|Covid-19|January 18 – British foreign secretary Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston, sends ships to blockade the port of Piraeus, ostensibly as a result of the Don Pacifico affair.
January 20 – The ships of the McClure Arctic Expedition set sail from Plymouth.
January 29 – Henry Clay introduces the Compromise of 1850 to the U.S. Congress.
February 28 – The University of Utah opens in Salt Lake City, Utah.
March 5 – Opening of the Britannia Bridge over the Menai Strait.
March 7 – United States Senator Daniel Webster gives his "Seventh of March" speech in which he endorses the Compromise of 1850 in order to prevent a possible civil war.
March 16 – Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter is published.
March 19 – American Express is founded by Henry Wells & William Fargo.
March 31 – The paddle steamer RMS Royal Adelaide, bound from Cork to London, sinks in the English Channel with the loss of all 250 on board.
Pope Pius IX returns from exile to Rome.
Stephen Foster's "Ah! May the Red Rose Live Alway" is published in the United States.
April 4 – Los Angeles is incorporated as a city.
April 15 – San Francisco is incorporated as a city.
April 19 – Clayton–Bulwer Treaty is signed by the United States and Great Britain, allowing both countries to share Nicaragua and not claim complete control over the proposed Nicaragua Canal.
May 23 – The USS Advance puts to sea from New York to search for John Franklin's Arctic expedition.
May 25 – The hippopotamus Obaysch arrives at London Zoo from Egypt, the first seen in Europe since Roman times.
June 1 – The transportation of British convicts to Western Australia begins, as the transportation of British convicts to other parts of Australia is phased out, when the ship Scindian arrives in Fremantle with 75 male prisoners.
The postage stamp issues of Austria begin with a series of imperforate typographed stamps featuring the coat of arms.
The 1850 United States Census shows that 11.2% of the population classed as "Negro" are of mixed race.
June 3 – The traditional date of Kansas City, Missouri's founding. This is the date on which it is incorporated by Jackson County, Missouri as the "Town of Kansas".
July – Taiping Rebellion: Hong Xiuquan orders the general mobilisation of rebel forces.
July 1 – St. Mary's School for Boys, the future University of Dayton, opens its doors in Dayton, Ohio.
Mírzá 'Alí-Muhammad, known as the Báb, is executed by a firing squad in Tabriz, Persia for claiming to be a prophet.
Vice President Millard Fillmore becomes President of the United States upon the death of President Zachary Taylor.
July 10 – President Millard Fillmore is sworn in.
August 28 – Richard Wagner's romantic opera Lohengrin (including the Bridal Chorus) premieres under the direction of Franz Liszt in Weimar.
California is admitted as the 31st U.S. state.
The New Mexico Territory is organized by order of the United States Congress.
September 13 – First ascent of Piz Bernina, the highest summit of the eastern Alps.
September 18 – The Fugitive Slave Law is passed by the United States Congress.
September 29 – Papal bull Universalis Ecclesiae: Catholic hierarchy is re-established in England and Wales by Pope Pius IX and future Pope Pius X .
October 1 – The University of Sydney (the oldest in Australia) is founded.
October 19 – Phi Kappa Sigma international fraternity was founded at the University of Pennsylvania.
October 28 – Delegate Edward Ralph May delivers a speech on behalf of African American suffrage to the Indiana Constitutional Convention.
Taiping Rebellion: The first clashes of the Taiping Rebellion occur between Imperialist militia and the Heavenly Army.
Undergraduates at Exeter College in the University of Oxford, England, arrange a "foot grind" (a cross-country steeplechase), the first organised university athletic event.
November 29 – The treaty called Punctation of Olmütz is signed in Olomouc. It means diplomatic capitulation of Prussia to the Austrian Empire, which takes over the leadership of the German Confederation.
December 16 – The first settlers for the settlement of Christchurch arrive at the Port of Lyttelton, New Zealand.
Dost Mohammad Barakzai, emir of Afghanistan captures Balkh.
First portion of the Oudh Bequest is transferred from Oudh State in the British Raj to the Shia Islam holy cities of Najaf and Karbala in Persia.
The American system of watch manufacturing is started in Roxbury, Massachusetts by the Waltham Watch Company.
