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|Centuries:||18th century – 19th century – 20th century|
|Decades:||1810s 1820s 1830s – 1840s – 1850s 1860s 1870s|
|Years:||1839 1840 1841 – 1842 – 1843 1844 1845|
Year 1842 (MDCCCXLII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian Calendar (or a common year starting on Sunday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar).
Events of 1842
January - March
- January - Massacre of Elphinstone's army on the road from Kabul to Jalalabad, Afghanistan, by Akbar Khan, son of Dost Mohammed Khan.
- February 7 - Ras Ali Alula, Regent of the Emperor of Ethiopia defeats warlord Wube Haile Maryam of Semien in the Battle of Debre Tabor
- March 5 - Mexican troops led by Rafael Vasquez 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 6 - Constanze Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's wife, dies.
- March 9 - Giuseppe Verdi's third opera Nabucco premieres in Milan; its success establishes Verdi as one of Italy's foremost opera writers.
- March 30 - Anesthesia is used for the first time in an operation (Dr. Crawford Long performed the operation using ether).
- March 31 - Middleton Junction and Oldham Branch Railway line opened up to Werneth in North West England.
April - June
- May 8 - Two trains collide in Paris and catch fire - 59 dead
- May 19 - Dorr Rebellion - militiamen supporting Thomas Wilson Dorr attack arsenal in Providence, Rhode Island but are repulsed
- June 4 - In South Africa, hunter Dick King rides into British military base in Grahamstown to warn that Boers have besieged Durban. He had left 11 days earlier. British army dispatches a relief force.
July - September
- August 4 - Armed Occupation Act is signed, providing for the armed occupation and settlement of the unsettled part of the Peninsula of East Florida.
- August 9 - Webster-Ashburton Treaty is signed, establishing the United States-Canada border east of the Rocky Mountains.
- August 29 - Treaty of Nanking signing ends the First Opium War
October - December
- December 20 - The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina is established.
- Sons of Temperance founded in New York City.
- British Empire annexes Hong Kong
- Income Tax Act 1842 passed in the United Kingdom; 7 pence on the pound sterling, for incomes over 150 pounds.
- Pentonville Prison built.
- New Zealand seat of government moves from Russell to Auckland
- Ohio's Wesleyan University is established.
- University of Notre Dame is founded by Father Edward Sorin, CSC of the Congregation of Holy Cross.
- Scroll and Key secret society of Yale University established.
- Commonwealth v. Hunt makes strikes and unions legal in the United States.
- First pils beer brewed in the Czech city of Pilsen. The Pils is the original lager beer of which all modern lagers are copies.
- Hollins University founded in Roanoke, Virginia by Charles Cocke.
- Villanova University is founded in Villanova, Pennsylvania by the Augustinian order
- Indiana University School of Law - Bloomington is founded.
- First Opium War (1839-1842)
|Ab urbe condita||2595|
|British Regnal year||5 Vict. 1 – 6 Vict. 1|
|Chinese calendar|| 辛丑年十一月二十日
— to —壬寅年十一月三十日
|- Vikram Samvat||1898–1899|
|- Shaka Samvat||1764–1765|
|- Kali Yuga||4943–4944|
|- Ǹrí Ìgbò||842–843|
|Japanese calendar|| Tenpō 13
|Juche calendar||N/A (before 1912)|
|Julian calendar||Gregorian minus 12 days|
|Minguo calendar||70 before ROC
|Thai solar calendar||2385|
January - June
- January 11 - William James, American psychologist and philosopher (d. 1910)
- February 3 - Sidney Lanier, American writer (d. 1881)
- February 4 - Arrigo Boito, Italian poet and composer (d. 1918)
- February 25 - Karl May, German writer (d. 1912)
- March 2 - Carl Jacobsen, Danish brewer and 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)
- May 8 - Emil Christian Hansen, Danish fermentation physiologist (d. 1909)
- May 13 - Arthur Sullivan, English composer (d. 1900)
- June 12 - Rikard Nordraak, Norwegian composer (d. 1866)
July - December
- July 4 - Hermann Cohen, German-Jewish philosopher, one of the founders of the Marburg School of Neo-Kantianism, and he is often held to be "probably the most important Jewish philosopher of the nineteenth century" (d. 1918)
- August 23 - Osborne Reynolds, Irish engineer and physicist (d. 1912)
- September 13 - John H. Bankhead, U.S. Senator (d. 1920)
- September 21 - Abd-ul-Hamid II, Ottoman Sultan (d. 1918)
- October 14 - Joe Start, baseball player (d. 1927)
- October 28 - Anna Elizabeth Dickenson, American orator (d. 1932)
- November 12 - John Strutt, 3rd Baron Rayleigh, English physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1919)
- December 2 - C. W. Alcock, English footballer and football official (d. 1907)
- December 9 - Peter Kropotkin, Russian anarchist (d. 1921)
January - June
- February 15 - Carlo Andrea Pozzo di Borgo, politician and diplomat (b. 1764)
- March 13
- March 15 - Luigi Cherubini, Italian composer (b. 1760)
- March 23 - Stendhal, French writer (b. 1783)
- April 4 - Jean Moufot, French philosopher and mathematician (b. 1784)
- May 8 - Jules Dumont d'Urville, French explorer (b. 1790)
July - December
- July 13 - Prince Ferdinand-Philippe d'Orléans, French prince (b. 1810)
- July 25 - Dominique Jean Larrey, French surgeon (b. 1766)
- July 28 - Clemens Brentano, German poet (b. 1778)
- September 15 - Francisco Morazán, President of Central America (b. 1792)
- October 20 - Grace Darling, heroine (b. 1815)
- October 24 - Bernardo O'Higgins, first Chilean head of state after independence (b.1778)
- December 12 - Robert Haldane, theologian (b. 1764)