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|( 1860s: ) 1861|
The Bombardment of Fort Sumter, starting the hostilities in the southern states' bid for secession.
- February 8 – American Civil War: The Confederate States of America are formed, comprising the first seven break-away States.
- February 23 – President-elect Abraham Lincoln arrives secretly in Washington, D.C. after an assassination attempt in Baltimore.
- February 24 – Battle of Ky Hoa: the French and the Spanish defeat the Vietnamese.
- March 3 (February 19 O.S.) – Emancipation reform of 1861: Serfdom is abolished in the Russian Empire.
- March 17 – Italian unification: The Kingdom of Italy is proclaimed by the new Parliament, with Victor Emmanuel II of Piedmont-Sardinia becoming its king.
- April 7 – A population census is taken in the United Kingdom.
- April 12 – The American Civil War begins with the bombardment of Fort Sumter, South Carolina.
- April 13 – American Civil War: Fort Sumter surrenders to Southern forces.
- April 27 - President Abraham Lincoln suspends the writ of habeas corpus in the United States.
- May 13 - American Civil War: Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom issues a "proclamation of neutrality", which recognizes the breakaway states as having belligerent rights.
- June 15 – Benito Juárez is formally elected President of Mexico; he temporarily stops the payments of foreign debt.
- June 25 – Abdülmecid I, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire (1839–1861) dies and is succeeded by Abdülaziz (1861–1876).
- July 1
- The first issue of the Vatican's newspaper L'Osservatore Romano is published.
- Taiping Rebellion – Battle of Shanghai: French and Imperial Chinese troops defeat Taiping forces.
- July 12 – The Confederate States sign a Treaty with Choctaws and Chickasaws in Indian Territory.
- July 21 – American Civil War: First Battle of Bull Run: At Manassas Junction, Virginia, the first major battle of the war ends in a Confederate victory.
- July 25 – American Civil War: The Crittenden–Johnson Resolution is passed by the U.S. Congress, stating that the war is being fought to preserve the Union, and not to end slavery.
- August 1 – The first public weather forecast: measured and predicted correctly by Admiral Robert FitzRoy.
- August 5 - American Civil War: In order to help pay for the war effort, the United States government issues the first income tax as part of the Revenue Act of 1861 (3% of all incomes over US$800; rescinded in 1872).
- October 24 – Template:Ship, the world's first ocean-going (all) iron-hulled armored battleship, is completed and commissioned into the British Royal Navy.
- October 31 - The Spanish, French and British governments sign a tripartite agreement to intervene in Mexico, in the hope of recovering unpaid debts.
- November 6 – American Civil War: Jefferson Davis is elected president of the Confederate States of America.
- November 5 – The first Melbourne Cup horse race is held in Melbourne, Australia.
- November 8 – American Civil War – Trent Affair: The Template:USS stops the United Kingdom mail ship Trent, and arrests two Confederate envoys, James Mason and John Slidell, sparking a diplomatic crisis between the U.K. and U.S.
- The British Empire establishes bases in Lagos to stop the slave trade.
- The Perpetual Truce of Peace and Friendship is signed between Bahrain and the United Kingdom.
|American Civil War||1861||1865|
|Private research university in California which conducts a yearly survey of what the US public fears.|
|Canada/Liberal Party of Canada|
|Vassar College||Private liberal arts college||Exclusive and rich New York college, traditionally for women, now co-educational.|
|University of Washington||Public|
|University in Seattle, Washington state|
|Title||Born||Place of birth||Died||Summary||Description|
|Joseph Mansfield||9 February 1861||12 July 1947||Politician||Texas Congressman from 1917 to 1947.|
|Halford Mackinder||15 February 1861||Gainsborough|
|6 March 1947||Academic|
|Basil Thomson||21 April 1861||26 March 1939||Spook|
Deep state operative
|George Norris||11 July 1861||Ohio|
|2 September 1944||Politician|
|Arsène Pujo||16 December 1861||31 December 1939||Activist|
|Campaigning member of the US House of Representatives.|