Centuries: 17th century - 18th century - 19th century
Decades: 1730s 1740s 1750s 1760s 1770s - 1780s - 1790s 1800s 1810s 1820s 1830s
Years: 1776 1777 1778 1779 1780 - 1781 - 1782 1783 1784 1785 1786
- January 5 - American Revolutionary War: Richmond, Virginia is burned by British naval forces led by Benedict Arnold.
- January 30 - Articles of Confederation ratified by 13th state, Maryland.
- January - William Pitt the Younger, later Prime Minister, enters Parliament.
- March 1 - Articles of Confederation go into effect, Samuel Huntington becomes first President of the United States in Congress assembled.
- March 13 - William Herschel discovers the planet Uranus.
- March 15 - American Revolutionary War: American General Nathaniel Greene loses Battle of Guilford Court House to British.
- August 30 - American Revolutionary War: French fleet under Comte de Grasse[?] enters Chesapeake Bay, cutting British General Charles Cornwallis off from escape by sea.
- September 5 - British fleet under Thomas Graves[?] arrives and fights de Grasse, but to no effect.
- September 10 - Graves gives up trying to break through the now-reinforced French fleet and returns to New York, leaving Cornwallis to his fate.
- October 19 - General Charles Cornwallis surrenders at Yorktown, Virginia, ending the armed struggle of the American Revolutionary War.
- November 5 - John Hanson is elected as President of the United States in Congress assembled.
- December 12 - French and British fleets fight the Battle of Ushant[?].
- Bank of North America is chartered by the Continental Congress.
- Los Angeles, California is founded.
- Sir William Herschel discovers the planet Uranus, originally calling it Georgium Sidus (George's Star) in honour of King George III of England.
- Charles Messier publishes final catalog of Messier objects.
- Carl Wilhelm Scheele discovers tungsten.
- Immanuel Kant publishes Critique of Pure Reason[?].
- Jeremy Bentham formulates utilitarian ethics.
- Reverend Samuel Peters[?] publishes General History of Connecticut, using the term blue law for the first time.
- January 26 - Achim von Arnim[?], poet (+ 1831)
- January 30 - Adelbert von Chamisso, poet, botanist (+ 1838)
- March 4 - Rebecca Gratz, American educator, philanthropist (+ 1869)
- March 13 - Karl Friedrich Schinkel[?], master builder (+ 1841)
- June 21 - Simeon Poisson, French mathematician, physicist (+ 1840)
- July 6 - Thomas Stamford Raffles, founder of Singapore (+ 1826)
- July 6 - John D. Sloat, American naval officer (+ 1867)
- September 3 - Eugène de Beauharnais, son of Napoleon’s wife, Josephine
- September 6 - Anton Diabelli, music publisher, editor, composer
- November 6 - Lucy Aikin, English writer (+ 1864)
- November 20 - Karl Friedrich Eichhorn, German jurist (+ 1854)
- Sir David Brewster, Scottish physicist (+ 1868)
- Rene Theophile Hyacinthe Laennec, physician, inventor of stethoscope (+ 1826)
- William Williams of Wern, minister (+ 1840)