|Centuries:||18th century – 19th century – 20th century|
|Decades:||1840s 1850s 1860s – 1870s – 1880s 1890s 1900s|
|Years:||1875 1876 1877 – 1878 – 1879 1880 1881|
Year 1878 (MDCCCLXXVIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Sunday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar).
Events of 1878
January - March
- January - Cleopatra's Needle arrives in London
- January 9 - Humbert I becomes King of Italy
- January 5 - Battle of Shipka Pass IV
- January 17 - Battle of Plovdiv
- January 23 - Benjamin Disraeli orders 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 armistice at Adrianople
- February 2 - Greece declares war on Turkey.
- February 8 - 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 in Hyde Park, London
- February 28 - Mississippi State University is created by the Mississippi Legislature (under the name The Agricultural and Mechanical College of the State of Mississippi)
- March 3
- March 24 - The UK frigate Eurydice sinks, killing 300.
- March 25 - Russia rejects British proposal to lay San Stefano treaty before European congress
- March 27 - In anticipation with war with Russia, Disraeli mobilizes the reserves and calls up Indian troops to Malta
April - June
- April 20 - The Stawell Gift is run for the first time.
- May 15 - Tokyo Stock Exchange established
- June 4 - Cyprus Convention: The Ottoman Empire cedes Cyprus to the United Kingdom but retains nominal title.
- June 10 - League of Prizren is established
- June 12 - July 12 - Congress of Berlin about 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 - September
- 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 will be found later with a taunting poem inside.
- 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 - December
- 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
- October 17 - John A. Macdonald returns to office as Prime Minister of Canada.
- November 17 - First assassination attempt against Umberto I of Italy.
- November 21 - Second Afghan War commences when the British attack Ali Masjid in the Khyber Pass.
- The Buchan School, Isle of Man.
- Newton Heath Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Football Club, the team that would become Manchester United
- Everton Football Club, then known as St Domingo
- Yellow fever in Mississippi Valley - over 13,000 dead
- US arbitration rejects Argentinean claims to Paraguay's part of Chaco region
- West Bromwich Albion F.C. play their first match.
- Grimsby Town FC then known as Grimsby Pelham
|Ab urbe condita||2631|
|British Regnal year||41 Vict. 1 – 42 Vict. 1|
|Chinese calendar|| 丁丑年十一月廿八日
— to —戊寅年十二月初八日
|- Vikram Samvat||1934–1935|
|- Shaka Samvat||1800–1801|
|- Kali Yuga||4979–4980|
|- Ǹrí Ìgbò||878–879|
|Japanese calendar|| Meiji 11
|Juche calendar||N/A (before 1912)|
|Julian calendar||Gregorian minus 12 days|
|Minguo calendar||34 before ROC
|Thai solar calendar||2421|
January - June
- January 6 - Carl Sandburg, American poet and historian (d. 1967)
- January 12 - Ferenc Molnár, author (d. 1952)
- January 25 - Ernst Alexanderson, Swedish-born television pioneer (d. 1975)
- February 1 - Milan Hodža, Slovak politician, champion of regional integration in Europe (d. 1944)
- February 2 - Alfréd Hajós, Hungarian swimmer and architect (d. 1955)
- February 5 - André Citroën, French automobile manufacturer (d. 1935)
- February 8 - Martin Buber, Austrian philosopher (d. 1965)
- February 14 - Hirota Koki, Prime Minister of Japan (d. 1948)
- February 21 - The Mother (Mirra Alfassa), multi-origined spiritual leader and founder of Auroville in India (d. 1973)
- February 26 - Emmy Destinn, Czech soprano (d. 1930)
- February 28 - Pierre Fatou, French mathematician (d. 1929)
- March 4
- March 16 - Clemens August Graf von Galen, German Catholic cardinal (d. 1946)
