- Jan 22 Battle of Rorke's Drift: British garrison of 150 holds off 3,000-4,000 Zulu warriors. Eleven Victoria Crosses and a number of other decorations were awarded to the defenders.
- Feb 10 Henry Morton Stanley departs for the Congo
- Apr 5 Chile declares war on Bolivia and Peru, starting the War of the Pacific.
- Oct 22 Thomas Edison perfects carbonized cotton filament light bulb
- Nov 4 African American inventor Thomas Elkins patents refrigerating apparatus
James Ritty patents first cash register, to combat stealing by bartenders in his saloon in Dayton, Ohio
On November 4, 1879