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This article is about the year 1766.
|Centuries:||17th century – 18th century – 19th century|
|Decades:||1730s 1740s 1750s – 1760s – 1770s 1780s 1790s|
|Years:||1763 1764 1765 – 1766 – 1767 1768 1769|
|1766 by topic:|
|Arts and Sciences|
|Archaeology – Architecture – Art – Literature (Poetry) – Music – Science|
|Canada – Great Britain –|
|Lists of leaders|
|Colonial governors – State leaders|
|Birth and death categories|
|Births – Deaths|
|Establishments and disestablishments categories|
|Establishments – Disestablishments|
|Ab urbe condita||2519|
|British Regnal year||6 Geo. 3 – 7 Geo. 3|
|Chinese calendar||乙酉年 (Wood Rooster)
4462 or 4402
— to —
丙戌年 (Fire Dog)
4463 or 4403
|- Vikram Samvat||1822–1823|
|- Shaka Samvat||1688–1689|
|- Kali Yuga||4867–4868|
|Japanese calendar||Meiwa 3
|Julian calendar||Gregorian minus 11 days|
|Minguo calendar||146 before ROC
|Thai solar calendar||2308–2309|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to 1766.|
- January 1 – Charles Edward Stuart ("Bonnie Prince Charlie") becomes the new Stuart claimant to the throne of Great Britain as King Charles III and figurehead for Jacobitism.
- January 14 – Christian VII becomes King of Denmark.
- February 5 – An observer in Wilmington, North Carolina reports to the Edinburgh newspaper Caledonian Mercury that three ships have been seized by British men-of-war on the charge of carrying official documents without stamps. The strict enforcement causes seven other ships to leave Wilmington for other ports.
- February 13 – John Mills is elected a Fellow of the Royal Society with Benjamin Franklin as one of his sponsors.
- February 18 – Meermin slave mutiny: captive Malagasy people seize a Dutch East India Company slave ship in the Indian Ocean.
- February 20 – The Pennsylvania Gazette reports that a British sloop outside of Wilmington, North Carolina has seized a sloop sailing from Philadelphia and another sailing from Saint Christopher on the charge of carrying official documents without stamps. In response, local residents threaten to burn a Royal Man-of-War attempting to deliver stamps to Wilmington, forcing the ship to return to the mouth of the Cape Fear River.
- February 23 – Lorraine becomes French again on the death of Stanisław Leszczyński, King of Poland and last Duke of Lorraine.
- February – Ferocious wolf attacks occur in France, such as the Beast of Gévaudan or Wolves of Périgord.
- March 5 – Antonio de Ulloa, the first Spanish governor of Louisiana, arrives in New Orleans.
- March 18 – American Revolution: The British Parliament repeals the Stamp Act which has been very unpopular in the British colonies. The persuasion of Benjamin Franklin is considered partly responsible. The Declaratory Act asserts the right of Britain to bind the colonies in all other respects.
- May 30 – Opening of Theatre Royal, Bristol, England.
- July 1 – Jean-François de la Barre, a young French nobleman, is tortured and beheaded before his body is burnt on a pyre along with a copy of Voltaire's Dictionnaire philosophique nailed to his torso for the crime of not saluting a Roman Catholic religious procession in Abbeville and for other sacrileges including desecrating a crucifix.
- November 10 – The last Colonial governor of New Jersey, William Franklin, signs the charter of Queen's College (later renamed Rutgers University).
- November 27 – An observer in New York City, in the Province of New York, reports to the Pennsylvania Gazette that a British sloop of war is searching all vessels passing near Cape Lookout, North Carolina and that some vessels have been seized.
- November 29 – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart returns to Salzburg after the Mozart family grand tour of Europe.
- December 2 – Law on the Freedom of Printing abolishes censorship in Sweden and guarantees freedom of the press, making Sweden the first country of the world to introduce constitutional protection of press freedom and to pass wide-ranging freedom of information legislation.
- December 5 – James Christie holds the first sale at Christie's auction house in London.
- The Burmese begin to invade the Thai kingdom of Ayutthaya.
- What will become England's oldest surviving Georgian theatre is constructed in Stockton-on-Tees.
- Childsburgh, the Orange County, North Carolina county seat laid out as Corbin Town in 1754 and renamed in 1759, is renamed Hillsborough in honor of Wills Hill, 1st Marquess of Downshire, Earl of Hillsborough.
- January 6 – José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia, Supreme Leader of Paraguay (d. 1840)
- February 14 – Thomas Malthus, English demographer and economist (d. 1834)
- April 6 – Charles Louis de Fourcroy, Chevalier de la Légion D'honneur, French mathematician and scholar
- April 22 – Anne Louise Germaine de Staël, French author (d. 1817)
- May 30 – Robert Darwin, medical doctor and father of Charles Darwin (d. 1848)
- June 13 – Jean-Frédéric Waldeck (d. 1875)
- July 8 – Dominique Jean Larrey, French surgeon (d. 1842)
- July 21 – Thomas Charles Hope, Scottish chemist and discoverer of strontium (d. 1844)
- August 6 – William Hyde Wollaston, English chemist (d. 1828)
- September 6 – John Dalton, English chemist and physicist (d. 1844)
- October 23 – Emmanuel de Grouchy, Marquis de Grouchy, French marshal (d. 1847)
- November 2 – Joseph Radetzky von Radetz, Austrian field marshal (d. 1858)
- December 3 – Barbara Fritchie, U.S. patriot in the Civil War (d. 1862)
- January 1 – James Francis Edward Stuart, "The Old Pretender" (b. 1688)
- January 9 – Thomas Birch, English historian (b. 1705)
- January 13 – King Frederick V of Denmark (b. 1723)
- January 19 – Giovanni Niccolò Servandoni, French architect and painter (b. 1695)
- January 21 – James Quin, English actor (b. 1693)
- February 5 – Count Leopold Joseph von Daun, Austrian field marshal (b. 1705)
- February 23 – Stanislaus I Leszczyński, King of Poland (b. 1677)
- April 4 – John Taylor, English classical scholar (b. 1704)
- April 7 – Tiberius Hemsterhuis, Dutch philologist and critic (b. 1685)
- May 5 – Jean Astruc, French physician and scholar (b. 1684)
- May 8 – Samuel Chandler, English non-conformist minister (b. 1693)
- June 24 – Adrien Maurice de Noailles, 3rd Duke of Noailles, French soldier (b. 1678)
- July 9 – Jonathan Mayhew, American minister and patriot (b. 1720)
- July 11 – Elisabeth Farnese, queen of Philip V of Spain (b. 1692)
- July 14 – František Maxmilián Kaňka, Czech architect (b. 1674)
- August 13 – Margaret Fownes-Luttrell, English heiress and painter (b. 1726)
- September 3 – Archibald Bower, Scottish historian (b. 1686)
- September 13 – Benjamin Heath, English classical scholar (b. 1704)
- November 9 – Unico Wilhelm van Wassenaer, Dutch composer (b. 1692)
- December 12 – Johann Christoph Gottsched, German writer (b. 1700)