Culture Wikia

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1879 (MDCCCLXXIX) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Monday of the Julian calendar, the 1879th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 879th year of the , the 79th year of the , and the 10th and last year of the decade. As of the start of 1879, the Gregorian calendar was 12 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.

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  • January – The current constitution of the State of California in the United States is ratified.
  • January 1 – The Specie Resumption Act takes effect. The United States Note is valued the same as gold for the first time since the American Civil War.
  • January 11Anglo-Zulu War begins.
  • January 22Battle of Isandlwana: the first major encounter in the Anglo-Zulu War between the British Empire and the Zulu Kingdom. A force of 1,200 British soldiers was wiped out by the 20,000+ Zulu warriors.
  • January 23Battle of Rorke's Drift – following the previous day's defeat, a smaller British force of 140, successfully repels an attack by 4000 Zulus.
  • February 8 – At a meeting of the Royal Canadian Institute, engineer and inventor Sandford Fleming first proposes the global adoption of standard time.
  • March 11 – The Ryukyu Domain is incorporated into the Okinawa Prefecture of Japan and the last ruler, Shō Tai, is exiled to Tokyo.
  • March 28Anglo-Zulu WarBattle of Hlobane: British forces suffer a defeat.
  • March 29Anglo-Zulu WarBattle of Kambula: British forces defeat 20,000 Zulus.


  • April – Postman Ferdinand Cheval begins to build his Palais Idéal at Hauterives in France.
  • April 5War of the Pacific: Chile formally declares war on Bolivia and Peru.[1]
  • April 26 – The National Park, later renamed the Royal National Park, is declared in New South Wales, Australia, the world's second oldest purposed national park.
  • May 2 – The Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (Partido Socialista Obrero Español) is founded clandestinely at the Casa Labra pub in Madrid by printer Pablo Iglesias.[2]
  • May 10 – The Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) is formed.
  • May 12 – The English Catholic convert John Henry Newman is elevated to Cardinal.
  • May 14 – The first group of 463 Indian indentured labourers arrive in Fiji aboard the Leonidas.
  • May 26 – Russia and the United Kingdom sign the Treaty of Gandamak, establishing an Afghan state.
  • May 30 – New York City's Gilmore's Garden is renamed Madison Square Garden by William Henry Vanderbilt, and is opened to the public at 26th Street and Madison Avenue.
  • June 1Napoléon, Prince Imperial (Napoléon IV), great-nephew of Napoléon Bonaparte, Bonapartist pretender to the French throne, is killed in Africa while attached to the British Army during the Anglo-Zulu War.
  • June 6William Denny and Brothers launch the world's first ocean-going steamer to be built of mild steel, the SS Rotomahana, on the River Clyde in Scotland.[3] On October 2 they launch the first transatlantic steamer of the same material, the SS Buenos Ayrean; on December 1 she makes her maiden voyage out of Glasgow for South America.[4]
  • June 14Sidney Faithorn Green, a priest in the Church of England, is tried and convicted for using Ritualist practices.
  • June 21 – German company Linde is founded by Carl von Linde.


  • July 1 – American Christian Restorationist Charles Taze Russell publishes the first issue of the monthly Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence which, as The Watchtower, will become the most widely circulated magazine in the world.
  • July 4Anglo-Zulu War: The Anglo-Zulu War effectively ends with British victory at the Battle of Ulundi.[5]
  • August 16Fulham F.C. is founded in London as a church soccer team.
  • August 21 – Claimed apparition to local people at Knock, County Mayo, Ireland of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph, Saint John the Evangelist and Jesus Christ (as the Lamb of God).
  • September – Henry George self-publishes his major work Progress and Poverty.[6]
  • September 8 – A fire in The Octagon, Dunedin (New Zealand) claims 12 victims.
  • September 25 – Fire in Deadwood, South Dakota: Two thousand people left homeless; three hundred buildings destroyed. Total loss of property is estimated at $3 million.
  • September 29Meeker Massacre: Nathan Meeker and others are killed in an uprising at the White River Ute Indian reservation in Colorado.


