|Centuries:||18th century – 19th century – 20th century|
|Decades:||1840s 1850s 1860s – 1870s – 1880s 1890s 1900s|
|Years:||1868 1869 1870 – 1871 – 1872 1873 1874|
- January 2 – Amadeus I becomes King of Spain.
- January 18 – Germany becomes a unified country called the German Empire when states of the North German Confederation and south German states of the Kingdom of Bavaria, the Kingdom of Württemberg, the Grand Duchy of Baden and the Grand Duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt unite. The King of Prussia becomes the first German Emperor as Wilhelm I of Germany.
- January 10 – France surrenders (gives up) to end the Franco-Prussian War
- March 22 – In North Carolina, William Holden is the first American governor (leader of a U.S. state) to be impeached (removed from office)
- March 26 – The Paris Commune takes power in Paris.
- March 29 – The Royal Albert Hall is opened by Queen Victoria.
- April – Stockholms Handelsbank is formed.
- October 12 – The introduction of the so-called Criminal Tribes Act was enacted in British India.
- January 17 – David Earl Betty of the North Sea and of Brooksby, British admiral (navy leader) (d. 1936)
- January 30 – Wilfred Lucas, actor (d. 1940)
- February 4 – Friedrich Ebert, president of the Weimar Republic (d. 1925)
- March 5 – Rosa Luxemburg, politician (d. 1919)
- March 27 – Heinrich Mann, speaker and writer (d. 1950)
- May 6 – Christian Morgenstern, writer (d. 1914)
- May 27 – Georges Rouault, painter and artist (d. 1958).
- July 23 – Tsunesaburō Makiguchi (Japanese old Lunar calendar 6 June was an incorrect date using in Gregorian calendar), First president of Soka Gakkai International (SGI) (d. 1944).
- August 19 – Orville Wright of the Wright brothers, Americans who invented the airplane.
- August 29 – Albert Lebrun, French politician (d. 1950)
- September 27 – Grazia Deledda, Sardinian writer – Nobel prize (d. 1936)
- December 13 – Emily Carr, Canadian artist and writer.
- Richard Turner, Canadian soldier with the Royal Canadian Dragoons, who got the Victoria Cross for bravery during the Second Boer War.
- Guangxu, Emperor of the Qing Dynasty in China.