1881 in History

Events in History

  • 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 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

Event of interestEvent of Interest

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 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 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

Event of interestEvent of Interest

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 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

Event of interestEvent of Interest

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 12 Treaty of Bardo, Tunisia becomes a French protectorate
  • May 16 World's 1st electric tram enters service in Lichterfelder (near Berlin)

Event of interestEvent of Interest

May 17 Frederick Douglass appointed recorder of deeds for Wash DC

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

Event of interestEvent of Interest

May 21 American Red Cross founded by Clara Barton

Humanitarian Clara Barton
Clara Barton
  • May 24 Canadian ferry Princess Victoria sinks near London Ontario, 200 die
  • May 24 Turkey cedes Thessaly and Arta back to Greece.
  • Jun 1 Bell Phone opens 1st Dutch telephone exchange
  • Jun 2 Haarlem-Zandvoort Railway opens
  • 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

Event of interestEvent of Interest

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

Education Pioneer Booker T. Washington
Education Pioneer
Booker T. Washington

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 4 122°F (50°C), Seville, Spain (European record)
  • Aug 27 Hurricane hits Florida & Carolinas; about 700 die
  • 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

Event of interestEvent of Interest

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

21st US President Chester A. Arthur
21st US President
Chester A. Arthur
  • 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 15 1st American fishing magazine, American Angler published
  • 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


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

Birthdays in History

Birthdays 1 - 100 of 131

  • Jan 1 Carry van Bridges, [de Haan], Dutch author (Heleen, Eva)
  • Jan 1 Vajiravudh, King of Thailand (d. 1925)
  • Jan 4 Wilhelm Lehmbruck, German painter/poet/sculptor (Seated Youth)
  • Jan 8 Henrik Shipstead, American politician (d. 1960)
  • Jan 9 Giovanni Papini, Italy, writer (Il Diavolo)
  • Jan 9 Lascelles Abercrombie, English poet/critic (Revaluations)
  • Jan 9 Edouard Beaupré, horse lifter (d. 1904)
  • Jan 13 Essington Lewis, Australian industrialist (d. 1961)
  • Jan 17 Alfred Radcliffe-Browne, British anthropologist (Andaman Islanders), born in Birmingham, England (d. 1955)
  • Jan 17 Antoni Łomnicki, Polish mathematician (d. 1941)
  • Jan 18 Gaston Gallimard, French publisher (Librairie Gallimard) [or 1908]
  • Jan 25 Emil Ludwig, German biographer (Diana, Son of Man)
  • Jan 31 Irving Langmuir, inventor (tungsten filament lamp/Nobel 1932)
  • Jan 31 Joseph A Cushman, US, palaentologist
  • Jan 31 Anna Pavlova, Russian ballerina/choreographer, born in St Petersburg, (d. 1931)
  • Feb 4 Kliment J Woroshilov, marshal/president USSR (1953-60)
  • Feb 4 Fernand Léger, French painter (d. 1955)
  • Feb 5 Frederick Leonard Lonsdale, British playwright (Balkan Princess)
  • Feb 13 Eleanor Farjeon, English writer (Martin Pippin)
  • Feb 14 Otto Selz, German psychologist
  • Feb 14 William John Gruffydd, Welsh poet/scholar (Ynys yr Hud)
  • Feb 16 Maurits H E Uyldert, Dutch poet/writer (Youth of a Poet)
  • Feb 19 Evert Gorter, founder of Dutch medical child care
  • Feb 19 Paul Zech, German writer, born in Briesen, Western Prussia (d. 1946)
  • Feb 20 Pedro Munoz Seca, Spanish playwright (Vengeanza de Don Mendo)
  • Feb 21 Savilly Tartakower, Austrian/Polish/French chess player
  • Feb 22 Joseph B. Ely, American politician (d. 1956)
  • Feb 23 Titus [Anno S] Brandsma, Dutch philosopher
  • Feb 25 William Foster, Mass, Communist Presidential candidate (1924,28,32)
  • Feb 27 Luitzen [Bertus] Brouwers, Dutch mathematician
  • Feb 27 Sveinn Bjornsson, 1st president of Iceland (1944-52)/poet (Figur ild)
  • Mar 4 Todor Aleksandrov, 19th century Bulgarian revolutionary (d. 1924)
  • Mar 4 Thomas Sigismund Stribling, American writer (d. 1965)
  • Mar 4 Richard C. Tolman, American mathematical physicist (d. 1948)
  • Mar 9 Enver Pasja, Turkish general/politician
  • Mar 9 Ernest Bevin, British minister of Labour/Foreign affairs
  • Mar 10 Thomas Quinlan (impresario) (d. 1951)
  • Mar 12 Daniel Webster Hoan, Wisc (Mayor-Socialist-Milwaukee)
  • Mar 12 Gunnar Nordström, Finnish physicist (d. 1923)
  • Mar 13 Balthazar H Verhagen, Neth/South African dramatist/writer
  • Mar 17 Kristian Elster, Norwegian author (Less bror Harris)
  • Mar 17 Walter Rudolf Hess, Swiss physiologist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1973)
  • Mar 23 Hermann Staudinger, Germany, chemist/plastics researcher (Nobel '53)
  • Mar 23 Roger Martin du Guard, France, novelist (Les Thibault-Nobel 1937)
  • Mar 25 Louis Dosfel, Flemish lawyer/writer (Assault!)
  • Mar 25 Mary Gladys Webb, English writer (d. 1927)
  • Apr 3 Alcide de Gasperi, Italian premier (1945..53)
  • Apr 3 Margaret MJ "Daisy" Ashford, English author (Young Sisters)
  • Apr 4 Charles Funk, Ohio, Encylopediest (Funk & Wagnalls)
  • Apr 14 Anton Wildgans, Austrian writer/director (Burg Theater)
  • Apr 16 Edward Frederick Wood, 1st Earl of Halifax/ambassador to US (1940-46)
  • Apr 17 Anton Wildgans, writer
  • Apr 18 Max Weber, Polish/Russian/US painter
  • Apr 21 Jules-Marie Canneel, Flemish painter/caricaturist (Rocks of Oran)
  • Apr 22 Alexander Kerensky, Simbirsk, Russian PM (1917)
  • Apr 25 Hans Windisch, German new testament expert
  • May 1 Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, France, philosopher/paleontologist
  • May 4 Aleksandr F Kerenski, Russian premier (1917-Prelude to Bolshevism)
  • May 11 Theodore von Kármán, Hungarian physicist (d. 1963)
  • May 14 G. Murray Hulbert, American politician (d. 1950)

