January – A fire in Istanbul destroys 10,000 homes.
January 13 – The Treaty of Madrid between Spain and Portugal authorizes a larger Brazil than had the Treaty of Tordesillas of 1494, which originally established the boundaries of the Portuguese and Spanish territories in South America.
April – A second fire devastates Istanbul (see January). A third fire later in the year destroys a further 10,000 homes.
April 4 – A small earthquake hits Warrington, England.
March 20 – First number of Samuel Johnson's The Rambler appears.
May – Riots break out in Paris, France fueled by rumors of police abducting children.
July 31 – José I takes over the throne of Portugal from his deceased father, João V. King José Manuel appoints the Marquis of Pombal as his Chief Minister, who then strips the Inquisition of its power.
July 9 – Traveller Jonas Hanway leaves St. Petersburg to return home via Germany and the Netherlands. Later the same year, Hanway reputedly becomes the first Englishman to use an umbrella (a French fashion).
July 11 – Halifax, Nova Scotia is almost completely destroyed by fire.
August 23 – A small earthquake hits Spalding, Lincolnshire, England.
September 30 – A small earthquake hits Northampton, England.
November 11 – A riot breaks out in Lhasa, Tibet, after the murder of the regent of Tibet.
November 18 – Westminster Bridge is officially opened in London.
Hannah Snell reveals her sex to her Royal Marines compatriots.
The King of Dahomey has income of 250,000 pounds from the overseas export of slaves.
Maruyama Okyo paints The Ghost of Oyuki.
Britain produces c. 2% of the entire world's output of industrial goods and the Industrial Revolution begins.
Galley slavery is abolished in Europe.
World population: 791,000,000
Northern America: 2,000,000
For the last time, New Year's Day is legally on March 25 in England and Wales.
Upon his death, Frederick I of Sweden is succeeded as king by Adolf Frederick.
March 31 – Frederick, Prince of Wales dies in London and is succeeded by his son, the future George III of the United Kingdom, as heir-apparent to the British throne and Prince of Wales. His mother Augusta of Saxe-Gotha becomes Dowager Princess of Wales.
May 11 – The Pennsylvania legislature grants a charter to Benjamin Franklin and Dr. Thomas Bond for the establishment in Philadelphia of the first hospital in the Colonies.
July 28 – Kingdom of Kartli defeats a large army of Tabriz Khanate under Erekle II in the Battle of Kirkhbulakh
July 31 – Fire destroys 1,000 houses in Stockholm.
August 13 – The Academy and College of Philadelphia, predecessor to the private University of Pennsylvania, opens its doors, with Benjamin Franklin as president.
September 13 – Kalvária Banská Štiavnica in the Kingdom of Hungary is completed.
October 27 – The Hōreki period begins in Japan.
December 3 – Battle of Arnee in India (Second Carnatic War): A British East India Company-led force under Robert Clive defeats and routs a much larger Franco-Indian army under the command of Raza Sahib at Arni.
In the University of Glasgow
Adam Smith is appointed professor of logic.
The Medical School is founded.
The Encyclopédie is first published.
Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus publishes his Philosophia Botanica, the first textbook of descriptive systematic botanical taxonomy and the first appearance of his binomial nomenclature.
Maria Theresa thaler minted; it becomes an international currency.
1751–1775 – 13% of appointees to audiencias in the Spanish Empire are Creoles.
January 30 – The British Empire adopts the Gregorian calendar (to take effect in September).
February 11 – Pennsylvania Hospital, the first hospital in the United States, is opened.
February 27 – The Virginia Assembly passes a law making maiming a felony, in response to the practice of gouging.
February 29 – Alaungpaya, a village chief in Upper Burma, founds the Konbaung Dynasty; by the time of his death 8 years later, he will have unified the whole country.
March 23 – The Halifax Gazette, the first Canadian newspaper, is published.
June 6 – Fire destroys 18,000 houses in Moscow, Russia.
June 15 – Benjamin Franklin proves that lightning is electricity by his kite experiment.
September 14 – Great Britain and the British Empire adopt the Gregorian calendar, meaning the Julian date of Wednesday, September 2 is followed by the Gregorian date of Thursday, September 14.