Bingley Hall, the world's first purpose-built exhibition hall, opens in Birmingham, England.
Allan Pinkerton forms the North-Western Police Agency, later the Pinkerton National Detective Agency, in the United States.
Harriet Tubman becomes an official conductor of the Underground Railroad in the United States.
The temperance organisation, International Organisation of Good Templars, is established in Utica, New York, as the order of the Knights of Jericho.
The University of Rochester is founded in Rochester, New York.
The dry-goods store of Lehman Brothers, Montgomery, Alabama, predecessor of the bank, is so renamed.
One of the original segments of The Historic Pacific Highway in Washington in Clark and Cowlitz counties is established.
Europeans make up 22% of the world population.
The city of Manchester in England reaches 400,000 inhabitants.
From this year until 1880, 144,000 East Indian laborers go to Trinidad and 39,000 to Jamaica.
Great Famine in Ireland
January – John Barclay Armstrong, Texas Ranger and U.S. Marshal (d. 1913)
January 4 – Frederick York Powell, English historian and scholar (d. 1904)
Eduard Bernstein, German social democratic theoretician and politician (d. 1932)
Xaver Scharwenka, Polish-German composer (d. 1924)
January 10 – John Wellborn Root, American architect (d. 1891)
January 11 – Philipp von Ferrary, Italian stamp collector (d. 1917)
January 14 – Pierre Loti, French sailor and writer (d. 1923)
Mihai Eminescu, Romanian romantic poet (d. 1889)
Leonard Darwin, son of the British naturalist Charles Darwin (d. 1943)
Sofia Kovalevskaya, Russian mathematician (d. 1891)
January 17 – Alexander Taneyev, Russian composer (d. 1918)
January 18 – Seth Low, American educator (d. 1916)
January 19 – Augustine Birrell, English author and politician (d. 1933)
Hermann Ebbinghaus, German psychologist (d. 1909)
Mary Noailles Murfree, American novelist (d. 1922)
John Collier, British writer and painter (d. 1934)
Edward Smith, captain of the Titanic (d. 1912)
Samuel Gompers, American labor union leader (d. 1924)
January 28 – Edward Merritt Hughes, U.S. Navy officer (d. 1903)
Ebenezer Howard, British urban planner (d. 1928)
Lawrence Hargrave, Australian engineer (d. 1915)
February 8 – Kate Chopin, American writer (d. 1904)
February 12 – William Morris Davis, American geographer (d. 1934)
February 14 – Kiyoura Keigo, Prime Minister of Japan (d. 1942)
February 15 – Albert B. Cummins, American political figure (d. 1926)
February 17 – Alf Morgans, Premier of Western Australia (d. 1933)
February 18 – George Henschel, English musician (d. 1934)
February 23 – César Ritz, Swiss hotelier (d. 1918)
Henry Huntington, American railroad pioneer and art collector (d. 1927)
Laura E. Richards, American author (d. 1943)
March 6 – Sagen Ishizuka, Japanese physician and dietitian (d. 1909)
Tomáš Masaryk, President of Czechoslovakia (d. 1937)
Champ Clark, American politician (d. 1921)
Éphrem-A. Brisebois, Canadian police officer (d. 1890)
Georg von Vollmar, Socialist politician in Bavaria (d. 1922)
Josias von Heeringen, German general (d. 1926)
Hamo Thornycroft, British sculptor (d. 1925)
March 10 – Spencer Gore, British tennis player and cricketer (d. 1906)
March 13 – Hugh John Macdonald, premier of Manitoba (d. 1929)
March 26 – Edward Bellamy, American author (d. 1898)
March 31 – Charles Doolittle Walcott, American invertebrate paleontologist (d. 1927)
April 1 – Hans von Pechmann, German chemist (d. 1902)
Kawamura Kageaki, Japanese field marshal (d. 1926)
John Peters, American baseball player (d. 1924)
April 9 – Julius Wernher, German-born British businessman and art collector (d. 1912)
April 10 – Fanny Davenport, actress (d. 1898)
Mary Emilie Holmes, American geologist and educator (d. 1906)
