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|Centuries:||17th century – 18th century – 19th century|
|Decades:||1760s 1770s 1780s – 1790s – 1800s 1810s 1820s|
|Years:||1790 1791 1792 1793 1794 1795 1796 1797 1798 1799|
|Births – Deaths – By country
Establishments – Disestablishments
This is a list of events occurring in the 1790s, ordered by year.
- January 8 – President of the United States George Washington gives the first State of the Union address, in New York City.
- January 11 – 11 minor states of the Austrian Netherlands which took part in the Brabant Revolution at the end of 1789 sign a Treaty of Union creating the United States of Belgium. Prime Minister of Great Britain William Pitt refuses to recognize the new confederation's independence.
- January 26 – Mozart's opera Così fan tutte premiered in Vienna.
- January 30 – The first boat specialized as a rescue lifeboat is tested on the River Tyne in England.
- February 1 – In New York City the Supreme Court of the United States convenes for the first time.
- February 4 – Louis XVI of France declares to the National Assembly that he will maintain the constitutional laws.
- February 11 – Two Quaker delegates petition the United States Congress for the abolition of slavery.
- March 1 – The first United States Census is authorized; it is held later in the year.
- March 4 – France is divided into 83 départements, which cut across the former provinces, in an attempt to dislodge regional loyalties based on noble ownership of land.
- March 6 – The legislature of New York consents to the admission to the Union of a new state, Vermont, formed within the boundaries of New York, contingent upon the successful conclusion of negotiations concerning disputed real-estate claims and the boundary between the two states.
- March 21 – Thomas Jefferson reports to President George Washington in New York as the new United States Secretary of State.
- April 10 – The United States patent system is established.
- May 13 – Battle of Reval: Gustav III of Sweden sends the battlefleet to eliminate the Russian squadron wintering at Reval (Estonia), but is defeated: 8 Russians, 51 Swedes are killed, 250 captured, and 2 ships are sunk.
- May 29 – Rhode Island ratifies the United States Constitution and becomes the last of the 13 original states to do so.
- June 9 – Royal assent is given to establishment of the port of Milford Haven in Wales.
- June 20 – Compromise of 1790: Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton come to an agreement: Madison agrees to not be "strenuous" in opposition for the assumption of state debts by the federal government; Hamilton agrees to support the capital site being above the Potomac.
- June 23 – The alleged London Monster is arrested in London: he later receives 40 years for 10 assaults.
- July – Louis XVI of France accepts a constitutional monarchy.
- July 9 – Russo-Swedish War – Second Battle of Svensksund: In a massive Baltic Sea battle of 300 ships, the Swedish navy captures one third of the Russian galley fleet: 304 Swedes are killed, 3,500 Russians killed and 6,000 captured, 51 Russian galleys and other rowing craft are sunk and 22 are taken.
- July 12 – French Revolution: The Civil Constitution of the Clergy is passed. This completes the destruction of the monastic orders, legislating out of existence all regular and secular chapters for either sex, abbacies and priorships.
- July 14 – French Revolution: Citizens of Paris celebrate the unity of the French people and the national reconciliation in the Fête de la Fédération.
- July 16 – The signing of the Residence Bill establishes a site along the Potomac River as the District of Columbia, the capital district of the United States.
- July 26 – Alexander Hamilton's Assumption Bill, giving effect to his First Report on the Public Credit, is passed in the United States Congress, allowing the federal government to assume the consolidated debts of the U.S. states.
- July 27 – The Convention of Reichenbach is signed between Prussia and Austria.
- July 31 – Inventor Samuel Hopkins becomes the first to be issued a U.S. patent (for an improved method of making potash).
- August 4 – A newly passed U.S. tariff act creates the system of cutters for revenue enforcement (later named the United States Revenue Cutter Service), the forerunner of the Coast Guard.
- August 14 – The Treaty of Värälä ends the Russo-Swedish War.
- September 25 – Peking opera is born when the Four Great Anhui Troupes introduce Anhui opera to Beijing in honor of the Qianlong Emperor's eightieth birthday
- September 30 – Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor starts to rule.
- October 7 – Commissioners appointed by the legislature of New York announce the successful conclusion of negotiations between New York and Vermont concerning disputed real-estate claims and the consent of the legislature to the admission to the Union of the state of Vermont, which was formed within what New York claimed as its territory under an Order in Council that King George III issued on July 20, 1764.
- November – Holy Roman forces recapture the Austrian Netherlands
- December 10 – The Hawkesbury and Nepean Wars begin in New South Wales, Australia as a result of deterioration in relations and increasing colonization.
- December 11 – Russo-Turkish War (1787–92): 26,000 Turkish soldiers lose their lives during Alexander Suvorov's storm of Izmail.
- January 12 – Holy Roman troops reenter Liège, heralding the end of the Liège Revolution and the restoration of its Prince-Bishops.
- January 25 – The British Parliament passes the Constitutional Act 1791, splitting the old province of Quebec into Upper and Lower Canada.
- February 21 – The United States opens diplomatic relations with Portugal.
- March 2 – In France:
- March 4 – Vermont is admitted as the 14th U.S. state.
- March 13 – Thomas Paine's chief work Rights of Man (first part) is published in London.
- March – In France, the National Constituent Assembly accepts the recommendation of its Commission of Weights and Measures that the nation should adopt the metric system.
