1881 in History
January 1 Dr. John H Watson is introduced to Sherlock Holmes
January 2 Camille Saint-Saens' 3rd Concerto in B, premieres
January 4 Johannes Brahms' "Academic Festival Overture" premieres, Breslau
January 22 Ancient Egyptian obelisk "Cleopatra's Needle" erected in Central Park
January 26 Union of Baptists Communities forms in Foxholl
January 28 Battle at Laing's Neck Natal: Boers beat superior powered British
February 1 U.S. Assay Office in St. Louis, Missouri authorized
February 5 Phoenix Arizona incorporates
February 7 Battle at Ingogo, Transvaal: Boers beat superior British forces
February 10 Jacques Offenbach's opera "Les Contes d'Hoffman," premieres in Paris
February 19 Kansas becomes 1st state to prohibit all alcoholic beverages
February 24 De Lesseps' Co begins work on Panama Canal
February 26 Natal: British troops under General-major Colley occupy Majuba Hill
February 26 SS Ceylon begins 1st round-the-world cruise from Liverpool
February 27 Battle at Amajuba, South Africa: Boers vs. British army under General Colley
March 4 California becomes 1st state to pass plant quarantine legislation
March 4 Holmes and Watson begin "A Study in Scarlet," 1st case together
March 4 James A. Garfield inaugurated as 20th president
March 4 South African president Kruger accepts ceasefire
March 16 Barnum and Bailey Circus debuts
March 18 Barnum and Bailey's Greatest Show on Earth opens (MSG)
March 23 Boers and Britain sign peace accord; end 1st Boer war
March 23 Gas lamp sets fire to Nice France opera house; 70 die
March 28 Greatest Show On Earth was formed by PT Barnum and James A Bailey
April 1 Anti-Jewish riots in Jerusalem
April 1 Kingdom post office in Netherlands opens
April 5 Transvaal regains independence under British suzerainty
April 11 River ferry "Princess Victoria" sinks in Thames River Ont, 180 die
April 11 Spelman College founded
April 18 Natural History Museum of South Kensington England opens
April 23 Gilbert and Sullivan's opera "Patience" produced in London
April 25 250,000 Germans petition to bar foreign Jews from entering Germany
April 25 French troops occupy Algeria and Tunisia
April 27 Pogroms against Russian Jews start in Elisabethgrad
May 5 Anit-Jewish rioting in Kiev Ukraine
May 8 Henry Morton Stanley signs contract with Congolian monarch
May 10 Lighthouse on Ameland begins operation
May 11 Bedrich Smetana's opera "Libusa," premieres in Prague
May 12 France sign treaty of protection with Tunisia colony
May 12 Treaty of Bardo, Tunis becomes a French protectorate
May 16 World's 1st elec tram goes into service in Lichterfelder (near Berlin)
May 17 7th Kentucky Derby: Jim McLaughlin aboard Hindoo wins in 2:40
May 17 Frederick Douglass appointed recorder of deeds for Washington D.C.
May 17 Revised version of New Testament
May 21 American Red Cross founded by Clara Barton
May 21 U.S. Nation Lawn Tennis Association forms
May 24 Canadian ferry Princess Victoria sinks near London Ontario, 200 die
May 27 9th Preakness: T Costello aboard Saunterer wins in 2:40
June 1 Bell Phone opens 1st Dutch telephone exchange
June 2 Haarlem-Zandvoort Railway opens
June 7 15th Belmont: T Costello aboard Saunterer wins in 2:47
June 14 Player piano patented by John McTammany, Jr. (Cambridge, Mass)
June 16 Austria-Hungary and Serbia sign military treaty
June 19 Muhammad Ahmad becomes Mahdi of Sudan
June 24 200 drown as train runs off bridge near Cuautla Mexico
June 29 Pope Leo XIII publishes encyclical Diuturnum illud
June 30 Henry Highland Garnet, named minister to Liberia
July 1 1st international telephone conversation, Calais, ME-St. Stephen, NB
July 1 U.S. Assay Office in St. Louis, Missouri opens
July 2 President Garfield shot by Charles J Guiteau a disappointed office-seeker
July 4 Booker T. Washington establishes Tuskegee Institute in Alabama
July 20 Sioux Indian Chief Sitting Bull, surrenders to federal troops
July 26 French marines occupy Tunisian harbor city Sfax
August 1 U.S. Quarantine Station authorized for Angel Island, San Francisco Bay
August 3 Boers signs Convention of Pretoria: Transvaal semi-autonomous
August 3 U.S. Nation Lawn Tennis Association removes "Nation" from name
August 4 122 degrees F (50 degrees C), Seville, Spain (European record)
August 13 Henry Morton Stanley signs contract with Congolese monarch
August 27 Hurricane hits Florida and Carolinas; about 700 die
August 31 1st U.S. men's single tennis championships (Newport, RI)
September 3 1st U.S. Mens Tennis: Richard D Sears beats William E Glyn (60 63 62)
September 3 Anton Bruckner completes his 6th Symphony
September 9 Egyptian military coup under colonel Arab "El Wahid"
September 11 Triple landslides bury Elm, Switzerland
September 13 Lewis Latimer invents and patents electric lamp with a carbon filament
September 20 Chester A. Arthur sworn in as 21st president
September 24 Henry Morton Stanley signs contract with Congo monarch
September 27 Chicago Cubs beat Troy 10-8 before record small "crowd" of 12
October 4 Edward Leveaux patents automatic player piano
October 11 David Houston patents roll film for cameras
October 12 Henry M. Stanley signs contract with Congo monarch
October 13 Revival of Hebrew language as Eliezer Ben-Yehuda and friends agree to use Hebrew exclusively in their conversations
October 15 1st American fishing magazine, American Angler published
October 22 Boston Symphony Orchestra gives its 1st concert
October 24 Levi P. Morton, U.S. ambas to France drives 1st rivet in Stat of Liberty
October 25 Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and Clanton engage in "Shootout at OK Corral"
October 26 Gunfight at OK Corral, in Tombstone, Arizona
October 31 Metropolitan club plays its last game of its non-league season They win 80 of 151 games (18-43 versus NL teams)
November 2 Dutch New-Malthusiaanse Union forms
November 5 French government-Ferry resigns
November 14 Charles J. Guiteau went on trial for President Garfield's assassination
November 14 Leon Gambetta forms French government
November 15 American Federation of Labor (AFL) founded (Pittsburgh)
December 3 Henry M Stanley finds Leopoldville/Kinshasa
December 5 47th Congress (1881-83) convenes
December 8 Vienna's Ring Theater destroyed by fire, kills between 640-850
December 19 Opera "Herodiade" is produced (Brussels)