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§Of World Interest

Two steps were made in this year toward the final invention known as television. George Carey submitted drawings for a selenium camera that would allow people to see images using electricity. Also, the manner in which electricity travels through a vacuum tube was first described as a "cathode ray". the actual cathode ray tube, commonly known as the television's picture tube wouldn't be invented until 1897 by German physicist Karl Ferdinand Braun.


§Central Africa

July 2 - Daniel Comboni is named Vicar Apostolic of Central Africa, and ordained Bishop a month later. The region is hit by drought followed by starvation without precedent. The local populations are halved, and the missionary personnel and their activities reduced almost to nothing.

§South Africa

March 12 - British annex Walvis Bay in southern Africa

April 12 - British annex Transvaal, in South Africa



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


Elimination of samurai rice stipends.

January 29 - The Satsuma Rebellion began. It was a revolt of disaffected samurai against the new imperial government, nine years into the Meiji Era. Its name comes from Satsuma Domain, which had been influential in the Restoration and became home to unemployed samurai after military reforms rendered their status obsolete. The rebellion lasted from January 29, 1877, until September, when it was decisively crushed and its leader, Saigō Takamori, ended his life.

50 students from Saigō’s academy attacked the Somuta Arsenal and carried off weapons. Over the next three days, more than 1000 students staged raids on the naval yards and other arsenals. Presented with this sudden success, the greatly dismayed Saigō was reluctantly persuaded to come out of his semi-retirement to lead the rebellion against the central government.

February - The Meiji government dispatched Hayashi Tomoyuki, an official with the Home Ministry with Admiral Kawamura Sumiyoshi in the warship Takao to ascertain the situation. Satsuma governor, Oyama Tsunayoshi, explained that the uprising was in response to the government's assassination attempt on Saigō, and asked that Admiral Kawamura (Saigō's cousin) come ashore to help calm the situation. After Oyama departed, a flotilla of small ships filled with armed men attempted to board Takao by force, but were repelled. The following day, Hayashi declared to Oyama that he could not permit Kawamura to go ashore when the situation was so unsettled, and that the attack on Takao constituted an act of lèse-majesté.

February 12, Hayashi met with General Yamagata Aritomo and Itō Hirobumi, and it was decided that the Imperial Japanese Army would need to be sent to Kagoshima to prevent the revolt from spreading to other areas of the country sympathetic to Saigō. On the same day, Saigō met with his lieutenants Kirino Toshiaki and Shinohara Kunimoto and announced his intention of marching to Tokyo to ask questions of the government. Rejecting large numbers of volunteers, he made no attempt to contact any of the other domains for support, and no troops were left at Kagoshima to secure his base against an attack. To aid in the air of legality, Saigō wore his army uniform. Marching north, his army was hampered by the deepest snowfall Satsuma had seen in more than 50 years, which, because of its commonality with the weather that had greeted those setting out to enact the Meiji Restoration nine years earlier, was interpreted by some as a sign of divine support.

February 19, the first shots of the war were fired as the defenders of Kumamoto castle opened fire on Satsuma units attempting to force their way into the castle. Kumamoto castle, built in 1598, was among the strongest in Japan, but Saigō was confident that his forces would be more than a match for Tani's peasant conscripts, who were still demoralized by the recent Shinpūren Rebellion.

March 4 Imperial Army General Yamagata ordered a frontal assault from Tabaruzaka, guarding the approaches to Kumamoto, which developed into an eight-day-long battle. Tabaruzaka was held by some 15,000 samurai from Satsuma, Kumamoto and Hitoyoshi against the Imperial Army's 9th Infantry Brigade (some 90,000 men). At the height of the battle, Saigō wrote a private letter to Prince Arisugawa, restating his reasons for going to Tokyo. His letter indicated that he was not committed to rebellion and sought a peaceful settlement. The government, however, refused to negotiate. In order to cut Saigō off from his base, an imperial force with three warships, 500 policemen and several companies of infantry, landed in Kagoshima on March 8, seized arsenals and took the Satsuma governor into custody. Yamagata also landed a detachment with two infantry brigades and 1,200 policemen behind the rebel lines, so as to fall on them from the rear from Yatsushiro Bay. Imperial forces landed with few losses, then pushed north seizing the city of Miyanohara on March 19. After receiving reinforcements, the imperial force, now totaling 4,000 men, attacked the rear elements of the Satsuma army and drove them back. Tabaruzaka was one of the most intense campaigns of the war. Imperial forces emerged victorious, but with heavy casualties on both sides. Each side had suffered more than 4,000 killed or wounded.

