Historical Events in 1881

  • Jan 1 Dr John H Watson is introduced to Sherlock Holmes
  • Jan 2 Camille Saint-Saëns' 3rd Concerto in B, premieres
  • Jan 4 Johannes Brahms' "Academic Festival Overture" premieres in Breslau
  • Jan 22 Ancient Egyptian obelisk "Cleopatra's Needle" erected in Central Park, New York

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 25 Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell form the Oriental Telephone Company.

  • Jan 26 Union of Baptists Communities forms in Foxholl
  • Jan 28 Battle at Laing's Neck Natal: Boers beat superior powered British
  • Feb 1 US Assay Office in St Louis, Missouri authorized
  • Feb 5 Phoenix, Az incorporates
  • Feb 7 Battle at Ingogo, Transvaal: Boers beat superior British forces
  • Feb 10 Jacques Offenbach's opera "Les Contes d'Hoffman" premieres in Paris
  • Feb 13 The feminist newspaper La Citoyenne is first published in Paris by the activist Hubertine Auclert.
  • Feb 19 Kansas becomes 1st state to prohibit all alcoholic beverages
  • Feb 24 De Lesseps' Company begins work on Panama Canal
  • Feb 24 China and Russia sign the Sino-Russian Ili Treaty.
  • Feb 26 -27] Natal: British troops under Major General Colley occupy Majuba Hill
  • Feb 26 SS Ceylon begins 1st round-the-world cruise from Liverpool
  • Feb 27 Battle at Amajuba: South African Boers vs British army under Gen Colley
  • Mar 4 California becomes 1st state to pass plant quarantine legislation
  • Mar 4 Holmes & Watson begin "A Study in Scarlet", 1st case together

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Mar 4 James A. Garfield inaugurated as the 20th President of the United States of America

20th US President James Garfield
20th US President
James Garfield
  • Mar 4 South African president Kruger accepts ceasefire
  • Mar 7 Southern University opens in New Orleans
  • Mar 12 Andrew Watson makes his Scotland debut as the world's first black international football player and captain.
  • Mar 16 Barnum & Bailey Circus debuts
  • Mar 18 Barnum & Bailey's "Greatest Show on Earth" opens (Madison Square Garden)
  • Mar 23 Boers & Britain sign peace accord; end 1st Boer war
  • Mar 23 Gas lamp sets fire to Nice France opera house; 70 die
  • Mar 25 43rd Grand National: Mr Tommy Beasley IRE aboard Woodbrook wins
  • Mar 26 Thessaly is freed and becomes part of Greece again.
  • Mar 27 Rioting takes place in Basingstoke, Hampshire, in protest against the daily vociferous promotion of rigid Temperance by the Salvation Army.
  • Mar 28 "Greatest Show On Earth" was formed by PT Barnum & James A Bailey
  • Apr 1 Anti-Jewish riots in Jerusalem
  • Apr 1 Kingdom post office in Netherlands opens
  • Apr 5 Transvaal regains independence under British suzerainty
  • Apr 11 River ferry "Princess Victoria" sinks in Thames River, Ontario, 180 die
  • Apr 11 Spelman College founded
  • Apr 14 The Four Dead in Five Seconds Gunfight in El Paso, Texas.
  • Apr 16 In Dodge City, Kansas, Bat Masterson fights his last gun battle.
  • Apr 18 Natural History Museum opens in South Kensington, England

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Apr 18 Billy the Kid escapes from the Lincoln County jail in Mesilla, New Mexico.

Frontier Outlaw Billy the Kid
Frontier Outlaw
Billy the Kid
  • Apr 23 Gilbert & Sullivan's opera "Patience" produced in London
  • Apr 25 250,000 Germans petition to bar foreign Jews from entering Germany
  • Apr 25 French troops occupy Algeria & Tunisia
  • Apr 27 Pogroms against Russian Jews start in Elisabethgrad
  • May 5 Anit-Jewish rioting in Kiev Ukraine

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May 8 Henry Morton Stanley signs the first of many contracts with the Congolian monarch

Journalist and Explorer Henry Morton Stanley
Journalist and Explorer
Henry Morton Stanley
  • May 10 Lighthouse on Ameland begins operation
  • May 11 Bedrich Smetana's opera "Libusa" premieres in Prague
  • May 12 Treaty of Bardo, Tunisia becomes a French protectorate
  • May 16 World's 1st electric tram enters service in Lichterfelder (near Berlin)
  • May 17 7th Kentucky Derby: Jim McLaughlin aboard Hindoo wins in 2:40

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May 17 Frederick Douglass appointed recorder of deeds for Washington, D.C.

