From right to left, clockwise: Conflict erupts between the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia leading to the Franco-Prussian War in 1870; a fire in Chicago kills approximately 300 people and leaves about another 100,000 people homeless in 1871; Claude Monet's Impression, Sunrise is recognized as the source of inspiration for the Impressionist movement; The U.S. Army is defeated by Arapaho, Lakota and Northern Cheyenne tribes during the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876; Nicolaus Otto patents the first commercial four-stroke internal combustion engine; Queen Victoria is recognized as the “Empress of India” in the Royal Titles Act 1876; Emirate of Afghanistan forces defend against British Raj invaders in the Second Anglo-Afghan War; British Empire and Zulu Kingdom fighters engage in combat during the Anglo-Zulu War.

The 1870s (pronounced "eighteen-seventies") was a decade of the Gregorian calendar that began on January 1, 1870, and ended on December 31, 1879.

The trends of the previous decade continued into this one, as new empires, imperialism and militarism rose in Europe and Asia. The United States was recovering from the American Civil War. Germany unified in 1871 and began its Second Reich. Labor unions and strikes occurred worldwide in the later part of the decade, and continued until World War I. The Reconstruction era of the United States brought a legacy of bitterness and segregation that is still present.

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