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1872 ( MDCCCLXXII) was a leap year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and a leap year starting on Saturday of the Julian calendar, the 1872nd year of the Common Era (CE) and (AD) designations, the 872nd year of the Anno Domini 2nd millennium, the 72nd year of the 19th century, and the 3rd year of the 1870s decade. As of the start of 1872, the Gregorian calendar was 12 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.
January 12 – Yohannes IV is crowned Emperor of Ethiopia in Axum, the first ruler crowned in that city in over 500 years.
February 2 – The government of the United Kingdom buys a number of forts on the Gold Coast, from the Netherlands. 
February 4 – A great solar flare, and associated geomagnetic storm, makes northern lights visible as far south as Cuba. 
February 13 – Rex, the most famous parade on Mardi Gras, parades for the first time in New Orleans for Grand Duke Alexei Alexandrovich of Russia.
February 17 – Filipino priests José Burgos, Mariano Gomez and Jacinto Zamora, collectively known as Gomburza, are executed in Bagumbayan Fields, Manila, Philippines by the authorities of New Spain, on charges of subversion arising from the 1872 Cavite mutiny.
February 20 – The Metropolitan Museum of Art opens in New York City.
March 1 – In the United States, Yellowstone National Park (once dubbed "Colter's Hell" after John Colter, of the Lewis and Clark Expedition) is established as the world's first national park.
March 9 – Alfred B. Miller and Elmer Crockett found the newspaper in the United States. South Bend Tribune
March 11 – Work begins on the Seven Sisters Colliery in South Wales, located on one of the richest coal sources in Britain.
March 16 – 1872 FA Cup Final: In the first ever final of the FA Cup, the world's oldest football competition, Wanderers F.C. defeat Royal Engineers A.F.C. 1-0 at The Oval in Kennington, London.  March 26 – The 7.4-7.9 M w Lone Pine earthquake shakes eastern California, with a maximum Mercalli intensity of X ( Extreme); 27 people are killed and 56 injured.
Daguerreotype of Benito Juárez as president of Mexico.
July 1 – Thomas François Burgers becomes State President of the South African Republic. 
July 15 – Hochi Mail News, later Hochi Daily News, from 1894, a first issued of Japanese language newspaper published in Tokyo, although this newspaper change to sports newspaper from general newspaper from December 1949.
July 18 – Mexican President Benito Juarez dies of a heart attack, and Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada becomes interim president. 
July 19 – Explorer William Gosse reached Uluru in central Australia and named it Ayers Rock.
August 22 – The Australian Overland Telegraph Line is completed, providing a telegraphic link between Australia and the rest of the world for the first time.
September – Thomas Hardy anonymously publishes his novel . Under the Greenwood Tree
September 1 – A group of Icaiche Maya under Marcos Canul attack the British garrison at Orange Walk Town in British Honduras. 
September 17 – Shiseido Pharmacy Shop, as predecessor of Shiseido, a major cosmetics brand in worldwide, founded in Ginza, Tokyo, Japan.
September 18 – Upon the death of King Charles XV of Sweden and Norway, he is succeeded as King of both crowns by his brother Oscar II. September 26 – The first Shriners Temple (called Mecca) is established in New York City.
The Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College begins its first academic session (the university is later renamed
Virginia Tech). The first case is reported in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, of the Great Epizootic of 1872 ( equine influenza, or the "horse flu") which will substantially disrupt life in North America by mid-December.
October 16 – University College Wales (later to become Aberystwyth University) begins its first academic session. 
November 7 – The sets sail from New York; bound for Genoa, Italy. Mary Celeste
November 9 – Great Boston Fire of 1872: In Boston, Massachusetts, a large fire begins to burn on Lincoln Street (the 2-day disaster destroys about 65 acres (0.26 km 2) of the city, 776 buildings, much of the financial district and causes US$60 million in damage).
November 11 – U.S. government geologist Clarence King reveals the diamond hoax in Wyoming.
November 13 (07:35) (probable date) – Claude Monet begins painting ( Impression, Sunrise Impression, soleil levant, the painting that will give a name to Impressionism) as viewed from his hotel room at Le Havre in France. 
November 16 – The first ever Metropolitan Police strike
November 22 – "Spitzeder Swindle": Adele Spitzeder's pioneering Ponzi scheme in Munich collapses.
November 27 – A meteor shower display of Andromedids is seen over France.
November 30 – The first international Association football match to be recognised (retrospectively) by FIFA as "official" takes place at Hamilton Crescent, Scotland; the result is Scotland 0-0 England.  Earlier international football matches had already taken place in 1870, in 1871 and again in 1872 at the Oval, London.
December 3 – George Smith presents the first translation of the , to a meeting of the Epic of Gilgamesh Society of Biblical Archaeology in London.
December 4 – The now-crewless American ship is found (still seaworthy) by the British brig Mary Celeste Dei Gratia in the Atlantic.
December 6 – Springwell Pit disaster at Dawley, England: Eight coal miners fall to their death, when a winding chain snaps.
