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1869 (MDCCCLXIX) was a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar, the 1869th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 869th year of the , the 69th year of the , and the 10th and last 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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- January 3 – Abdur Rahman Khan is defeated at Tinah Khan and exiled from Afghanistan.
- January 5 – Scotland's oldest professional football team, Kilmarnock F.C., is founded.
- January 20 – Elizabeth Cady Stanton is the first woman to testify before the United States Congress.
- January 21 – The P.E.O. Sisterhood, a philanthropic educational organization for women, is founded at Iowa Wesleyan College in Mount Pleasant, Iowa.
- January 27 – The Republic of Ezo is proclaimed on the northern Japanese island of Ezo (which will be renamed Hokkaidō on September 20) by remaining adherents to the Tokugawa shogunate.
- February 5 – Prospectors in Moliagul, Victoria, Australia, discover the largest alluvial gold nugget ever found, known as the "Welcome Stranger".
- February 20 – Ranavalona II, the Merina Queen of Madagascar, is baptized.
- February 26 – The 2½-year-old Mahbub Ali Khan begins a 42-year reign as Nizam of Hyderabad.
- March – In Japan, the daimyo of the Tosa, Hizen, Satsuma and Chōshū Domains are persuaded to 'return their domains' to the Emperor Meiji, leading to creation of a fully centralized government in the country.
- March 1 – North German Confederation issues 10gr and 30gr value stamps, printed on goldbeater's skin.
- March 4 – Ulysses S. Grant is sworn in as President of the United States.
- March 6 – Dmitri Mendeleev makes a formal presentation of his periodic table to the Russian Chemical Society.
- March 9 – Southern Illinois University Carbondale is founded.
- March 24 – Titokowaru's War ends with surrender of the last Māori troops at large in the South Taranaki District of New Zealand's North Island.
- April 6 – The American Museum of Natural History is founded in New York.
- May – In France, the opposition, consisting of republicans, monarchists and liberals, polls almost 45% of the vote in national elections.
- May 4–10 – Naval Battle of Hakodate: The Imperial Japanese navy defeats adherents of the Tokugawa shogunate.
- May 6 – Purdue University is founded in West Lafayette, Indiana.
- May 10 – The First Transcontinental Railroad in North America is completed at Promontory, Utah, by driving of the "golden spike".
- May 15 – Women's suffrage: In New York, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton form the National Woman Suffrage Association.
- May 18 – One day after surrendering at the land Battle of Hakodate (begun 4 December 1868), Enomoto Takeaki turns over Goryōkaku to Japanese forces, signaling the collapse of the Republic of Ezo.
- May 22 – Sainsbury's first store, in Drury Lane, London, is opened.
- May 26 – Boston University is chartered by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
- June 1 – The Cincinnati Red Stockings open the baseball season as the first fully professional team.
- June 2 – Sherwood College is founded in Nainital, India.
- June 15 – John Wesley Hyatt patents celluloid, in Albany, New York.
- June 27 – The fortress of Goryōkaku is turned over to Imperial Japanese forces, bringing an end to the Republic of Ezo, the Battle of Hakodate and the Boshin War.
- June 30-July 2 – The first Estonian Song Festival takes place in Tartu.
- July 10 – The Swedish town Gävle is destroyed in a city fire. 8,000 people became homeless.
- August 9 – August Bebel and Wilhelm Liebknecht found the Social Democratic Workers' Party of Germany (SDAP).
- August 27 – The University of Oxford win the first international boat race held on the River Thames against Harvard University.
- August 31 – Irish scientist Mary Ward is killed by a steam car, probably the world's first victim of a mechanically-propelled road vehicle.
- September 5 – The foundation stone is laid for Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria (southern Germany).
- September 11 – Work on the Wallace Monument is completed in Stirling, Scotland.
- September 12–13 – The P&O's Template:SS runs aground and sinks in the Red Sea; 31 drowned.
- September 24 – "Black Friday": The Fisk–Gould Scandal causes a financial panic in the United States.
- October 8 – Austria-Hungary sends reinforcements to battle the uprising in Krivošije
- October 11 – Red River Rebellion against British forces in Canada.
- October 16 – England's first residential university-level women's college, the College for Women, predecessor of Girton College, Cambridge, is founded at Hitchin by Emily Davies and Barbara Bodichon.
- November 4 – The first issue of the scientific journal Nature is published in London, edited by Norman Lockyer.
- November 6 – The first game of American football between two American colleges is played. Rutgers University defeats Princeton University 6–4 in a forerunner to American football and College football.
- November 17 – In Egypt, the Suez Canal, linking the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea, is inaugurated in an elaborate ceremony.
