Charles Fort: A Fortean Chronology, 1878.

The year 1878 (MDCCCLXXVIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar.

Raising the obelisk, August, 1878.
Raising the obelisk, August, 1878.


  • Cleopatra's Needle arrives in London.
  • January 5: Battle of Shipka Pass IV: Russian and Bulgarian forces defeat the Ottoman Empire.
  • January 9: Humbert I becomes King of Italy.
  • January 17: Battle of Plovdiv: Russian troops defeat the Turks.
  • January 23: Benjamin Disraeli orders the British fleet to the Dardanelles.
  • January 24: The revolutionary Vera Zasulich shoots at Fyodor Trepov, the Governor of Saint Petersburg.
  • January 28: The Yale News becomes the first daily college newspaper in the United States.
  • January 31: Turkey agrees to an armistice at Adrianople.



  • February 2: Greece declares war on Turkey.
  • February 8: The British fleet enters Turkish waters and anchors off Istanbul; Russia threatens to occupy Istanbul but does not carry out the threat.
  • February 18: The Lincoln County War begins in Lincoln County, New Mexico.
  • February 19: The phonograph is patented by Thomas Edison.
  • February 20: Pope Leo XIII succeeds Pope Pius IX as the 256th pope.
  • February 24: Anti-Russian demonstrations occur in Hyde Park, London.



  • March 3: Bulgaria regains its independence from the Ottoman Empire.
  • March 3: The Treaty of San Stefano concludes the Russo-Turkish War
  • March 24: The UK frigate Eurydice sinks, killing 300.
  • March 25: Russia rejects a British proposal to lay the San Stefano treaty before a European congress.
  • March 27: In anticipation of war with Russia, Disraeli mobilizes the reserves and calls up Indian troops to Malta.



  • April 20: The Stawell Gift is run for the first time.



  • May 2: The Washburn "A" Mill in Minneapolis, Minnesota explodes, killing 18.
  • May 15: The Tokyo Stock Exchange is established.
  • May 23: In a tornado, in Wisconsin, "a barn and a horse were carried completely away, and neither horse nor barn, nor any portion of either have since been found." (Books89) 



  • June 4: Cyprus Convention: The Ottoman Empire cedes Cyprus to the United Kingdom but retains the nominal title.
  • June 5: Pancho Villa is born in San Juan del Río, Durango, Mexico.
  • June 10: The League of Prizren is established.
  • June 12-July 12: The Congress of Berlin convenes to discuss the Ottoman Empire.
  • June 22: Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld leaves Karlskrona on a voyage that will make him the first to navigate the Northern Sea Route, a shipping lane from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean along the Siberian coast.



  • July 1: Four farmers witness, in a cloudless sky, half a mile high "an opaque substance." They said it looked like a white horse "swimming in the clear atmosphere." (Books457)
  • July 13: The Treaty of Berlin makes Serbia, Montenegro and Romania completely independent.
  • July 26: In California, the poet and American West outlaw calling himself "Black Bart" makes his last clean getaway when he steals a safe box from a Wells Fargo stagecoach. The empty box is found later with a taunting poem inside.
  • July 29: During a total eclipse Prof. Watson from Rawlins, Wyoming and by Prof. Swift from Denver, Colorado, report that they had seen two shining objects at a considerable distance from the sun. (Books205) 



  • August 9: The Wallingford Tornado of 1878, the deadliest tornado in Connecticut history, destroys the town of Wallingford, killing 34 people and injuring 70 or more.
  • August 20: A great number of small fishes fell from the sky, at Chico, California, covering the roof of a store, and falling in the streets, upon an area of several acres. (Books534) 



  • September 3: Over 640 die when the crowded pleasure boat Princess Alice collides with the Bywell Castle in the River Thames.
  • September 20: The Hindu, an Indian newspaper, is founded.
  • September 30: The ship Priscilla arrives in Hawaii from Funchal, Madeira, marking the beginning of the Portuguese immigration to the Hawaiian Islands (1878-1913).



  • October 1: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) opens as Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College.
  • October 14: The world's first recorded floodlit football fixture is played at Bramall Lane in Sheffield.



  • November 17: The first assassination attempt is made against Umberto I of Italy.
  • November 21: The Second Afghan War commences when the British attack Ali Masjid in the Khyber Pass.