December 21 – : Challenger expedition HMS sails from Challenger Portsmouth, England on the 4-year scientific expedition that lays the foundation for the science of oceanography.
Date unknown In the aftermath of the
Paraguayan War, the new government of Paraguay makes peace with Brazil, grants reparations and territorial concessions. The
Kolozsvári Egyetem, predecessor of the University of Szeged, is founded. Under Japan's
A conscription law, modeled on the French version, is issued.
Universal public schools are called for. The first
Marist Brothers travel to Australia.
S. T. Dupont begins manufacture of luxury leather goods in France.
Kimberly, Clark and Co. is founded in Neenah, Wisconsin by John A. Kimberly, Charles B. Clark, Havilah Babcock and Franklyn C. Shattuck.
Schenker, as predecessor of DB Schenker, a logistics and freight transport worldwide, founded in Vienna, Austria. Versicherung-Verein, as predecessor of Zurich Insurance Group was founded.
January 6 – Alexander Scriabin, Russian composer (d. 1915)
January 13 – Vlasios Tsirogiannis, Greek general (d. 1928)
January 14 – Kerstin Hesselgren, Swedish politician (d. 1962)
January 20 – Julia Morgan, American architect (d. 1957)
January 23 – Gotse Delchev, Bulgarian revolutionary (d. 1903)
January 31 – Zane Grey, American writer (d. 1939)
February 1 – Jerome F. Donovan, American politician (d. 1949)
February 6 – Robert Maillart, Swiss civil engineer (d. 1940)
February 11 – Hannah Mitchell, English socialist, suffragette (d. 1956)
February 19 – Johan Pitka, Estonian entrepreneur, sea captain, and admiral (d. 1944)
February 24 – Gustave Sandras, French artistic gymnast (d. 1951)
February 27 – Alexandru Vaida-Voevod, 3-time Prime Minister of Romania (d. 1950)
February 28 – Mehdi Frashëri, Albanian politician, 15th Prime Minister of Albania (d. 1963)
March 3 – Willie Keeler, American baseball legend (d. 1923)
March 7 – Piet Mondrian, Dutch painter (d. 1944)
March 11 – Kathleen Clarice Groom, British writer (d. 1954)
March 15 – Harry Holman, American character actor (d. 1947)
March 23 – Michael Joseph Savage, 23rd Prime Minister of New Zealand (d. 1940)
March 24 – J. C. Wienecke, Dutch medallist (d. 1945)
April 9 – Léon Blum, French politician, Prime Minister of France (d. 1950)
April 14 – Abdullah Yusuf Ali, Indian-born Islamic scholar, translator (d. 1953)
April 29 – Harry Payne Whitney, American businessman, horse breeder (d. 1930)
May 1 – Sidónio Pais, 4th President, 66th Prime Minister of Portugal (d. 1918)
May 2 – Ichiy? Higuchi, Japanese author (d. 1896)
May 6 – William Bowie, American geodetic engineer (d. 1940)
May 12 – Anton Koro?ec, Slovenian political leader (d. 1940)
May 16 – John O'Connell, American baseball player (d. 1908)
May 18 – Bertrand Russell, British philosopher and mathematician, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature (d. 1970)
May 21 – Henry E. Warren, inventor of the first commercially viable electric clock, the Telechron (d. 1957)
June 5 – Ladislas Lazaro, U.S. Representatives from Louisiana (d. 1927)
June 6 – Alexandra Feodorovna (Alix of Hesse) (d. 1918)
June 8 – Jan Frans De Boever, Belgian painter (d. 1949)
June 13 – Thomas N. Heffron, American film director (d. 1951)
June 14 – János Szlepecz, Slovene writer, priest (d. 1936)
June 20 – George Carpenter, 5th General of The Salvation Army (d. 1948)
June 22 – Charles Murray, American actor (d. 1941) June 27 – Paul Laurence Dunbar, American poet, publisher (d. 1906)
July 1 – Louis Blériot, French aviation pioneer (d. 1936)
July 2 – Horace Short, British aircraft designer (d. 1917)
July 4 – Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States (d. 1933)
July 5 – Édouard Herriot, 3-time Prime Minister of France (d. 1957)
July 12 – Emil Hácha, 3rd President of Czechoslovakia (d. 1945)
July 16 – Roald Amundsen, Norwegian polar explorer (d. 1928)
July 25 – Herbert Stanley, Governor of Northern Rhodesia, Ceylon and Southern Rhodesia (d. 1955)
July 28 – Albert Sarraut, 2-time Prime Minister of France (d. 1962)
August 2 – George E. Stewart, American Medal of Honor recipient (d. 1946)
August 3 – King Haakon VII of Norway (d. 1957)
August 4 – Ruth Ward Kahn, American lecturer and writer (unknown year of death)
August 9 – Archduke Joseph August of Austria, Austrian field marshal (d. 1962)
August 10 – Bill Johnson, American jazz musician (d. 1972)
August 13 – Richard Willstätter, German chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1942)
August 15 – Sri Aurobindo, Indian nationalist, writer and mystic (d. 1950)
August 21 – Aubrey Beardsley, British artist (d. 1898)
