Learn more about 1879
1879 (MDCCCLXXIX) was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar).
- May 26 - Russia and the United Kingdom sign the Treaty of Gandamak establishing an Afghan state.
- May 30 - New York City's Gilmores Garden is renamed Madison Square Garden by William Henry Vanderbilt and is opened to the public at 26th Street and Madison Avenue.
- May 30 - A F4 tornado struck Irving, Kansas, killing 18 people and injuring 60.
- June 14 - Sidney Faithorn Green, an Anglican 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 4 - Taughannock Giant unearthed on the shore of Cayuga Lake in Ithaca, New York (later proven to be a hoax).
- July 19 - Doc Holliday kills for the first time after a man shoots-up Holliday's New Mexico saloon.
- August 21 - Virgin Mary, along with St. Joseph and St. John the Evangelist appeared in Knock to local people.
- October 7 - Dual Alliance formed by Germany and Austria-Hungary
- October 21 - Using a filament of carbonized thread, Thomas Edison tests the first practical electric light bulb (it lasted 13½ hours before burning out).
- December 28 - The central part of the Tay Rail Bridge in Dundee, Scotland collapses as a train passed over it, killing 75.
- December 30 - The Pirates of Penzance is first performed (Paignton, Devon, England).
- December 31 - Thomas Edison demonstrates incandescent lighting to the public for the first time (Menlo Park, New Jersey).
 Unknown dates
- January 1 - E. M. Forster, English writer (d. 1970)
- January 3 - Grace Coolidge, First Lady of the United States (d. 1957)
- January 12 - Ray Harroun, American race car driver (d. 1968)
- January 13 - Melvin Jones, American founder of Lions Clubs International (d. 1961)
- January 28 - Francis Picabia, French painter and poet (d. 1953)
- February 22 - J. N. Brønsted, Danish chemist (d. 1947)
- February 26 - Frank Bridge, English composer (d. 1941)
- March 8 - Otto Hahn, German chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1968)
- March 14 - Albert Einstein, German-born physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1955)
- March 26 - Othmar Ammann, Swiss-born engineer (d. 1965)
- March 30 - Coen de Koning, Dutch speed skater (d. 1954)
- April 16 - Gala Galaction, Romanian writer (d. 1961)
- April 20 - Paul Poiret, French couturier (d. 1944)
- April 26 - Owen Willans Richardson, British physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1959)
- April 29 - Sir Thomas Beecham, English conductor (d. 1961)
- May 6 - Bedřich Hrozny´, Czech orientalist and linguist (d. 1952)
- May 17 - Simon Petlyura, Ukrainian independence fighter (d. 1926)
- May 19 - Nancy Astor, Viscountess Astor, American-born politician (d. 1964)
- May 19 - Viscount Waldorf Astor, British businessman and politician (d. 1952)
- May 22 - Alla Nazimova, Ukrainian-born stage and film actress (d. 1945)
- May 23 - Dezső Lauber, Hungarian sportsman (d. 1966)
- May 25 - Max Aitken, 1st Baron Beaverbrook, Canadian-born statesman and newspaper publisher (d. 1964)
- June 3 - Raymond Pearl, American biologist (d. 1940)
- June 10 - Rafael Erich, Prime minister of Finland (d. 1946)
- July 1 - Léon Jouhaux, French labor leader, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (d. 1954)
- July 5 - Wanda Landowska, Polish harpsichordist (d. 1959)
- August 8 - Emiliano Zapata, Mexican revolutionary (d. 1919)
- August 13 - John Ireland, English composer (d. 1962)
- August 31 - Emperor Yoshihito, 123rd Emperor of Japan (d. 1926)
- September 2 - An Jung-geun, assassin of the Japanese politician Ito Hirobumi (d. 1910)
- September 6 - Joseph Wirth, Chancellor of Germany (d. 1956)
- September 14 - Margaret Sanger, American birth control advocate (d. 1966)
- September 15 - Joseph Lyons, tenth Prime Minister of Australia (d. 1939)
- September 20 - Victor Sjöström, Swedish film actor and director (d. 1960)
- October 2 - Wallace Stevens, American poet (d. 1955)
- October 3 - Warner Oland, Swedish-born actor (d. 1938)
- October 5 - Francis Peyton Rous, American pathologist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (d. 1970)
- October 9 - Max von Laue, German physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1960)
- October 21 - Joseph Canteloube, French composer and singer (d. 1957)
- October 29 - Franz von Papen, Chancellor of Germany (d. 1969)
- November 4 - Will Rogers, American humorist (d. 1935)
- November 7 - Leon Trotsky, Russian revolutionary (d. 1940)
- November 10 - Vachel Lindsay, American poet (d. 1931)
- November 10 - Patrick Pearse, Irish patriot (d. 1916)
- November 26 - Charles W. Goddard, playwright and screenwriter (d. 1951)
- December 3 - Nagai Kafu, Japanese writer (d. 1959)
- December 10 - Jouett Shouse, American politician (d. 1968)
- December 18 - Paul Klee, Swiss artist (d. 1940)
- December 28 - Billy Mitchell, U.S. general and military aviation pioneer (d. 1936)
 Unknown dates
- February 11 - Honoré Daumier, French caricaturist and painter (b. 1808)
- February 23 - Albrecht Graf von Roon, Prime Minister of Prussia (b. 1803)
- February 25 - Charles Peace, British criminal (executed) (b. 1832)
- March 1 - Joachim Heer, Swiss politician (b. 1825)
- March 30 - Thomas Couture, French painter and teacher (b. 1815)
- April 30 - Sarah Josepha Hale, American author (b. 1788)
- June 1 - Napoleon Eugene, Prince Imperial, son of French Emperor Napoleon III (b. 1856)
- August 30 - John Bell Hood, America Confederate general (b. 1831)
- November 5 - James Clark Maxwell, Scottish physicist (b. 1831)
- August 11 - George Willison Adams, Ohio abolitionist (b.1799)
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