Millennium: 2nd millennium Centuries: 18th century – 19th century – 20th century Decades: 1840s 1850s 1860s – 1870s – 1880s 1890s 1900s Years: 1867 1868 1869 – 1870 – 1871 1872 1873
Year 1870 (MDCCCLXX) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Thursday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar.
- January 1
- January 3 – Construction of the Brooklyn Bridge begins.
- January 6 – The Musikverein, Vienna is inaugurated in Austria-Hungary.
- January 10 – John D. Rockefeller incorporates Standard Oil.
- January 15 – A political cartoon for the first time symbolizes the United States Democratic Party with a donkey ("A Live Jackass Kicking a Dead Lion" by Thomas Nast for Harper's Weekly).
- January 26 – Reconstruction: Virginia rejoins the Union.
- January 27 – The first college sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta, is established at DePauw University.
- February – Vrain Denis-Lucas is sentenced to 2 years in prison for multiple forgery in Paris.
- February 1 – Goodna State School in Goodna, Queensland, Australia is founded.
- February 2 – It is revealed that the famed Cardiff Giant is just carved gypsum and not the petrified remains of a human.
- February 3 – The 15th Amendment to the United States Constitution, guaranteeing African-Americans the right to vote, is passed.
- February 9 – Army Weather Bureau (within Army Signal Corps) created.
- February 10
- Anaheim, California is incorporated.
- The YWCA is founded in New York City.
- February 12 – Women gain the right to vote in Utah Territory.
- February 23 – Military control of Mississippi ends and it is readmitted to the Union.
- February 25 – Hiram Rhodes Revels, a Republican from Mississippi, is sworn into the United States Senate, becoming the first African American ever to sit in the U.S. Congress.
- February 26 – In New York City, the first pneumatic subway is opened.
- February 28 – The Bulgarian Exarchate is established by decree of Sultan Abd-ul-Aziz of the Ottoman Empire.
- March 1 – Marshal Francisco Solano López' last troops are cornered by Triple Alliance troops at Cerro Cora. López refuses to surrender and is killed. Fighting ends in Paraguay – the War of the Triple Alliance is over.
- March 4 – Thomas Scott is executed by Louis Riel's provisional government during the Red River Rebellion in modern day Manitoba Canada.
- March 5 – First ever international Association Football match between England and Scotland at the Oval, London. Organized by the Football Association.
- March 19 – The Ohio Legislature passes the Cannon Act, thereby establishing the Ohio Agriculture and Mechanical College, later Ohio State University.
- March 24 – Syracuse University is established and officially opens.
- March 30
- March 31 – Thomas Mundy Peterson is the first African-American to vote in an election.
- April – The Chicago Base Ball Club, later to be known as the Chicago White Stockings, and ultimately the Chicago Cubs, play their first game against the St. Louis Unions of the National Association of Base Ball Players, an amateur league.
- April 27 – Antonio Guzmán Blanco begins his first term as President of Venezuela.
- May 12 – The Canadian province of Manitoba is created in response to Louis Riel's Red River Rebellion.
- May 14 – The first rugby match is played in New Zealand, between the Nelson Football Club and Nelson College.
- May 24 – The Port Adelaide Football Club plays their first match of Australian rules football at Buck's Flat, Glanville, South Australia.
- June 22
- The office of the Solicitor General of the United States is set up to supervise and conduct government litigation in the United States Supreme Court.
- The U.S. Congress creates the United States Department of Justice.
- June 26
- July 13 – The Ems Dispatch serves as a reason for a war between Prussia and France.
- July 15 – Reconstruction: Georgia becomes the last former Confederate state to be readmitted to the Union, and the C.S.A. is dissolved.
- July 18 – Pastor Aeternus: Pope Pius IX declares papal infallibility in matters of faith and morals.
- July 19 – Franco-Prussian War: France declares war on Prussia.
- August 8 – The Republic of Ploieşti, an uprising against Domnitor Carol of Romania, fails.
- August 24 – The Red River Rebellion ends with the arrival of the Wolseley Expedition and the fleeing of Louis Riel.
- September 2 – Franco-Prussian War – Battle of Sedan: Prussian forces defeat the French armies and take emperor Napoleon III and 100,000 of his soldiers prisoner at Sedan.
- September 4 – Emperor Napoleon III of France is deposed and the Third Republic is declared. Empress Eugenie flees to England with her children.
- September 6 – Louisa Ann Swain of Laramie, Wyoming, becomes the first woman in the United States to cast a vote legally since 1807.
- September 18 – Old Faithful Geyser is observed and named by Henry D. Washburn during the Washburn-Langford-Doane Expedition to Yellowstone.
- September 20 – With Bersaglieri soldiers entering Rome at Porta Pia, the unification of Italy is completed, ending the last remnant of the Papal States.
- October 2 – A plebiscite held in Rome supports, by 133,681 votes to 1,507, the annexation of the city by Italy.
- October 6 – Rome becomes the capital of unified Italy.
- October 8 – Leon Michel Gambetta escapes the besieged Paris in a hot-air balloon.
- October 20 – First Vatican Council adjourned.
- November 1 – In the United States, the newly created Weather Bureau (later renamed the National Weather Service) makes its first official meteorological forecast: "High winds at Chicago and Milwaukee... and along the Lakes".
