The 1870s continued the trends of the previous decade, as new empires, imperialism and militarism rose in Europe and Asia. The United States was recovering from the American Civil War. Germany unified in 1871 and began its Second Reich. Labor unions and strikes occurred worldwide in the later part of the decade, and continued until World War I. The Reconstruction era of the United States brought a legacy of bitterness and segregation that lasted until the 1960s.
Politics and wars
Colonization, decolonization and independence
Prominent political events
- The German Empire and Alliance System emerged.
- Racial and economic politics in America's Reconstruction were bitter, pessimistic, and sometimes violent.
- The Gilded Age began in 1874, lasting until 1896.
Science and technology
Photograph of Edison with his phonograph, taken by Mathew Brady
Literature and arts
- Jules Verne (France) publishes Around The World in Eighty Days
- Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, and Sisley organized the Société Anonyme Coopérative des Artistes Peintres, Sculpteurs, Graveurs ("Cooperative and Anonymous Association of Painters, Sculptors, and Engravers") for the purpose of exhibiting their artworks independently. Members of the association, which soon included Cézanne, Berthe Morisot, and Edgar Degas, were expected to forswear participation in the Salon. The organizers invited a number of other progressive artists to join them in their inaugural exhibition, including the slightly older Eugène Boudin, whose example had first persuaded Monet to take up plein air painting years before. Another painter who greatly influenced Monet and his friends, Johan Jongkind, declined to participate, as did Manet. In total, thirty artists participated in their first exhibition, held in April 1874 at the studio of the photographer Nadar. The group soon became known as the Impressionists.
- Jeanne Calment, born 1875, would eventually become the longest-living human being in recorded history. She lived until 1997, at the age of 122. She still holds the record as of 2018.
- Lewis Carroll publishes Through the Looking-Glass.
- Henrik Ibsen releases A Doll's House in 1879
Famous and Infamous People
- Sam Bass, Wild West, outlaw
- Charlie Bowdre, Wild West, outlaw/cowboy
- Richard M. Brewer, Wild West, gunslinger/cowboy, outlaw
- Crazy Horse, Native American war leader
- George Armstrong Custer, U. S. Army officer
- Wyatt Earp, Wild West, lawman
- E. B. Farnum, Elected official and one of the first residents of Deadwood, South Dakota
- "Wild Bill" Hickok, Legendary Wild West, lawman, gunfighter, and entertainer
- Doc Holliday, Legendary Wild West, gambler, gunfighter, outlaw, dentist
- Frank James, Wild West, outlaw
- Jesse James, Wild West, outlaw
- Calamity Jane, Frontierswoman and professional scout
- Jack McCall, murderer of "Wild Bill" Hickok
- Henry McCarty a.k.a. William Bonney a.k.a. Billy the Kid, Wild West, outlaw/cowboy
- Alexander McSween, Wild West, figure
- Lawrence Murphy, Wild West, racketeer
- Tom O'Folliard, Wild West, outlaw, best friend of Billy the Kid
- Giovanni Passannante, anarchist, attempted assassin of Umberto I of Italy
- Frank Stilwell, Wild West, outlaw/cowboy
- Al Swearengen, pimp and entertainment entrepreneur who ran the Gem Theater, for 22 years during the late 19th century
- John Tunstall, First man to be killed during the Lincoln County War
- John Younger, Wild West, outlaw
- Jim Younger, Wild West, outlaw
- Cole Younger, Wild West, outlaw
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- ^ Denvir (1990), p.32.
- ^ Bernard Denvir, The Thames and Hudson Encyclopaedia of Impressionism (1990).