  • September 6Heinrich Häberlin, Swiss politician, member of the Federal Council (d. 1947)
  • September 8Seth Weeks, African American jazz mandolinist, composer, arranger and bandleader (d. 1953)
  • September 9Mary Hunter Austin, American writer of fiction and non-fiction (d. 1934)
  • September 17James Alexander Calder, Canadian politician (d. 1956)
  • September 22John T. Raulston, American state judge (Scopes Monkey Trial) (d. 1956)



John Nance Garner

File:Mary Brewster Hazelton, est 1900-1910.png

Mary Brewster Hazelton

File:Fritz Haber.png

Fritz Haber

Unknown date

  • Early ? (or November 24?) – Scott Joplin, African American ragtime composer and pianist (d. 1917)



  • January 20Damien Marchesseault, 7th Mayor of Los Angeles (suicide) (b. 1818)
  • January 23János Erdélyi, Hungarian poet and ethnographer (b. 1814)
  • January 28Adalbert Stifter, Austrian writer (b. 1805)
  • February 8Lai Wenguang, Chinese leader of the Taiping Rebellion and Nien Rebellion (b. 1827)
  • February 10David Brewster, Scottish physicist (b. 1781)
  • February 11Léon Foucault, French physicist (b. 1819)
  • February 19Venancio Flores, Uruguayan general and president of Uruguay (b. 1808)
  • February 29 – King Ludwig I of Bavaria (b. 1786)
  • March 4Jesse Chisholm, American pioneer (b. 1805)
  • March 28James Brudenell, 7th Earl of Cardigan, British military leader (b. 1797)
  • April 3Franz Berwald, Swedish composer (b. 1796)
  • April 7Thomas D'Arcy McGee, Canadian father of confederation (assassinated) (b. 1825)
  • April 12James Gascoyne-Cecil, 2nd Marquess of Salisbury, British politician and peer (b. 1791)
  • April 13 – Emperor Theodore or Tewodros II of Ethiopia by suicide (b. 1818)
  • April 21Henry O'Farrell, Irish-Australian criminal (executed) (b. 1833)
  • May 7Henry Brougham, 1st Baron Brougham and Vaux, Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain (b. 1778)
  • May 10Henry Bennett, American politician (b. 1808)
  • May 17Isami Kondo, Commander of the Shinsengumi (b. 1834)
  • May 22Julius Plücker, German mathematician and physicist (b. 1801)
  • May 23Kit Carson, American trapper, scout, and Indian agent (b. 1809)
  • June 1James Buchanan, 15th President of the United States (b. 1791)
  • June 22Heber C. Kimball, Latter Day Saint leader (b. 1801)


File:Rossini c. 1850-litho-F Perrin.jpeg

Gioachino Rossini

  • July 6Sanosuke Harada, Shinsengumi Captain (b. 1840)
  • July 6Samuel Lover, Irish writer and composer (b. 1797)
  • July 19Soji Okita, Shinsengumi Captain (b. 1842 or 1844)
  • July 21William Bland, Australian politician (b. 1789)
  • July 26Robert Rolfe, 1st Baron Cranworth, English Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain (b. 1791)
  • July 29John Elliotson, English physician (b. 1791)
  • August 3Edward Welch, Welsh architect (b. 1806)
  • August 10Adah Isaacs Menken, American actress (b. 1835)
  • August 11Thaddeus Stevens, American politician (b. 1792)
  • August 29Christian Friedrich Schönbein, a German chemist (b. 1799)
  • September 19William Sprague, American minister and politician from Michigan (b. 1809)
  • September 26August Ferdinand Möbius, German mathematician and astronomer (b. 1790)
  • October 1Mongkut, Rama IV, King of Thailand (b. 1804)
  • October 9Howell Cobb, American politician (b. 1815)
  • October 17Laura Secord, Canadian patriot (b. 1775)
  • October 27Charles Longley, Archbishop of Canterbury (b. 1794)
  • November 13Gioachino Rossini, Italian composer (b. 1792)
  • November 15James Mayer de Rothschild, German-born banker (b. 1792)
  • November 27 – Chief Black Kettle, Southern Cheyenne Peace Chief, Survivor of Sand Creek massacre (b. 1803)
  • December 6August Schleicher, German linguist (b. 1821)
  • December 25Linus Yale, Jr., American inventor (b. 1821)


  1. Penguin Pocket On This Day. Penguin Reference Library. 2006. ISBN 0-14-102715-0.
  2. Satow, Ernest (1921). A Diplomat in Japan: the inner history of the critical years in the evolution of Japan when the ports were opened and the monarchy restored. London: Seeley, Service.
  3. Jansen, Marius B. (2000). The Making of Modern Japan. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
  4. Polak, Christian (2001). Soie et lumières: l'âge d'or des échanges franco-japonais (des origines aux années 1950). Tokyo: Chambre de Commerce et d'Industrie Française du Japon. p. 75.
  5. Keene, Donald (2002). Emperor of Japan: Meiji and His World, 1852-1912. New York: Columbia University Press. p. 137. ISBN 978-0-231-12340-2. OCLC 46731178
  6. Rice, Daniel (2011). "The 'Uniform Rule' and its exceptions: a history of Congressional naturalization legislation" (PDF). Ozark Historical Review. 40. Retrieved June 11, 2012.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  7. "Catalog of Damaging Earthquakes in the World (Through 2009)". IISEE. Archived from the original on March 6, 2010. Retrieved August 13, 2012. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  8. "Arica, Peru (now Chile) 1868 August 13 21:30 UTC". Historic Earthquakes. USGS. October 26, 2009. Archived from the original on January 16, 2010. Retrieved August 13, 2012. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  9. Kochhar, R. K. (1991). "French astronomers in India during the 17th –19th centuries". Journal of the British Astronomical Association. 101 (2): 95–100. Bibcode:1991JBAA..101...95K.
  10. "Nagodba". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2009.
  11. Hampel, Clifford A. (1968). The Encyclopedia of the Chemical Elements. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold. pp. 256–268. ISBN 0-442-15598-0.
  12. "The man who gave us traffic lights". Nottingham: BBC. July 2009. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
  13. Coe, Brian (1978). Colour Photography: the first hundred years 1840-1940. London: Ash & Grant. ISBN 0-904069-24-9.
  14. Ley, Willy (1959). Exotic Zoology. New York: Viking Press.
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