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The Northern Chinese famine: 1876 to 1879 believed to have killed 13 million people.


Samurai are banned from carrying swords in Japan.

The samurai's stipends are replaced by one-time grants of income bearings bonds.

December - The Meiji government sent a police officer named Nakahara Hisao and 57 other men to investigate reports of subversive activities and unrest. The men were captured, and under torture, confessed that they were spies who had been sent to assassinate Saigō. Although Nakahara later repudiated the confession, it was widely believed in Satsuma and was used as justification by the disaffected samurai that a rebellion was necessary in order to “protect Saigō”.


Japan brings a fleet to Inchon, the port of Seoul. The Japanese force the Korean government to sign an unequal treaty, open 3 ports to Japanese trade and cease considering itself a tributary of China. On China's urging Korea also signs treaties with the European powers in effort to counterbalance Japan.

§Eastern Europe

July 1 – Serbia declares war on Turkey.

July 2 – Montenegro declares war on Turkey.


May 11 – May 12 – Berlin Memorandum: Germany, Russia and Austria-Hungary propose an armistice between Turkey and its insurgents.

One of the hottest Summers on record.


November 4 – The long-awaited First Symphony of Johannes Brahms is premiered at Karlsruhe under the baton of Otto Dessoff.

§German Industry

The four-stroke cycle internal combustion engine is invented by Nikolaus Otto.

§Great Britain

May 1 - Queen Victoria takes the title Empress of India.

May 1 - The Settle-Carlisle Railway in England is opened to passenger traffic.

May 16 – British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli rejects the Berlin Memorandum.

June 24 First published review of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, in a British magazine; the book's first edition had appeared earlier in June in England. (The book was published in the U.S. in December of 1876.)

September 5 – Gladstone publishes his Bulgarian Horrors pamphlet.

§British Religion

July 13 – The prosecution of Arthur Tooth, an Anglican clergyman, for using ritualist practices begins.

When the Public Worship Regulation Act was passed in 1874, those who disapproved of his ritualist liturgical practices set a prosecution in motion. He was charged with (among other things) the use of incense, vestments, and altar candles. The case came before Lord Penzance at Lambeth Palace on 13 July 1876. Tooth did not attend as he refused to recognise the authority of the court. He ignored both the judicial warnings that resulted from his non-attendance and the legal attempts to restrain him from exercising his ministry, although he was now facing disruptions when he presided at worship caused largely by people hired for the purpose by his opponents.


February 27 -The Third Carlist War (Spain):The Carlist forces did not succeed, and the promises were never fulfilled. The Carlist pretender (Carlos María de Borbón y Austria-Este-"duque de Madrid" y "conde de la Alcarria") AKA:Carlos VII went into exile in France bringing the conflict to an end after four years of war.


October 31 – A catastrophic cyclone strikes the east coast of India, killing 200,000.

Known simply as the Great Famine of 1876–78, this tragedy that took the lives of as many as 10.3 million, affected over 250,000 square miles in India. The two-year famine also distressed over 58 million in the Madras, Mysore, Hyderabad and Bombay areas.

§North America


November 2 – A giant squid, 6.1 meters long, washes ashore at Thimble Tickle Bay in Newfoundland.


November 29 – Porfirio Díaz becomes President of Mexico.

§United States

February 22 – Johns Hopkins University is founded in Baltimore, Maryland.

May 10 – The Centennial Exposition begins in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

May 18 – Wyatt Earp starts work in Dodge City, Kansas, serving under Marshal Larry Deger.

June 4 – The Transcontinental Express arrives in San Francisco, California via the First Transcontinental Railroad, 83 hours and 39 minutes after having left New York City.

Spring – Vast numbers of Indians move north to an encampment of the Sioux chief Sitting Bull in the region of the Little Bighorn River, creating the last great gathering of native peoples on the Great Plains.

June 17 – Indian Wars – Battle of the Rosebud: 1,500 Sioux and Cheyenne led by Crazy Horse beat back General George Crook's forces at Rosebud Creek in Montana Territory.

June 25 – Battle of the Little Bighorn: 300 men of the U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment under Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer are wiped out by 5,000 Lakota, Cheyenne and Arapaho led by Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse.

