1878 1879 1880 - 1881 - 1882 1883 1884
| Decades: |
1850s 1860s 1870s - 1880s - 1890s 1900s 1910s
| Centuries: |
18th century - 19th century - 20th century
- January 16-24 ? Siege of Geok Tepe ? Russian troops under general Skobeleff defeat Turkomans
- January 25 - Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell form the Oriental Telephone Company
- February 5 - Phoenix, Arizona is incorporated.
- February 13 - First issue of the feminist newspaper La Citoyenne is published by Hubertine Auclert.
- February 19 - Kansas became the first U.S. state to prohibit all alcoholic beverages.
- March 4 - Rutherford Birchard Hayes is succeeded as President of the United States by James Abram Garfield.
- March 13 - Alexander II of Russia is killed near his palace when a bomb is thrown at him.
- March 16 - Fenian dynamiters hit Mansion House in London
- May 12 - In North Africa, Tunisia becomes a French protectorate.
- May 21 - The American Red Cross is established by Clara Barton.
- June 12 - The USS Jeannette is crushed in an Arctic Ocean ice pack.
- July 2 - James Abram Garfield, President of the United States is shot by lawyer Charles Julius Guiteau. He survives the assassination attempt but he suffers from infection of his wound.
- July 4 - In Alabama, the Tuskegee Institute opens.
- July 20 - Indian Wars: Sioux chief Sitting Bull leads the last of his fugitive people in surrender to United States troops at Fort Buford in Montana.
- September 19 - James Abram Garfield, President of the United States dies due to an infected wound caused by an assasins bullet and is succeeded by Vice President Chester Alan Arthur.
- October 26 - Gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Cochise County, Arizona, USA.
- December 8 - At least 620 die in fire at Ring Theatre, Vienna
- Founding of the Pali Text Society
- University College Dublin is established in Ireland
- The United States National Lawn Tennis Association (USNLTA) is founded, and the first U.S. Tennis Championships are played.
- Founding of the Three Emperor's League
- London Evening News begins publication
- Some Vatican archives opened to scholars for the first time
- January 6 - Sam Rayburn, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives (d. 1961)
- January 16 - Sir Arthur Percy Morris Fleming, radio pioneer
- February 12 - Anna Pavlova, ballerina (d. 1931)
- March 12 - [[Kemal Atat�rk]], founder and first president of the Turkish Republic (d. 1938)
- March 25 - [[B�la Bart�k]], Hungarian composer.
- March 25 - Mary Gladys Webb, writer (d. 1927)
- May 1 - Mary MacLane (d. 1929), feminist and bisexual writer
- June 17 - Tommy Burns, World Heavyweight Boxing Champion
- August 6 - Sir Alexander Fleming, British discoverer of penicillin.
- September 8 - Harry Hillman, American athlete
- October 15 - P. G. Wodehouse, British-American writer
- October 25 - Pablo Picasso, painter
- November 14 - Nicholas Schenck motion-picture empresario (d. 1969)
- November 24 - Al Christie, early Hollywood director/producer (d. 1951)
- November 25 - Pope John XXIII (d. 1963)
- January 21 - [[Wilhelm Matthias N�ff]], member of the Swiss Federal Council (b. 1802)
- March 13 - Czar Alexander II of Russia
- April 19 - Benjamin Disraeli, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
- July 18 - Billy the Kid
- September 22 - Solomon L. Spink, U.S. Congressman from Illinois (b. 1831)
- October 31 - George Washington DeLong, American naval officer and ill-fated exploreraf:1881