- April 21 – The first of forty boundary stones delineating the borders of the new District of Columbia in the United States is laid at Jones Point Light, in Alexandria, Virginia.
- May 3 – The Sejm of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth proclaims the Constitution of May 3, 1791, the first modern codified constitution in Europe.
- June 20 – Flight to Varennes: The French Royal Family is captured when they try to flee in disguise.
- July 8 – Composer Joseph Haydn is awarded an honorary doctorate of music at the University of Oxford.
- July 14 – The Priestley Riots against Dissenters break out in Birmingham, England.
- July 17 – The Champ de Mars Massacre occurs during the French Revolution.
- August 4 – The Treaty of Sistova is signed, ending the Ottoman–Habsburg wars.
- August 6 – The Brandenburg Gate in Berlin is finished.
- August 21 – Haitian Revolution: A slave rebellion breaks out in the French colony of Saint-Domingue.
- August 26 – John Fitch is granted a patent for the steamboat in the United States.
- August 27 – Battle of Tellicherry (Third Anglo-Mysore War) off the south-west coast of India: a British Royal Navy patrol forces a French convoy bound for Mysore to surrender.
- September 6 – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's opera seria La clemenza di Tito premières at the Estates Theatre in Prague to mark the coronation of Leopold II as King of Bohemia.
- September 13 – Louis XVI of France accepts the final version of the completed constitution.
- September 25 – Mission Santa Cruz is founded by Father Fermín Lasuén, becoming the 12th mission in the California mission chain.
- September 28 – Promulgation of the law on Jewish emancipation in France, the first such legislation in Europe.
- September 30 – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's singspiel opera The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte) premières at the Freihaus-Theater auf der Wieden in Vienna.
- October – The Legislative Assembly (France) convenes.
- October 9 – Mission Nuestra Señora de la Soledad is founded by Father Fermín Lasuén, becoming the 13th mission in the California mission chain.
- October 28 – Publication of the Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen in France.
- December 4 – The first issue of The Observer, the world's first Sunday newspaper, is published in London.
- December 5 – Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart dies aged 35 at his home in Vienna, perhaps of acute rheumatic fever, and is buried two days later.
- December 15 – Ratification by the states of the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution is completed, creating the United States Bill of Rights. Two additional amendments remain pending, and one of these is finally ratified in 1992, becoming the Twenty-seventh Amendment.
- The first American ship reaches Japan.
- An ordinance is written barring the game of baseball within 80 yards of the Meeting House in Pittsfield, Massachusetts (first known reference to the game of baseball in North America).
- The School for the Indigent Blind, the oldest continuously operating specialist school of its kind in the world, is founded in Liverpool, England, by blind ex-merchant seaman, writer and abolitionist Edward Rushton.
- The Casbah of Algiers Palace is completed.
- January 9 – The Treaty of Jassy ends Russia's war with the Ottoman Empire over Crimea.
- February 20 – The Postal Service Act, establishing the United States Post Office Department, is signed by President George Washington.
- March 1 – Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor, the last emperor, takes office.
- March 16 – King Gustav III of Sweden is shot in the back by Jacob Johan Anckarström at a midnight masquerade at the Royal Opera in Stockholm; he lives until March 29, and is then succeeded by his son Gustav IV Adolf.
- March 20 – A new capital of North Carolina and county seat of the newly formed Wake County is established after North Carolina State Senator and surveyor William Christmas submits his design for the city. A few months later the capital is officially named Raleigh in honor of Sir Walter Raleigh.
- April 2 – The Coinage Act is passed, establishing the United States Mint.
- April 5 – United States President George Washington vetoes a bill designed to apportion representatives among U.S. states. This is the first time the presidential veto is used in the United States.
- April 20 – France declares war against Austria, beginning the French Revolutionary Wars.
- April 21 – Tiradentes, prime figure in the Inconfidência Mineira plot, is executed in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
- April 25
- May 11 – Robert Gray's Columbia River expedition: Captain Robert Gray on the Columbia Rediviva becomes the first white man to enter the Columbia River.
- May 17 – The Buttonwood Agreement is signed, beginning the New York Stock Exchange.
- May 18 – War in Defence of the Constitution: Russia invades Poland.
- May 21 – An old lava dome collapses in Kyūshū, Japan when Mount Unzen volcano erupts; the resulting avalanche and tsunami kills about 14,300 people.
- June 1 – Kentucky becomes the 15th state of the United States of America.
- June 4 – Captain George Vancouver claims Puget Sound for Great Britain.
- June 13
- July 18 – Polish–Russian War: At the Battle of Dubienka, soldiers of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth led by Tadeusz Kościuszko resist an attack from Imperial Russian Army forces five times their size.
- August 10 – French Revolution: The Tuileries Palace is stormed, and Louis XVI of France is arrested and taken into custody.
- September – Macartney Embassy: George Macartney, 1st Earl Macartney, sails from Portsmouth in HMS Lion as the first official envoy from the Great Britain to China.
- September 2–7 – French Revolution: During what become known as the September Massacres, rampaging mobs slaughter three Roman Catholic bishops and more than 200 priests, together with at least a thousand criminals.
- September 11 – Six men steal some of the former French Crown Jewels from a warehouse where the revolutionary government had stored them.
- September 14 – Thomas Paine flees from England to France after being indicted for treason. He is tried in absentia during December and outlawed.