September–December – Jovan Šević leads a group of Serb emigrants from Pomorišje to Kiev.
Adam Smith transfers to professor of moral philosophy at the University of Glasgow.
English scientist Lord John Davies first observes what is later recognised as respiratory collapse
January 1 – Minimum date value for a datetime field in SQL Server (up to SQL Server 2005) due to it being the first full year after Britain adopted the Gregorian calendar. You may also see this value in Oracle database's date fields as a starting value (instead of null) if the application supports either database installations (Oracle or SQL Server).
January 29 – After a month's absence, Elizabeth Canning returns to her mother's home in London and claims that she was abducted. The following criminal trial causes uproar.
March 1 – Sweden adopts the Gregorian calendar by skipping the 11 days difference between it and the Julian calendar and letting February 17 be followed directly by March 1.
March 17 – First official Saint Patrick's Day.
May 1 – Species Plantarum is published by Linnaeus (adopted by the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature as the formal start date of the scientific classification of plants).
June 7 – The British Museum is established in London by Act of Parliament.
July – The Parliament of Great Britain passes Lord Hardwicke's Marriage Act "for the Better Preventing of Clandestine Marriage" in England and Wales; it comes into effect in 1754.
July 7 – The Parliament of Great Britain's Jewish Naturalization Act receives royal assent, allowing naturalization to Jews; it is repealed in 1754.
October 31 – Virginia Lieut. Gov. Robert Dinwiddie commissions 21-year-old militia Maj. George Washington to dissuade the French from occupying the Ohio Country.
James Lind writes A Treatise of the Scurvy.
Robert Wood publishes The ruins of Palmyra; otherwise Tedmor in the desart in English and French, making the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra known to the West.
The Cramer family starts a brewing operation at Warstein in North-Rhine Westphalia, origin of the Warsteiner brand.
Coining of the term "anthropomorphism"
January 28 – Horace Walpole, in a letter to Horace Mann, coins the word serendipity.
February 25 – Guatemalan Sergeant Major Melchor de Mencos y Varón departs the city of Santiago de los Caballeros de Guatemala with an infantry battalion to fight British pirates that are reportedly disembarking on the coasts of Petén (modern-day Belize) and sacking the nearby towns.
March 25 – The Clandestine Marriages Act of 1753 comes into force in England and Wales, placing marriage in that jurisdiction on a statutory basis for the first time.
April 30 – Guatemalan Sergeant Mayor Melchor de Mencos y Varón and his troops defeat the British pirates in the battle of San Felipe and the Cobá Lagoon.
May 14 – The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews is founded in Scotland.
May 28 – The Battle of Jumonville Glen begins the French and Indian War in North America: 22-year-old George Washington leads a company of militia from the Colony of Virginia in an ambush on a force of 35 French Canadians.
June 19 – The Albany Congress of seven northern colonies proposes an American Union.
July – Columbia University is founded as King's College by royal charter of King George II of England. The college is originally located in Lower Manhattan. Instruction is suspended in 1776 and the school reopens in 1784 as Columbia College. With the college's growth in the 19th Century, it is renamed Columbia University in 1896.
July 3 – French and Indian War: Battle of Fort Necessity – George Washington surrenders Fort Necessity to French Capt. Louis Coulon de Villiers.
December 13 – Osman III (1754–1757) succeeds Mahmud I as Ottoman Emperor.
Surveyor William Churton lays out what will become the county seat of Orange County, North Carolina. The town is named Corbin Town for Francis Corbin, a member of the North Carolina governor's council. Corbin Town is renamed Childsburgh in 1759 and finally Hillsborough in 1766.
January 25 (Tatiana Day) – Moscow University is established.
February 13 – The kingdom of Mataram on Java is divided in two, creating the sultanate of Yogyakarta and the sunanate of Surakarta.
February 20 – General Braddock lands in Virginia to take command of the British forces against the French in North America.
April 2 – A naval fleet led by Commodore William James of the East India Company captures Tulaji Angre's fortress Suvarnadurg from the Marathas.