- November 19 – The Hudson's Bay Company surrenders its claim to Rupert's Land in Canada under its letters patent back to the British Crown.
- November 23 – In Dumbarton, Scotland, the clipper ship Cutty Sark is launched (it is one of the last clippers built, and the only one to survive into the 21st century).
- December – Publication of Leo Tolstoy's novel War and Peace complete in book form concludes in Russia.
- December 7 – American outlaw Jesse James commits his first confirmed bank robbery in Gallatin, Missouri.
- December 8 – First Vatican Council opens.
- December 10 – The first American chapter of Kappa Sigma is founded at the University of Virginia.
- December 10 – The Wyoming territorial legislature gives women the right to vote, the first such law in the world.
- December 31 – Triple Alliance forces take Asunción in the Paraguayan War.
- Basutoland becomes a British protectorate (abolished in 1966).
- The capital of the Isle of Man moves from Castletown to Douglas.
- Arabella Mansfield became the first woman in the United States awarded a license to practice law, at Mount Pleasant, Iowa.
- James Gordon Bennett, Jr. of the New York Herald asks Henry Morton Stanley to find Dr. David Livingstone.
- The Co-operative Central Board (later Co-operatives UK) is founded in Manchester, England.
- Friedrich Miescher discovers deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).
- French missionary and naturalist Père Armand David receives the skin of a giant panda from a hunter, the first time this species becomes known to a Westerner; he also first describes a specimen of the "pocket handkerchief tree", which will be named in his honor as Davidia involucrata.
- In France Hippolyte Mège-Mouriès patents margarine.
- The University of Otago is founded, making it New Zealand's oldest University.
- Glasgow University Rugby Football Club is founded in Scotland.
- January 4 – Tommy Corcoran, American baseball player (d. 1960)
- January 10 – Grigori Rasputin, Russian mystic (d. 1916)
- January 11 – Carl Theodore Vogelgesang, American admiral (d. 1927)
- January 15 – Stanisław Wyspiański, Polish dramatist, poet, painter and architect (d. 1907)
- January 25 – Max Hoffmann, German general (d. 1927)
- February 11
- February 14 – Charles Wilson, Scottish physicist and Nobel laureate (d. 1959)
- February 26 – Nadezhda Konstantinovna Krupskaya, Russian Marxist revolutionary and Vladimir Lenin's wife (d.1939)
- February 28 – William V. Pratt, American admiral (d. 1957)
- March 3
- March 12 – George Forbes, New Zealand Prime Minister and first leader of the New Zealand National Party (d. 1947)
- March 14 – Algernon Blackwood, English writer (d. 1951)
- March 18 – Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (d. 1940)
- March 22 – Emilio Aguinaldo, first President of the Philippines (d. 1964)
- March 23 – Calouste Gulbenkian, Armenian businessman and philanthropist (d. 1955)
- March 29 – Edwin Lutyens, British architect (d. 1944)
- April 2 – Hughie Jennings, American baseball player (d. 1928)
- April 4 – Mary Colter, American architect (d. 1958)
- April 8 – Harvey Cushing, American neurosurgeon (d. 1939)
- April 10 – Signe Bergman, Swedish suffragist (d. 1960)
- April 11 – Gustav Vigeland, Norwegian sculptor (d. 1943)
- April 12 – Henri Désiré Landru, French serial killer (d. 1922)
- April 27 – May Moss, Australian women's rights activist (d. 1948)
- May 3 – Warren Terhune, United States Navy Commander and 13th Governor of American Samoa (d. 1920)
- May 5 – Hans Pfitzner, German composer (d. 1949)
- May 12 – Carl Schuhmann, German athlete (d. 1946)
- May 18 – Rupprecht, Crown Prince of Bavaria, Bavarian military leader and last Bavarian crown prince (d. 1955)
- May 20 – John Stone Stone, American physicist and inventor (d. 1943)
- May 30 – Giulio Douhet, Italian general and air power theorist (d. 1930)
- June 7 – Grand Duke Alexander Alexandrovich of Russia (d. 1870)
- June 17 – Flora Finch, English-born comedian (d. 1940)
- June 27 – Hans Spemann, German embryologist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (d. 1941)
- June 28 – Lydia Wahlström, Swedish historian and women's rights activist (d. 1954)
- July 11 – Pío Valenzuela, Filipino doctor and patriot (d. 1956)
- July 19 – Xenophon Stratigos, Greek general (d. 1927)
- August 10 – Laurence Binyon, English poet and scholar (d. 1943)
