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|Centuries:||18th century – 19th century – 20th century|
|Decades:||1860s 1870s 1880s – 1890s – 1900s 1910s 1920s|
|Years:||1888 1889 1890 – 1891 – 1892 1893 1894|
|1891 in topic:|
|Archaeology – Architecture – Art – Literature – Music|
|Australia – Canada – France – Germany – Mexico – Philippines – South Africa – US – UK|
|Rail Transport – Science – Sports|
|Lists of leaders|
|Colonial Governors – State leaders|
|Birth and death categories|
|Births – Deaths|
|Establishments and disestablishments categories|
|Establishments – Disestablishments|
|Ab urbe condita||2644|
|British Regnal year||54 Vict. 1 – 55 Vict. 1|
— to —辛卯年十二月初一日
|- Vikram Samvat||1947–1948|
|- Shaka Samvat||1813–1814|
|- Kali Yuga||4992–4993|
|- Ǹrí Ìgbò||891–892|
|Japanese calendar||Meiji 24
|Juche calendar||N/A (before 1912)|
|Julian calendar||Gregorian minus 12 days|
|Minguo calendar||21 before ROC
|Thai solar calendar||2434|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: 1891|
- January 1 – Paying of old age pensions begins in Germany.
- January 16 – The 1891 Chilean Civil War breaks out.
- January 20 – Jim Hogg becomes the first native Texan to be governor of that state.
- January 29 – Liliuokalani is proclaimed Queen of Hawaii.
- January 31 – The Portuguese republican revolution breaks out in the northern city of Porto.
- February 14 – In the FA Cup Quarter Final, a goal is deliberately stopped by handball on the goal line. An Indirect free kick is awarded, since the Penalty kick was proposed that year but not implemented. This event probably changes public opinion on the penalty kick, which was seen as 'an Irishman's motion' before (see William McCrum).
- February 15 – AIK is founded.
- February 21 – Springhill, Nova Scotia suffers a serious mining disaster.
- March 3 – The International Copyright Act of 1891 is passed by the Fifty-first United States Congress.
- March 9–March 12 – A powerful storm off England's south coast sinks 14 ships.
- March 14 – In New Orleans, a lynch mob storms the Old Parish Prison and lynches 11 Italians arrested but found innocent of the murder of Police Chief David Hennessy.
- March 15 – Jesse W. Reno patents the first escalator at Coney Beach.
- March 17 – The British steamship SS Utopia, carrying Italian migrants to New York, sinks in the inner harbor of Gibraltar after collision with the battleship HMS Anson, killing 564.
- March 18 – Official opening of the London-Paris telephone system.
- April 1
- April 5 – Census in the United Kingdom. 15.6 million people live in cities of 20,000 or more in England and Wales. Cities of 20,000 or more account for 54% of the total English population.
- May – Mirza Ghulam Ahmad claims to be the Promised Messiah (The second coming of Jesus) and the Mahdi awaited in Islam.
- May 1 – Troops fire on a workers' May Day demonstration in support of the 8-hour workday in Fourmies, France, killing 9 and wounding 30.
- May 1 – The first Fascio dei lavoratori (Workers League) is founded by Giuseppe De Felice Giuffrida in Catania, (Sicily).
- May 5 – The Music Hall in New York (now known as Carnegie Hall) has its grand opening and first public performance, with maestro Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky as the guest conductor.
- May 11 – Otsu Incident: Tsesarevich Nikolay Alexandrovich (the future Czar Nicholas II) of Russia survives an assassination attempt while visiting Japan.
- May 15 – Pope Leo XIII issues the encyclical Rerum Novarum, resulting in the creation of many Christian Democrat Parties throughout Europe.
- May 20 – Thomas Alva Edison's prototype kinetoscope is first displayed at Edison's Laboratory, for a convention of the National Federation of Women's Clubs.
- May 31 N.S. (May 19 O.S.) – In the Kuperovskaya district of Vladivostok, a grand ceremonial inauguration of construction work on the Trans-Siberian Railway is carried out by the Tsesarevich Nikolay Alexandrovich and a religious service held.
- June 1 – The Johnstown Inclined Plane opens in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.
- June 16 – John Abbott becomes Canada's third prime minister.
- June 21 – First long-distance transmission of alternating current by the Ames power plant near Telluride, Colorado, by Lucien and Paul Nunn.
- June 25 – Arthur Conan Doyle's detective Sherlock Holmes appears in The Strand Magazine for the first time.
- July 30 – The Springboks rugby union team of South Africa play their first international test match against the Lions team of the British Isles and win by 4-0.
- August 27 – France and Russia conclude a defensive alliance.
- September 14 – The first penalty kick is awarded in a football (soccer) match; John Heath scores it for the Wolverhampton Wanderers.
- September 28 – The C.A. Peñarol is founded in Montevideo under the name of the CURCC (Central Uruguay Railway Cricket Club).
- October – Eugène Dubois finds the first fragmentary bones of Pithecanthropus erectus (later redesignated Homo erectus), or 'Java Man', at Trinil on the Solo River.
