1781 in History

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Events in History

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 1 1,500 soldiers of the 6th Pennsylvania Regiment under General Anthony Wayne's command rebel against the Continental Army's winter camp in Morristown, New Jersey as part of the Pennsylvania (Continentals; Regiment) Mutiny of 1781.

Military Leader Anthony Wayne
Military Leader
Anthony Wayne
  • Jan 4 Andre Méchain discovers M80 (globular cluster in Scorpio)

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 5 British naval expedition led by Benedict Arnold burns Richmond, Virginia

US Defector General Benedict Arnold
US Defector General
Benedict Arnold
  • Jan 6 Battle of Jersey: Major Francis Peirson and his men defeat invading French troops
  • Jan 20 1st edition of Pieter It Hoens "Post of Neder-Rhijn" published
  • Feb 3 Dutch West Indies island of St Eustatia taken by British
  • Mar 1 Articles of Confederation ratified by 13th state, Maryland
  • Mar 1 Continental Congress adopts Articles of Confederation

InventionScientific Discovery

Mar 13 William Herschel sees what he thinks is a "comet" but is actually the discovery of the planet Uranus

Astronomer William Herschel
William Herschel
  • Mar 15 British and American forces clash during the Battle of Guilford Court House, North Carolina. British suffer heavy losses, surrendering to George Washington in October
  • Mar 18 Charles Messier rediscovers global cluster M92
  • Apr 29 French fleet occupies Tobago during American War of Independence
  • Apr 29 French fleet stops the Britain from seizing the Cape of Good Hope
  • May 1 Emperor Joseph II decrees protection of population
  • May 26 Bank of North America incorporates in Philadelphia

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jun 3 Jack Jouett rides to warn Thomas Jefferson of British attack

3rd US President Thomas Jefferson
3rd US President
Thomas Jefferson

  • Jul 11 Thomas Hutchins designated Geographer of US
  • Aug 1 British army under general Cornwallis occupies Yorktown, Virginia
  • Aug 5 Battle of Dogger Bank (Fourth Anglo-Dutch War): a British strategic victory, although both sides claimed to have won

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Aug 20 George Washington begins to move his troops south to fight Cornwallis

First US President George Washington
First US President
George Washington
  • Sep 4 Los Angeles is founded by 44 Spanish speaking mestizos in the Bahia de las Fumas (Bay of Smokes)
  • Sep 5 American Revolutionary War: French fleet of 24 ships under Comte de Grasse defeat British forces under Admiral Graves at the Battle of the Chesapeake [Battle of the Virginia Capes] and trap Cornwallis
  • Sep 6 The Battle of Groton Heights takes place, resulting a British victory.
  • Sep 25 -26] Joan Derks scatters "On the People of Netherlands" pamphlets
  • Sep 28 9,000 American and 7,000 French troops begin siege of Yorktown
  • Oct 6 Americans under George Washington and the French under comte de Rochambeau begin the siege of Cornwallis at Yorktown; last battle of American Revolutionary War

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Oct 19 British General Charles Cornwallis, head of British forces capitulates at Yorktown

General and Colonial Administrator Charles Cornwallis
General and Colonial Administrator
Charles Cornwallis
  • Oct 19 British forces under General Charles Cornwallis sign terms of surrender to George Washington and comte de Rochambeau at Yorktown at 2 pm; US Revolutionary War ends
  • Oct 20 Patent of Toleration, providing limited freedom of worship, was approved in Habsburg Monarchy.
  • Nov 5 John Hanson elected first "President of US in Congress assembled"
  • Nov 13 British troops occupy Negapatam, Ceylon (Sri Lanka)
  • Nov 29 Crew of slave ship Zong murder about 142 African slaves by dumping them into the sea, to claim insurance

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 28 Comte de Rochambeau and Nicolas Luckner are the last generals to be made Marshal of France by Louis XVI before the Revolution

Military Leader Comte de Rochambeau
Military Leader
Comte de Rochambeau
King of France Louis XVI
King of France
Louis XVI
  • Dec 31 Bank of North America, 1st US bank opens

