- Jan 12 Yohannes IV is crowned Emperor of Ethiopia in Axum, the first imperial coronation in that city in over 200 years.
- Feb 20 New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art opens
- Mar 1 Yellowstone becomes the world's first national park
- Apr 12 Jesse James gang robs bank in Columbia, Kentucky (1 dead/$1,500)
- Nov 7 Cargo ship Mary Celeste sails from Staten Island for Genoa; mysteriously found abandoned four weeks later
Ship the Mary Celeste is discovered mysteriously abandoned by her crew in the Atlantic Ocean
On December 5, 1872