- October 1 – In California, Stanford University opens its doors.
- October 27 – An 8.0 earthquake strikes the village of Utsuzumi in rural Gifu, Japan, killing over 7,000 across the region and creating a 3-meter-tall surface fault that is still visible.
- November 11 – The Jindandao Incident breaks out in the Juu Uda League, Inner Mongolia, massacred tens of thousands of Mongols before being suppressed by government troops in late December.
- November 15 – The Brazilian Old Republic Constitution was promulgated.
- November 28 – The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers was organized.
Date unknown 
- Brahmin teacher and nationalist Bal Gangadhar Tilak begins agitation for Indian home Rule.
- New Scotland Yard becomes the HQ of the London Metropolitan Police.
- James Naismith invents basketball.
- The Tobacco Protest occurs in Iran.
- Oba Ovonramwen seizes the throne of Benin.
- The Australian Labor Party is founded.
- Seattle University is established.
- Drexel University is founded as the Drexel Institute of Art, Science and Industry.
- The Auckland University Students' Association is founded.
- Maria Skłodowska (later Marie Curie) enters the Sorbonne University.
- Nikola Tesla invents the Tesla coil.
- Michelin patent the removable pneumatic bicycle tire.
- Skansen is established as the world's first open air museum by Artur Hazelius on the island of Djurgården in Stockholm, Sweden.
- January 1 – Charles Bickford, American actor (d. 1967)
- January 2 – Charles P. Thompson, American actor (d. 1979)
- January 7 – Zora Neale Hurston, Harlem Renaissance writer (d. 1960)
- January 8 – Walther Bothe, German physicist, Nobel Prize in Physics (d. 1957)
- January 22 – Antonio Gramsci, Italian Communist writer and politician (d. 1937)
- January 24 – Walter Model, German field marshal (d. 1945)
- January 27 – Ilya Ehrenburg, Russian writer (d. 1967)
- February 9 – Ronald Colman, English actor (d. 1958)
- February 11 – J.W. Hearne, English cricketer (d. 1965)
- February 13 – Grant Wood, American painter (d. 1942)
- February 17 – Abraham Fraenkel, German-born Israeli mathematician and recipient of the Israel Prize (d. 1965)
- February 21 – Sean Heuston, Irish rebel (d. 1916)
- February 27 – David Sarnoff, Russian-born American broadcasting pioneer (d. 1971)
- March 3 – Fritz Rumey, German World War I fighter ace (d. 1918)
- March 9 – Jose P. Laurel, Philippine President (d. 1959)
- March 10 – Sam Jaffe, American actor (d. 1984)
- March 19 – Earl Warren, Chief Justice of the United States (d. 1974)
- March 24 – Rudolf Berthold, German fighter pilot (d. 1920)
- March 26 – Will Wright, American actor (d. 1962)
- March 29 – Yvan Goll, French lyricist and dramatist (d. 1950)
- April 2 – Max Ernst, German painter (d. 1976)
- April 7 – Ole Kirk Christiansen, founder of the Lego group (d. 1958)
- April 13 – Nella Larsen, American novelist (d. 1964)
- April 14 – B. R. Ambedkar, One of the founding fathers of modern India and the architect of its constitution (d. 1956 )
- April 15 – Wallace Reid, American actor (d. 1923)
- April 17 – George Adamski, Polish-born alleged UFO traveler (d. 1965)
- April 23 – Sergei Prokofiev, Soviet composer (d. 1953)
- May 7 – Harry McShane, Scottish socialist (d. 1988)
- May 10 – Mahmoud Mokhtar, Egyptian sculptor (d. 1934)
- May 15
- May 16 – Richard Tauber, Austrian tenor (d. 1948)
- May 18 – Rudolf Carnap, German philosopher (d. 1970)
- May 19 – Oswald Boelcke, German World War I pilot (d. 1916)
- May 22 – Eddie Edwards, American jazz trombonist (d. 1963)
- May 23 – Pär Lagerkvist, Swedish writer, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1974)
- May 24 – William F. Albright, American archeologist and Biblical scholar (d. 1971)
- June 2 – Takijirō Ōnishi, Japanese admiral (d. 1945)
- June 3 – Jim Tully, vagabond, pugalist, noted American writer (d. 1947 heart disease)
- June 9 – Cole Porter, American composer and songwriter (d. 1964)
- June 20 – John A. Costello, second President of Ireland (d. 1976)
- June 21 – Hermann Scherchen, German conductor (d. 1966)
- June 28 – Esther Forbes, American Writer (d. 1967)
- June 30 – Man Mountain Dean, American professional wrestler (d. 1953)
- July 2 – Karin Kock-Lindberg, Swedish politician (d. 1976)
- July 5 – John Howard Northrop, American chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1987)
- July 27 – Jacob van der Hoeden, Dutch-Israeli veterinary scientist (d. 1968)
- July 29 – Bernhard Zondek German-born Israeli gynecologist, developer of first reliable pregnancy test (d. 1966)
- July 30 – Roderic Dallas, Australian World War I fighter ace (d. 1918)
- August 2 – Viktor Maksimovich Zhirmunsky, Russian literary historian, linguist (d. 1971)