April 15 – A Dictionary of the English Language is published by Samuel Johnson (he had begun the work 9 years earlier, in 1746).
July 9 – French and Indian War – Braddock Expedition: British troops and colonial militiamen are ambushed and suffer a devastating defeat inflicted by French and Indian forces. During the battle, British General Edward Braddock is mortally wounded. Colonel George Washington survives.
July 17 – In a convoy of ships from Great Britain, returning to India for the East India Company, the lead ship Dodington wrecks at Port Elizabeth, losing a chest of gold coins from Robert Clive, worth £33,000. In 1998, 1,400 coins are offered for sale, and in 2002 a portion is given to the South African government.
July 25 – The decision to deport the Acadians is made during meetings of the Nova Scotia Council meeting in Halifax. From September 1755 to June 1763 the vast majority of Acadians are deported to one of the following British Colonies in America: Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina and Georgia. Contrary to popular belief, no Acadians are sent to Louisiana. Those sent to Virginia are refused and then sent on to Liverpool, Bristol, Southampton and Penryn in England. In 1758 the Fortress of Louisbourg falls and all of the civilian population of Isle Royal (Cape Breton Island) and Isle St. Jean (Prince Edward Island) are repatriated to France. Among them were several thousand Acadians who had escaped the deportation by fleeing into those areas. Very few Acadians successfully escape the deportation and do so only by fleeing into some of the northern sections of present day New Brunswick. The event inspires Longfellow to write the epic poem Evangeline.
August 10 – The Expulsion of the Acadians begins with the Bay of Fundy Campaign.
November 1 – 1755 Lisbon earthquake: In Portugal, Lisbon is destroyed by a massive earthquake and tsunami, killing 60,000–90,000 people.
November 18 – An earthquake occurs in the vicinity of Cape Ann, Massachusetts, causing extensive damage.
November 25 – King Ferdinand VI of Spain grants the Religious of the Virgin Mary in the Philippines royal protection.
December 2 – The second Eddystone Lighthouse off the coast of England is destroyed by fire.
Wolsey, the clothes manufacturer, is established in Leicester, England; the business celebrates its 250th anniversary in 2005.
Construction of the Puning Temple complex in Chengde, China is complete, during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor.
Construction of St Ninian's Church, Tynet, Scotland, the country's oldest surviving post-Reformation Roman Catholic clandestine church.
Joseph Black describes his discovery of carbon dioxide ("fixed air") and magnesium in a paper to the Philosophical Society of Edinburgh.
The brine shrimp Artemia salina is first described, in Linnaeus' Systema Naturæ.
January 16 – Treaty of Westminster signed between Great Britain and Prussia guaranteeing the neutrality of the German province of Hanover controlled by King George II of Great Britain.
January 27 – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is born.
March 17 – St. Patrick's Day is celebrated in New York City for the first time (at the Crown and Thistle Tavern).
April 12 – Seven Years' War: The French invade Minorca, at this time under British control.
May 18 – Seven Years' War: The Seven Years' War formally begins when Great Britain declares war on France.
May 20 – Seven Years' War – Battle of Minorca: The British fleet under John Byng is defeated by the French under Roland-Michel Barrin de La Galissonière.
20 June – A garrison of the British Army in India is imprisoned in the Black Hole of Calcutta.
June 25 – The Marine Society is founded in London, the world's oldest seafarers' charity.
June 29 – Seven Years' War – Siege of Fort St Philip at Port Mahon: The British garrison in Minorca surrenders to the French after two months' siege by Armand de Vignerot du Plessis.
June – The Coup of 1756, an attempted coup d'état planned by Queen Louisa Ulrika of Sweden to abolish the rule of the Riksdag of the Estates and reinstate absolute monarchy in Sweden with the support of the Hovpartiet, is exposed and subdued.
July 30 – Bartolomeo Rastrelli presents the newly built Catherine Palace to Empress Elizabeth and her courtiers.
August 14 – Seven Years' War – French and Indian War: Fort Oswego falls to the French.
August 29 – Frederick II of Prussia invades Saxony, beginning the Seven Years' War on the continent.
