Decades: 1830s 1840s 1850s 1860s 1870s - 1880s - 1890s 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s
Years: 1879 1880 1881 1882 1883 - 1884 - 1885 1886 1887 1888 1889
January 4 - The Fabian Society is founded in London
February 1 - Edition one of the Oxford English Dictionary is published.
March 13 - The siege of Khartoum, Sudan begins (ends on January 26, 1885).
May 1 - the first proclamation of eight-hour workday by the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions in the United States. May 1st, called May Day or Labour Day, is now a holiday recognized in almost every industrialized country.
July 5 - Germany takes possession of Cameroon.
August 5 - The cornerstone for the Statue of Liberty is laid on Bedloe's Island in New York Harbor.
October - World time convention in Washington DC fixes the Greenwich meridian as the world's prime meridian.
October 18 - University of Wales, Bangor (UK) founded.
November 1 - the Irish Gaelic Athletic Association is founded in Thurles, Ireland.
November 4 - U.S. presidential election: Democrat Grover Cleveland defeats Republican James G. Blaine in a very close contest to win the first of his non-consecutive terms.
December 1 - American Old West - Near Frisco, New Mexico (now Reserve, New Mexico), deputy sheriff Elfego Baca holds off a gang of 80 Texan cowboys who want to kill him for arresting cowboy Charles McCarthy (the cowboys were terrorizing the area's Hispanos and Baca was working against them).
December 6 - Washington Monument was completed.
December 16 - World Cotton Centennial World's Fair opens in New Orleans, Louisiana
Stefan-Boltzmann law reformulated by Ludwig Boltzmann
British Police officers go on armed patrol in London.
Year in topic
1884 in literature
January 2 - Oscar Micheaux, African-American, filmmaker & author (+ 1951)
January 12 - Texas Guinan, vaudeville performer (+ 1933)
January 13 - Sophie Tucker, singer, comedienne, vaudeville performer (+ 1966)
January 21 - Roger Baldwin, ACLU president, social activist (+ 1981)
January 28 - Auguste Piccard, physicist (+ 1962)
January 31 - Theodor Heuss, politician and publicist (+ 1963)
February 12 - Max Beckmann, painter and graphic artist (+ 1950)
February 12 - Marie Vassilieff, artist (+ 1957)
March 13 - Oskar Loerke, lyricist, narrator and essayist (+ 1941)
March 13 - Sir Hugh Walpole, novelist (+ 1941)
March 26 - Wilhelm Backhaus, pianist (+ 1969)
April 4 - Isoroku Yamamoto, naval commander (+ 1943)
April 6 - Walter Huston, Academy Award winning actor (+ 1950)
May 1 - Henry Norwest, one of the most famous snipers of World War I
May 8 - Harry S. Truman, former President of the United States (+ 1972)
May 14 - Claude Dornier, aircraft designer (+ 1969)
May 27 - Max Brod, author (+ 1968)
May 28 - Edvard Benes, politician (+ 1948)
July 12 - Amedeo Modigliani, painter, sculptor
July 23 - Emil Jannings, actor
October 11: Eleanor Roosevelt, human rights activist, wife of US president
November 19 - José Raúl Capablanca, Cuban chess player (+ 1942).
January 25 - Johann Gottfried Piefke, conductor and composer
March 21 - Ezra Abbot, american bible scholar
April 4 - Marie Bashkirtseff, artist
May 12 - Bedrich Smetana, composer
May 13 - Cyrus McCormick, inventor
June 25 - Hans Rott, composer
July 10 - Paul Morphy, American chess player.
November 25: Adolph Wilhelm Hermann Kolbe, chemist