Person of interestPerson of Interest

May 19 Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, 1st President of Turkey (1923-38) and founder of the Republic of Turkey, born in Salonica, Ottoman Empire (d. 1938)

President and founder of the Republic of Turkey Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
President and founder of the Republic of Turkey
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
  • May 20 Wladyslaw Sikorski, premier Poland (WW II general)
  • May 27 Rudolf Pannwitz, German writer
  • May 30 Georg von Küchler, German field marshal (d. 1968)
  • Jun 1 Charles Kay Ogden, English writer and linguist (d. 1957)
  • Jun 3 Mikhail Larionov, Russian painter (d. 1964)
  • Jun 4 Natalia Goncharova, Russian painter (d. 1962)
  • Jun 18 Eduard C "Edo" Fimmen, Dutch labor leader
  • Jul 1 Piet[er] L Kramer, architect (Amsterdam School)
  • Jul 2 Royal H. Weller, American politician (d. 1929)
  • Jul 4 Ulysses S. Grant III, American soldier (d. 1968)
  • Jul 5 Augustyn Hlond, Polish cardinal
  • Jul 6 Josef Winckler, German dentist/writer (Quadriga, Pumpernickel)
  • Jul 12 Ludwig Rubiner, writer [or June 12]
  • Jul 19 Adriaan J Zoetmulder, Dutch writer/directer (Eindhovens Dagblad)
  • Jul 19 Friedrich J H Dessauer, German physicist (radiologist)
  • Jul 20 Leon de Smet, Flemish painter
  • Jul 26 Alexander J Kropholler, architect

