All links are to Wikipedia entries.

Government, Politics, and War:

  • January 1: The Kingdom of Bavaria is established by Napoleon.
  • January: Ferdinand IV and Maria Carolina of Naples flee to Sicily, and Napoleon installs his brother Joseph Bonaparte as King of Naples and Sicily.
  • January 10: The Dutch surrender Cape Town to the British.
  • January 19: The British occupy the Cape of Good Hope.
  • January 23: Lord Grenville becomes Britain’s Prime Minister.
  • May: England introduces a blockade of the European coast from Brest to the Elbe, but permits ships of neutral nations to pass if they are not carrying goods to  or from enemy ports.
  • June 5: Napoleon installs his brother Louis Bonaparte as King of Holland.
  • July 10: The Vellore Mutiny is the first instance of a mutiny by the Indian sepoys against the British East India Company.
  • August 6: Francis II abdicates as  Holy Roman Emperor, thus ending the 806-year old Holy Roman Empire.
  • September: Prussia and Saxony declare war on France.
  • October 14: Napoleon defeats Prussia in the twin battles of Jena and Auerstedt.
  • November: Napoleon enforces the Continental System, a blockade forbidding every major power in Europe (who were by then either his allies or conquests) from trading with Britain.
Funeral procession of Admiral Lord Nelson, from the Admiralty to St. Paul's, London, January 9, 1806. Print by Augustus Charles Pugin.

Funeral procession of Admiral Lord Nelson, from the Admiralty to St. Paul’s, London, January 9, 1806. Print by Augustus Charles Pugin. (Click on image to see a larger version.)

Society and Social History:

  • Watier’s Club is established in London. Dubbed the “Dandy Club” by Lord Byron, it was known for its fine food and high-stakes gambling. Beau Brummell is appointed as perpetual president.
  • January 9: Admiral Lord Nelson is the first commoner to be given a state funeral.
  • January: Prime Minister William Pitt dies at age 46. He leaves behind enormous personal debts, which the House of Commons contrives to pay off, but manages to leave his niece, Lady Hester Stanhope, a pension of £1200 a year. She has acted as housekeeper and hostess for her bachelor uncle in the last 3 years of his life.
  • March 30: Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, celebrated beauty, society hostess, and political campaigner, dies at age 47.
  • September: Charles James Fox, prominent Whig statesman and persistent rival of William Pitt, dies at age 57.

Literature, Journalism, and Publishing:

  • English sisters Ann and Jane Taylor publish Rhymes for the Nursery, which  includes Jane’s nursery rhyme “Twinkle, twinkle, little star.”
  • Noah Webster publishes his first American English dictionary.
  • British essayist William Hazlitt publishes Principles of Human Action.
  • Maria Edgeworth publishes Leonora.
  • January: The Times of London publishes its first illustration, showing Nelson’s funeral.
  • February: The first issue of the magazine La Belle Assemblée is published.
  • October: The first edition of the British magazine Le Beau Monde is published.

Art, Architecture, and Design:


  • Rossini’s first opera, “Demetrio a Polibio,” is performed in Rome.
  • October: Opera singer Angelica Catalani arrives in London and is a huge success when she sings at the King’s Theatre in Haymarket.
  • Beethoven completes his Symphony No 4, Piano Concerto No 4, Violin Concerto, and 3 String Quartets, Op 59.

Science and Industry:

  • October 7:  Carbon paper patented by Ralph Wedgwood.
  • November 20: Humphry Davy presents the results of his researches in the electrolysis of water to the Royal Society of London.

Natural History and Exploration:

  • August: English seal hunter Abraham Bristow discovers the Auckland Islands.