- September 20 – Battle of Valmy: The French revolutionary army defeats Prussians under the Duke of Brunswick after a 7-hour artillery duel.
- September 21 – Proclamation of the abolition of the monarchy by the French Convention and establishment of the French First Republic with effect from the following day.
- September 22 – The Era of the historical French Republican Calendar begins.
- October 12 – The first Columbus Day celebration in the United States is held in New York City, 300 years after his arrival in the New World.
- October 13 – Foundation of Washington, D.C.: The cornerstone of the United States Executive Mansion, known as the White House after 1818, is laid.
- October 29 – Mount Hood (Oregon) is named after the British Admiral Lord Hood by Lt. William Broughton of the Vancouver Expedition, who spots the mountain near the mouth of the Willamette River.
- December 3 – George Washington is re-elected President of the United States.
- December 26 – The trial of Louis XVI of France begins.
- The Baptist Missionary Society is founded in Kettering, England.
- Tipu Sultan invades Kerala in India, but is repulsed.
- Franz Xaver von Zach, an astronomer, publishes The Tables of the Sun, an essential early work for navigation.
- Claude Chappe successfully demonstrates the first semaphore line, between Paris and Lille.
- William Murdoch begins experimenting with gas lighting.
- George Anschutz constructs the first blast furnace in Pittsburgh.
- Thomas Holcroft produces the play Road to Ruin in London.
- Barthélemy Catherine Joubert, later general, becomes sub-lieutenant.
- Johann Georg Albrechtsberger becomes Kapellmeister in Vienna.
- The State Street Corporation is founded.
- Shiloh Meeting House, predecessor of Shiloh United Methodist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia, is founded.
- Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman is published.
- The first written examinations in Europe are held at Cambridge University, England.
- Denmark is the first country in the world to outlaw slavery.
- January 9 – Jean-Pierre Blanchard becomes the first to fly in a gas balloon in the United States.
- January 21 – After being found guilty of treason by the French Convention, Citizen Capet, Louis XVI of France, is guillotined.
- January 23 – Second Partition of Poland: The Russian Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia partition the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.
- February 1 – French Revolutionary Wars: France declares war on Great Britain and the Netherlands.
- February 25 – George Washington holds the first Cabinet meeting as President of the United States.
- February 27 – The Giles resolutions are introduced to the United States House of Representatives, asking the House to condemn Alexander Hamilton's handling of loans.
- March 1–3 – John Langdon serves as President pro tempore of the United States Senate.
- March 4 – George Washington is sworn in as President of the United States in Philadelphia for his second term.
- March 5 – French troops are defeated by Austrian forces and Liège is recaptured.
- March 7 – France declares war on Spain.
- March 18 – The first republican state in Germany, the Republic of Mainz, is declared by Andreas Joseph Hofmann.
- April 6 – The Committee of Public Safety is established in France with Georges Danton as its head.
- April 25 – The pioneer parishes of New Orleans and Louisiana are erected as well as incorporated into the Diocese of Louisiana and the Two Floridas
- April 22 – George Washington signs the Neutrality Proclamation.
- May 31 – Regular troops under François Hanriot demand that the Girondins be expelled from the national convention.
- June – The Macartney Embassy, a British diplomatic mission to China led by George Macartney, 1st Earl Macartney, reaches Canton, but will be rebuffed by the Qianlong Emperor.
- June 2 – The Girondins are overthrown in France.
- June 10 – The Jardin des Plantes and the Muséum national d'histoire naturelle are created by the National Convention. The museum opens in Paris the following year and the garden houses one of the first public zoos.
- July 9 – The Act Against Slavery is passed in Upper Canada.
- July 13 – Charlotte Corday kills Jean-Paul Marat in his bath.
- July 17 – Charlotte Corday is executed.
- July 20 – Scottish explorer Alexander Mackenzie's 1792–1793 Peace River expedition to the Pacific Ocean reaches its goal at Bella Coola, British Columbia, making him the first known person to complete a transcontinental crossing of northern North America.
- July 29 – John Graves Simcoe decides to build a fort and settlement at Toronto, having sailed into the bay there.
- August 10 – French Revolution – Feast of Unity: Crowds in Paris burn monarchist emblems.
- August 23 – The following universal conscription decree is enacted in France: "The young men shall go to battle and the married men shall forge arms. The women shall make tents and clothes and shall serve in the hospitals; children shall tear rags into lint. The old men will be guided to the public places of the cities to kindle the courage of the young warriors and to preach the unity of the Republic and the hatred of kings."
- September 5
- October 5 – French Revolutionary Wars: Raid on Genoa – The British Royal Navy boards and captures French warships sheltering in the neutral port of Genoa.
- October 16 – French Revolution: Marie Antoinette, the widowed queen consort of Louis XVI of France, is guillotined in the Place de la Révolution in Paris at the conclusion of a 2-day trial before the Revolutionary Tribunal.
- October 24 – The French Republican Calendar is adopted by the National Convention.
- November 10 – The dechristianisation of France during the French Revolution reaches a climax with the celebration of the Goddess "Reason" in the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris.
- December 8 – Madame du Barry is executed.
- December 9 – New York City's first daily newspaper, the American Minerva, is established by Noah Webster.
