|Covid-19|February 20 – The North Carolina General Assembly incorporates the town of Newton as Wilmington, North Carolina, named for Spencer Compton, 1st Earl of Wilmington and patron of Royal Governor Gabriel Johnston.
April 8 – War of the Austrian Succession: The Royal Navy captures the Spanish ship of the line Princesa off Cape Finisterre and takes her into British service.
May 31 – Frederick II comes to power in Prussia upon the death of his father, Frederick William I.
June 26 – War of Jenkins' Ear – Siege of Fort Mose: A Spanish column of 300 regular troops, free black militia and Indian auxiliaries storms Britain's strategically crucial position of Fort Mose, Florida.
July 11 – Pogrom: Jews are expelled from Little Russia.
August 1 – The song Rule, Britannia! is first performed at Cliveden, the country home of Frederick, Prince of Wales, in England.
August 17 – Pope Benedict XIV succeeds Pope Clement XII as the 247th pope.
October 9–22 – Batavia massacre: Troops of the Dutch East India Company massacre 5,000–10,000 Chinese Indonesians in Batavia.
October 20 – Maria Theresa inherits the hereditary dominions of the Habsburg Monarchy (Austria, Bohemia, Hungary and modern-day Belgium) under the terms of the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713. However, her succession to the Holy Roman Empire is contested widely because she is a woman.
November – Hertford College, Oxford, is founded for the first time.
November 6 – Samuel Richardson's popular and influential epistolary novel Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded is published in London.
December 16 – Frederick II of Prussia invades the Habsburg possession of Silesia, starting the War of the Austrian Succession.
By an act of the Parliament of Great Britain, alien immigrants (including Huguenots and Jews) in the colonies receive British nationality.
Enfield, North Carolina, is founded.
Adam Smith enters Balliol College, Oxford.
George Whitefield founds the Bethesda Orphanage near Savannah, Georgia.
Spain begins construction on Fort Matanzas in the Matanzas Inlet, approximately 15 miles (24 km) south of St. Augustine, Florida.
Annual British iron production reaches 17,000 tons.
The University of Pennsylvania is officially established.
February 4 – Carl Michael Bellman, Swedish poet and composer (d. 1795)
February 15 – Juan Andrés, Spanish Jesuit (d. 1817)
February 16 – Giambattista Bodoni, Italian publisher and engraver (d. 1813)
February 17 – John Sullivan, American General in the Revolutionary War, a delegate in the Continental Congress (d. 1795)
March – Johann van Beethoven, German musician and father of Ludwig van Beethoven (d. 1792)
March 16 – Johann Jacob Schweppe, German-born inventor and founder of the Schweppes Company (d. 1821)
May 7 – Nikolai Arkharov, Russian police chief (d. 1814)
June 2 – Marquis de Sade, French author (d. 1814)
August 23 – Emperor Ivan VI of Russia (d. 1764)
August 26 – Joseph-Michel Montgolfier, French inventor (d. 1810)
September 12 – Johann Heinrich Jung, German writer (d. 1817)
September 23 – Empress Go-Sakuramachi of Japan (d. 1813)
September 25 – Hercules Mulligan, tailor and spy during the American Revolutionary War (d. 1825)
October 29 – James Boswell, Scottish author (d. 1795)
October 31 – Philip James de Loutherbourg, English artist (d. 1812)
December – Elisabeth Olin, Swedish opera singer (d. 1828)
Ali Pasha of Ioannina, Albanian ruler (d. 1822)
Margaret Bingham, Countess of Lucan, born Margaret Smith, English portrait miniature painter and writer (d. 1814)
John Milton, American politician and officer of the Continental Army (d. 1817). Earliest estimated date for his birth.
January 5 – Antonio Lotti, Italian composer (b. 1667)
January 27 – Louis Henri, Duke of Bourbon, Prime Minister of France (b. 1692)
February 6 – Pope Clement XII (b. 1652)
March 23 – Olof Rudbeck the Younger, Swedish scientist and explorer (b. 1660)
April 23 – Thomas Tickell, English writer (b. 1685)
May 31 – Frederick William I, King in Prussia (b. 1688)
June 1 – Samuel Werenfels, Swiss theologian (b. 1657)
June 6 – Alexander Spotswood, British governor of Virginia Colony (b. 1676)
William Wyndham, English politician (b. 1687)
Saint Theophilus of Corte, Corsican preacher and missionary (b. 1676)
October 5 – Johann Philipp Baratier, German scholar (b. 1721)
October 20 – Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor (b. 1685)
October 28 – Anna, Empress of Russia (b. 1693)
December 20 – Richard Boyle, 2nd Viscount Shannon, British military officer and statesman (b. 1675)
December 30 – John Senex, English geographer (b. ca. 1678)
1740 (MDCCXL) was a leap year starting on Friday (dominical letter CB) of the Gregorian calendar and a leap year starting on Tuesday (dominical letter FE) of the Julian calendar, the 1740th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 740th year of the 2nd millennium, the 40th year of the 18th century, and the 1st year of the 1740s decade. As of the start of 1740, the Gregorian calendar was 11 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.