August 26 – Joseph Taylor Robinson, American politician (d. 1937)
September 8 – James William McCarthy, American judge (d. 1939)
September 13 – Kij?r? Shidehara, 31st Prime Minister of Japan (d. 1951)
September 20 – Maurice Gamelin, French general (d. 1958)
October 4 – Roger Keyes, 1st Baron Keyes, British admiral (d. 1945)
October 6 – Carl Gustaf Ekman, 2-time Prime Minister of Sweden (d. 1945)
October 11 – Harlan F. Stone, Chief Justice of the United States (d. 1946)
October 12 – Ralph Vaughan Williams, English composer (d. 1958)
October 30 – Louisa Martindale, British physician, writer, magistrate and prison commissioner (d. 1966)
November 1 – Louis Dewis, Belgian Post-Impressionist painter (d. 1946)
November 4 – Barbu ?tirbey, 30th Prime Minister of Romania (d. 1946)
November 11 – Maude Adams, American stage actress (d. 1953)
November 30 – John McCrae, Canadian soldier, surgeon and poet (d. 1918)
December 3 – William Haselden, Spanish cartoonist (d. 1953)
December 8 – Mace Greenleaf, American actor (d. 1912)
December 11 – René Bull, British illustrator, photographer (d. 1942)
December 14 – John Smith Archibald, Canadian architect (d. 1934)
December 16 – Anton Ivanovich Denikin, Imperial Russian Lieutenant General (d. 1947)
December 21 – Don Lorenzo Perosi, Italian composer (d. 1956) December 26 – Norman Angell, English politician, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (d. 1967)
Date unknown Fok Hing Tong, also known as Huo Qingtang, Hong Kong business woman and social reformer (d. 1957)
January 7 – Big Jim Fisk, American financier (b. 1835)
January 9 – Henry Halleck, American general (b. 1815)
January 13 – William Scamp, English architect and engineer (b. 1801) 
January 21 – Franz Grillparzer, Austrian writer (b. 1791) March or April –
Mercator Cooper, American sea captain (b. 1803)
March 8 – Priscilla Susan Bury, British botanist (b. 1799)
March 11 – Emily Taylor, English schoolmistress (b. 1795)
March 12 – Zeng Guofan (traditional Chinese: ), Chinese official, military general and Confucian scholar (b. 1811)
March 15 – Jonathan Letterman, American surgeon, "father" of battlefield medicine. (b. 1824)
March 20 – William Wentworth, Australian explorer (b. 1790)
April 2 – Samuel Morse, American inventor (b. 1791)
April 16 – Adolf von Bonin, Prussian general (b. 1803)
June 20 – Élie Frédéric Forey, Marshal of France (b. 1804)
July 15 – Mary Eliza Herbert, Canadian publisher and writer (b. 1829)
July 18 – Benito Juárez, President of Mexico (1858-1872), of a heart attack (b. 1806) 
September 1 – Robert Gray, first Bishop of Cape Town (b. 1809)
September 10 – Avram Iancu, Romanian Transylvanian insurgent (b. 1824)
September 13 – Ludwig Feuerbach, German philosopher (b. 1804)
September 18 – Charles XV, King of Sweden and Norway (b. 1826)
September 18 – Ana María Martínez de Nisser, Colombian heroine, writer (b. 1812)
October 4 – Vladimir Dal, Russian lexicographer (b. 1801)
October 10 – William H. Seward, 24th United States Secretary of State (b. 1801)
October 23 – Théophile Gautier, French writer (b. 1811)
October 25 – William F. Johnston, American politician (b. 1808)
November 6 – George Meade, American Civil War general (b. 1815)
November 23 – Sir John Bowring, British colonial administrator, 4th Governor of Hong Kong (b. 1792)
November 28 – Mary Somerville, British mathematician (b. 1780)
November 29 – Horace Greeley, American newspaper editor, Democratic presidential candidate (b. 1811)
December 15 – Lady Beaconsfield, wife of Benjamin Disraeli (b. 1792) December 31 – Aleksis Kivi, Finnish national author (b. 1834) 
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"Origins of Labour Day". . The Canadian Encyclopedia
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^ a b
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"Aberystwyth University - Early Days". www.aber.ac.uk. Archived from the original on July 20, 2016 . Retrieved 2016.
Olson, Donald W. (2014). "Dating Impression, Sunrise". Monet's Impression, Sunrise: the biography of a painting. Paris: Éditions Hazan; Musée Marmottan Monet. pp. 80-105. ISBN . 978-0-300-21088-0
"18721130 Sat 30 Nov 1872 Scotland 0 England 0". www.londonhearts.com.
tinashe (November 25, 2011). "The first Cape cabinet is formed, with John Molteno as premier".
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Report for year ending 31 December 1909, Cape Government Railways, Section VIII - Dates of Opening and the Length of the different Sections in the Cape Colony, from the Year 1873 to 31st December, 1909.
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