On This Day

What Happened in January 1879

Historical Events

Music Premiere

Jan 1 Johannes Brahms' Violin Concerto in D major premieres in Leipzig

Sports History

Jan 2 Australian fast bowler Fred Spofforth dismisses 3 English batsmen with consecutive deliveries during the 3rd Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground for Test cricket's first "hat-trick"

  • Jan 2 British battleship Thunder explodes in Gulf of Ismid, 9 die
  • Jan 2 Dr Benjamin Mays, named president of Atlanta Board of Education
  • Jan 9 Cheyenne prisoners led by Dull Knife revolt at Ft Robinson
  • Jan 9 Kirland Warbler discovered on Andros Island in Bahamas

Anglo-Zulu War

Jan 11 Anglo-Zulu War begins as British Lt-General Chelmsford invades Zululand in South Africa

  • Jan 16 January record 13" of snow falls in NYC (broken Jan 7, 1996)
  • Jan 20 British troops under Lord Chelmsford make camp at Isandlwana

Theater Premiere

Jan 21 Henrik Ibsen's play "Et Dukkehjem" (A Doll's House) premieres in Copenhagen

  • Jan 22 Zulu warriors attack British Army camp in Isandhlwana, South Africa
  • Jan 22 James Shields (D) elected US senator from Missouri after previously serving as US senator from Illinois & Minnesota

The British: 139. Zulu Warriors: 4,000. Let Battle Begin

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.

  • Jan 23 US National Archery Association forms in Crawfordsville, Indiana
  • Jan 25 The Bulgarian National Bank is founded

Battle of Interest

Jan 29 Custer Battlefield National Monument established in Montana

  • Jan 30 French President Patrice de Mac-Mahon resigns

Famous Birthdays

E. M. Forster

Jan 1 E. M. Forster, English writer and novelist (Howards End, Passage to India), born in Marylebone, Middlesex (d. 1970)

  • Jan 1 Emile Argand, Swiss geologist (Dekbladen Theory)
  • Jan 1 Ernest Jones, British psychoanalyst (Life & Work of Sigmund Freud)
  • Jan 1 William Fox [Wilhem Fuchs], Hungarian-American movie theater pioneer and film producer (Fox Film Corporation), born in Tolcsva, Kingdom of Hungary (d. 1952)
  • Jan 2 Johannes L "Jan" Walch, Dutch literary (Grimaces)
  • Jan 2 Pieter Tesch, Dutch geologist (Pedestal of Nederlands)
  • Jan 2 Sydney Baynes, British conductor, arranger, band leader and composer (Destiny Waltz; Endure to Conquer), born in Sudbury, England (d. 1938)
  • Jan 3 Grace Anna Goodhue Coolidge, US First Lady (1923-29)
  • Jan 5 Hans Eppinger, Austrian physician, born in Prague, Czech Republic (d. 1946)
  • Jan 11 Antonio Beltramelli, writer
  • Jan 12 Ray Harroun, American auto racer (inaugural Indianapolis 500 1911; Motorsports Hall of Fame of America 2000), born in Spartansburg, Pennsylvania (d. 1968)
  • Jan 15 Ernest Thesiger, English actor (Bride of Frankenstein, Ghoul), born in London, England (d. 1961)
  • Jan 15 Mazo de la Roche, Canadian author, born in Newmarket, Canada (d. 1961)
  • Jan 18 Henri Giraud, French general (French Committee of National Liberation in WWII), born in Paris, France (d. 1949)
  • Jan 19 Marie Koenen, author/wife of Felix Rutten (Wassend Cereal)
  • Jan 19 Boris Savinkov, Russian writer (d. 1925)
  • Jan 22 Francis Picabia, French avante-garde artist, writer and typographist (Amorous Parade), born in Paris, France (d. 1953)
  • Jan 24 Stanislaw Lyudkevich, Ukranian composer, born in Jaroslaw, Habsburg Empire (now Poland) (d. 1979)
  • Jan 25 Dave Nourse, South African cricket all-rounder (45 Tests, 1 x 100, 41 wickets; Natal, Transvaal, Western Province), born in South Norwood, England (d. 1948)
  • Jan 26 Ludovicus H [Lode] Baekelmans, Flemish (stage)author (Tille)
  • Jan 27 Sven Holger Körling, Swedish organist, music teacher, and composer of children's songs, born in Ystad, Sweden (d. 1948)

Famous Weddings

  • Jan 7 Dutch King William II marries Emma von Waldeck-Pyrmont

Famous Deaths

  • Jan 9 Don Joaquin BF Espartero, fieldmarshall/viceroy of Navarra, dies at 86
  • Jan 13 Henry the Navigator, prince of the Netherlands, third son of King William II of the Netherlands, dies at 58
  • Jan 16 Octave Crémazie, French Canadian poet, dies at 51
  • Jan 21 John Blair Scribner, American magazine and book publisher, dies of pneumonia at 28
  • Jan 22 Anthony Durnford, British colonel, dies in Battle of Isandlwana
  • Jan 22 George Shepstone, British political affiliate, dies in battle
  • Jan 23 Adolf Jensen, German composer, dies of tuberculosis at 42
  • Jan 29 Antonio Benedetto Antonucci, Italian cardinal and diplomat, dies at 80