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1842 (MDCCCXLII) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Thursday of the Julian calendar, the 1842nd year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 842nd year of the 2nd millennium, the 42nd year of the 19th century, and the 3rd year of the 1840s decade. As of the start of 1842, the Gregorian calendar was 12 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.
- January 6–13 – First Anglo-Afghan War – Massacre of Elphinstone's army (Battle of Gandamak): British East India Company troops are destroyed by Afghan forces on the road from Kabul to Jalalabad, Afghanistan, by Akbar Khan, son of Dost Mohammad Khan.
- January 8 – Delft University of Technology is established by William II of the Netherlands, as a 'Royal Academy for the education of civilian engineers'.
- January 23 – Antarctic explorer James Clark Ross, charting the eastern side of James Ross Island, reaches a Farthest South of 78°09'30"S.
- February 1 – Willamette University is established in Salem, Oregon.
- February 7 – Battle of Debre Tabor: Ras Ali Alula, Regent of the Emperor of Ethiopia, defeats warlord Wube Haile Maryam of Semien.
- March – Commonwealth v. Hunt: the Massachusetts Supreme Court makes strikes and unions legal in the United States.
- March 2 – Gaylad, ridden by Tom Olliver, wins the Grand National at Aintree Racecourse in England.
- March 5 – Mexican troops led by Ráfael Vásquez invade Texas, briefly occupy San Antonio, and then head back to the Rio Grande. This is the first such invasion since the Texas Revolution.
- March 9 – Giuseppe Verdi's third opera Nabucco premieres at La Scala in Milan; its success establishes Verdi as one of Italy's foremost operatic composers.
- March 17 – The Relief Society, a philanthropic and educational women's organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) is founded.
- March 28 – The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, founded by Otto Nicolai, performs its first concert.
- March 30 – American physician and pharmacist Crawford Long administers an inhaled anesthetic (diethyl ether) to facilitate a surgical procedure (removal of a neck tumor).
- March 31 – The Middleton Junction and Oldham Branch Railway line is opened up to Werneth in North West England.
- April 13 – First Anglo-Afghan War – Battle of Jellalabad: British troops are victorious.
- May 8 – Versailles rail accident: A train traveling between Versailles and Paris, France derails, due to a broken locomotive axle, and catches fire, killing at least 55 passengers in the locked carriages.
- May 11 – The Income Tax Act establishes the first peacetime income tax in the United Kingdom; 7 pence in the pound, for incomes over 150 pounds.
- May 19 – Dorr Rebellion: Militiamen supporting Thomas Wilson Dorr attack the arsenal in Providence, Rhode Island, but are repulsed.
- June 4 – In South Africa, hunter Dick King rides into a British military base in Grahamstown, to warn that the Boers have besieged Durban (he had left 11 days earlier). The British army dispatches a relief force.
- June 13 – Queen Victoria becomes the first reigning British monarch to travel by train, on the Great Western Railway between Slough and London Paddington station.
- June 18 – A primary school system is established in Sweden.
- June – James Nasmyth patents the steam hammer in the United Kingdom.
- January 11 – William James, American psychologist, philosopher (d. 1910)
- January 15 – Mary MacKillop, first Australian saint (d. 1909)
- February 3 – Sidney Lanier, American writer (d. 1881)
- February 7 – Alexandre Ribot, Prime Minister of France (d. 1923)
- February 11 – Erik Gustaf Boström, 2-Time Prime Minister of Sweden (d. 1907)
- February 23 – Carl Theodore Liebermann, German chemist (d. 1914)
- February 4 – Arrigo Boito, Italian poet, composer (d. 1918)
- February 23 – Karl Robert Eduard von Hartmann, German philosopher (d. 1906)
- February 25 – Karl May, German writer (d. 1912)
- March 2 – Carl Jacobsen, Danish brewer, patron of the arts after whom the Carlsberg brewery was named (d. 1914)
- March 10 – Mykola Lysenko, Ukrainian composer (d. 1912)
- March 18 – Stéphane Mallarmé, French poet (d. 1898)
- March 26 – Alexandre Saint-Yves d'Alveydre, French occultist (d. 1909)
- March 30 – John Fiske, American philosopher (d. 1901)
- April 2 – Dominic Savio, Italian adolescent student of John Bosco (d. 1857)
- April 17 – Maurice Rouvier, Prime Minister of France (d. 1911)
- May 7 – Isala Van Diest, Belgian physician (d. 1916)
- May 8 – Emil Christian Hansen, Danish fermentation physiologist (d. 1909)