- December 18 – French forces under Dugommier capture Toulon from royalists and British forces under Vice Admiral Lord Hood. The British fire the dockyards and take 16 ships, one of which, the Lutine, becomes a famous treasure ship.
- December 23 – War in the Vendée (French Revolution): Battle of Savenay – A Republican force decisively defeats the counterrevolutionary Catholic and Royal Army, ending the Virée de Galerne.
- The First Coalition against France is formed during the year by Great Britain, the Dutch Republic, Spain, Portugal, the Holy Roman Empire, Naples and Tuscany.
- Dominique Jean Larrey, chief surgeon of the French Revolutionary Army, creates the first battlefield "flying ambulance" service.
- British troops invade the island of Saint-Domingue (now Haiti) to suppress a slave rebellion but are forced to withdraw by disease and the army of Toussaint Louverture.
- The Al Bu Falah move to Abu Dhabi.
- The first year of regular production begins for the United States Mint and the half cent is minted for the first time.
- In Philadelphia more than 4,000 die from yellow fever.
- Niccolò Paganini debuts as a violin virtuoso at age 11.
- February 4 – The French First Republic abolishes slavery.
- February 11 – The first session of the United States Senate is open to the public.
- March 11 – Canonsburg Academy (now Washington & Jefferson College) is chartered by the General Assembly.
- March 12 – General Antoni Madaliński, a commander of the National Cavalry in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, disobeys an order from the ruling Russian Empire and Kingdom of Prussia imposing demobilization, advancing his troops from Ostrołęka to Kraków.
- March 14 – Eli Whitney is granted a patent for the cotton gin.
- March 24 – Tadeusz Kościuszko makes his proclamation starting the Kościuszko Uprising against the Russian Empire and Kingdom of Prussia in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and Prussian Partition.
- March 27 – The United States Government authorizes the building of the first six United States Navy vessels (in 1797 the first three frigates, United States, Constellation (1797) and Constitution go into service), not to be confused with October 13, 1775 which is observed as the Navy's Birthday.
- April 4 – Battle of Racławice: Polish supporters of the Kościuszko Uprising defeat forces of the Russian Empire.
- April 5 – French Revolution: Georges Danton is executed.
- April 17–19 – Kościuszko Uprising – Warsaw Uprising: The Polish people overthrow the Russian garrison in Warsaw.
- April 29–May 1 – Battle of Boulou: The French defeat the Spanish and Portuguese forces.
- May 7 – French Revolution: Robespierre establishes the Cult of the Supreme Being as the new state religion of the French First Republic.
- May 8 – French Revolution: Chemist Antoine Lavoisier is executed by guillotine.
- May 18 – Battle of Tourcoing: French troops defeat British forces.
- May 28–June 1 – The Glorious First of June (Battle of Ushant): British and French ships battle to a draw.
- June 4 – British troops capture Port-au-Prince in Haiti.
- June 17
- June 26 – Battle of Fleurus: French forces defeat the Austrians and their allies, leading to permanent loss of the Austrian Netherlands and destruction of the Dutch Republic. French use of an observation balloon marks the first participation of an aircraft in battle.
- July 12 – Horatio Nelson loses the sight in his right eye in a British military operation at Calvi in Corsica.
- July 13–September 6 – Kościuszko Uprising – Siege of Warsaw: The Polish people resist a siege by armies of the Russian Empire and Kingdom of Prussia.
- July 27 (9 Thermidor) – Thermidorian Reaction: Robespierre is arrested on the orders of the French National Convention; he is executed the next day, ending the French Revolution's Reign of Terror.
- August 20 – Battle of Fallen Timbers in Northwestern Ohio.
- August 29 – Stonyhurst College is finally established as a Roman Catholic school in Lancashire, England, having had several European locations.
- September 10 – The University of Tennessee is established at Knoxville.
- October – A Federal army quells the Whiskey Rebellion in the United States.
- October 10 – Battle of Maciejowice: Forces of the Russian Empire defeat Polish supporters of the Kościuszko Uprising; Tadeusz Kościuszko is wounded and captured.
- November 4 – Battle of Praga: Russian General Alexander Suvorov storms Warsaw in the war against the Polish Kościuszko Uprising and captures Praga, one of its suburbs, killing many civilians.
- November 14 – The first recorded meeting of the Franklin Literary Society is held at Canonsburg Academy (modern-day Washington & Jefferson College).
- November 19 – The United States and Great Britain conclude the Jay Treaty, the basis for ten years of peaceful trade between the two nations.
- Coffee is forbidden by royal decree in Sweden.
- France occupies Aachen.
- The Ayrshire (Earl of Carrick's Own) Yeomanry, a British Yeomanry Cavalry Regiment, is formed by the Earl of Cassillis at Culzean Castle, Ayrshire.
- Colombian Antonio Nariño translates and publishes the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.
- Britain agrees to evacuate border forts in the Northwest Territory (roughly the area north of the Ohio River and east of the Mississippi) and thereby end British support for the Indians.
- Bowdoin College is founded.
- The Oban distillery is built.
- January 14 – The University of North Carolina opens to students at Chapel Hill, becoming the first state university in the United States.
- January 16 – The French occupy Utrecht, Netherlands.
- January 18 – Batavian Revolution in Amsterdam. William V, Prince of Orange, Stadtholder of the Dutch Republic, flees the country.
- January 19 – The Batavian Republic is proclaimed in Amsterdam.
