- January 16 - American Revolution: Battle of Cape St. Vincent
- February, Armed Neutrality of the North alliance formed between Denmark, Sweden, and Russia.
- May 12 - American Revolutionary War: Charleston, South Carolina is taken by British forces.
- August 16 - American Revolutionary War: Battle of Camden - The British defeat the Americans near Camden, South Carolina.
- October 2 - American Revolutionary War: British spy John Andre is hanged by American forces.
- Britain attacks the United Provinces before it can join the Neutral Alliance, because of its support for the American uprising.
- First Epsom Derby horse race run at Epsom Downs, Surrey, England.
- Emperor Kokaku ascends to the throne of Japan
- November 29 - Maria Theresia of Austria dies and her Habsburg dominions pass to her ambitious son, Joseph II, who has already been Holy Roman Emperor since 1765.
- June 1 - Carl von Clausewitz, German strategist
- August 1 - Francis Scott Key,American lawyer and poet, famous as the author of the "Star Spangled Banner"
- Thomas Dilworth, British cleric & writer
- November 29 - Maria Theresia, archduchess of Austria, Queen of Bohemia and Hungary.