April 11 – Isidor Rayner, U.S. senator (d. 1912)
April 12 – Nikolai Golitsyn, Prime Minister of Russia (d. 1925)
April 13 – Arthur Matthew Weld Downing, British astronomer (d. 1917)
William Thomas Pipes, Nova Scotia politician (d. 1909)
Edmund Peck, Canadian missionary (d. 1924)
April 16 – Paul von Breitenbach, German railway planner (d. 1930)
April 18 – Joseph Labadie, American labor organizer (d. 1933)
April 20 – Daniel Chester French, American sculptor (d. 1931)
April 23 – Agda Montelius, Swedish feminist (d. 1920)
April 24 – Murdo MacKenzie, Scottish-Brazilian rancher (d. 1939)
Harry Bates, English sculptor (d. 1899)
James Drake, Australian politician (d. 1915)
April 27 – Hans Hartwig von Beseler, German soldier (d. 1921)
April 29 – George Murdoch, first mayor of Calgary (d. 1910)
May 1 – Prince Arthur of the United Kingdom (d. 1942)
May 3 – Johnny Ringo, American cowboy (d. 1882)
May 4 – Emanuel Schiffers, Russian chess player (d. 1904)
May 7 – Anton Seidl, Hungarian conductor (d. 1898)
May 8 – Ross Barnes, U.S. baseball player (d. 1915)
May 10 – Thomas Lipton, Scottish merchant and yachtsman (d. 1931)
Henry Cabot Lodge, American statesman (d. 1924)
Charles McLaren, 1st Baron Aberconway, Scottish Liberal politician and jurist (d. 1934)
May 12 – Frederick Holder, premier of South Australia (d. 1909)
May 14 – Alva Adams, Governor of Colorado (d. 1922)
May 18 – Oliver Heaviside, British engineer (d. 1925)
May 21 – Giuseppe Mercalli, Italian volcanologist (d. 1914)
May 26 – James Kenyon, British pioneer of cinematography (d. 1925)
May 27 – Thomas Neill Cream, serial killer (d. 1892)
May 28 – Frederic William Maitland, English jurist and historian (d. 1906)
May 30 – Frederick Dent Grant, U.S. soldier and statesman (d. 1912)
May 31 – Alphonse Pénaud, French aeronautical pioneer (d. 1880)
Jesse Boot, 1st Baron Trent, British businessman (d. 1931)
Edward Albert Sharpey-Schafer, responsible for diabetes mellitus (d. 1935)
June 3 – Albert M. Todd, American businessman and politician (d. 1931)
June 5 – Pat Garrett, American bartender and sheriff (d. 1908)
June 6 – Karl Ferdinand Braun, German physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1918)
June 12 – Roberto Ivens, Portuguese explorer of Africa (d. 1898)
June 15 – Charles Hazelius Sternberg, American fossil collector and amateur paleontologist (d. 1943)
June 18 – Cyrus Hermann Kotzschmar Curtis, American publisher (d. 1933)
June 21 – Daniel Carter Beard, U.S. Scouting pioneer (d. 1941)
June 22 – Ignaz Goldziher, Jewish Hungarian orientalist (d. 1921)
June 24 – Horatio Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener, British field marshal and statesman (d. 1916)
Ivan Vazov, Bulgarian poet (d. 1921)
Lafcadio Hearn, Greco-Japanese author (d. 1904)
Jørgen Pedersen Gram, Danish mathematician (d. 1916)
July 2 – Robert Ridgway, American ornithologist (d. 1929)
July 8 – Charles Rockwell Lanman, American Sanskrit scholar (d. 1941)
July 11 – Annie Armstrong, American missionary leader (d. 1938)
Newell Sanders, American businessman and politician (d. 1938)
Otto Schoetensack, German anthropologist (d. 1912)
July 15 – Mother Cabrini, American saint (d. 1917)
July 20 – John G. Shedd, American businessman (d. 1926)
July 28 – William Whittingham Lyman, U.S. vintner (d. 1921)
Robert Love Taylor, Tennessee congressman (d. 1912)
Robert Planquette, French composer of stage musicals (d. 1903)
August – Bernardo Reyes, Mexican general (d. 1913)
August 5 – Guy de Maupassant, French writer (d. 1893)
August 6 – Henri Chantavoine, French writer (d. 1918)
August 9 – Johann Büttikofer, Swiss zoologist (d. 1929)
August 13 – Philip Bourke Marston, English poet (d. 1887)
August 14 – W. W. Rouse Ball, British mathematician (d. 1925)