- January 20 – French troops enter Amsterdam.
- January 21 – The Dutch fleet, frozen in IJsselmeer, is captured by the French 8th Hussars.
- February 7 – The Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution is passed.
- March – English Benedictine monks expelled from Douai are permitted to proceed to England.
- April 5 – Peace of Basel signed between France and Prussia.
- April 7 – Adoption of the metric system in France.
- April 8 – George, Prince of Wales, marries Caroline of Brunswick.
- April 23 – Former Governor-General of India Warren Hastings is acquitted by the British House of Lords of misconduct.
- May 1 – Battle of Nuʻuanu: Kamehameha I of the Island of Hawaii defeats the Oahuans, solidifying his control of the major islands of the archipelago and officially founding the Kingdom of Hawaii.
- May–June – The Battle of Richmond Hill is fought in the colony of New South Wales, between the Darug people and British colonial forces.
- June 5–7 – The Copenhagen Fire of 1795, starting in a naval warehouse, destroys 941 houses.
- June 8 – The Dauphin of France, would-be-Louis XVII, dies. Louis XVIII becomes titular King of France (he becomes the actual king on April 6, 1814).
- June 28 – The French government announces that the heir to the French throne has died of illness (many doubt the statement).
- June 27
- July 22 – Second Treaty of Basel between the French First Republic and Spain, ending the War of the Pyrenees. Spain cedes its half of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola to France.
- July 25 – Construction of the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in Wales begins.
- August 3 – Signing of the Treaty of Greenville puts an end to the Northwest Indian War.
- August 22 – The French Constitution of 1795 is ratified by the National Convention.
- August 25 – British forces capture Trincomalee in Ceylon.
- August 28 – Third Treaty of Basel between the French First Republic and the Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel.
- September 11 – Battle of Krtsanisi: The Persian emperor Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar defeats the forces of Heraclius II of Georgia.
- September 16 – British forces capture Cape Town from the Netherlands.
- September 21 – Battle of the Diamond: Protestant forces defeat Catholic troops in Loughgall, Ireland, leading to the foundation of the Orange Order.
- September 28 – The Alliance of St Petersburg is formed between Britain, Russia and Austria against France.
- October 1 – Austrian Netherlands is annexed to the French Republic as the Belgian departments.
- October 2 – British forces capture the Île d'Yeu off the coast of Brittany.
- October 5 – 13 Vendémiaire: Royalist riots in Paris are crushed by troops under Paul Barras and newly reinstalled artillery officer Napoleon Bonaparte.
- October 24 – The Third Partition of Poland is made, dividing the territory of the Commonwealth of Poland between the Habsburg Monarchy, Prussia and the Russian Empire. On November 25, Stanisław August Poniatowski formally abdicates as last King of Poland.
- October 27 – The United States and Spain sign the Treaty of Madrid, which establishes the boundaries between Spanish colonies and the U.S.
- November 2 – The French Directory takes power. Influence of the Sans-culottes declines.
- December 13 – Wold Newton meteorite: A meteorite falls at Wold Newton, a hamlet in Yorkshire in England. This meteorite fall is subsequently used as a literary premise by science fiction writer Philip José Farmer as the basis for the Wold Newton family.
- Sweden becomes the first monarchy to recognize the French Republic.
- The Hudson's Bay Company trading post Fort Edmonton is constructed; the city of Edmonton, Alberta, eventually grows from it.
- A large slave rebellion occurs in Curaçao.
- The British Royal Navy makes the use of lemon juice mandatory to prevent scurvy.
- The harvest fails in Munich.
- Daniel McGinnis discovers the supposed Money Pit on Oak Island, Nova Scotia.
- January 16 – The first Dutch (and general) elections are held for the National Assembly of the Batavian Republic (the next Dutch general elections are held in 1888).
- February 1 – The capital of Upper Canada is moved from Newark to York.
- February 9 – The Qianlong Emperor of China abdicates at age 84 to make way for his son, the Jiaqing Emperor.
- February 16 – The Kingdom of Great Britain is granted control of Ceylon by the Dutch.
- March 9 – Widow Joséphine de Beauharnais marries General Napoléon Bonaparte.
- March 26 – Napoleon Bonaparte arrives at Nice to take command of the Army of Italy (37,000 men and 60 guns), which is scattered in detachments as far as Genoa.
- March 30 – Carl Gauss obtains conditions for the constructibility by ruler and compass of regular polygons, and is able to announce that the regular 17-gon is constructible by ruler and compasses.
- April 2 – The only night of the supposed Shakespearean play Vortigern and Rowena (actually written by William Henry Ireland) ends in the audience's laughter.
- April 12 – War of the First Coalition – Battle of Montenotte: Napoleon Bonaparte gains his first victory as an army commander.
- April 26 – The French proclaim the Republic of Alba on the occupied territories. Two days later, King Victor Amadeus III of Sardinia signs the Armistice of Cherasco, in the headquarters of Napoleon. The fortresses of Coni, Tortoni and Alessandria with all their guns are given up.
- April 27 – Case of the Lyons Mail: During the night, five highwaymen attack the mail between Paris and Lyon, kill the postmen and steal the funds sent to the armies in Italy.
- May 6 – Napoleon Bonaparte forms an advanced guard (3,500 infantry and 1,500 cavalry) under General Claude Dallemagne. He sends this force along the south bank of the Po River to cross it with boats at Piacenza.