October 1 – Seven Years' War – Battle of Lobositz: Frederick defeats an Austrian army under Marshal Maximilian Ulysses Count Browne.
October 14 – An Agreement of Friendship and Trade is signed by the Sultan Osman III and the King Frederick V. Denmark has appointed an extraordinary representative to the Ottoman Empire.
December – Seven Years' War – French and Indian War: Militias of the Royal Colony of North Carolina build a fort on the province's western frontier to protect it against natives allied with the French. The fort is named Fort Dobbs in honor of North Carolina Governor Arthur Dobbs, who persuaded the North Carolina legislature to fund the construction a year earlier.
December 14 The play Douglas is performed for the first time in Edinburgh, with overwhelming success, in spite of the opposition of the local church presbytery, who summon Alexander Carlyle to answer for having attended its representation. However, it fails in its early promise to set up a new Scottish dramatic tradition.
Frederick II of Prussia forces his country's peasants to grow the unpopular and obscure potato.
The town of Gus-Khrustalny is established in Russia with the setting up of a crystal glass factory.
First chocolate-candy factory begins operations in Germany.
Leopold Mozart publishes his book on his method for learning to play the violin, Versuch einer gründlichen Violinschule.
January 2 – Britain captures Calcutta (part of the fighting in the Seven Years' War).
January 5 – Robert-François Damiens makes an unsuccessful assassination attempt on Louis XV of France. On March 28 Damiens is publicly executed by dismemberment, the last person in France to suffer this punishment.
March 14 – Seven Years' War: British Admiral Sir John Byng is executed by firing squad aboard HMS Monarch for breach of the Articles of War in failing to "do his utmost" at the Battle of Minorca (1756).
May 6 – Seven Years' War – Battle of Prague (1757): Frederick the Great defeats an Austrian army and begins to besiege the city.
June 18 – Seven Years' War – Battle of Kolín: Frederick is defeated by an Austrian army under Marshal Daun, forcing him to evacuate Bohemia.
June 23 – Battle of Plassey: 3,000 troops serving with the British East India Company under Robert Clive defeat a 50,000 strong Indian army under Siraj ud-Daulah through conspiracy, at Plassey in India marking the first victory of the East India Company upon India .
July 26 – Seven Years' War – Battle of Hastenbeck: An Anglo-Hanoverian army under the Duke of Cumberland is defeated by the French under Louis d'Estrées and forced out of Hanover.
August 3 – August 9 – French and Indian War: A French army under Louis-Joseph de Montcalm forces the English to surrender Fort William Henry. The French army's Indian allies slaughter the survivors for unclear reasons.
August 30 – Seven Years' War – Battle of Gross-Jägersdorf: A Prussian army under Hans von Lehwaldt is defeated by the Russian army of Marshal Stepan Apraksin.
September – 1757 Hajj caravan raid: Massive assault against the Hajj caravan by the Beni Sakhr tribe. The caravan was plundered and 20,000 pilgrims were killed or died as a result of the raid.
October 16 – Seven Years' War: Hungarian raiders plunder Berlin in Prussia.
October 30 – Osman III dies and is succeeded as Ottoman Sultan by Mustafa III.
November 5 – Seven Years' War – Battle of Rossbach: Frederick defeats the French-Imperial army under the Duc de Soubise and Prince Joseph of Saxe-Hildburghausen, forcing the French to withdraw from Saxony.
November 22 – Seven Years' War – Battle of Breslau: An Austrian army under Prince Charles Alexander of Lorraine defeats the Prussian army of Wilhelm of Brunswick-Bevern and forces the Prussians behind the Oder.
Seven Years' War – Battle of Leuthen: Frederick defeats Prince Charles's Austrian army in what is generally considered the Prussian king's greatest tactical victory.
In Buddhist tradition Jigme Lingpa discovers the Longchen Nyingthig terma through a meditative vision which brought him to Boudhanath. The Longchen Nyingtig is a popular cycle of teachings in the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism.
December 14 – Battle of Khresili: King Solomon I of Imereti defeats the Ottoman army and an allied faction of nobles in what is now western Georgia.
