- January 4 The Vicomte de Martignac succeeds the Comte de Villèle as Prime Minister of France.
- January 22 The Duke of Wellington succeeds Lord Goderich as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. He repeals the Test Act, emancipating all Catholics, and introduces the Roman Catholic Relief Act the following year.
- April 26 Russia declares war on Turkey, in support of the Greek struggle for independence.
- May 26 - Mysterious foundling Kaspar Hauser is discovered wandering the streets of Nurenberg, Germany.
- August 9 The Egyptians evacuate Greece, practically ending hostilities there.
- August 27 The Russians defeat the Turks at Akhaltzikke.
- Urea becomes the first organic compound to be artificially synthesised, by Friedrich Wöhler (see Biochemistry)
- White comedian Thomas D. Rice introduces blackface and the song "Jim Crow" to American audiences.
- November - Andrew Jackson defeats John Quincy Adams in U.S. presidential election
- February 8 - Jules Verne, author (+ 1905)
- March 20 - Henrik Ibsen, (+ 1906)
- May 8 - Jean Henri Dunant, Swiss founder of the Red Cross movement
- May 12 - Dante Gabriel Rossetti, poet, painter (+ 1882)
- September 9 - Leo Tolstoy, Russian novelist (Anna Karenina, War and Peace).
- May 16 - William Congreve, British rocket pioneer.
- July 15 - Jean Antoine Houdon, sculptor
- December 22 - William Hyde Wollaston, noted English chemist