- March 22 - Michel Théato, Luxembourg athlete (d. 1919)
- March 31 - Jack Johnson, American boxer (d. 1946)
- April 6 - Erich Mühsam, German author (d. 1934)
- April 24 - Jean Crotti, Swiss artist (d. 1958)
- April 28
- May 3 - Cruz Hernandez, Oldest Living Person (disputed) (d. 2007)
- May 10 - Gustav Stresemann, Chancellor of Germany, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (d. 1929)
- May 25 - Bill Robinson, Tap Dancer (d. 1949)
- May 26 - Isadora Duncan, American dancer (d. 1927)
- May 28 - Paul Pelliot, French sinologist (d. 1945)
- June 1 - John Masefield, English poet and novelist (d. 1967)
- June 3 - Barney Oldfield, American automobile racer and pioneer (d. 1946)
- June 5 - Pancho Villa, Mexican revolutionary (d. 1923)
July - December
- July 4 - George M. Cohan, American singer, dancer, composer, actor, and writer (d. 1942)
- July 24 - Edward Plunkett, Baron Dunsany, Irish author (d. 1957)
- August 10 - Alfred Döblin, German writer (d. 1957)
- August 28 - George Whipple, American scientist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (d. 1976)
- August 31 - Frank Jarvis, American athlete (d. 1933)
- September 5 - Robert von Lieben, Austrian physicist (d. 1913)
- September 13 - Matilde Moisant, American pilot (d. 1964)
- September 20 - Upton Sinclair, American writer (d. 1968)
- September 22 - Yoshida Shigeru, Prime Minister of Japan (d. 1967)
- September 24 - C. F. Ramuz, Swiss writer (d. 1947)
- October 1 - Othmar Spann, Austrian philosopher and economist (d. 1950)
- October 16 - Maxey Long, American athlete (d. 1959)
- November 1 - Carlos Saavedra Lamas, Argentine politician, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (d. 1959)
- November 14 - Leopold Staff, Polish poet (d. 1957)
- Julie Manet - French painter (d. 1966)
- November 17 - Grace Abbott, American social worker and activist (d. 1939)
- December 18 - Joseph Stalin, Soviet leader (d. 1953)
- December 25
- December 28 - Nikolai Bryukhanov, Soviet statesman and political figure who served as People's Commissar of Finances (d.1938)
- December 31 - Elizabeth Arden, Canadian-born beautician and cosmetics entrepreneur (d. 1966)
- December 31 - Horacio Quiroga, Argentina's writer was born in Salto, Uruguay (d. 1937)
January - June
- January 8 - Nikolay Nekrasov, Russian poet (b. 1821)
- January 9 - King Victor Emmanuel II of Italy (b. 1820)
- January 18 - Antoine César Becquerel, French scientist (b. 1788)
- February 7 - Pope Pius IX (b. 1792)
- February 11 - Gideon Welles, American politician (b. 1802)
- February 19 - Charles-Francois Daubigny, French painter (b. 1817)
- February 26 - Angelo Secchi, Italian astronomer (b. 1818)
- March 8 - Archduke Franz Karl of Austria (b. 1802)
- April 8 - Henrietta Treffz, soprano, first wife of Johann Strauss II (b. 1818)
- April 12 - William Marcy Tweed, American politician (b. 1823)
- April 25 - Anna Sewell, English author (b. 1820)
- May 28 - John Russell, 1st Earl Russell, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (b. 1792)
- June 6
- June 12
July - December
- July 1 - Catherine Winkworth, translator of hymns (b. 1827)
- July 17 - Aleardo Aleardi, Italian poet (b. 1812)
- July 23 - Carl Freiherr von Rokitansky, Bohemian pathologist, philosopher and politician (b. 1804)
- August 30 - James Geiss, English businessman (b. 1820)
- November 16 - Princess Marie of Hesse dies aged for of diptheria. A disease which at the time the majority of her family suffered, and which her mother Alice of the United Kingdom succumbed to a month later.
- November 20 - William Thomas (Islwyn), Welsh poet (b. 1832)
- November 28 - Orson Hyde, American religious leader (b. 1805)
- December 10 - Henry Wells, American businessman (b. 1805)
- December 14 - Princess Alice, Grand Duchess of Hesse and by Rhine (b. 1843)