August 25 – Charles Richet, French physiologist and Nobel Prize winner (d. 1935)
August 30 – Marcelo H. del Pilar, Filipino writer and journalist (d. 1896)
September 4 – Luigi Cadorna, Italian general (d. 1928)
September 5 – Eugen Goldstein, German physicist (d. 1930)
September 20 – Ōshima Yoshimasa, Japanese general (d. 1926)
David R. Francis, American politician (d. 1927)
Thomas Vincent Welch, New York Assemblyman (d. 1903)
October 8 – Henry Louis Le Châtelier, French chemist (d. 1936)
October 14 – Newton E. Mason, United States Navy rear admiral (d. 1945)
October 18 – Ferdinand von Quast, German general (d. 1939)
October 26 – Grigore Tocilescu, Romanian historian, archaeologist, epigrapher and folkorist, author of many books on ancient Dacia (d. 1909)
November 2 – Antonio Jacobsen, maritime artist (d. 1921)
November 13 – Robert Louis Stevenson, Scottish writer (d. 1894)
November 15 – Victor Laloux, French architect (d. 1937)
December 21 – William Wallace Lincoln, third son of Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln (d. 1862)
Hortensia Antommarchi, Colombian poet (d. 1915)
January 17 – Elizabeth Simcoe, English-born wife of John Graves Simcoe (b. 1762)
January 2 – Manuel de la Peña y Peña, interim President of Mexico (b. 1789)
January 20 – Adam Gottlob Oehlenschläger, Danish poet and playwright (b. 1779)
William Joseph Chaminade, French Catholic priest (b. 1761)
Saint Vincent Pallotti, Italian missionary (b. 1795)
January 26 – Francis Jeffrey, Scottish judge and literary critic (b. 1773)
Philipp Röth, German composer (b. 1779)
Johann Gottfried Schadow, German sculptor (b. 1764)
February 4 – Daniel Turner, officer in the United States Navy (b. 1794)
February 20 – Valentín Canalizo, acting president of Mexico (b. 1794)
February 23 – Matthew Whitworth-Aylmer, 5th Baron Aylmer, British military officer and colonial administrator (b. 1775)
February 24 – Tan Tock Seng, Singaporean businessman philanthropist (b. 1798)
February 25 – Daoguang Emperor of the Qing dynasty of China (b. 1782)
February 27 – Samuel Adams, Democratic Governor of the State of Arkansas (b. 1805)
February 28 – Edward Bickersteth, English evangelical divine (b. 1786)
March 3 – Oliver Cowdery, American religious leader (b. 1806)
Juan Martín de Pueyrredón y O'Dogan, Argentine general and politician (b. 1776)
Owen Stanley, British naval officer and explorer of New Guinea (b. 1811)
March 26 – Samuel Turell Armstrong, American political figure (b. 1784)
March 27 – Wilhelm Beer, German banker and astronomer (b. 1797)
March 28 – Gerard Brandon, Governor of Mississippi (b. 1788)
March 31 – John C. Calhoun, 7th Vice President of the United States (b. 1782)
April 7 – William Lisle Bowles, English poet and critic (b. 1762)
April 9 – William Prout, English chemist and physician (b. 1785)
April 11 – Raja Nara Singh, regent of Manipur (b. 1792)
April 12 – Adoniram Judson, American Baptist missionary (b. 1788)
April 16 – Marie Tussaud, French wax sculptor (b. 1761)
April 17 – Jan Krukowiecki, Polish general (b. 1772)
April 22 – Friedrich Robert Faehlmann, Estonian philologist and physician (b. 1798)
April 23 – William Wordsworth, English poet (b. 1770)
April 24 – John Norvell, American newspaperman and senator (b. 1789)
May 1 – Henri Marie Ducrotay de Blainville, French zoologist and anatomist (b. 1777)
May 2 – Joseph Plumb Martin, American Revolutionary soldier and narrative author. (b. 1760)
May 10 – Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac, French chemist and physicist (b. 1778)
May 12 – Frances Sargent Osgood, U.S. poet (b. 1811)
May 21 – Christoph Friedrich von Ammon, German theological writer and preacher (b. 1766)
Jane Porter, English novelist (b. 1776)
Michał Gedeon Radziwiłł, Polish noble (b. 1778)