- May 10 – War of the First Coalition – Battle of Lodi: General Napoleon Bonaparte defeats the Austrian rearguard in forcing a crossing of the bridge over the Adda River in Italy. The Austrians lose some 2,000 men, 14 guns, and 30 ammunition wagons.
- May 14 – Edward Jenner administers the first smallpox vaccination, in England.
- May 15 – Napoleon's troops take Milan.
- May 20 – The last mock Garrat Elections are held in Surrey, England.
- June 1 – The French-Republican army divisions of the Army of Italy invade the territories of the Serenissima Repubblica di San Marco.
- June 21 – British explorer Mungo Park becomes the first European to reach the Niger River.
- June 23 – Napoleon Bonaparte seizes the Papal States which become part of the revolutionary Cisalpine Republic. Pope Pius VI signs a armistice at Bologna and is forced to pay contribution (34 million francs).
- July 10 – Carl Friedrich Gauss discovers that every positive integer is representable as a sum of at most 3 triangular numbers.
- July 11 – The United States takes possession of Detroit from Great Britain under the terms of the Jay Treaty.
- July 21 – Mungo Park reaches Ségou, the capital of the Bamana Empire.
- July 22 – Surveyors of the Connecticut Land Company name an area in Ohio "Cleveland" after Gen. Moses Cleaveland, the superintendent of the surveying party.
- July 29 – The Austrian army under Marshal Wurmser advances from the Alps and captures Rivoli and Verona. The French abandoned the east bank of the Mincio River, the outnumbered division (15,000 men) of Massena retreats towards Lake Garda.
- August 4 – French Revolutionary Wars – Battle of Lonato: The French Army of Italy under Napoleon crushes an Austrian brigade.
- August 5 – Battle of Castiglione: Napoleon Bonaparte defeats the Austrian army (25,000 men) under Wurmser. He is forced to retreat north up the Adige Valley.
- August 9 – Opening to traffic of the Wearmouth Bridge in England, designed by Thomas Paine in cast iron. Its span of 72 m (237 feet) makes it the world's longest single-span vehicular bridge extant at this date.
- August 19 – By the Second Treaty of San Ildefonso, Spain and France form an alliance against Great Britain.
- September 8 – French Revolutionary Wars – Battle of Bassano: French forces (20,000 men) under Masséna defeat the Austrians in Veneto. Wurmser retreats towards Vicenza with just 3,500 men of his originally 11,000 left to him.
- September 15 – Siege of Mantua: Napoleon Bonaparte fights a pitched battle at La Favorita on the east side of the Mincio River. The Austrians withdraw into the fortress of Mantua, which is crowded nearly with 30,000 men. Within six weeks, 4,000 die from wounds or sickness.
- September 17 – U.S. President George Washington issues his Farewell Address, which warns against partisan politics and foreign entanglements.
- September 28 – Empress Catherine the Great signs a agreement with Great Britain, formally Russia joining the coalition.
- November 3 – John Adams defeats Thomas Jefferson in the U.S. presidential election.
- November 4 – The Treaty of Tripoli (between the United States and Tripoli) is signed at Tripoli (see also 1797).
- November 6 – Catherine the Great dies and is succeeded by her son Paul I of Russia. His wife Sophie Marie Dorothea of Württemberg becomes Empress consort.
- French forces (9,500 men) under Masséna attack the Austrian army at Fontaniva. After a desperate assault he is outnumbered and forced to retreat to Verona.
- November 12 – Groton, New Hampshire is incorporated as a town.
- November 17 – French Revolutionary Wars – Battle of Arcole: French forces defeat the Austrians in Italy.
- December – The British government begins work on a 40-acre (162,000 m²) site at Norman Cross for the world's first purpose-built prisoner-of-war camp.
- December 7 – The U.S. Electoral College meets to elect John Adams president of the United States.
- Spanish government lifts the restrictions against neutrals trading with the colonies, thus acknowledging Spain's inability to supply the colonies with needed goods and markets.
- Jane Austen writes her first draft of Pride and Prejudice, under the title First Impressions. The book will not be published until 1813.
- Robert Burns' version of the Scots poem Auld Lang Syne is first published, in this year's volume of The Scots Musical Museum.
- Annual British iron production reaches 125,000 tons.
- January 3 – The Treaty of Tripoli (a peace treaty between the United States and Tripoli) is signed at Algiers (see also 1796).
- January 7 – The parliament of the Cisalpine Republic adopts the Italian green-white-red tricolour as the official flag (this is considered the birth of the flag of Italy).
- January 26 – The Treaty of the Third Partition of Poland is signed in St. Petersburg by the Russian Empire, Austria, and the Kingdom of Prussia.
- February 12 – First performance of Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser, with the music composed in January by Joseph Haydn which also becomes the tune to the German national anthem, Deutschland, Deutschland über alles.
- February 14 – The Battle of Cape St Vincent, part of the Wars of the French Revolution: The British Royal Navy under Admiral Sir John Jervis defeats a larger Spanish fleet off Cape St. Vincent, Portugal.
- February 18 – Spanish Governor José María Chacón peacefully surrenders the colony of Trinidad to a British naval force commanded by Sir Ralph Abercromby.
- February 22 – The last invasion of Britain begins: French forces under the command of American Colonel William Tate land near Fishguard in Wales.