September 24 - Yamagata ordered a full frontal assault. By 6 a.m., only 40 rebels were still alive. Saigō was severely wounded. Legend says that one of his followers, Beppu Shinsuke acted as kaishakunin and aided Saigō in committing seppuku before he could be captured. However, other evidence contradicts this, stating that Saigō in fact died of the bullet wound and then had his head removed by Beppu in order to preserve his dignity.

September 24 - Saigō Takamori (Takanaga), one of the most influential samurai in Japanese history ended his life.

After Saigo's death, Beppu and the last of the "ex-samurai" drew their swords and plunged downhill toward the Imperial positions and to their deaths. With these deaths, the Satsuma rebellion came to an end.



May 16 – The May 16, 1877 political crisis occurs in France. The crisis was triggered by the Royalist President Marshal MacMahon dismissing the moderate republican Prime Minister Jules Simon after an argument concerning the relevant functions of the presidency and of the parliament. After the Parliament had refused to support the new government and had been dissolved by the President, new elections brought in an overwhelming victory for the Republicans. Thus, the interpretation of the Constitution as a parliamentary system prevailed over a presidential system.

The crisis ultimately sealed the defeat of the royalist movement. The 16 May 1877 crisis was instrumental in creating the conditions of the longevity of the Republic, which finally lasted until the 1940 defeat at the hands of Nazi Germany in World War II.


After three years at Munich, Max Planck was told 'it is hardly worth entering physics anymore' because there was nothing important left to discover, Planck moved to the leading university in the German-speaking world, Berlin. It was still being built in 1877 when Planck arrived in Berlin and began attending lectures in the university's main building, a former palace on Unter den Linden opposite the Opera House.

§Great Britain

January 1 – Queen Victoria is proclaimed Empress of India by the Royal Titles Act 1876, introduced by Benjamin Disraeli, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom .

April 10 - First human cannonball act performed in London


In 1877 the arctic winter fell in so quickly and fiercely that dozens of whalers got stuck in the polar ice. Most of the ships did not survive and sank, their crews being doomed to die under these rigorous conditions. That the story of this disaster has been preserved is owed to the Ameland commander Hidde Dirksz Kat, who managed to escape from a certain death by walking over the polar ice all the way to Greenland with a handful of his crew members, and write a book about it later. This disaster heralded the end of the heyday of whaling on Ameland and poverty returned.

January 30 - Storm flood ravages Dutch coastal provinces

November 1 - Dutch government of Heemskerk-Van Lynden resigns


January 20 – The Conference of Constantinople ends with Ottoman Turkey rejecting proposals of internal reform and Balkan provisions.



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.

January 1 – Queen Victoria is proclaimed Empress of India by the Royal Titles Act 1876, introduced by Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Benjamin Disraeli.

§North America

§United States

On January 8th, in the Montana Territory, Chief Crazy Horse and his warriors of the Oglala Sioux Native American tribe fought the Battle of Wolf Mountain with the United States Cavalry. On May 5 of that year, knowing that his people were weakened by cold and hunger, Crazy Horse surrendered to United States troops at Camp Robinson in Nebraska.

February 12 - First news dispatch by telephone, between Boston and Salem, Mass

February 20 - First cantilever bridge in U.S. completed, Harrodsburg, Kentucky

John D. Lee, adopted son of Mormon President Brigham Young, was tried in a court of law for the Mountain Meadows Massacre of 1857, and after two trials, he was convicted. On March 23 a firing squad executed Lee at the massacre site.

April 10 - Federal troops withdrawn from Columbia, South Carolina

April 24 - Last federal occupying troops withdraw from south in New Orleans

May 5 – Indian Wars: Sitting Bull leads his band of Lakota into Canada to avoid harassment by the United States Army under Colonel Nelson Miles.

May 6 – Realizing that his people are weakened by cold and hunger, Chief Crazy Horse of the Oglala Sioux surrenders to United States troops in Nebraska.

June 1 - U.S. troops authorized to pursue bandits into Mexico

June 15 – Henry Ossian Flipper becomes the first African American cadet to graduate from the United States Military Academy.

June 17 – Indian Wars – Battle of White Bird Canyon: The Nez Perce defeat the U.S. Cavalry at White Bird Canyon in the Idaho Territory.

