- February 11 - Major streets lit by coal gas for 1st time
- start of the Crimean war
- Commodore Matthew Perry of the U.S. Navy forced the opening of Japan to the West with the Convention of Kanagawa (See Japan/History)
- Frederick Augustus Albert succeeds to the throne of Saxony
- July 12 - George Eastman, inventor of the Kodak camera
- August 2 - Milan I, king of Serbia?
- October 16 - Oscar Wilde, Irish writer