Conclusion of Nam tiến, the southward expansion of the territory of Vietnam into the Indochina Peninsula.
Robert Wood publishes The ruins of Balbec, otherwise Heliopolis in Coelosyria in English and French, making the ancient city of Baalbek in Syria known to the West.
Emanuel Swedenborg claims to have witnessed the Last Judgment occurring in the spiritual world.
March – James Abercrombie replaces James Mure-Campbell, 5th Earl of Loudoun as supreme commander in the American colonies. He is replaced himself after failing to take the fort at Ticonderoga.
April 29 – Battle of Cuddalore: A British fleet under Sir George Pocock engages the French fleet of Anne Antoine, Comte d'Aché indecisively near Madras.
May 21 – Seven Years' War – French and Indian War: Mary Campbell is abducted from her home in Pennsylvania by Lenape.
June 12 – Seven Years' War – French and Indian War: Siege of Louisbourg: James Wolfe's attack at Louisbourg, Nova Scotia commences.
June 23 – Seven Years' War – Battle of Krefeld: Anglo-Hanoverian forces under Ferdinand of Brunswick defeat the French.
June 30 – Seven Years' War – Battle of Domstadtl: Austrian forces under Ernst Gideon von Laudon and Joseph von Siskovits rout an enormous convoy with supplies for the Prussian army, guarded by strong troops of Hans Joachim von Zieten.
Pope Clement XIII succeeds Pope Benedict XIV as the 248th pope.
Seven Years' War – Battle of Bernetz Brook: British troops defeat the French.
July 8 – Seven Years' War: French and Indian War: French forces hold Fort Carillon against the British at Ticonderoga, New York.
July 25 – Seven Years' War – French and Indian War: The island battery at Fortress Louisbourg is silenced and all French warships are destroyed or taken.
August 3 – Seven Years' War – Battle of Negapatam: Off the coast of India, Admiral Pocock again engages d'Aché's French fleet, this time with more success.
August 25 – Seven Years' War – Battle of Zorndorf: Frederick defeats the Russian army of Count Wilhelm Fermor near the Oder.
September 3 – Távora affair: attempted assassination of Joseph I of Portugal.
September 14 – Seven Years' War – French and Indian War: Battle of Fort Duquesne: A British attack on Fort Duquesne (present day Pittsburgh) is defeated.
October 14 – Seven Years' War: Battle of Hochkirch: Frederick loses a hard-fought battle against the Austrians under Marshal Leopold von Daun, who besieges Dresden.
November 25 – Seven Years' War: French and Indian War: French forces abandon Fort Duquesne to the British, who then name the area Pittsburgh.
December 13 – The ship Duke William sinks in the North Atlantic with the loss of over 360 lives while deporting Acadians from Prince Edward Island to France.
December 25 – Halley's Comet appears for the first time after Halley's identification of it.
First European settlement in what is now Erie County by the French at the mouth of Buffalo Creek.
Rudjer Boscovich publishes his atomic theory in Theoria philosophiae naturalis redacta ad unicam legem virium in nalura existentium.
A fire destroys parts of Christiania in Norway.
Carl Linnaeus publishes the first volume (Animalia) of the tenth edition of his Systema Naturae, the starting point of modern zoological nomenclature.
Marquis Gabriel de Lernay, a French officer captured during the Seven Years' War, establishes a military lodge in Berlin with the help of Baron de Printzen, master of The Three Globes Lodge at Berlin, and Philipp Samuel Rosa, a disgraced former pastor.
January 6 – George Washington marries Martha Dandridge Custis.
January 11 – In Philadelphia, the first American life insurance company is incorporated.
January 13 – Távora affair: The Távora family is executed following accusations of the attempted regicide of Joseph I of Portugal.
By January 15 – Voltaire's satire Candide is published simultaneously in five countries.
January 15 – The British Museum opens at Montagu House in London (after 6 years of development).
March 4–November 20 – Étienne de Silhouette serves as Controller-General of France.
April 14 – Seven Years' War – Battle of Bergen: A French army defeats Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick.