June 21 – The Molly Maguires are hanged at Carbon County Prison in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. The Molly Maguires were members of a secret Irish organization. Many historians believe the "Mollies" were present in the anthracite coal fields of Pennsylvania in the United States from approximately the time of the American Civil War until a series of sensational arrests and trials in the years 1876−1878. Evidence that the Molly Maguires were responsible for coalfield crimes and kidnapping in the U.S. rests largely upon allegations of one powerful industrialist, and the testimony of one Pinkerton detective. Fellow prisoners also testified against the alleged Molly Maguires, but some believe these witnesses may have been coerced or bribed.

July 16 – Great railroad strike of 1877: Riots by Baltimore and Ohio Railroad railroad workers in Baltimore, Maryland lead to a sympathy strike and rioting in Pittsburgh, and a full-scale worker's rebellion in St. Louis, briefly establishing a Communist government before U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes calls in the armed forces.

July 20 - Military shoots on stopped railroad workers in Balt, kills 9

July 21 - U.S. Army breaks railroad strike

July 23 - First U.S. municipal railroad, Cincinnati Southern, begins operations

August 2 - San Francisco Public Library opens with 5,000 volumes

August 9 – Indian Wars – Battle of Big Hole: Near Big Hole River in Montana, a small band of Nez Percé Indians who refused government orders to move to a reservation, clash with the United States Army. The army loses 29 soldiers and Indians lose 89 warriors in a U.S. Army victory.

August 17 – Arizona blacksmith F.P. Cahill is fatally wounded by Billy the Kid. Cahill dies the next day, becoming the first person killed by the Kid.

August 22 - Nez Perce-indians flee into Yellowstone National Park

September 5 – Indian Wars: Oglala Sioux chief Crazy Horse is bayoneted by a United States soldier, after resisting confinement in a guardhouse at Fort Robinson in Nebraska.

September 5 - Southern blacks led by Pap Singleton settle in Kansas

October 10 – Following the recovery of Lieutenant-Colonel George Armstrong Custer's body from where he fell during the Battle of Little Big Horn the previous year, Custer is given a funeral with full military honors and is laid to rest at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York.

§U.S. Industry

Charles Francis Brush manufactured electric lights,(carbon arcs) to light a public square in Cleveland, Ohio.

Bell Telephone was founded based on the previous year's patent on the telephone by Alexander Bell.

February 12 - U.S. railroad builders strike against wage reduction

April 15 - First telephone installed: Boston-Somerville, Massachusetts

May 17 Edwin T. Holmes installs 1st telephone switchboard burglar alarm

July 16 – Great railroad strike of 1877: Riots by Baltimore and Ohio Railroad railroad workers in Baltimore, Maryland lead to a sympathy strike and rioting in Pittsburgh, and a full-scale worker's rebellion in St. Louis, briefly establishing a Communist government before U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes calls in the armed forces.

September 20 - Chase National Bank opens in New York City (later merges into Chase Manhattan)

October 5 - Chief Joseph surrenders, ending Nez Perce War

October 9 - American Humane Association organizes (Cleveland)

November 21 – Thomas Edison announces his invention of the phonograph, a machine that can record sound, considered Edison's first great invention. Edison demonstrates the device for the first time on November 29.

December 6 - First sound recording made (Thomas Edison)

December 6 - Washington Post publishes their first edition

December 7 - Thomas Edison demonstrates the gramophone

December 15 - Thomas Edison patents phonograph

December 28 - John Stevens, applies for a patent for his flour rolling mill

§U.S. Politics

"As the new year of 1877 dawned, the nation appeared hopelessly deadlocked. Officially Tilden had 184 electoral votes and Hayes 165, leaving 20 votes up for grab. Hayes needed them all; Tilden required only a single vote to be president. The framers of the Constitution had not considered such a situation, simply stating that the electoral votes should be 'directed to the President of the Senate,' typically the vice president of the United States, who 'shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates and the votes shall then be counted.' But who decided which votes to open and read if there were two [different sets of votes] - or, as with Florida, three sets? ...

"Congress struggled to find a solution, remaining in continuous session into March. In January, each house appointed a committee to investigate the election. The House committee, dominated by Democrats, discovered that corruption in the three questionable states meant that all three should go to Tilden; the Senate committee, dominated by Republicans, concluded that fraud and voter suppression in the three states meant that all should go to Hayes. This was not helpful. The House judiciary Committee then suggested the appointment of a joint special commission, which, after some very careful negotiation, led to a commission of five House members, five senators, and five Supreme Court justices. Originally the five justices were to be drawn from a hat, but Tilden killed that plan with the bon mot, 'I may lose the Presidency, but I will not raffle for it.' While Tilden and many other political leaders doubted the constitutionality of the commission, a consensus emerged that there were so many recipes for disaster that some resolution was required as quickly as possible, no matter how tenuous the legality of the process. Hayes and Tilden reluctantly accepted the commission in order to avoid a civil war. When one of Tilden's advisers suggested publicly opposing the commission, Tilden shot back, 'What is left but war?'

