All links are to Wikipedia entries.

Government, Politics, and War:

  • January: British forces under the command of Lieutenant-General Sir Ralph Abercromby arrive at Jamaica and take the Caribbean islands of St. Lucia, Demerara, St. Vincent, and Grenada.
  • February 16: England is granted control of Ceylon by the Dutch.
  • April 12: Napoleon leads the French victory over Austria at the Battle of Montenotte.
  • May 15: Napoleon enters Milan and establishes the Lombard Republic.
  • September 8: French forces defeat Austrian troops at the Battle of Bassano
  • October: Spain, now aligned with France, declares war on Britain.
  • November 6: Catherine the Great of Russia dies. She is succeeded by her son, Paul I.
  • November 17: French forces defeat the Austrians in Italy at the Battle of Arcole.

Society and Social History:

Fanny Burney by Edward Francisco Burney.

Fanny Burney by Edward Francisco Burney. (Click on image to see a larger version.)

Literature, Journalism, and Publishing:

  • Fanny Burney publishes Camilla.
  • Jane Austen writes her first draft of Pride and Prejudice, under the title First Impressions. The book will not be published until 1813.
  • July 21: Scottish poet Robert Burns dies at age 37.

Art, Architecture, and Design:

  • J. M. W. Turner exhibits at the Royal Academy for the first time with the oil painting Fisherman at Sea. He is only 21.


Science and Industry:

  • Printing by lithography is invented by Alois Senefelder in Bohemia.
  • May 14: Vaccination against small pox is introduced by Edward Jenner.
  • 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.

Natural History and Exploration:

  • July 21: Scottish physician-explorer Mungo Park reaches the Niger, becoming the first European to reach the West African interior.