- November 16 – The Spanish Cortes Generales proclaims Amadeo de Saboya as King Amadeus I of Spain.
- December 30 – Juan Prim, prime minister of Spain, is assassinated.
- January 2 – Ernst Barlach, German sculptor, graphic artist, and poet (d. 1938)
- January 6 – Gustav Bauer, Chancellor of Germany (d. 1944)
- January 8 – Miguel Primo de Rivera, dictator of Spain (d. 1930)
- January 11 – Alexander Stirling Calder, American sculptor (d. 1945)
- February 7 – Alfred Adler, Austrian psychologist (d. 1937)
- February 12 – Marie Lloyd, English singer (d. 1922)
- March 4 – Thomas Sturge Moore, English poet, author and artist (d. 1944)
- March 5 – Frank Norris, American writer (d. 1902)
- March 13 – Seale Harris, American Physician (d. 1957)
- March 17 – Horace Donisthorpe, English entomologist (d. 1951)
- March 20 – Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, German general (d. 1964)
- April 1 – Hamaguchi Osachi, 27th Prime Minister of Japan (d. 1931)
- April 3 – Agda Östlund, Swedish politician (d. 1942)
- April 4 – George Albert Smith, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (d. 1951)
- April 17 – Ray Stannard Baker, American journalist and author (d. 1946)
- April 22 – Vladimir Lenin, Russian revolutionary and first Premier of the Soviet Union (d. 1924)
- April 30 – Franz Lehár, Austrian composer (d. 1948)
- May 9 – Harry Vardon, English Golf Professional (d. 1937)
- May 19 – Albert Fish, American serial killer (d. 1936)
- June 13 – Jules Bordet, Belgian immunologist and microbiologist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (d. 1961)
- June 20 – Georges Dufrénoy, French post-impressionnist painter (d. 1943)
- July 3 – Richard Bedford Bennett, eleventh Prime Minister of Canada (d. 1947)
- July 12 – Louis II, Prince of Monaco (d. 1949)
- July 16 – Lambert McKenna, Irish scholar (d. 1956)
- July 25 – Maxfield Parrish, American illustrator (d. 1966)
- July 27 – Hilaire Belloc, French/English man of letters (d. 1953)
- July 29 – George Dixon, Canadian boxer (d. 1909)
- August 3 – Carrie Ingalls, younger sister of author Laura Ingalls Wilder (d. 1946)
- August 4 – Harry Lauder, Scottish entertainer (d. 1950)
- August 11 – Tom Richardson, English cricketer (d. 1912)
- August 20 – Edward Stanley Kellogg, 16th Governor of American Samoa (d. 1948)
- August 22 – Bertram Fletcher Robinson, journalist, editor and author (d. 1907)
- August 31 – Maria Montessori, Italian educator (d. 1952)
- September 25 – James A. Hawken, schoolteacher (d. 1964)
- September 26 – King Christian X of Denmark (d. 1947)
- September 30 – Jean Baptiste Perrin, French physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1942)
- October 10 – Ivan Alekseyevich Bunin, Russian writer, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1953)
- November 21 – Sigfrid Edström, Swedish sports official (d. 1964)
- November 27 – Juho Kusti Paasikivi, Prime Minister and President of Finland (d. 1956)
- November 28 – Gustavus M. Blech, German-American physician and surgeon (d. 1949)
- December 5 – Vítězslav Novák, Czech composer (d. 1949)
- December 10 – Mary Bonaparte, pretender to the French imperial throne (d. 1947)
- December 12 – Walter Benona Sharp, American oil pioneer (d. 1912)
- December 14 – Dirk Jan de Geer, Prime Minister of the Netherlands (d. 1960)
- December 18 – Saki, English writer (d. 1916)
- January 29 – Leopold II, Grand Duke of Tuscany (b. 1797)
- February 7 – Sylvain Salnave a Haitian president (b. 1827)
- February 19 – Nathaniel de Rothschild, French wine grower (b. 1812)
- March 11 – Moshoeshoe I of Lesotho (b. 1786?)
- March 28 – George Henry Thomas, American general (b. 1816)
- May 6 – Sir James Young Simpson, Scottish physician and researcher (b. 1811)
- June 6 – Ferdinand von Wrangel, Baltic German explorer (b. 1796/1797)
- June 9 – Charles Dickens, British novelist (b. 1812)
- June 20 – Jules de Goncourt, French writer (b. 1830)
- June 24 – Adam Lindsay Gordon, Australian poet (b. 1833)
- July 20 – Jules Alfred Huot de Goncourt, French writer and publisher (b. 1830)
- August 17 – Pedro Figueredo, Cuban poet, musician, and freedom fighter (b. 1818)
- September 12 – Fitz Hugh Ludlow, American author and explorer (b. 1836)
- September 23 – Prosper Mérimée, French writer (b. 1803)
- October 12 – Robert E. Lee, Confederate Civil War general (b. 1807)
- November 24 – Comte de Lautreamont, French poet and writer (b. 1846)
- November 28 – Frédéric Bazille, French painter (b. 1841)
- December 5 – Alexandre Dumas, père, French author (b. 1802)
- December 9 – Patrick MacDowell, Northern Irish sculptor (b. 1799)
- December 27 – General Prim, Spanish dictator (b. 1814)
- Friedrich Hohe, German lithographer and painter (b. 1802)
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