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|Centuries:||18th century – 19th century – 20th century|
|Decades:||1840s 1850s 1860s – 1870s – 1880s 1890s 1900s|
|Years:||1869 1870 1871 – 1872 – 1873 1874 1875|
Year 1872 (MDCCCLXXII) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian Calendar (or a leap year starting on Saturday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). It was a year in the 19th Century.
Events of 1872
January - June
- January 2 - Brigham Young is arrested for polygamy (28 wives).
- January 12 - Yohannes IV is crowned Emperor of Ethiopia in Axum, the first ruler crowned in that city in over 500 years.
- February 13 - Rex, the most famous parade on Mardi Gras day, parades in New Orleans for Grand Duke Alexei Mikhailovich of Russia
- February 20 - In New York City the Metropolitan Museum of Art closes for "urban renovation".
- March 1 - In the United States, Yellowstone National Park is established as the world's first national park.
- March 5
- George Westinghouse patents the "failsafe" automatic railway air brake.
- The case of Tichborne Claimant decided against the claimant Arthur Orton.
- March 11 - Work began erecting Seven Sisters Colliery, South Wales; Located on one of the richest coal sources in Britain.
- March 26 - Earthquake at Lone Pine, California with an estimated magnitude of 7.2.
- May 10 - Victoria Woodhull becomes the first woman nominated for President of the United States, although she is a year too young to qualify and does not appear on the ballot.
- May 22 - Reconstruction: U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant signs the Amnesty Act of 1872 into law restoring full civil rights to all but about 500 Confederate sympathizers.
- June 14 - Trade unions legalised in Canada.
July - December
- July 4 - Society of Jesus is pronounced illegal in the German Empire.
- August 22 - The Overland Telegraph is completed in Australia, providing a telegraphic link between Australia and the rest of the world for the first time.
- September 1 - Group of Icaiche Maya under Marcos Canul attack Orange Walk Town in British Honduras. British send troops against them.
- September 26 - The first Shriners Temple (called Mecca) was established in New York City.
- October 1 - The Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College began its first academic session. The university was later renamed Virginia Tech
- November 5
- Ulysses S. Grant defeats Horace Greeley in the U.S. presidential election.
- Women's suffrage: In defiance of the law, American suffragist Susan B. Anthony votes for the first time (on November 18 she was served an arrest warrant and in the subsequent trial she was fined $100 - she never paid the fine).
- November 7 - Mary Celeste sets sail from New York, bound for Genoa.
- November 9 - Great Boston Fire of 1872: In Boston, Massachusetts, a large fire begins to burn on Lincoln Street (the two day event destroyed about 65 acres (0.3 km²) of city, 776 buildings, much of the financial district and caused US$60 million in damage).
- November 27 - Meteor shower display over France.
- November 29
- Indian Wars: The Modoc War begins with the Battle of Lost River.
- November 29 - Horace Greeley, President Ulysses S. Grant's opponent in the 1872 U.S. presidential election, dies. His electoral votes are divided among several candidates.
- November 30 - First ever international football match takes place at Hamilton Crescent, Scotland; the result is Scotland 0, England 0.
- December 4 - The crewless American ship Mary Celeste is found by the British brig Dei Gratia.
- December 21 - HMS Challenger sails from Portsmouth on the 4 year scientific expedition that would lay the foundation for the science of oceanography.
- Louis Ducos du Hauron creates the first colour photograph.
- London Metropolitan Police strike.
- In the aftermath of the War of the Triple Alliance, new government of Paraguay makes peace with Brazil, grant reparations and territorial concessions.
- Austro-Hungarian North Pole Expedition.
- Foundation of the Kolozsvári Egyetem, the predecessor of the University of Szeged.
- US government geologist Clarence King reveals the diamond hoax in Wyoming.