May 1 – Josiah Wedgwood founds the Wedgwood pottery company in England.
July 19 – The Great Stockholm Fire 1759 breaks out at Södermalm in Stockholm, Sweden.
July 25 – Seven Years' War (French and Indian War): In Canada, British forces capture Fort Niagara from French, who subsequently abandon Fort Rouillé.
July 26 – Seven Years' War (French and Indian War): At the southern end of Lake Champlain, British forces capture Fort Carillon from French, and rename it Fort Ticonderoga.
July 27 – Seven Years' War (French and Indian War): British troops under Jeffrey Amherst take Fort Ticonderoga.
August 1 – Battle of Minden: Anglo–Hanoverian forces under Ferdinand of Brunswick defeat the French army of the Duc de Broglie, but due to the disobedience of the English cavalry commander Lord George Sackville, the French are able to withdraw unmolested.
August 10 – Ferdinand VI of Spain dies and is succeeded by his half–brother Charles III. Charles resigns the thrones of Naples and Sicily to his third son, Ferdinand IV.
August 12 – Battle of Kunersdorf: Frederick the Great is rebuffed in bloody assaults on the combined Austro–Russian army of Pyotr Saltykov and Ernst von Laudon. This is one of Frederick's greatest defeats.
August 18 – Battle of Lagos: The British fleet of Edward Boscawen defeats a French force under Commodore Jean-François de La Clue-Sabran off the Portuguese coast.
September 10 – Battle of Pondicherry: An inconclusive naval battle is fought off the coast of India between the French Admiral d'Aché and the British under George Pocock. The French forces are badly damaged and sail home, never to return.
September 13 – Seven Years' War (French and Indian War): Quebec falls to British forces following General Wolfe's victory in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham just outside the city. Both the French Commander (the Marquis de Montcalm) and the British General James Wolfe are fatally wounded.
September 14 – Carrington Bowles publishes A Journey Through Europe, a board game designed by John Jefferys, the earliest board game whose designer's name is known.
October 16 – Smeaton's Tower, John Smeaton’s Eddystone Lighthouse off the coast of South West England, is first illuminated.
October 30 – Near East earthquakes of 1759 – The first event in an earthquake doublet occurs to the north of the Sea of Galilee with a surface wave magnitude of 6.6 and a maximum Mercalli intensity of VIII–IX (Severe–Violent). About 2,000 were killed in Safed.
November 20 – Battle of Quiberon Bay: The British fleet of Sir Edward Hawke defeats a French fleet under Marshal de Conflans near the coast of Brittany. This is the decisive naval engagement of the Seven Years' War – after this, the French are no longer able to field a significant fleet.
November 21 – Battle of Maxen: The Austrian army of Marshal von Daun cuts off and forces the surrender of a Prussian force under Friedrich von Finck.
November 25 – Near East earthquakes of 1759 – The second and stronger event in an earthquake doublet occurs to the east of Beirut with a surface wave magnitude of 7.4 and a maximum Mercalli intensity of IX (Violent), destroying all the villages in the Beqaa Valley.
December 6 – The Germantown Union School (now called "Germantown Academy"), America's oldest nonsectarian day school, is founded.
December 31 – The Guinness Brewery is leased by Arthur Guinness in St. James's Gate, Dublin, Ireland, for the brewing of Guinness.
Adam Smith publishes his Theory of Moral Sentiments, embodying some of his Glasgow lectures.
The town of Egedesminde (modern Aasiaat) is founded in Greenland.
English clockmaker John Harrison produces his "No. 1 sea watch" ("H4"), the first successful marine chronometer.
Kew Gardens established in England by Augusta of Saxe-Coburg, the mother of George III.
Churton Town, the Orange County, North Carolina county seat laid out in 1754, is renamed Childsburgh in honor of North Carolina attorney general Thomas Child. It is later renamed Hillsborough in 1766.
Fire destroys 250 houses in Stockholm.
Madame du Coudray publishes Abrégé de l'art des accouchements ("The Art of Obstetrics") and the French government authorizes her to carry her instruction "throughout the realm" and promises financial support.