1876 1877 1878 - 1879 - 1880 1881 1882
1840s 1850s 1860s - 1870s - 1880s 1890s 1900s
Events of 1879
- January – The current constitution of The State of California, USA is ratified.
- 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 11 – The Anglo-Zulu War begins.
- January 22 – Anglo-Zulu War – Battle of Isandlwana: Zulu troops massacre British troops. 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 – Battle of Intombe: A British force over one-hundred strong is ambushed and destroyed by Zulu forces.
- March 13 – The Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, third son of Queen Victoria, marries Princess Louise Marguerite of Prussia.
- March 28 – Anglo-Zulu War – Battle of Hlobane: British forces suffer a defeat.
- March 29 – Anglo-Zulu War – Battle of Kambula: British forces defeat 20,000 Zulus.
- May 2 – The Spanish Socialist Worker's Party is founded in Casa Labra Pub (city of Madrid) by the historical Spanish workers' leader Pablo Iglesias.
- 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 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 1 – Napoléon Eugène, Prince Imperial (Napoléon IV), great-nephew of Napoléon Bonaparte, Bonapartist pretender to the throne, dies in Africa during the Anglo-Zulu War.
- June 14 – Sidney Faithorn Green, a priest in the Church of England, is tried and convicted for using Ritualist practices.
- 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 – The Virgin Mary, along with St. Joseph and St. John the Evangelist, allegedly appears in Knock to local people.
- September 8 – The Octagon fire claims 12 victims in Dunedin, New Zealand.
- September 13 – Tsutomu Sakuma, Japanese, The sixth submarine corps coxswain.
- September 25 – Deadwood, South Dakota fire: Two-thousand people left homeless. Three hundred buildings destroyed. Total loss of property is estimated at $3 million.
- September 29 – Meeker Massacre: Nathan Meeker and others are killed in an uprising at the White River Ute Indian Reservation in Colorado.
- October 7 – The Dual Alliance is formed by Germany and Austria-Hungary.
- October 8 – The Naval Battle of Angamos was fought during the naval stage of the War of the Pacific.
- October 17 – Sunderland Association Football Club formed 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).
- December 28 – The Tay Bridge disaster – the central part of the Tay Rail Bridge in Dundee, Scotland collapses as a train passes over it, killing 75.
- December 30 – The Pirates of Penzance is first performed in Paignton, Devon, England.
- December 31 – Thomas Edison demonstrates incandescent lighting to the public for the first time in Menlo Park, New Jersey.
- April 4 - Ignaz Trebitsch-Lincoln, international Jewish con man (d. 1943)
- June 13 - Robert E. Wood, American businessman and nationalist (d. 1969)
- September 14 - Margaret Sanger, eugenics advocate (d. 1966)
- October 29 - Franz von Papen, Chancellor of Germany (d. 1969)
- November 7 - Leon Trotsky, Jewish-Russian revolutionary (d. 1940)