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- January 1 – Ole Pedersen Hoiland breaks into the Bank of Norway and steals 64.000 dalers (Swedish dollars)
- January 30 – Unsuccessful assassination attempt against President Andrew Jackson in the United States Capitol – first assassination attempt against a President of the United States.
- February 20 – Concepción, Chile is destroyed by an earthquake
- March 2 – Ferdinand becomes Emperor of Austria.
- April 18 – Lord Melbourne becomes the new British Prime Minister.
- May 5 – In Belgium a railroad opens from Brussels to Mechelen. It is the first railway in continental Europe.
- May 6 – James Gordon Bennett, Sr. makes the first issue of the New York Herald.
- July 4 – The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad finishes the Thomas Viaduct, at the time the longest bridge in the United States, and the second longest in the world. (London Bridge was the longest in the world at the time)
- September 7 – Charles Darwin gets to the Galapagos Islands aboard HMS Beagle.
- October 2 – Texas Revolution begins: Battle of Gonzales – Mexican soldiers try to get the people of Gonzales, Texas to give up their weapons, but the Texans fight back
- December 9 – The Army of the Republic of Texas captures San Antonio.
- December 16 – Fire in New York City destroys 530 buildings
- December 19 – Toledo Blade newspaper begins publishing.
- December 28 – Seminole fighter Osceola and his warriors attack U.S. government agent Thompson outside Fort King in Central Florida, starting the Second Seminole War.
- The State of Ohio and the Michigan Territory fight the Toledo War over the city of Toledo and the Toledo Strip.
- De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestum, Copernicus' book on the motion of the Earth, is removed from the Index of Prohibited Books.
- Samuel Colt patents the first revolver
- Civil war erupts in Uruguay between supporters of Blanco and Colorado parties
- The first Bulgarian-language school opens in the Ottoman Empire.
- The French word for their language changes to français, from françois
- The Australian city of Melbourne is founded by John Batman and John Pascoe Fawkner.
Art, music, theatre, and literature [change]