Charles Fort: A Fortean Chronology, 1879.

The year 1879 (MDCCCLXXIX) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar.


  • January: The current constitution of The State of California, USA is ratified.
  • January 1: The Specie Resumption Act takes effect. The Greenback is valued the same as gold for the first time since the Civil War.
  • January: Fred Spofforth claims the first Hat-trick in test cricket.
  • January 11: The Anglo-Zulu War begins.
  • January 22: Anglo-Zulu War, Battle of Isandlwana: Zulu troops massacre British troops. At Rorke's Drift, outnumbered British soldiers drive the attackers away after hours of fighting.



  • February 12: At New York City's Madison Square Garden, the first artificial ice rink in North America opens.
  • February 14: At Antofagasta, Chile, Chilean troops disembark in this port, then Bolivian. This is the beginning of the War of the Pacific between Chile and the joint forces of Peru and Bolivia.
  • February 15: American President Rutherford B. Hayes signs a bill allowing female attorneys to argue cases before the Supreme Court of the United States.
  • February 22: In Utica, New York, Frank Woolworth opens the first of many of 5 and 10-cent Woolworth stores.
  • February 27: The discovery of saccharin is announced.



  • March 3: The United States Geological Survey is created.
  • March 12: Anglo-Zulu War, Battle of Intombe: A British force over one-hundred strong is ambushed and destroyed by Zulu forces.
  • March 28 – Anglo-Zulu War, Battle of Hlobane: British forces suffer a defeat.
  • March 29 – Anglo-Zulu War, Battle of Kambula: British forces defeat 20,000 Zulus.



  • April 3: The Anti Revolutionary Party is formed in the Netherlands by Abraham Kuyper. It is the first political party formed advocating Christian Democracy, in opposition to the secularism of Dutch society, which follows the militant secularism of the French Revolution.
  • April 3: Anglo-Zulu War, British forces successfully lift the two-month Siege of Eshowe.
  • April 4: Sofia becomes the official capital of the Third Bulgarian State.
  • April 9: A report from Chicago that slag had fallen from the sky. (Books70)
  • April 13: In the Commune of Signe-le-Pettit, France, the slate roof of a "conspicuous, isolated house" suddenly flew into the air, and then crashed to the ground. (Books461) 
  • April 13: When searching for Borsen's Comet in the evening sky, Henry Harrison of New Jersey noticed an object moving so rapidly it could not have been the comet. A friend was summond and confirmed the observstion. (Books290)
  • April 24: Swedish explorer Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld arrives in Stockholm concluding the world's first circumnavigation of Eurasia.



  • May 2: The Spanish Socialist Worker's Party is founded in Casa Labra Pub (city of Madrid) by the historical Spanish workers' leader Pablo Iglesias.
  • May 14: The first group of 463 Indian indentured labourers arrive in Fiji abroad the Leonidas.
  • May 15: Commander J.E. Pringle of HMS Vulture, whilst in the Persian Gulf, notices luminous waves or pulsations in the water moving at great speed. (Books277) 
  • May 26: Russia and the United Kingdom sign the Treaty of Gandamak, establishing an Afghan state.
  • May 30: New York City's Gilmore's Garden is renamed Madison Square Garden by William Henry Vanderbilt, and is opened to the public at 26th Street and Madison Avenue.



  • June 1: Napoléon Eugène, Prince Imperial (Napoléon IV), great-nephew of Napoléon Bonaparte, Bonapartist pretender to the throne, dies in Africa during the Anglo-Zulu War.
  • June 14: Sidney Faithorn Green, a priest in the Church of England, is tried and convicted for using Ritualist practices.



  • July 4: Anglo-Zulu War, The Anglo-Zulu War effectively ends at the Battle of Ulundi.
  • July 19: Doc Holliday kills for the first time after a man shoots up Holliday's New Mexico saloon.



  • August 2: Lumps of ice four and a half inches long fell at Richmond, England. (Books184)
  • August 21: The Virgin Mary, along with St. Joseph and St. John the Evangelist, allegedly appears in Knock to local people.



  • September 8: The Octagon fire claims 12 victims in Dunedin, New Zealand.  
  • September 25: Deadwood, South Dakota fire: Two-thousand people left homeless. Three hundred buildings destroyed. Total loss of property is estimated at $3 million.
  • September 29: Meeker Massacre: Nathan Meeker and others are killed in an uprising at the White River Ute Indian Reservation in Colorado.



  • October 7: The Dual Alliance is formed by Germany and Austria-Hungary.
  • October 10: Upon the island of Jamaica fell a deluge that drowned one hundred of its inhabitents. (Books751)
  • October 14: Upon the drought ridden provinces of Murcia and Alicante, Spain, fell a downpour that destroyed five villages and killed fifteen hundred people. (Books752) 
  • October 21: Using a filament of carbonized thread, Thomas Edison tests the first practical electric light bulb (it lasts 13½ hours before burning out).



  • November 1: West of the lunar crater Picard a bright spot is observed. (Books443)
  • November 1: At five o'clock in the morning a "vivid flash" was seen and a shock felt in West Cumberland. (Books443)



  • December 19: A deluge fell over Columbia causing the River Cauca to rise to unprecidented levels so suddenly that it trapped people in their houses. (Books752)
  • December 28: The Tay Bridge disaster, the central part of the Tay Rail Bridge in Dundee, Scotland collapses as a train passes over it, killing 75.
  • December 30: The Pirates of Penzance is first performed in Paignton, Devon, England.
  • December 31: An earthquake in Salvador; from the middle of Lake Ilopanga emerged a rocky island. Great torrents of water fell from the sky, so much that it gouged gullies in the landscape. (Books752) 
  • December 31: Thomas Edison demonstrates incandescent lighting to the public for the first time in Menlo Park, New Jersey.