Person of interestPerson of Interest

Jul 27 Hans Fischer, German physicist (Nobel 1930), born in Munich, Germany (d. 1945)

Physicist and Nobel Laureate Hans Fischer
Physicist and Nobel Laureate
Hans Fischer
  • Jul 30 Smedley Butler, American Marine general (d. 1940)
  • Aug 1 Emilie Rose Macaulay, English writer
  • Aug 2 Ethel Mary Dell, English author (Storm Drift)

Person of interestPerson of Interest

Aug 6 Alexander Fleming, bacteriologist (penicillin; Nobel 1954), born in London, England (d. 1955)

  • Aug 6 Louella Parsons, American gossip columnist (d. 1972)
  • Aug 8 Paul L E von Kleist, German general-fieldmarshal (Eastern Front)
  • Aug 10 Albrecht M Sprenger, landbuilder
  • Aug 13 Jacqueline [Pierrette] R van Stuwe, [Eline v S], Dutch author
  • Aug 15 Alfred Wagenknecht, German-born American activist (d. 1956)
  • Aug 20 Edgar Albert Guest, poet/newspaperman, born in Detroit, Michigan
  • Aug 23 Louis Schelfhout, Dutch painter/graphic artist
  • Aug 29 Valery Nicolas Larbaud, France, novelist/translator (Enfantines)
  • Sep 5 Otto Bauer, Austrian social-democrat
  • Sep 7 Constantly WL Scheurleer, Dutch archaeologist/banker/art expert
  • Sep 12 Daniel Jones, England phoneticist (English pronouncing dictionary)
  • Sep 15 Ettore Arco Isidoro Bugatti, Milan, race car builder (Amaz Bugattis)
  • Sep 16 Clive Bell, English art critic (d. 1964)
  • Sep 17 Alfred Francis Blakeney Carpenter, English soldier (d. 1955)
  • Sep 25 Lu Xun, Chinese writer (d. 1936)
  • Sep 26 Hiram Wesley Evans, American member of the Ku Klux Klan (d. 1966)
  • Sep 29 Ludwig von Mises, Austrian Economist

Weddings in History

HeartWedding of Interest

May 1 Physiologist Ivan Pavlov (32) weds Seraphima Karchevskaya

Physiologist Ivan Pavlov
Ivan Pavlov

Deaths in History

  • Jan 1 Louis Auguste Blanqui, French political activist (b. 1805)
  • Jan 21 Wilhelm Matthias Naeff, Swiss Federal Councilor (b. 1802)
  • Jan 25 Konstantin Thon, Russian architect (b. 1794)
  • Feb 2 Aleksej F Pisemski, Russian writer (Clodhopper), dies at 59

Person of interestPerson of Interest

Feb 5 Thomas Carlyle, historian/essayist, dies in London at 85

Historian and Essayist Thomas Carlyle
Historian and Essayist
Thomas Carlyle
  • Feb 6 Pieter Mijer, Gov-Gen of Neth Indies (1866-72), dies at 68
  • Feb 7 Fredrik Cygnaeus, Finnish poet/literature critic, dies at 73

Person of interestPerson of Interest

Feb 9 Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Russian novelist (Crime & Punishment), dies at 59