- February 25 – William Tate surrenders to the British at Fishguard.
- February 26 – The Bank of England (national bank of Britain) issues the first one-pound and two-pound notes (discontinued March 11, 1988).
- March 4 – John Adams is sworn in as the second President of the United States of America.
- April 16 – Spithead and Nore mutinies in the British Royal Navy.
- April 17
- Battle of San Juan: Sir Ralph Abercromby unsuccessfully invades San Juan, Puerto Rico in what will be one of the largest British attacks on Spanish territories in the western hemisphere, and one of the worst defeats of the British Royal Navy for years to come.
- Veronese Easter: Citizens of Verona, Italy, began an unsuccessful eight-day rebellion against the French occupying forces.
- May 10 – The first ship of the United States Navy, the frigate USS United States, is commissioned.
- May 12 – War of the First Coalition: Napoleon I of France conquers Venice, ending the city and Republic of Venice's 1,100 years of independence. The last doge of Venice, Ludovico Manin, steps down.
- May 30 – William Wilberforce marries Barbara Ann Spooner.
- July 24 – Horatio Nelson is wounded at the Battle of Santa Cruz, losing an arm.
- August 29 – Massacre of Tranent: British troops attack protestors against enforced recruitment into the militia at Tranent in Scotland, killing 12.
- From c. October – The XYZ Affair inflames tensions between France and the United States.
- October 11 – Battle of Camperdown: the British Royal Navy defeats the fleet of the Batavian Republic off the coast of Holland.
- October 17 – The Treaty of Campo Formio ends the War of the First Coalition.
- October 21 – In Boston Harbor, the 44-gun United States Navy frigate USS Constitution is launched to fight Barbary pirates off the coast of Tripoli; the ship will remain in commission in the 21st century.
- November 16 – The Prussian heir apparent, Frederick William, becomes King of Prussia as Fredrick William III.
- December 17 – Napoleon leads a successful French charge against Fort l'Aiguilette to secure Toulon.
- Foundation of the secret Lautaro Lodge as the Logia de los Caballeros Racionales ("Lodge of Rational Knights"), perhaps in Cádiz; membership will include many leaders of the Spanish American wars of independence such as Francisco de Miranda, Bernardo O'Higgins and José de San Martín.
- January 22 – A coup d'état is staged in the Netherlands (Batavian Republic). Unitarian Democrat Pieter Vreede makes an end to the power of the parliament (with a conservative-moderate majority).
- February 10 – The papacy is removed from power by French General Louis-Alexandre Berthier.
- March 5 – French troops enter Bern.
- March 7 – French forces invade the Papal States and establish the Roman Republic.
- April 7 – The Mississippi Territory is organized by the United States from territory ceded by Georgia and South Carolina; later it is twice expanded to include disputed territory claimed by both the U.S. and Spain (which acquired territory in trade with Great Britain).
- April 12 – Helvetic Republic, a French client republic, proclaimed following collapse of the Old Swiss Confederacy on French invasion.
- April 26 – France annexes Geneva.
- May 23 – Irish republicans and nationalists, known as the Society of United Irishmen, launch a rebellion against British rule in expectation of greater support from France which only sent 1100 men. The United Irishmen are unique amongst Irish nationalist movements in that they unify Catholics and Protestants around republican ideals. The rebellion rages sporadically but is defeated by the British by October.
- June 12
- June 13 – Mission San Luis Rey de Francia is founded.
- July 1 – Napoleon's troops land in Egypt.
- July 7
- July 11 – The United States Marine Corps is re-established.
- July 12 – Battle of Shubra Khit between French and Mamelukes, during Napoleon's march from Alexandria to take Cairo.
- July 14 – The Alien and Sedition Acts become United States law, making it a federal crime to write, publish, or utter false or malicious statements about the United States government.
- July 16 – The Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen Act is signed into law, creating the Marine Hospital Service, the forerunner to the current United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.
- July 21 – Battle of the Pyramids: Napoleon defeats Ottoman forces near the Pyramids.
- July 24 – Napoleon occupies Cairo.
- July 31 – A second round of elections are held in the Netherlands (Batavian Republic); no general elections this time.
- August 1 – Battle of the Nile (near Abu Qir): Lord Nelson defeats the French navy under Admiral Brueys; Nelson himself is wounded in the head.
- August 22 – French troops land at Kilcummin in County Mayo to assist the Irish rebellion.
- September – Charles Brockden Brown publishes the first significant American novel, the Gothic fiction Wieland: or, The Transformation; an American Tale.
- September 10 – Battle of St. George's Caye: Off the coast of British Honduras (now Belize), a group of British nationals and African slaves defeat a force sent from Mexico to drive them out.
- September 18 – Lyrical Ballads is published anonymously by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth, inaugurating the English Romantic movement in literature.
- October 12 – Battle of Tory Island: A British Royal Navy squadron under Sir John Borlase Warren prevents French Republican ships commanded by Jean-Baptiste-François Bompart landing reinforcements for the Society of United Irishmen on the Donegal coast; Irish leader Wolfe Tone is captured and later dies of wounds.
- November 4 – Beginning of the Russo-Ottoman siege of Corfu.
- November 8 – British whaler John Fearn becomes the first European to land on Nauru.
- The first (anonymous) publication occurs of An Essay on the Principle of Population by Thomas Malthus.