- August 11 – Hale Holden, president of Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad 1914-1918 and 1920-1929 (d. 1940)
- August 13 – Paul Behncke, German admiral (d. 1937)
- August 14 – Armas Järnefelt, Finnish composer and conductor (d. 1958)
- September 3 – Fritz Pregl, Austrian chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1930)
- September 11 – Charles Kilpatrick (cyclist), American one-legged trick cyclist (d. 1927]])
- September 17 – Christian Lous Lange, Norwegian pacifist, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (d. 1938)
- September 23 – Mary Mallon, "Typhoid Mary" (d. 1938)
- October 2 – Mohandas Gandhi, Indian political leader, Father of the Nation (d. 1948)
- October 21 – William Edward Dodd, American historian and diplomat (d. 1940)
- October 25 – John Heisman, American football coach (d. 1936)
- October 27 – Viola Allen, actress (d. 1948)
- October 31 – William A. Moffett, American admiral (d. 1933)
- November 10 – Wayne Wheeler, American temperance movement leader (d. 1927)
- November 11 – Victor Emmanuel III, King of Italy (d. 1947)
- November 20 – Herbert Tudor Buckland, seminal British Arts and Crafts architect (d. 1951)
- November 22 – André Gide, French writer and Nobel laureate (d. 1951)
- November 24 – Óscar Carmona, President of Portugal (d. 1951)
- November 25 – Herbert Greenfield, Premier of Alberta, Canada (d. 1949)
- November 30 – Gustaf Dalén, Swedish physicist and Nobel laureate (d. 1937)
- December 5 – Ellis Parker Butler, American humorist (d. 1937)
- December 16 – Hristo Tatarchev, Bulgarian revolutionary and leader of the revolutionary movement in Macedonia and Eastern Thrace (d. 1952)
- December 20 – Charley Grapewin, American vaudeville performer and stage and film actor (d. 1956)
- December 22
- December 24 – Henriette Roland Holst, Dutch poet and socialist (d. 1952)
- December 30 – Stephen Leacock, British-Canadian author and economist (d. 1944)
- December 31 – Henri Matisse, French painter (d. 1954)
- Harry Grant Dart, American cartoonist (d. 1938)
- January 1
- Martin W. Bates, American senator (b. 1786)
- James B. Longacre, fourth Chief Engraver of the U.S. Mint (b. 1794)
- January 19 – Carl Reichenbach, German chemist (b. 1788)
- January 30 – William Carleton, Irish novelist (b. 1794)
- February 15 – Ghalib, Indian poet (b. 1796)
- March 8 – Hector Berlioz, French composer (b. 1803)
- March 20 – John Pascoe Grenfell, British admiral of the Brazilian Navy (b. 1800)
- March 24 – Antoine-Henri Jomini, French general (b. 1779)
- April 2 – Christian Erich Hermann von Meyer, German palaeontologist (b, 1801)
- April 20 – Carl Loewe, German composer (b. 1796)
- June 16 – Charles Sturt, Australian explorer (b. 1795)
- June 20 – Hijikata Toshizō, Japanese military commander (b. 1835)
- July 18 – Laurent Clerc, American advocate for the deaf (b. 1785)
- July 22 – John A. Roebling, American bridge engineer (b. 1806)
- July 28 – Carl Gustav Carus, German physiologist (b. 1789)
- August 31 – Mary Ward, Irish scientist and the first car crash victim (b. 1827)
- September 4 – John Pascoe Fawkner, Australian pioneer, settler and politician, Melbourne, Victoria (b. 1792)
- September 12 – Peter Mark Roget, British lexicographer (b. 1779)
- October 8 – Franklin Pierce, 14th President of the United States (b. 1804)
- October 13 – Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve, French literary critic (b. 1804)
- October 16 – Joseph Ritner, American politician (b. 1780)
- October 23 – Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (b. 1799)
- October 31 – Charles A. Wickliffe, American politician, 14th Governor of Kentucky (b. 1788)
- November 8 – Christodoulos Hatzipetros, Greek military leader (b. 1798)
- December 8 – Narcisa de Jesús Martillo, an Ecuadorian saint (b. 1832)
- December 18 – Louis Moreau Gottschalk, American composer and pianist (b. 1829)
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- "Ceremony at "Wedding of the Rails," May 10, 1869, at Promontory Point, Utah". World Digital Library. May 10, 1869. Retrieved July 20, 2013.
- Baren, Maurice (1996). How it All Began Up the High Street. London: Michael O'Mara Books. ISBN 1-85479-667-4.
- Penguin Pocket On This Day. Penguin Reference Library. 2006. ISBN 0-14-102715-0.
- Palmer, Alan; Veronica (1992). The Chronology of British History. London: Century Ltd. pp. 290–291. ISBN 0-7126-5616-2.
- "Giant Panda". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 2010. Retrieved August 9, 2010.