- August 11 – Stancho Belkovski, Bulgarian architect and lecturer (d. 1962)
- August 21 – Emiliano Mercado del Toro, Puerto Rican, longest-lived war veteran ever and last verified person born in 1891 (d. 2007)
- August 25 – David Shimoni, Russian-born Israeli poet and writer (d. 1956)
- September 3 – Bessie Delany, African American physician and author (d. 1995)
- September 12 – Pedro Albizu Campos, advocate of Puerto Rican independence (d. 1965)
- September 14 – William F. Friedman, American cryptographer (d. 1969)
- September 16
- September 26 – Charles Munch, French conductor and violinist (d. 1968)
- September 28 – Myrtle Gonzalez, American film and stage actress (d. 1918)
- October 12 – Fumimaro Konoe, Prime Minister of Japan (d. 1945)
- October 20 – James Chadwick, English physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1974)
- October 24 – Rafael Leónidas Trujillo, dictator of the Dominican Republic (d. 1961)
- October 25 – Father Coughlin, antisemetic radio host and Catholic priest (d. 1979)
- November 2 – David Townsend, American art director (1935)
- November 10 – Carl Stalling, American musician (d. 1972)
- November 14 – Frederick Banting, Canadian physician, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (d. 1941)
- November 15
- November 28 – Gregorio Perfecto, Filipino jurist & politician (d. 1949)
- November 29 – Julius Raab, former Chancellor of Austria (d. 1964)
- December 9 – Maksim Bahdanovič, Belarussian poet (d. 1917)
- December 10 – Nelly Sachs, German writer, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1970)
- December 14 – Katherine MacDonald, American silent screen actress (d. 1956)
- December 17
- December 19 – Edward Bernard Raczynski, former President of Poland (d. 1993)
- December 26 – Henry Miller, American writer (d. 1980)
Date unknown 
- Godfrey Ince, British civil servant (d. 1960)
- W. Alton Jones, American industrialist and philanthropist (d. 1962)
- January 5 – Emma Abbott, American opera singer (b. 1849)
- January 16 – Léo Delibes, French composer (b. 1836)
- January 20 – Kalākaua, Last Reigning King of Hawaii (b. 1836)
- January 21
- February 13 – David Dixon Porter, American admiral (b. 1813)
- February 14 – William Tecumseh Sherman, American general (b. 1820)
- March 15
- March 29 – Georges Seurat, French painter (b. 1859)
- April 2 – Ahmed Vefik Pasha, Turkish statesman (b. 1823)
- April 7 – P. T. Barnum, American showman (b. 1810)
- April 9 – George Cavendish-Bentinck, British Conservative politician (b. 1821)
- April 24 – Helmuth von Moltke the Elder, Prussian field marshal (b. 1800)
- April 25 – Nathaniel Woodard, educationalist (b. 1811)
- May 4 – Professor James Moriarty, fictional criminal mastermind of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes short story The Final Problem (b. unknown)
- May 8 – Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Russian-born author and theosophist (b. 1831)
- June 6 – John A. Macdonald, first Prime Minister of Canada (b. 1815)
- June 23 – Samuel Newitt Wood, American Politician (b. 1825)
- July 4 – Hannibal Hamlin, Vice President of the United States (b. 1809)
- August 12 – James Russell Lowell, American poet and essayist (b. 1819)
- August 14 – Sarah Childress Polk, First Lady of the United States (b. 1803)
- August 29 – Pierre Lallement, French inventor of the bicycle (b. 1843?)
- September 7 – Lorenzo Sawyer, 9th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of California (b. 1820)
- September 11 – Antero de Quental, Portuguese poet (b. 1842)
- September 15 – Ivan Goncharov, Russian author (b. 1812)
- September 28 – Herman Melville, American novelist (b. 1819)
- September 30 – Georges Ernest Boulanger, French general and politician (b. 1837)
- October 6
- October 15 – Gilbert Arthur a Beckett, English writer (b. 1837)
- October 23 – Ambrosius of Optina, Russian Orthodox saint (b. 1812)
- November 6 – J. Gregory Smith, Vermont governor (b. 1818)
- November 10 – Arthur Rimbaud, French poet (b. 1854)
- November 17 – George H. Cooper, United States Navy admiral (b. 1821)
- December 5 – Pedro II, Brazilian deposed emperor (b. 1826)
- December 31 – Samuel Ajayi Crowther, 1st African Anglican bishop; linguist and legendary missionary (b. 1809)
- 562 passengers and crew from Utopia and two rescue sailors from HMS Immortalité - "The Dead of the Utopia". The New York Times. March 20, 1891.
- Penguin Pocket On This Day. Penguin Reference Library. 2006. ISBN 0-14-102715-0.
- Carroll, Sean B. (2009). Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origin of Species. London: Quercus. pp. 90–91. ISBN 978-1-84916-072-8.
- Lloyd, John; Mitchinson, John (2010). The Second Book of General Ignorance. London: Faber. p. 163. ISBN 978-0-571-26965-5.