"Tilden's fears found validation in the increasing calls for violence circulating through the country. It was a time of rumors, disturbing and bizarre - and occasionally true - as well as loud demands for violence. Reportedly, President Grant was planning a coup, while Confederate general Joseph Shelby supposedly announced in St. Louis that he would lead an army on Washington to put Tilden in the White House. Hearing this latter story, Confederate hero Colonel John S. Mosby, the 'Gray Ghost,' went to the White House and offered Grant his services to help ensure Hayes's inauguration. ...

"Troubled by the professed willingness of his fellow Americans to take up arms so soon after their devastating Civil War, President Grant prepared to defend the capital. Grant could call on only 25,000 unpaid troops, most of them in the West, and had to tread lightly. He could not afford to alienate the Democrats, but they gave every indication of deliberately weakening the ability of the federal government to protect its democratic institutions. Grant adroitly maneuvered his available units to send a message of resolve while not appearing aggressive, ordering artillery companies placed on all the entrances to Washington, D.C., the streets of which, as the New York Herald reported, 'presented a martial appearance.' Grant ordered the man-of-war Wyoming to anchor in the Potomac River by the Navy Yard, where its guns could cover both the Anacostia Bridge from Maryland and the Long Bridge from Virginia. Meanwhile, a company of Marines took up position on the Chain Bridge. General Sherman told the press, 'We must protect the public property, . . . particularly the arsenals.' There was no way Sherman was going to let white Southerners get their hands on federal arms without a fight, and his clever placement of a few units helped to forestall possible coups in Columbia and New Orleans." ...

"Members of Congress began bringing pistols to the Capitol, and in Colum- bus, Ohio, a bullet was shot through a window of the Hayes home while the family was at dinner."

March 2nd, Rutherford Birchard Hayes (October 4, 1822 – January 17, 1893) became the 19th President of the United States (1877-1881). In the Compromise of 1877, the U.S. presidential election of 1876 was resolved with the selection of Rutherford B. Hayes as the winner even though Samuel J. Tilden had won the popular vote on November 7, 1876.

Hayes became president after the tumultuous, scandal-ridden years of the Grant administration. He had a reputation for honesty dating back to his Civil War years. Hayes was quite famous for his ability to not offend anyone. Henry Adams, a prominent politician at the time, asserted that Hayes was "a third rate nonentity, whose only recommendation is that he is obnoxious to no one." Nevertheless, his opponent in the presidential election, Democrat Samuel J. Tilden, was the favorite to win the presidential election and, in fact, won the popular vote by about 250,000 votes (with about 8.5 million voters in total).

Four states' electoral college votes were contested. In order to win, the candidates had to muster 185 votes: Tilden was short just one, with 184 votes, Hayes had 165, with 20 votes representing the four states which were contested. To make matters worse, three of these states (Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina) were in the South, which was still under military occupation (the fourth was Oregon). Additionally, historians note, the election was not fair because of the improper fraud and intimidation perpetrated from both sides. A popular phrase of the day called it an election without "a free ballot and a fair count." For the next four years, Democrats would refer to Hayes as "Rutherfraud B. Hayes" for his illegitimate election to office as he lost the popular vote by 250,000 votes.

To peacefully decide the results of the election, the two houses of Congress set up the Electoral Commission to investigate and decide upon the actual winner. The commission constituted 15 members: five from the House, five from the Senate and five from the Supreme Court. Additionally, the Commission was bi-partisan consisting of 7 Democrats, 7 Republicans and a "swing" vote in Joseph P. Bradley, a Supreme Court Justice. Bradley, however, was a Republican at heart and thus the ruling followed party lines: 8 to 7 voted for Hayes winning in all of the contested 20 electoral votes.

Key Ohio Republicans like James A. Garfield and the Democrats, however, agreed at a Washington hotel on the Wormley House Agreement. Southern Democrats were given assurances that if Hayes became president, he would pull federal troops out of the South and end Reconstruction. An agreement was made between them and the Republicans: if Hayes's cabinet consisted of at least one Southerner and he withdrew all Union troops from the South, then he would become President. This Compromise of 1877 is sometimes considered to be the second Corrupt Bargain.