July 4 – The United States celebrates its centennial.

In 1875 and 1876, a severe drought in Southern California's South Bay area, then known as Sausal Redondo, caused a great loss of Daniel Freeman livestock comprising over 50,000 head of sheep and cattle. Two seasons without rain killed thousands of animals.

Twenty-two thousand head drowned in the sea, of which ten thousand jumped off the cliffs of present day Palos Verdes. Freeman saved the remainder of his herd by driving the animals into the mountains. As a result of this disaster, Freeman started dry farming and grew barley. These golden fields stretched as far as the sea and produced a million bushes annually, some of which were shipped around the Horn to Europe.

September 7 – In Northfield, Minnesota, Jesse James and the James-Younger Gang attempt to rob the town's bank but are surrounded by an angry mob and are nearly wiped out.

November 10 – The Centennial Exposition ends in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

November 23 – Corrupt Tammany Hall leader William Marcy Tweed (better known as Boss Tweed) is delivered to authorities in New York City after being captured in Spain.

November 25 – Indian Wars: In retaliation for the dramatic American defeat at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, United States Army troops under General Ranald S. Mackenzie sack Chief Dull Knife's sleeping Cheyenne village at the headwaters of the Powder River (the soldiers destroy all of the villagers' winter food and clothing, and then slash their ponies' throats).

December 5 – The Brooklyn Theater Fire kills at least 278, possibly more than 300. The Brooklyn Theatre Fire was a catastrophic theatre fire that broke out on the evening of December 5, 1876, in the then-city of Brooklyn, now a borough of New York City, New York, United States. One hundred and three unidentified victims were interred in a common grave at Green-Wood Cemetery. An obelisk near the main entrance at Fifth Avenue and 25th Street marks the burial site. More than two dozen identified victims were interred individually in separate sections at the Cemetery of the Evergreens in Brooklyn.

The Brooklyn Theatre Fire ranks third in fatalities among fires occurring in theatres and other public assembly buildings in the United States, falling behind the 1942 Cocoanut Grove nightclub fire and the 1903 Iroquois Theatre fire.

Fatalities mainly arose in the family circle, typically the highest tier of seats in a theatre and offering the least expensive seating. Only one stairway served this gallery, which sustained extreme temperatures and dense, suffocating smoke early in the conflagration. The stairway jammed with people, cutting off the escape of more than half of the gallery's occupants, who quickly succumbed to smoke inhalation.

December 6 – The first cremation in the United States takes place in a crematory built by Francis Julius LeMoyne.

December 29 – The Ashtabula River Railroad bridge disaster occurs, leaving 92 dead.

§U.S. Industry

Adolphus Busch's brewery, Anheuser-Busch in St. Louis, Missouri, first markets Budweiser, a pale lager, as a nationally sold beer.

February 14th, Alexander Bell notarized a "caveat" to apply for a patent on the telephone. The very same morning Monday February 14, 1876, Elisha Gray visited the patent office for his own work on the telephone. There is a debate about who arrived first.

Journalist Julie M. Fenster says: "On February 14, 1876, Hubbard, the lawyer, went ahead and filed the patent application for him. The patent was issued on March 7; three days after that, Bell introduced a liquid element, containing an acid-water compound, at the transmitting end of the phone. That allowed for some resistance in the initial vibration and so a truer replication of voice tone. When he spilled some of the acid compound on himself, he cried out the immortal sentence “Mr. Watson—Come here—I want to see you.” The intriguing aspect of the “Mr. Watson” incident is the conclusion to which it leads: Bell already had his patent in hand when he finally got his invention to work. That rankled some of his competitors in the race to develop a telephone, and so did the date of the original patent filing. All of a sudden, on February 14, Gardiner Hubbard was in a tremendous rush to have the patent application stamped as “received” at the patent office. He seemed preternaturally motivated. In Chicago, on that same day, Elisha Gray was sliding his patent caveat, a notice of intent to develop an invention of a particular description, across a desk in the government office. An engineer with Western Union, Gray had also developed the basic technology of telephonic communication. His patent was received a few hours later than Bell’s, however, and so it was disallowed. It was suggested in court in later proceedings that Hubbard had learned of Gray’s imminent filing and, moreover, had arranged with someone in the patent office to give Bell’s application priority no matter what else happened. It was later discovered, however, that the apparatus described in Gray's caveat would have worked, while that in Bell's patent would not have. For his part, Bell offered to sell the patent outright to Western Union for $100,000. The president of the company balked, countering that the telephone was nothing but a toy. Two years later, he told colleagues that if he could get the patent for $25 million he’d consider it a bargain. By then it wasn’t for sale.

