January – The Pangkor Treaty (also known as the Pangkor Engagement), by which the British extended their control over, first the Sultanate of Perak and later the other independent Malay States, is signed.
January 3 – Battle of Caspe (Third Carlist War): Campaigning on the Ebro in Aragon for the Spanish Republican Government, Colonel Eulogio Despujol surprised a Carlist force under Manuel Marco de Bello at Caspe, northeast of Alcañiz. In a brilliant action the Carlists were routed, losing 200 prisoners and 80 horses, while Despujol was promoted to Brigadier and became Conde de Caspe.
February 24-February 25 –First Battle of Somorrostro (Third Carlist War): Determined to raise the siege of Bilbao by the Pretender Don Carlos VII, Republican commander Marshal Francisco Serrano sent General Domingo Moriones with a relief force of 14,000 men. Carlists, under General Nicolás Ollo, entrenched at Somorrostro outside Bilbao drive back a courageous assault by General Fernando Primo de Rivera and then the entire Republican army. The republicans lose 1,200 men, and Moriones loses his nerve demanding reinforcements and a replacement for himself. Moriones men entrenched and waited.
March 14 – Battle of Castellfollit de la Roca (Third Carlist War): Appointed to command the Spanish Republican army in the north, General Ramón Nouvilas attempted to relieve the Carlist siege of Olot in Girona. But at Castellfollit de la Roca, in one of the Government’s worst defeats, Nouvilas was routed by Carlist General Francesc Savalls, and captured along with about 2,000 of his men. Olot capitulated two days later.
March 25–27 – Second Battle of Somorrostro (Third Carlist War): In a renewed attempt to raise the siege of Bilbao by Don Carlos VII, Republican commander Marshal Francisco Serrano himself arrived with 27,000 men and 70 cannon. However, in three days of fierce fighting, the Carlist General Joaquín Elío, with just 17,000 men, once again drove off the attack at nearby Somorrostro, and it was another six weeks before Serrano managed to relieve Bilbao.
March – The Young Men's Hebrew Association in Manhattan (which still operates today as the 92nd Street Y) is founded.
July 14 – The Chicago Fire of 1874 burns down 47 acres of the city, destroying 812 buildings, killing 20, and resulting in the fire insurance industry demanding municipal reforms from Chicago's city council.
July 24 – Sack of Cuenca (Third Carlist War): After Carlist forces successfully defended Estella, Don Alfonso de Bourbon, brother of the Don Carlos VII, led 14,000 Catalan Carlists south to attack Cuenca 136 km from Madrid, held by Republicans under Don Hilario Lozano. After two days the outnumbered garrison capitulated but Don Alfonso permitted a terrible slaughter. The city is sacked. Subsequently, another republican force defeats the disorderly Catalans who flee back to the Ebro.
July 31 –July 31, 1874 - Patrick Francis Healy, S.J., first Black man to receive a PhD, inaugurated as president of Georgetown University, the oldest Catholic University in America, and became the first Black to head a predominantly white university
August 11 – Battle of Oteiza (Third Carlist War): Two months after Government forces were repulsed from Carlist-held Estella, in Navarre, Republican General Domingo Moriones made a fresh diversionary attack a few miles to the southeast at Oteiza. In heavy fighting Moriones secured a costly tactical victory over Carlist General Torcuato Mendíri, but the war continued another 18 months before Estella finally fell.
December 29 – General Martínez and Brigadier General Luís Daban stage a pronunciamento at Sagunto and proclaim Isabel's son Alfonso as King of Spain. Subsequently, the Madrid garrison follows suit and the First Spanish Republic comes to an end.