File:Light Bulb.jpg
  • October 7 – The Dual Alliance is formed by Germany and Austria-Hungary.
  • October 8 – The Naval Battle of Angamos is fought during the naval stage of the War of the Pacific.
  • October 13 – First female students admitted to study for degrees of Oxford University in England, at the new Lady Margaret Hall and Somerville Hall and with the Society of Oxford Home-Students.[5]
  • October 17Sunderland Association Football Club is formed by a group of schoolteachers in the North East of England.
  • October 22 – Using a filament of carbonized thread, Thomas Edison tests the first practical electric light bulb (it lasts 13½ hours before burning out).
  • November – Land is acquired for Simmons College of Kentucky, a historically black school, established as a Baptist institution.
  • November – Age of Michael begins, according to French occultist Eliphas Levi, and Johannes Trithemius.[7]
  • November 4Thomas Edison applies for the patent for his invention, the incandescent light bulb. U.S. Patent 223,898 will be granted on January 27, 1880.[8]
  • November 10 — The Bell Telephone Company and Western Union reach an agreement in the United States, in which the former assents to staying out of telegraphy, and the latter to keep out of the telephone business.[9]
  • December 21Henrik Ibsen's controversial drama A Doll's House premières at the Royal Danish Theatre in Copenhagen (having been first published on December 4 in the city).
  • December 28 – The Tay Bridge disaster: The central part of the Tay Rail Bridge at Dundee, Scotland, collapses in a storm as a train passes over it, killing 75.[5]
  • December 31
    • Thomas Edison demonstrates incandescent lighting to the public for the first time in Menlo Park, New Jersey.
    • Gilbert and Sullivan's comic opera The Pirates of Penzance opens at the Fifth Avenue Theatre in New York City (following a token performance the day before for U.K. copyright reasons in Paignton, Devon).[10]

Date unknown[]

  • Colonel Ahmed ‘Urabi forms the Egyptian Nationalist Party.
  • The Hall effect is discovered by Dr. Edwin Hall.
  • The Stefan–Boltzmann law is discovered by Jozef Stefan.
  • Wilhelm Wundt establishes the first psychology research laboratory at the University of Leipzig.
  • Tetteh Quarshie first brings cocoa beans to Ghana from Equatorial Guinea.
  • Gottlob Frege publishes Begriffsschrift, eine der arithmetischen nachgebildete Formelsprache des reinen Denkens in Halle, a significant text in the development of mathematical logic.



File:Otto Hahn (Nobel).jpg

Otto Hahn

File:Einstein 1933.jpg

Albert Einstein

  • January 1E. M. Forster, English writer (d. 1970)
  • January 3Grace Coolidge, First Lady of the United States (d. 1957)
  • January 10Bobby Walker, Scottish footballer (d. 1930)
  • January 12
    • Ray Harroun, American race car driver (d. 1968)
    • Calbraith Perry Rodgers, American pioneer aviator, made first transcontinental U.S. flight (d. 1912)
  • January 13Melvin Jones, American founder of Lions Clubs International (d. 1961)
  • January 20Ruth St. Denis, American dancer (d. 1968)
  • January 28Francis Picabia, French painter and poet (d. 1953)
  • February 22
    • J. N. Brønsted, Danish chemist (d. 1947)
    • Norman Lindsay, Australian painter (d. 1969)
  • February 26Frank Bridge, English composer (d. 1941)
  • March 3József Klekl, Slovene writer and journalist (d. 1936)
  • March 6William P. Cronan, 19th Naval Governor of Guam (d. 1929)
  • March 8Otto Hahn, German chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1968)
  • March 14Albert Einstein, German-born physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1955)
  • March 18Emma Carus, American opera singer, (d. 1927)
  • March 26Othmar Ammann, Swiss-born engineer (d. 1965)
  • March 27Edward Steichen, Luxembourgeois-born painter/photographer (d. 1973)
  • March 30Coen de Koning, Dutch speed skater (d. 1954)


  • April 9Thomas Meighan, American actor (d. 1936)
  • April 16Gala Galaction, Romanian writer (d. 1961)
  • April 20
    • Italo Gariboldi, Italian general (d. 1970)
    • Paul Poiret, French couturier (d. 1944)
    • Robert Wilson Lynd, Irish essayist and writer (d. 1949)
  • April 21Kartini, Indonesian national heroine and women's rights activist (d. 1904)
  • April 26Owen Willans Richardson, British physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1959)
  • April 29 – Sir Thomas Beecham, English conductor (d. 1961)
  • May 6Bedřich Hrozný, Czech orientalist and linguist (d. 1952)
  • May 12George Landenberger, United States Navy Captain and the 23rd Governor of American Samoa (d. 1936)
  • May 16Gustaf Aulén, Bishop of Strängnäs in the Church of Sweden (d. 1977)
  • May 19
    • Nancy Astor, Viscountess Astor, American-born British politician; wife of Waldorf Astor, 2nd Viscount Astor (d. 1964)
    • Waldorf Astor, 2nd Viscount Astor, British businessman and politician; husband of Nancy Astor, Viscountess Astor (d. 1952)
  • May 22Alla Nazimova, Ukrainian-born American stage and film actress (d. 1945)
  • May 23Dezső Lauber, Hungarian sportsman (d. 1966)
  • May 25
    • Max Aitken, Lord Beaverbrook, Canadian-born statesman and newspaper publisher (d. 1964)
    • Andrew Kennaway Henderson, New Zealand illustrator, cartoonist, and pacifist (d. 1960)
  • May 27Lucile Watson, Canadian-born film and stage actress (d. 1962)
  • May 28Milutin Milanković, Serbian scientist (d. 1958)
  • June 3Raymond Pearl, American biologist (d. 1940)
  • June 7
    • Joan Voûte, Dutch astronomer (d. 1963)
    • Knud Rasmussen, Danish polar explorer and anthropologist (d. 1933)
  • June 10Rafael Erich, Prime Minister of Finland (d. 1946)
  • June 13Charalambos Tseroulis, Greek general (d. 1929)