Abolitionist Frederick Douglass
Abolitionist
Frederick Douglass
  • May 17 Revised version of New Testament

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May 21 American Red Cross founded by Clara Barton

Humanitarian Clara Barton
Humanitarian
Clara Barton
  • May 21 US Nation Lawn Tennis Association forms
  • May 24 Canadian ferry Princess Victoria sinks near London Ontario, 200 die
  • May 24 Turkey cedes Thessaly and Arta back to Greece.
  • May 27 9th Preakness: T Costello aboard Saunterer wins in 2:40.5
  • Jun 1 Bell Phone opens 1st Dutch telephone exchange
  • Jun 2 Haarlem-Zandvoort Railway opens
  • Jun 7 15th Belmont: T Costello aboard Saunterer wins in 2:47
  • Jun 12 The USS Jeannette, under the command of George Washington De Long, is crushed by Arctic ice after 21 months of ice-bound drifting
  • Jun 13 The USS Jeannette, under the command of George Washington De Long, sinks in the Arctic circle following 21 months of drifting after becoming trapped in the ice
  • Jun 14 Player piano patented by John McTammany Jr (Cambridge, Mass)
  • Jun 16 Austria-Hungary & Serbia sign military treaty
  • Jun 19 Muhammad Ahmad becomes Mahdi of Sudan
  • Jun 24 200 drown as train runs off bridge near Cuautla, Mexico
  • Jun 29 Pope Leo XIII publishes encyclical Diuturnum illud
  • Jun 30 Henry Highland Garnet named minister to Liberia
  • Jul 1 1st international telephone conversation, Calais, ME-St Stephen, NB
  • Jul 1 US Assay Office in St Louis, Missouri opens
  • Jul 1 General Order 70, the culmination of the Cardwell-Childers reforms of the British Army's organisation, comes into effect.
  • Jul 2 US President James Garfield shot by Charles J. Guiteau a disappointed office-seeker; Garfield died 79 days later

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Jul 4 Booker T. Washington establishes Tuskegee Institute (Alabama)

Education Pioneer Booker T. Washington
Education Pioneer
Booker T. Washington
  • Jul 13 5th Wimbledon Men's Tennis: William Renshaw beats J Hartley (6-0 6-1 6-1)

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jul 20 Sioux Indian Chief Sitting Bull, surrenders to US federal troops

Lakota Sioux Chief Sitting Bull
Lakota Sioux Chief
Sitting Bull
  • Jul 26 French marines occupy Tunisian harbor city Sfax
  • Aug 1 US Quarantine Station authorized for Angel Island, SF Bay
  • Aug 3 Boers signs Convention of Pretoria: Transvaal semi-autonomous
  • Aug 3 US National Lawn Tennis Association removes "National" from its name
  • Aug 4 122°F (50°C), Seville, Spain (European record)
  • Aug 27 Hurricane hits Florida & Carolinas; about 700 die
  • Aug 31 1st US men's single tennis championships (Newport, RI)
  • Sep 3 Anton Bruckner completes his 6th Symphony
  • Sep 3 1st U.S. Men's National Championship: Richard Sears beats William E. Glyn (6-0, 6-3, 6-2)
  • Sep 9 Egyptian military coup under colonel Arab "El Wahid"
  • Sep 11 Triple landslides bury Elm Switz
  • Sep 13 Lewis Latimer invents & patents electric lamp with a carbon filament
  • Sep 18 Chicago Tribune reports on a televideo experiment

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Sep 20 Chester A. Arthur sworn in as 21st president

21st US President Chester A. Arthur
21st US President
Chester A. Arthur
  • Sep 27 Chicago Cubs beat Troy 10-8 before record small "crowd" of 12
  • Oct 4 Edward Leveaux patents automatic player piano
  • Oct 11 David Houston patents roll film for cameras
  • Oct 12 Henry M Stanley signs contract with Congo monarch
  • Oct 13 Revival of Hebrew language as Eliezer Ben-Yehuda & friends agree to use Hebrew exclusively in their conversations
  • Oct 14 21st British Golf Open: Bob Ferguson shoots a 170 at Prestwick Golf Club
  • Oct 15 1st American fishing magazine, American Angler published
  • Oct 22 Boston Symphony Orchestra gives its first concert
  • Oct 24 Levi P Morton, US ambasador to France drives first rivet in Statue of Liberty

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Oct 26 Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday & Clanton involved in gunfight at OK Corral, in Tombstone, Arizona

OK Corral Sheriff Wyatt Earp
OK Corral Sheriff
Wyatt Earp
Gunfighter in the American Old West Doc Holliday
Gunfighter in the American Old West
Doc Holliday
  • Oct 29 Judge (U.S. magazine) first published.
  • Oct 31 Metropolitan club plays its last game of its non-league season They win 80 of 151 games (18-43 versus NL teams)
  • Nov 2 Dutch New-Malthusiaanse Union forms
  • Nov 5 French government-Ferry resigns
  • Nov 5 1,600 police and volunteers attack Māori settlement at Parihaka in western Taranaki which had become the symbol of protest against the confiscation of Māori land, New Zealand

MurderAssassination

Nov 14 Charles J. Guiteau put on trial for the assassination of US President Garfield

  • Nov 14 Leon Gambetta forms French government
  • Nov 15 American Federation of Labor (AFL) founded (Pittsburgh)
  • Nov 19 A meteorite lands near the village of Großliebenthal, southwest of Odessa, Ukraine.
  • Dec 3 Henry Morton Stanley founds Leopoldville (now Kinshasa)
  • Dec 4 The first edition of the Los Angeles Times is published.
  • Dec 5 47th Congress (1881-83) convenes
  • Dec 8 Vienna's Ring Theater destroyed by fire, kills between 640-850
  • Dec 19 Opera "Hérodiade" is produced (Brussels)