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The Year 1886


January 1 –Upper Burma is formally annexed to British Burma, following its conquest in the Third Anglo-Burmese War of November 1885.

January 16 –A resolution is passed in the German Parliament to condemn the Prussian deportations, the politically motivated mass expulsion of ethnic Poles and Jews from Prussia, initiated by Otto von Bismarck.

January 18 –Modern field hockey is born with the formation of The Hockey Association in England.

January 29 –Karl Benz patents the first successful gasoline-driven automobile, the Benz Patent-Motorwagen (built in 1885).

February 14 –The first train load of oranges leaves Los Angeles via the transcontinental railroad.

March 3 –The Treaty of Bucharest ends the Serbo-Bulgarian War in the Balkans.

March 8 –Anti-Chinese sentiments result in riots in Seattle, USA.

March 16 –A law establishing the Kiel Canal is adopted.

March 17 –Carrollton Massacre: 20 African Americans are killed in Mississippi.

March 29 –Wilhelm Steinitz becomes first recognized World Chess Champion.


April 4 –William Ewart Gladstone introduces the First Irish Home Rule Bill in the Parliament of the United Kingdom; it is defeated on June 8.

April 25 –Easter occurs on the latest possible date (the next time is in 1943).

May 4 –A general strike begins in the United States, which escalates into the Haymarket Riot and eventually wins the eight-hour day for workers.

May 4 –Emile Berliner starts work that leads to the invention of the gramophone.

May 8 –American pharmacist Dr. John Pemberton invents a carbonated beverage that will be named Coca-Cola.

May 15 –Portugal and France agree to regulate the borders of their colonies in Guinea.

May 17 – Motherwell Football Club is founded in Scotland.

Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad: The U.S. Supreme Court rules that corporations have the same rights as living persons.

May 29 –John Pemberton begins to advertise Coca-Cola (in The Atlanta Journal).

June 2 –U.S. President Grover Cleveland marries Frances Folsom in the White House (Washington, D.C.), becoming the only President of the United States to wed in the executive mansion. She is 27 years his junior.

June 3 –Uganda Martyrs: Charles Lwanga, twelve other Catholic boys and men and nine Anglicans are burned (and another Catholic speared) to death at the orders of Kabaka Mwanga II of Buganda in Namugongo.

June 10 –The Mount Tarawera volcano erupts in New Zealand, resulting in the deaths of over 150 people and the destruction of the famous Pink and White Terraces.

June 12 –King Ludwig II of Bavaria is detained as part of a deposition, drowning the following day under mysterious circumstances. Six weeks later his unfinished Neuschwanstein Castle is opened to the public.

June 13 –The Great Vancouver Fire devastates much of Vancouver, British Columbia.

June 30 –The Royal Holloway College for women is opened by Queen Victoria near London in England.


July 3 –Karl Benz officially unveils the Benz Patent Motorwagen.

July 9 –Charles Hall files a patent for his process of turning aluminium oxide into molten aluminium.

July 23 –Steve Brodie fakes a jump from the Brooklyn Bridge.

July 25 –Robert Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury (Conservative Party (UK)) becomes Great Britain’s 30th Prime Minister.

July 31 –Death of Hungarian composer Franz Liszt.

August 13 –Nagasaki Incident.

August 19 –The Christian Union (Church of God) is established. [where?]

August 20 –A massive hurricane demolishes the town of Indianola, Texas.

August 31 –The 7.0 Mw Charleston earthquake affects South Carolina with a maximum Mercalli intensity of X (Extreme). Sixty people were killed.

September 1 –Grasshopper Club Zürich is founded as first football club in the city of Zürich.

September 4 –American Indian Wars: After almost 30 years of fighting, Apache leader Geronimo surrenders with his last band of warriors to General Nelson Miles at Skeleton Canyon in Arizona.

September 9 –Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works signed.

September 21 –William Stanley, Jr. patents the first practical alternating current transformer device, the induction coil.


October 7 –Spain abolishes slavery in Cuba.

October 28 –In New York Harbor, U.S. President Grover Cleveland dedicates the Statue of Liberty, a gift from France. The ensuing spontaneous celebration in New York City leads to the first ticker tape parade.

November –The extremely harsh winter of 1886–87 in the United States begins, killing tens of thousands of cattle on the Great Plains of North America.

November 3 –In the British Raj, what will become one of the biggest boys’ schools in Pakistan, Aitchison College, Lahore, is founded under the auspices of Sir Charles Umpherston Aitchison.

November 11 –Heinrich Hertz verifies at the University of Karlsruhe the existence of electromagnetic waves.

November 30 –The Folies Bergère stages its first revue in Paris.

December 11 –London Association football club Arsenal, founded as Dial Square by workers at the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich, play their first match (on the Isle of Dogs). The club is renamed Royal Arsenal soon afterwards, supposedly on December 25.

December 17 –English adventurer Thomas Stevens concludes the first circumnavigation by bicycle in Yokohama, having set out on his penny-farthing from San Francisco in 1884.

Date unknown

Scotch whisky distiller William Grant & Sons is founded.

Yorkshire Tea is established in Harrogate, UK.

The village of Skorenovac is founded, mostly by Székely Hungarians.

An inexpensive method for refining aluminum, the Hall–Héroult process, is discovered.

Father Augustine Tolton, the first Roman Catholic priest from the United States to proclaim himself African American, is ordained in Rome.

Addis Ababa is founded in the Ethiopian Empire.

Horse-drawn streetcars of Austria-Hungary, France, Germany and Great Britain are carrying c. 900 million riders per year.

Emily Ruete publishes her landmark memoir, Memoirs of an Arabian Princess: An Autobiography.

Bedford Rugby Club is formed in England.

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