  • July 1Léon Jouhaux, French labour leader, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (d. 1954)
  • July 5Wanda Landowska, Polish harpsichordist and musicologist (d. 1959)
  • July 9Ottorino Respighi, Italian composer, musicologist, and conductor (d. 1936)
  • July 10Charles P. Snyder, American admiral (d. 1964)
  • July 15Joseph Campbell, Irish poet and lyricist (d. 1944)
  • July 22Janusz Korczak (pen-name of Henryk Goldszmit), Polish-Jewish children's author, pediatrician, and child pedagogist (born 1878 or 1879) (d. 1942)
  • August 8Emiliano Zapata, Mexican revolutionary (d. 1919)
  • August 13John Ireland, English composer and organist (d. 1962)
  • August 15Ethel Barrymore, American actress of film and stage (d. 1959)
  • August 21Claude Grahame-White, British aviation pioneer (d. 1959)
  • August 28Sydney Ayres, American silent film actor (d. 1916)
  • August 30Fritzi Scheff, Viennese-born American actress and singer (d. 1954)
  • August 31
    • Alma Mahler, born Alma Schindler, Viennese-born wife and muse of Gustav Mahler, Walter Gropius and Franz Werfel (d. 1964)
    • Emperor Taishō, 123rd Emperor of Japan (d. 1926)
  • September 6
    • Max Schreck, German actor (d. 1936)
    • Adolf Strauss, German general (d. 1973)
    • Joseph Wirth, Chancellor of Germany (d. 1956)
  • September 13Tsutomu Sakuma, Japanese naval officer (d. 1910)
  • September 14Margaret Sanger, American birth control advocate (d. 1966)
  • September 15Joseph Lyons, Premier of Tasmania and Prime Minister of Australia (d. 1939)
  • September 20Victor Sjöström, Swedish film actor and director (d. 1960)
  • September 25
    • Lope K. Santos, Filipino writer and grammarian (d. 1963)
    • Shinobu Ishihara, Japanese ophthalmologist and professor (d. 1963)
  • September 27Hans Hahn, Austrian mathematician (d. 1934)


File:Bundesarchiv Bild 183-U0205-502, Max von Laue.jpg

Max von Laue

File:Trotsky Portrait.jpg

Leon Trotsky

File:Paul Klee 1911.jpg

Paul Klee

  • October 2Wallace Stevens, American poet (d. 1955)
  • October 3Warner Oland, Swedish-born actor (d. 1938)
  • October 5Francis Peyton Rous, American pathologist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (d. 1970)
  • October 9Max von Laue, German physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1960)
  • October 18Giovanni Marinelli, Italian Fascist political leader (d. 1944)
  • October 21
    • Joseph Canteloube, French composer and singer (d. 1957)
    • Eugene Ely, American pioneer aviator (d. 1911)
  • October 28Sydney Jacob, Indian born British male tennis player (d. 1977)
  • October 29Franz von Papen, German diplomat; served as Chancellor (1932) and as Vice-Chancellor (1933–34; under Adolf Hitler) (d. 1969)
  • October 31Sara Allgood, Irish-American film and stage actress (d. 1950)
  • November 4Will Rogers, American humorist (d. 1935)
  • November 7Leon Trotsky, Russian revolutionary (d. 1940)
  • November 9S. O. Davies, oldest post-war British MP (d. 1972)
  • November 10
    • Vachel Lindsay, American poet (d. 1931)
    • Patrick Pearse, Irish rebel leader (d. 1916)
  • November 15Lewis Stone, American stage and film actor, known for playing Judge Hardy (d. 1953)
  • November 26Charles W. Goddard, playwright and screenwriter (d. 1951)
  • December 4Nagai Kafu, Japanese writer (d. 1959)
  • December 10
    • Jouett Shouse, American politician (d. 1968)
    • Hanna Grönvall, Swedish politician and trade union worker. (d. 1953)
    • P. L. Robertson, Canadian inventor (d. 1951)
    • E. H. Shepard, English artist and book illustrator (d. 1976)
  • December 12Laura Hope Crews, American film and stage actress (d. 1942)
  • December 18Paul Klee, Swiss artist (d. 1940)
  • December 20Earle Ovington, American aviator, flew first experimental airmail (d. 1936)
  • December 25Grace George, American stage actress (d. 1961)
  • December 27Sydney Greenstreet, British-born American film and stage actor (d. 1954)
  • December 28Billy Mitchell, U.S. general and military aviation pioneer (d. 1936)
  • December 29Florence Mary Taylor, Australia's first female architect (d. 1969)
  • December 30Ramana Maharshi, Indian sage and jivanmukta (d. 1950)