- Thomas Hardy anonymously publishes his romantic novel Under the Greenwood Tree
- The magazine popular science is first created
|Ab urbe condita||2625|
|British Regnal year||35 Vict. 1 – 36 Vict. 1|
|Chinese calendar|| 辛未年十一月廿一日
— to —壬申年十二月初二日
|- Vikram Samvat||1928–1929|
|- Shaka Samvat||1794–1795|
|- Kali Yuga||4973–4974|
|- Ǹrí Ìgbò||872–873|
|Japanese calendar|| Meiji 5
|Juche calendar||N/A (before 1912)|
|Julian calendar||Gregorian minus 12 days|
|Minguo calendar||40 before ROC
|Thai solar calendar||2415|
|* Last year on the Japanese calendar was in use a lunisolar calendar.|
January - June
- January 6 - Alexander Scriabin, Russian composer (d. 1915)
- January 23 - Gotse Delchev, Bulgarian revolutionary (d. 1903)
- January 31 - Zane Grey, American writer (d. 1939)
- February 1 - Jerome F. Donovan, American politician (d. 1949)
- March 7 - Piet Mondrian, Dutch painter (d. 1944)
- March 24 - J.C. Wienecke, Dutch/German medallist (d. 1945)
- April 29 - Harry Payne Whitney, businessman, horse breeder (d. 1930)
- May 18 - Bertrand Russell, English philosopher and mathematician, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature (d. 1970)
- May 21 - Henry Warren, Inventor of the first commercially viable electric clock, the Telechron
- May 31
- June 20 - George Carpenter, the 5th General of The Salvation Army (d. 1948)
- June 27 - Paul Laurence Dunbar, American poet and publisher (d. 1906)
July - December
- July 1 - Louis Blériot, French aviation pioneer (d. 1936)
- July 4 - Calvin Coolidge, President of the United States (d. 1933)
- July 16 - Roald Amundsen, Norwegian polar explorer (d. 1928)
- August 3 - King Haakon VII of Norway (d. 1957)
- August 9 - Archduke Joseph August of Austria, Austrian field marshal (d. 1962)
- August 10 - Bill Johnson, American jazz musician (d. 1972)
- August 13 - Richard Willstätter, German chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1942)
- August 15 - Sri Aurobindo, Indian nationalist, writer, and mystic (d. 1950)
- August 21 - Aubrey Beardsley, British artist (d. 1898)
- October 11 - Harlan F. Stone, Chief Justice of the United States (d. 1946)
- November 30 - John McCrae, Canadian soldier and poet (d. 1918)
- December 21 - Don Lorenzo Perosi, Italian composer (d. 1956)
- December 26 - Norman Angell, British politician, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (d. 1967)
January - June
- January 7 - Big Jim Fisk, American financier (b. 1834)
- January 21 - Franz Grillparzer, Austrian writer (b. 1791)
- March/April Mercator Cooper, American sea captain (b.1803)
- March 20 - William Wentworth, Australian explorer (b. 1790)
- April 1 - Frederick Maurice, English theologian (b. 1805)
- April 2 - Samuel Morse, American inventor (b. 1791)
- June 4 - Stanisław Moniuszko, Polish composer (b. 1819)
- June 4 - Johan Rudolf Thorbecke, Dutch politician (b. 1798)
- June 20 - Elie Frédéric Forey, Marshal of France (b. 1804)
July - December
- July 18 - Benito Juárez, President of Mexico (b. 1806)
- August 19 - Charles XV, King of Sweden and Norway (b. 1826)
- September 10 - Avram Iancu, Romanian Transylvanian insurgent (b. 1824)
- September 13 - Ludwig Feuerbach, German philosopher (b. 1804)
- October 23 - Théophile Gautier, French writer (b. 1811)
- November 28 - Mary Somerville, British mathematician (b. 1780)
- November 29 - Horace Greeley, newspaper editor and presidential candidate (b. 1811)
- December 15 - Lady Beaconsfield, wife of Benjamin Disraeli (b. 1792)