- April 2: President Andrew Johnson declared an end to war in Alabama.
- East Alabama Male College re-opened after closing during the Civil War.
- Etowah County was established from a northeast section of the St Clair County.
- Jesse and Samuel Huey purchased a 1,200-acre section of Mortimer Jordan's estate, later becoming Hueytown.
- Pleasant Hill Academy was formed in Jonesboro by the merger of Bucksville Academy and Salem Male and Female Academy.
- February 3: The Canebrake Company purchased the remains of the Brierfield Ironworks from the Freedman's Bureau for $45,000.
- The Cahaba Iron Works was rebuilt and began operating again.
- November 3: The reconstructed Brierfield Ironworks produced its first iron.
- Antioch Baptist Church (Linn's Crossing) was founded.
- John Brown succeeded John Guttry as Walker County Sheriff.
- Jabez Curry was ordained as a Baptist minister.
- Josiah Gorgas moved his family into the Jesse Mahan residence.
- Joseph Guild became Mayor of Tuscaloosa for the second time.
- Columbus C. Cunningham succeeded Charles B. Elliott as Shelby County Sheriff. Cunningham was then succeeded by Thomas Harrison during the same year.
- Campbell Wallace was appointed superintendent of the Western & Alabama Railroad by the Governor of Georgia.
- William Ward was admitted to the Alabama State Bar.
- February 19: Mary Anderson, inventor
- February 16: Charles Fisher, pastor of 16th Street Baptist Church
- February 23: Harry Wheelock, architect
- April 15: William McQueen, Sloss Iron & Steel Company president and Birmingham Barons owner
- May 17: John Abercrombie, politician and educator
- June 19: Culpepper Exum, Mayor of Birmingham
- July 17: Firefighter Gip Spruiell was born in St Clair County.
- September 4: Edward Barrett, newspaper publisher
- September 25: Henry Milner, engineer and developer
- November 9: Robert Thach, attorney and Birmingham Board of Aldermen member.
- Lady Helen Venetia Duncombe, portrait subject
- William Weston, architect
- Charles Whelan graduated from Medical College of Louisiana.
- January 4: Thomas Parsons married Molly Clementine Goodwin.
- June 26: Peyton King married Mary Alabama Tarrant.
- November 27: James Luckie married Susan Dillard in Newton County, Georgia.
- November 28: N. F. Thompson married Julia Queen in Shelbyville, Tennessee.
- February 19: Mortimer Jordan, plantation owner
- Margaret Godwin
- Moses Kelly Jr, Jefferson County Sheriff, judge and legislator
In 1866, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) was founded. The Canadian Parliament moved to Ottawa. The Austro-Prussian War was fought. Tennessee became the first state to be readmitted to the Union following the Civil War. Congress created the rank of General of the Army and assigned it to Ulysses S. Grant. The transatlantic telegraph cable was put into service, greatly increasing communication between North America and Europe. Food manufacturers Nestle and General Mills were founded.
Books published in 1866 included Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky and Les Travailleurs de la Mer (The Toilers of the Sea) by Victor Hugo.
Notable births in 1866 included outlaw Butch Cassidy, tutor Anne Sullivan, children's author Beatrix Potter, explorer Matthew Henson, boxer James J. Corbett, writer H. G. Wells, and revolutionary Sun Yat-sen. Notable deaths included satirist Thomas Love Peacock, clergyman Alexander Campbell, mathematician Bernhard Riemann, and geodesist George Everest.
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