Date unknown[]

  • Wesley Newcomb Hohfeld, American jurist (d. 1918)
  • Etelka Freund, Hungarian pianist (d. 1977)



File:Heinrich Geissler.jpg

Heinrich Geissler

  • January 8Baldomero Espartero, Prince of Vergara (b. 1793)
  • January 24Heinrich Geißler, German physicist (b. 1814)
File:Hortense Allart.jpg

Hortense Allart

  • February 11Honoré Daumier, French caricaturist and painter (b. 1808)
  • February 23Albrecht Graf von Roon, Prime Minister of Prussia (b. 1803)
  • February 25Charles Peace, British criminal (executed) (b. 1832)
  • February 28Hortense Allart, French writer (b. 1801)
  • March 1Joachim Heer, Swiss politician (b. 1825)
  • March 2John Eberhard Faber, pencil manufacturer (b. 1822)
  • March 10Prince Paul of Thurn and Taxis, German prince (b. 1843)
  • March 27
    • Hércules Florence, Brazilian photographer (b. 1804)
    • Prince Waldemar of Prussia (b. 1868)
  • March 30Thomas Couture, French painter and teacher (b. 1815)
  • April 16Bernadette Soubirous, French saint (b. 1844)
  • April 30Sarah Josepha Hale, American author (b. 1788)
  • May 5Félix Charles Douay, French general (b. 1816)
  • May 15Gottfried Semper, German architect (b. 1803)
  • June 1Napoléon, Prince Imperial, son of French Emperor Napoleon III (b. 1856)
  • June 7William Tilbury Fox, English dermatologist (b. 1836)
  • June 11William, Prince of Orange, heir to Dutch throne (b. 1840)


File:James Clerk Maxwell.png

James Clerk Maxwell

  • July 17Maurycy Gottlieb, Ukrainian painter (b. 1856)
  • July 19Louis Favre, French engineer (b. 1826)
  • August 11George Willison Adams, Ohio abolitionist (b. 1799)
  • August 14Ivan Davidovich Lazarev, Russian general (b. 1820)
  • August 30John Bell Hood, American Confederate general (b. 1831)
  • September 30Francis Gillette, politician (b. 1807)
  • October 8Miguel Grau Seminario, Peruvian Admiral during the War of the Pacific (b. 1834)
  • October 25Nachum Kaplan, rabbi (b. 1811)
  • October 31Joseph Hooker, American general (b. 1814)
  • November 5James Clerk Maxwell, Scottish physicist (b. 1831)
  • December 2Ferdinand Lindheimer, German-born botanist (b. 1801)
  • December 7Jón Sigurðsson, campaigner for Icelandic independence (b. 1811)


  1. Kohn, George C., ed. (2006). "Pacific, War of the". Dictionary of Wars. Infobase Publishing. p. 389.
  2. "El Partido Socialista se fundó en 1879". PSOE. Retrieved February 8, 2013.
  3. "SS Rotomahana". Clydebuilt. Retrieved April 14, 2014.
  4. "S/S Buenos Ayrean, Allan Line". Norway Heritage. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Palmer, Alan; Veronica (1992). The Chronology of British History. London: Century Ltd. pp. 303–304. ISBN 0-7126-5616-2.
  6. Commercially published in 1880 by D. Appleton & Company, New York.
  7. Steiner, Rudolf (1994) [1917]. Bamford, Christopher (ed.). The Archangel Michael. Hudson, New York: Anthroposophic Press. ISBN 0-88010-378-7.
  8. Usher, Abbott Payson (1954). A History of Mechanical Inventions. Courier Dover Publications. p. 402.
  9. Schwarzlose, Richard A. (1990). The Nation's Newsbrokers: The Rush to Institution: From 1865 to 1920. Northwestern University Press. p. 84.
  10. Penguin Pocket On This Day. Penguin Reference Library. 2006. ISBN 0-14-102715-0.



  1. Loin of the Surf; Doctor at Cake; Steven Does; Bronze & Baby Shoes Swell Maps