Birthdays in History

  • Jan 20 Joseph Hormayr Freiherr zu Hortenburg, Austrian politician (d. 1848)
  • Jan 26 Ludwig Joachim "Achim" von Arnim, German poet (Des Knaben Wunderhorn)
  • Jan 30 Adelbert von Chamisso, French writer (Peter Schlemihl), born in Champagne (d. 1838)
  • Feb 9 Johann Baptist von Spix, German scientist (d. 1826)
  • Feb 17 René Laënnec, French physician who invented the stethoscope, born in Quimper, France (d. 1826)
  • Feb 18 Henry Martyn, Truro, missionary
  • Mar 4 Rebecca Gratz, American educator and philanthropist (d. 1869)
  • Mar 12 Frederica of Baden, Queen of Sweden (d. 1826)
  • Mar 13 Karl Friedrich Schinkel, German architect, city planner and painter (Altes Museum, Neue Wache), born in Neuruppin, Margraviate of Brandenburg (d. 1841)
  • Mar 17 Dominique J de Eerens, governor-general of Neth Indies
  • Mar 17 Ebenezer Elliott, British Poet. Know as the "Corn Law Rhymer'" (d. 1849)
  • Apr 2 Bhagwan Swaminarayan, Indian yogi and religious leader, born in Chhapaiya, Uttar Pradesh, India (d. 1830)
  • May 4 Karl Christian Friedrich Krause, German philosopher, born in Eisenberg, Germany (d. 1832)
  • May 14 Friedrich von Raumer, German historian/parliamentarian
  • May 25 Ferdinand K J, archduke of Austria-Este/gov-gen (Sicily)
  • Jun 5 Christian August Lobeck, German classical scholar, born in Naumburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany (d. 1860)

Person of interestGeorge Stephenson

Jun 9 George Stephenson, English engineer known as the "Father of Railways" (Locomotion No. 1, Standard Guage), born in Newcastle, England

Engineer Known as the Father of Railways George Stephenson
Engineer Known as the Father of Railways
George Stephenson
  • Jun 21 Siméon-Denis Poisson, French mathematician and physicist (the Poisson distribution), born in Pithiviers, France (d. 1840)

Person of interestStamford Raffles

Jul 6 Stamford Raffles, British statesman and founder of Singapore, born in off the coast of Port Morant, Jamaica (d. 1826)

British Statesman and Founder of Singapore Stamford Raffles
British Statesman and Founder of Singapore
Stamford Raffles
  • Aug 12 Robert Mills, American architect (Washington Monument)
  • Sep 3 Eugène de Beauharnais, stepson of Napoleon I (son of Alexandre de Beauharnais and Joséphine Tascher de la Pagerie), born in Paris (d. 1824)
  • Sep 23 Princess Juliane of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld (d. 1860)
  • Oct 1 James Lawrence, American naval hero (War of 1812-"Don't give up the ship!"), born in Burlington, New Jersey (d. 1813)
  • Oct 5 Bernard Bolzano, Czech mathematician and philosopher, born in Prague, Bohemia (d. 1848)
  • Nov 20 Karl F Eichhorn, German law historian
  • Nov 29 Andres Bello, Venezuela poet/diplomat/scholar (Silvas Americanas)
  • Nov 30 Alexander Berry, British adventurer (d. 1873)
  • Dec 11 David Brewster, Scotland, physicist/inventor (kaleidoscope)

Deaths in History

  • Jan 12 Richard Challoner, English Catholic prelate (b. 1691)
  • Jan 15 Marianne Victoria of Borbón, queen regent of Portugal (b. 1718)
  • Jan 17 Marie de Negre Dables, marquess, dies
  • Feb 4 Willem Crul, British admiral (West-Indies), dies in battle during the Fourth Anglo-Dutch War at 59
  • Feb 15 Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, Saxon playwright/critic, dies at 52
  • Feb 23 George Taylor, American signer of the Declaration of Independence (bc. 1716)
  • Feb 24 Edward Capell, English critic, dies at 67
  • Feb 28 Richard Stockton, American attorney and signer of Declaration of Independence, dies at 50
  • Mar 18 Anne Robert Turgot, French statesman (b. 1727)
  • Apr 23 James Abercrombie, British general (b. 1706)
  • Apr 28 Cornelius Harnett, American delegate to the Continental Congress, dies at 58
  • May 8 Richard Jago, English poet (b. 1715)
  • May 18 Túpac Amaru II, Peruvian Indian revolutionary, a descendant of the last Inca ruler, Túpac Amaru (b. 1742)
  • May 27 Giovanni Battista Beccaria, Italian physicist, dies at 64
  • Jul 23 John Joachim Zubly, Swiss-American Continental Congressman, dies at 56
  • Jul 29 Johann Kies, German astronomer and mathematician, dies at 73
  • Sep 28 William Henry Nassau de Zuylestein, 4th Earl of Rochford, British diplomat and statesman (b. 1717)
  • Oct 16 Edward Hawke, 1st Baron Hawke, British naval officer (b. 1705)
  • Nov 2 Jose F de Isla, Spanish Jesuit/author, dies at 78
  • Nov 4 Johann Nikolaus Götz, German poet (Die Mädcheninsel), dies at 60
  • Nov 22 John Ekels, the Old, Amsterdam painter/cartoonist, dies at 57
  • Nov 24 James Caldwell, American revolutionary (b. 1734)