May 31 – Giuseppe Giusti, Tuscan satirical poet (b. 1809)
June 9 – John Green Crosse, English surgeon (b. 1790)
June 16 – William Lawson, British explorer of New South Wales (b. 1774)
June 19 – Margaret Fuller, American journalist (b. 1810)
June 30 – Richard Dillingham, American Quaker teacher (b. 1823)
July 2 – Robert Peel, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (b. 1788)
July 4 – William Kirby, English entomologist (b. 1759)
July 7 – Timothy Hackworth, British steam locomotive engineer (b. 1786)
July 8 – Prince Adolphus of the United Kingdom, 1st Duke of Cambridge (b. 1774)
The Báb, Persian founder of the Bábí Faith (b. 1819) (executed by a firing squad)
Zachary Taylor, 12th President of the United States (b. 1784)
Jean-Pierre Boyer, President of Haiti (b. 1776)
July 12 – Robert Stevenson, Scottish lighthouse engineer (b. 1772)
July 14 – August Neander, German theologian and church historian (b. 1789)
July 16 – Julia Glover, Irish-born British stage actress (b. ca. 1779)
July 25 – Richard Barnes Mason, military governor of California (b. 1797)
August 3 – Jacob Jones, U.S. Navy officer (b. 1768)
Edward Walsh, Irish poet (b. 1805)
Hōne Heke, Maori chief and war leader (b. c. 1807)
August 13 – Martin Archer Shee, Irish painter and president of the Royal Academy (b. 1770)
August 17 – General José de San Martín, Argentine military and South American independence hero (b. 1778)
Charles Arbuthnot, British Tory politician (b. 1767)
Honoré de Balzac, French author (b. 1799)
August 22 – Nikolaus Lenau, Austrian poet (b. 1802)
August 26 – King Louis Philippe I of France (b. 1773)
August 27 – Thomas Kidd, English classical scholar and schoolmaster (b. 1770)
September 2 – Charles Watkin Williams-Wynn, British Tory politician (b. 1775)
September 12 – Presley O'Bannon, officer in the United States Marine Corps (b. 1784)
September 22 – Johann Heinrich von Thünen, German economist (b. 1783)
September 23 – José Gervasio Artigas, Uruguayan revolutionary (b. 1764)
October 2 – Sarah Biffen, English painter (b. 1784)
October 29 – Marmaduke Williams, Democratic-Republican U.S. Congressman from North Carolina (b. 1774)
November 2 – Richard Dobbs Spaight Jr., Democratic governor of the U.S. state of North Carolina (b. 1796)
November 3 – Thomas Ford, governor of Illinois (b. 1800)
November 4 – Gustav Schwab, German classical scholar (b. 1792)
November 9 – François-Xavier-Joseph Droz, French writer on ethics and political science (b. 1773)
November 19 – Richard Mentor Johnson, 9th Vice President of the United States (b. 1780)
November 22 – Lin Zexu, Chinese politician (b. 1785)
November 30 – Germain Henri Hess, Swiss chemist and doctor (b. 1802)
Robert Gilfillan, Scottish poet (b. 1798)
William Sturgeon, English physicist and inventor (b. 1783)
Józef Bem, Polish general (b. 1794)
François Sulpice Beudant, French mineralogist and geologist (b. 1787)
December 22 – William Plumer, American lawyer and lay preacher (b. 1759)
December 24 – Frédéric Bastiat French author and economist (b. 1801)
December 28 – Heinrich Christian Schumacher, German astronomer (b. 1780)
December 29 – William Hamilton Maxwell, Scots-Irish novelist (b. 1792)
Pierre M. Lapie, French cartographer (fl. (b. 1779)
Mary Anne Whitby, English scientist (b. 1784)
1850 (MDCCCL) was a common year starting on Tuesday (dominical letter F) of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Sunday (dominical letter A) of the Julian calendar, the 1850th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 850th year of the 2nd millennium, the 50th year of the 19th century, and the 1st year of the 1850s decade. As of the start of 1850, the Gregorian calendar was 12 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.