1869 is a common year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar).
- March 1 - North German Confederation issues 10gr and 30gr value stamps, printed on goldbeater's skin
- May 4 - Naval Battle of Hakodate in Japan.
- May 10 - Transcontinental Railroad completed at Promontory, Utah.
- May 15 - Woman's suffrage: In New York, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton form the National Woman's Suffrage Association.
- May 26 - Last public hanging in Britain - Fenian bomber Michael Barrett
- May 29 - British parliament passes the Capital Punishment within Prisons Bill ending public hanging
- August 4/12 - Emperor Norton I of the United States abolished both the Democratic and Republican parties.
- August 9 - Ferdinand Lassalle founds the SAP, the first socialist workers party in Germany.
- August 20 - Abergele Train Disaster - Irish Mail passenger train collides with cargo trucks loaded with paraffin - 33 dead; First major train disaster in Britain
- October 16 - England's first residential college for women, Girton College, is founded.
- November 4 - The first issue of scientific journal Nature is published.
- November 6 - The first intercollegiate American football game is played. Rutgers defeats Princeton, 6 to 4.
- November 17 - In Egypt, the Suez Canal, linking the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea, is inaugurated in an elaborate ceremony.
- November 23 - In Dumbarton, Scotland the clipper ship Cutty Sark is launched (it was one of the last clipper ships to be built, and the only one surviving to the present day).
- December 10 - First American chapter of Kappa Sigma founded at the University of Virginia.
- December 31 - Triple Alliance forces take Asuncion
- January 10 - Grigori Rasputin, Russian mystic (d. 1916)
- January 15 - Stanisław Wyspiański, Polish dramatist, poet, painter, architect (d. 1907)
- February 11 - Helene Kroller-Muller Dutch museum founder and patron of the arts (d. 1939)
- February 14 - Charles Wilson, Scottish physicist (d. 1959)
- March 5 - Michael von Faulhaber, cardinal and archbishop (d. 1952)
- March 14 - Algernon Blackwood, English writer (d. 1951)
- March 18 - Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (d. 1940)
- March 21 - Florenz Ziegfeld, theatrical producer (d. 1932)
- April 2 - Hughie Jennings, Baseball Hall of Famer (d. 1928)
- April 8 - Harvey Cushing, American neurosurgeon (d. 1939)
- April 11 - Gustav Vigeland, Norwegian sculptor (d. 1943)
- May 14 - Friedrich Karl Kleine , physician (d. 1951)
- August 10 - Lawrence Binyon, English poet and scholar (d. 1943)
- September 2 - Fritz Pregl, Slovenian chemist (Nobel prize 1923) (d. 1930)
- September 23 - Mary Mallon, "Typhoid Mary" Irish domestic servant and cook famous as a carrier of typhoid fever (d. 1938)
- October 2 - Mohandas Gandhi, founder of the modern Indian state, proponent of nonviolence (d. 1948)
- October 25 - John Heisman, American football coach (d. 1936)
- November 25 - Herbert Greenfield, Premier of Alberta (d. 1949)
- December 30 - Stephen Leacock, British-Canadian author and economist (d. 1944)
- December 31 - Henri Matisse, French painter (d. 1954)
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