- Aarau becomes the temporary capital of the Helvetic Republic.
- Alois Senefelder invents lithography.
- Eli Whitney contracts with the U.S. federal government for 10,000 rifles, which he produces with interchangeable parts.
- The first census in Brazil counts 2 million blacks in a total population of 3.25 million.
- The Ayrshire (Earl of Carrick's Own) Yeomanry, a British Army Yeomanry Cavalry Regiment, formed by The Earl of Cassillis at Culzean Castle, Ayrshire in 1794, is adopted onto the British Army List.
- Jenner publishes his work on smallpox vaccination
- January 9 – British Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger introduces an income tax of two shillings to the pound to raise funds for Great Britain's war effort in the Napoleonic Wars.
- February 28 – Action of 28 February 1799 (French Revolutionary Wars) British Royal Navy frigate HMS Sybille defeats the French frigate Forte off the mouth of the Hooghly River in the Bay of Bengal, but both captains are killed.
- March 1 – Federalist James Ross becomes President pro tempore of the United States Senate.
- March 3 – The Russo-Ottoman siege of Corfu ends with the surrender of the French garrison.
- March 7 – Napoleon captures Jaffa in Palestine and his troops proceed to kill more than 2,000 Albanian captives.
- March 29 – New York passes a law aimed at gradually abolishing slavery in the state.
- May 4 – Battle of Seringapatam: Tipu Sultan is defeated and killed by the British.
- May 21 – Siege of Acre ends after two months: Napoleon's attempt to widen his Middle Eastern campaign into Syria is frustrated by Ottoman forces, and he withdraws to Egypt.
- May 27 – Battle of Winterthur: Habsburg forces secure control of north-east Switzerland from the French Army of the Danube.
- June 18 – Action of 18 June 1799 (French Revolutionary Wars): a French frigate squadron under Rear-admiral Perrée is captured by the British fleet under Lord Keith off Toulon.
- July 7 – Ranjit Singh's men take their positions outside Lahore.
- July 12 – Ranjit Singh captures Lahore from the Bhangi Misl, a key step in establishing the Sikh Empire and becoming Maharaja of the Punjab.
- July 15 – In the Egyptian port city of Rosetta, French Captain Pierre Bouchard finds the Rosetta Stone.
- July 25 – At Aboukir in Egypt, Napoleon defeats 10,000 Ottoman Mamluk troops under Mustafa Pasha.
- August 27 – War of the Second Coalition: Anglo-Russian invasion of Holland – Britain and Russia send an expedition to the Batavian Republic.
- August 30 – Anglo-Russian invasion of Holland: Vlieter Incident: A squadron of the Batavian Republic's navy, commanded by Rear-Admiral Samuel Story, surrenders to the British Royal Navy under Sir Ralph Abercromby and Admiral Sir Charles Mitchell near Wieringen without joining action.
- October 6 – Anglo-Russian invasion of Holland: Battle of Castricum – Franco-Dutch forces defeat the Russo-British expedition force.
- October 9 – HMS Lutine (a famous treasure wreck) is sunk in the West Frisian Islands.
- October 12 – Jeanne Geneviève Labrosse becomes the first woman to jump from a balloon with a parachute, from an altitude of 900 meters.
- October 16 – Action of 16 October 1799: A Spanish treasure convoy worth more than £600,000 is captured by the British Royal Navy off Vigo.
- October 18 – Anglo-Russian invasion of Holland: Anglo-Russian expedition forces surrender in North Holland.
- November 9 (Coup of 18 Brumaire) – Napoleon overthrows the French Directory in a coup d'état.
- November 10 (19 Brumaire) – A remnant of the Council of Ancients in France abolishes the Constitution of the Year III, and ordains the French Consulate with Napoleon as First Consul with the Constitution of the Year VIII.
- December 14 – George Washington, the first President of the United States, dies at Mount Vernon, Virginia.
- The Place Royale in Paris is renamed Place des Vosges when the Department of Vosges becomes the first to pay new Revolutionary taxes.
- Eli Whitney, holding a 1798 United States government contract for the manufacture of muskets, is introduced by Oliver Wolcott, Jr. to the concept of interchangeable parts, an origin of the American system of manufacturing.
- The small town of Tignish, Prince Edward Island, Canada is founded.
- 12-year-old Conrad John Reed finds what he describes as a "heavy yellow rock" along Little Meadow Creek in Cabarrus County, North Carolina and makes it a doorstop in his home. Conrad's father John Reed learns that the rock is actually gold in 1802, initiating the first gold rush in the United States.
- The assassination of the 14th Tu'i Kanokupolu, Tukuʻaho, plunges Tonga into half a century of civil war.
- The Nawab (provincial governor) of Oudh in northern India sends to George III of England the Padshah Nama, an official history of the reign of Shah Jahan.
- William Cockerill begins building cotton-spinning equipment in Belgium.
- Dutch government takes over Dutch East India Company.
- George Washington
- John Adams
- Catherine the Great
- Paul I of Russia
- Frederick William II of Prussia
- Frederick William III of Prussia
- Louis XVI of France
- Maximilien Robespierre
- George III of the United Kingdom
- William Pitt the Younger
- Charles IV of Spain
- Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor
- Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor
- Qianlong Emperor
- Jiaqing Emperor
- Pope Pius VI
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