1884 1885 1886 - 1887 - 1888 1889 1890
1850s 1860s 1870s - 1880s - 1890s 1900s 1910s
Events of 1887
- January 6 – `Abd-Allah II of Harar opens the Battle of Chelenqo with an attack on the camp of the Shewan army of Negus Menelik II early in the morning; prepared for the assault, the Negus orders a counter-attack which routs the enemy, a few days later resulting in the capture of Harar.
- January 11 – Louis Pasteur's anti-rabies treatment is defended in the French Academy of Medicine by Dr. Joseph Grancher.
- January 20 – The United States Senate allows the Navy to lease Pearl Harbor as a naval base.
- January 21
- January 24 – Battle of Dogali: Abyssinian troops defeat the Italians.
- January 28 – In a snowstorm at Fort Keogh, Montana, USA, the largest snowflakes on record are reported. They are 15 inches (38 cm) wide and 8 inches (20 cm) thick.
- February 2 – In Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, the first Groundhog Day is observed.
- February 5 – The Giuseppe Verdi opera Otello premieres at La Scala.
- February 8 – The Dawes Act, or the General Allotment Act, is enacted.
- February 23 – The French Riviera is hit by a large earthquake, killing around 2,000 along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.
- February 26 – At the Sydney Cricket Ground, George Lohmann becomes the first bowler to take eight wickets in a Test innings.
- March 3 – Anne Sullivan begins teaching Helen Keller.
- March 4 – Gottlieb Daimler unveils his first automobile.
- March 7 – North Carolina State University is established as North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts.
- March 13 – Chester Greenwood patents earmuffs.
- March 19 – Henry Cogswell College is established by Henry D. Cogswell.
- April 1 – Mumbai Fire Brigade was established.
- April 4 – Argonia, Kansas elects Susanna M. Salter as the first female mayor in the United States.
- April 10 – The Catholic University of America is founded on Easter Sunday.
- April 21 – Schnaebele incident – French/German border incident nearly leads to war between the two countries.
- May 3 – An earthquake hits Sonora, Mexico.
- May 9 – Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show opens in London.
- May 14 – The cornerstone of the new Stanford University, in northern California, is laid (the college opens in 1891).
- June 8 – Herman Hollerith receives a patent for his punch card calculator.
- June 18 – The Reinsurance Treaty is closed between Germany and Russia.
- June 21 – The British Empire celebrates Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee, marking the 50th year of her reign. 
- June 23 – The Rocky Mountains Park Act becomes law in Canada, creating that nation's first national park, Banff National Park. 
- June 28 – Minot, North Dakota is incorporated as a city.
- July 12 – Odense Boldklub, the Danish football team, is founded as the Odense Cricket Club.
- July 26 – L. L. Zamenhof publishes "Dr. Esperanto's International Tongue".
- August – The U.S. National Institutes of Health is founded at the Marine Hospital, Staten Island, NY, as the Laboratory of Hygiene.
- August 13 – The Hibernian F.C. defeats Preston North End to win the "Championship of the World" after the two teams win the Association football Cup competitions in their respective countries.
- September 5 – The Theatre Royal, Exeter, England burns down, killing 186 people.
- October 1 – The British Empire takes over Balochistan.
- November – Results of the Michelson-Morley experiment are published, indicating that the speed of light is independent of motion.
- November 3 – The Associação Académica de Coimbra, the students' union of the University of Coimbra in Portugal, is founded.
- November 10 – Louis Lingg, sentenced to be hanged for his alleged role in the Haymarket Riot bomb, kills himself by dynamite.
- November 11 – August Spies, Albert Parsons, Adolph Fischer, George Engel, Michael Schwab, and Samuel Fielden are hanged for inciting riot and murder in the Haymarket Riot of May 4, 1886.
- November 13 – Bloody Sunday: Police clash with pro-Irish independence protesters.
- December 5 – International Bureau of Intellectual Property.
- December 25 – Glenfiddich single malt Scotch whisky is first produced.
- January 1 - Wilhelm Canaris, German admiral, Abwehr head, and traitor (d. 1945)
- February 2 - Ernst Hanfstaengl, close friend and later betrayer of Hitler (d. 1975)
- August 17 - Marcus Garvey, Jamaican-born Black activist (d. 1940)
- August 19 - Newton Jenkins, Chicago nationalist politician (d. 1942)
- October 22 - John Reed, American journalist and communist activist (d. 1920)
- October 31 - Chiang Kai-shek, Nationalist Chinese leader, former Republic of China president (d. 1975)
- November 24 - Erich von Manstein, German military commander (d. 1973)