  • Feb 14 Fernando Wood, New York City mayor (b. 1812)
  • Feb 27 George Colley, British governor of Natal/general, dies in battle at 46
  • Mar 6 Horatia Nelson, the illegitimate daughter of Emma Hamilton and Horatio Nelson (b. 1801)
  • Mar 13 Alexander II, Tsar of Russia, assassinated at 62
  • Mar 15 Emory Upton, US Union gen-maj (Selma), commits suicide at 42
  • Mar 21 Samuel Courtauld, American-born textile magnate (b. 1793)
  • Mar 24 Friedrich Hecker, German revolutionary republic politician, dies at 69
  • Mar 24 Joseph Delesse, French geologist (b. 1817)
  • Mar 26 Roman Sanguszko, Polish aristocrat (b. 1800)
  • Apr 7 Pierre Napoleon Bonaparte, Corsican MP, dies at 65
  • Apr 11 Kristian Mandrup Elster, Norwegian author (Torn Trondal), dies at 40
  • Apr 19 Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield, British Prime Minister (Tory: 1868, 1874-80) and writer, dies of bronchitis at 76
  • Apr 19 Michel Abeloos, Flemish sculptor, dies at 53
  • Apr 26 Ludwig Freiherr von und zu der Tann-Rathsamhausen, German general (b. 1815)
  • Apr 27 Ludwig A Benedek, Austrian general, dies at 76
  • Apr 28 Robert W Ollinger, US warden/last victim of Billy the Kid, dies
  • May 3 Josip Jurcic, Slovic writer (Schone Vida), dies
  • May 11 Henri-Frederic Amiel, Swiss/French writer (Journal Intime), dies at 59
  • May 23 Leopold von Ranke, historian, dies
  • May 24 Samuel Palmer, British landscape painter, dies at 76
  • May 26 Jakob Bernays, German philologist (b. 1824)
  • Jun 2 Émile Littré, French lexicographer (b. 1801)
  • Jun 3 Japanese giant salamander, dies in Dutch zoo at 55; oldest amphibian
  • Jun 13 Josef Skoda, Czech physician (b. 1805)
  • Jun 16 Marie Laveau, American Voodoo practitioner (b. 1801)
  • Jun 16 Sir Josiah Mason, English manufacturer (b. 1795)
  • Jun 28 Jules Armand Dufaure, French statesman (b. 1798)
  • Jul 4 Johan Vilhelm Snellman, Finnish statesman (b. 1806)
  • Jul 10 Georg Hermann Nicolai, German architect (b. 1812)

Person of interestPerson of Interest

Jul 14 Billy the Kid, American outlaw (b. 1859?)

Frontier Outlaw Billy the Kid
Frontier Outlaw
Billy the Kid
  • Jul 15 Billy the Kid [William H Bonney], shot by sheriff Pat Garrett at 21
  • Jul 17 Jim Bridger, American mountain man, Indian fighter, and explorer (b. 1804)
  • Jul 19 Isaac Baumann, a Jewish pioneer and trader in Bloemfontein, South Africa, dies at 67
  • Jul 20 Thomas Fermor-Hesketh, English 1st baron of Hesketh, dies
  • Jul 26 George Borrow, writer, dies
  • Aug 2 Marcus Andrews Hislop Clarke, author (His Natural Life) at 35
  • Aug 6 James White, co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church (b. 1821)
  • Sep 8 W Frederik K, prince of Netherlands/general/admiral, dies at 84
  • Sep 13 Ambrose Everett Burnside, US Union general, dies at 57

Person of interestPerson of Interest

Sep 19 James A. Garfield, 20th US President (Republican: 1881), dies of gunshot wound at 49

20th US President James Garfield
20th US President
James Garfield
  • Sep 22 Solomon L. Spink, U.S. Congressman from Illinois (b. 1831)
  • Oct 3 Orson Pratt, American religious leader (b. 1811)
  • Oct 26 Billy Clanton, brother of Ike, dies
  • Oct 31 George Washington De Long, American Arctic Explorer, dies during his disastrous expedition to the North Pole at 37
  • Nov 1 Jacques F H Perk, Dutch poet (Iris), dies at 22
  • Nov 7 John MacHale, Irish Archbishop (Tuam) and writer (b. 1791)
  • Nov 9 Edwin Drake, Father of the oil industry, drilled the first oil well.
  • Nov 21 Ami Boué, Austrian geologist (b. 1794)
  • Nov 25 Theobald Boehm, German inventor of the modern flute (b. 1794)
  • Dec 7 Julius FA Bahnsen, Ger philosopher (Tragic as Weltgesetz), dies at 51
  • Dec 13 August Senoa, Croatian writer (Kletva [The Curse]), dies at 43
  • Dec 17 Lewis H Morgan, US ethnologist (Iroquois-indians), dies at 62