With financing from his American father-in-law, on March 7th, the U.S. Patent Office granted him Patent Number 174,465 covering "the method of, and apparatus for, transmitting vocal or other sounds telegraphically … by causing electrical undulations, similar in form to the vibrations of the air accompanying the said vocal or other sound", the telephone.

When Bell secured his patent, Meucci took Bell to court in order to state his priority, but he lost the case since, due to a series of circumstances, he could not prove much material evidence of his inventions apart from reconstructing them during the trial and calling witnesses. Some historians and researchers claim there was a miscarriage of justice also due to ethnic and social discrimination. On the initiative of the Italian American deputate Vito Fossella, with the Resolution 269 the U.S. House of Representatives recognized the work previously done by Antonio Meucci: the Resolution recognized that Meucci gave his prototypes to Western Union, which afterwards claimed they had lost them. At the same time, Meucci could not find the money to renew his "caveat". Bell worked in the same department where Meucci's prototypes were allegedly stored and later on patented the telephone as his own invention.

To Bell's credit, he successfully fought off several lawsuits, refined the telephone, and developed it into one of the most successful products.

March 7 – Alexander Graham Bell is granted a patent for an invention he calls the telephone (patent #174,466).

March 10 – Alexander Graham Bell makes the first successful call by saying "Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you.."

August 8 – Thomas Edison receives a patent for his mimeograph.

Heinz founded a company in Pennsylvania, F & J Heinz, with his brother John Heinz and a cousin Frederick Heinz. One of this company's first products was tomato ketchup.

§U.S. Politics

November 7 – U.S. presidential election, 1876: After long and heated disputes, Rutherford Birchard Hayes is eventually declared the winner over Samuel Jones Tilden. A failed grave robbery of the Lincoln Tomb took place on the same night.

§U.S. Religion

The Mormon Church removed the section denouncing polygamy from Doctrine and Convenants and replaced it with section 132 commanding polygamy. That section remains there to this day even though the Church's position on polygamy changed in 1890.

§U.S. Statehood

August 1 – Colorado is admitted as the 38th U.S. state.

§Ottoman Empire

August 31 – Murat V, sultan of the Ottoman Empire is deposed and succeeded by his brother Abdul Hamid II.



April 16 – The Bulgarian April uprising occurs. The April Uprising was an insurrection organised by the Bulgarians in the Ottoman Empire from April to May 1876, which indirectly resulted in the re-establishment of Bulgaria in 1878. Тhe regular Ottoman Army and irregular bashi-bazouk units brutally suppressed the rebels, leading to a public outcry in Europe and the United States, with many famous intellectuals condemning the Ottoman atrocities and supporting the oppressed Bulgarian population.

The 1876 uprising involved only those parts of the Ottoman territories populated predominantly by Bulgarians. The emergence of Bulgarian national sentiments was closely related to the re-establishment of the independent Bulgarian Orthodox Church in 1870. Together with notions of romantic nationalism, the rise of national awareness became known as the Bulgarian National Revival.


July 8 – Reichstadt Agreement: Russia and Austria-Hungary agree on partitioning the Balkan peninsula.



February 24 – Premiere of first stage production of the verse-play Peer Gynt by Henrik Ibsen with incidental music by Edvard Grieg, in Oslo (then called Christiania), Norway


§Swedish Industry

Lars Magnus Ericsson and Carl Johan Andersson start a small mechanical workshop in Stockholm, Sweden, dealing with telegraphy equipment, which grows into the worldwide company Ericsson.


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