Domestic policy

In domestic affairs, aside from reconciliation with the South, his administration was noteworthy for two achievements, both giving evidence of a strong president resolute in his relations with Congress: resumption of specie (mainly gold) backing of the paper currency and bonds that financed the war, and the beginning of civil service reform. Hayes' first step in civil service reform was to issue an executive order in June 1877 forbidding federal civil servants to take an active part in politics. This order brought him into fateful collision with congressional spoilsmen. In this mainly victorious test, Hayes removed not only a subordinate, Alonzo B. Cornell, from the New York customhouse but also the port collector, Chester A. Arthur, both Republicans. (When Arthur himself became president, he backed major civil service reform legislation, so that the sequel to this explosive episode was another irony.) Hayes also won a significant duel with Congress over riders attached to army appropriation bills to keep him from protecting blacks' rights to vote in line with the 15th Amendment.

Foreign policy

In 1878, Hayes was asked by Argentina to act as arbitrator following the War of the Triple Alliance between Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay against Paraguay. The Argentines hoped that Hayes would give the Chaco region to them; however, he decided in favor of the Paraguayans. His decision made him a hero in Paraguay, and a city (Villa Hayes) and a department (Presidente Hayes) were named in his honor.

But for the most part, Hayes wasn't very involved in foreign policy. Most of the problems during his term were small and domestically related.

Notable legislation

During his presidency, Hayes signed a number of bills including one signed on February 15, 1879 which, for the first time, allowed female attorneys to argue cases before the Supreme Court of the United States.

Other acts include:

  • Compromise of 1877
  • Desert Land Act (1877)
  • Bland-Allison Act (1878)
  • Timber and Stone Act (1878)
  • Tidewater Act (1879)

March 18 - President Hayes appoints Frederick Douglass marshal of Washington D.C.

April 2 1st Easter egg roll held on White House lawn

December 26 - Socialist Labor Party of North America holds 1st national convention

§U.S. Religion

March 23 - John Doyle Lee was executed by firing squad at Mountain Meadows on the site of the 1857 massacre. His last words included a reference to Young:

"I do not believe everything that is now being taught and practiced by Brigham Young. I do not care who hears it. It is my last word... I have been sacrificed in a cowardly, dastardly manner."

He was survived by 19 wives and 56 children, and his descendants are now numerous.

On April 20, 1961, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints posthumously reinstated Lee's membership in the church.

August 29 - Brigham Young died. Young was suffering from "cholera morbus and inflammation of the bowels". It is believed that he died of peritonitis from a ruptured appendix. Supposedly, his last words were "Joseph, Joseph...".

September 2 - Brigham Young's funeral was held in the Mormon Tabernacle with an estimated 12,000 to 15,000 people in attendance.


A. Asylmuratova, Swan Lake, St. Petersburg, 1992

The ballet known as "Swan Lake", by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (opus 20) was first performed as "The Lake of the Swans" by the Ballet of the Bolshoi Theatre on February 27th in Moscow.

April 24 – Russo-Turkish War, 1877–1878: Russia declares war on the Ottoman Empire.


July 19 – Russo-Turkish War, 1877–1878: The first battle in the Siege of Pleven is fought.

July 30 – The second battle in the Siege of Pleven is fought.

September 1 – The Battle of Lovcha, third battle in the Siege of Pleven, is fought.

December 9 – The fourth battle of the Russo-Turkish War, 1877–1878 is fought, concluding the Siege of Pleven.

§South America


Brazil suffered a severe drought this year. It badly effected the rubber crop in the Amazon region.


May 10 - Two large earthquakes near Arica, on May 9 and May 10. The May 9 event had its epicenter at 21.6 N.71.0W and its magnitude was 8.5. It generated a destructive tsunami of 16 meters in Northern Chile. The second one, which occurred day later on May 10, had an estimated magnitude of 8.3. Its epicenter was at 19.6 S., 70.2 W. and the maximum tsunami height was 24 meters. This was largest tsunami to be recorded at 1.07m by the Sydney tide gauge in Australia.


June 26 – The eruption of Mount Cotopaxi in Ecuador causes severe mudflows that wipe out surrounding cities and valleys, killing 1,000.

§South Pacific

§Hawaiian Islands

April 10 - Prince Leleiohoku, the appointed heir to the throne of Hawaii died of rheumatic fever at the age of 23. Princess Liliuokalani was appointed heir in his place.

July 23 - First telephone and telegraph line in Hawaii completed


Queen Pōmare died after ruling for fifty years. Her son, Pōmare V, then succeeded her on the throne. The new king seemed little concerned with the affairs of the kingdom.


  • Aceh War, Netherlands colonial war in Aceh, Indonesia (aka Thirty Years War) (1873–1904)
  • Russo-Turkish War


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