- May 13 – Arthur Sullivan, English composer (d. 1900)
- June 11 – Carl von Linde, German scientist, engineer (d. 1934)
- June 12 – Rikard Nordraak, Norwegian composer (d. 1866)
- June 16 – David Herold, accomplice of John Wilkes Booth (d. 1865)
- June 24 – Ambrose Bierce, American writer, satirist (d. ca. 1914)
- June 25 – Eloy Alfaro Delgado Gabriel, President of Ecuador (d. 1912)
- July 2 – Albert Ladenburg, German chemist (d. 1911)
- July 4 – Hermann Cohen, German-Jewish philosopher (d. 1918)
- July 14 – Christian Lundeberg, 10th Prime Minister of Sweden (d. 1911)
- July 30 – Thomas J. O'Brien, American politician, diplomat (d. 1933)
- August 23 – Osborne Reynolds, Irish engineer, physicist (d. 1912)
- September 3 – John Devoy, Irish rebel leader, exile (d. 1928)
- September 13 – John H. Bankhead, U.S. Senator (d. 1920)
- September 17 – Sofia Hagman, Finnish educator pioneer (d. 1900)
- September 20 – James Dewar, Scottish chemist, physicist (d. 1923)
- September 22
- October 3 – Frederick Rodgers, American admiral (d. 1917)
- October 14 – Joe Start, American baseball player (d. 1927)
- October 17 – Gustaf Retzius, Swedish physician, anatomist (d. 1919)
- October 27 – Giovanni Giolitti, 5-time Prime Minister of Italy (d. 1928)
- October 28 – Anna Elizabeth Dickinson, American orator (d. 1932)
- November 12
- December 2 – C. W. Alcock, English footballer, football official (d. 1907)
- December 3 – Ellen Swallow Richards, American chemist (d. 1911)
- December 9 – Peter Kropotkin, Russian anarchist (d. 1921)
- December 12
- January 12 – Johanna Stegen, German heroine (b. 1793)
- February 15 – Carlo Andrea Pozzo di Borgo, Corsican politician, Russian diplomat (b. 1764)
- March 4 – James Forten, African American abolitionist
- March 6 – Constanze Mozart, German-born wife of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (b.1762)
- March 13
- March 15 – Luigi Cherubini, Italian composer (b. 1760)
- March 23 – Stendhal, French novelist (b. 1783)
- May 8 – Jules Dumont d'Urville, French explorer (b. 1790)
- May 12 – Walenty Wańkowicz, Polish painter (b. 1799)
- June 9 – Maria Dalle Donne, Bolognese physician (b. 1778)
- June 18 – François-André Baudin, French admiral (b. 1774)
- July 13 – Prince Ferdinand Philippe, Duke of Orléans, French prince (b. 1810)
- July 25 – Dominique Jean Larrey, French surgeon (b. 1766)
- July 28 – Clemens Brentano, German poet (b. 1778)
- September 10
- September 15 – Francisco Morazán, Honduran-born politician, President of Federal Republic of Central America (b. 1792)
- October 2 – William Ellery Channing, American Unitarian theologian, minister (b. 1780)
- October 20 – Grace Darling, English heroine (b. 1815)
- October 24 – Bernardo O'Higgins, first Chilean head of state after independence (b.1778)
- December 1 – Philip Spencer, American founder of Chi Psi Fraternity, midshipman aboard the USS Somers
- December 12 – Robert Haldane, British theologian (b. 1764)
- December 24 – Adam Gillies, Lord Gillies, Scottish judge (b. 1760)
- ^ Lyman, H. M. (1881). "History of anaesthesia". Artificial anaesthesia and anaesthetics. New York: William Wood and Company. p. 6.
- ^ "History of the university". TU Delft. Archived from the original on February 28, 2008. Retrieved 2012-07-10.
- ^ Coleman, E. C. (2006). The Royal Navy in Polar Exploration, from Frobisher to Ross. Stroud: Tempus Publishing. p. 335. ISBN 0-7524-3660-0.
- ^ "The History of the Vienna Philharmonic". Vienna Philharmonic.
- ^ Long, C. W. (1849). "An account of the first use of Sulphuric Ether by Inhalation as an Anæsthetic in Surgical Operations". Southern Medical and Surgical Journal. 5: 705–13. Retrieved 2012-06-12.
- ^ Long, Tony (2007-03-30). "March 30, 1842: It's Lights Out, Thanks to Ether". Wired. Retrieved 2007-12-29.
- ^ Palmer, Alan; Veronica (1992). The Chronology of British History. London: Century Ltd. pp. 264–266. ISBN 0-7126-5616-2.
- ^ Green, Oliver (2011). Discovering London Railway Stations. Shire Publications. ISBN 978-0-7478-0806-0.
- ^ Hans Högman. "Några årtal i skolans historia" (in Swedish). Göteborg town museum. Retrieved 2 July 2016.
- ^ Smiles, Samuel (1912). James Nasmyth Engineer: an Autobiography. John Murray. Retrieved 2009-11-14.
- ^ "Ureli Corelli Hill". New York Philharmonic.
- ^ Owen, R. (1842). "Report on British Fossil Reptiles." Part II. Report of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, Plymouth, England.
- ^ von Mayer, J. R. (1842). "Bemerkungen über die Kräfte der unbelebten Nature ("Remarks on the forces of inorganic nature")". Annalen der Chemie und Pharmacie. 43: 233–40. doi:10.1002/jlac.18420420212. Retrieved 2012-01-27.