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|( 1840s: ) 1840|
Britain sends an army to subjugate Afghanistan, the First Anglo-Afghan War. Two years later the army would be almost completely annihilated, pictured here as a single survivor.
- January 22 – British colonists reach New Zealand, officially founding the settlement of Wellington.
- February 5 – The murder of a Capuchin friar and his Greek servant leads to the Damascus affair, a highly publicized case of blood libel against the Jews of Damascus.
- February 10 – Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom marries her cousin Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.
- March 1 – Adolphe Thiers becomes prime minister of France.
- May 21 – New Zealand is declared a British colony.
- June 7 – On the death of Frederick William III of Prussia, he is succeeded on the throne of the Kingdom of Prussia (which he has ruled for more than 40 years) by his eldest son Frederick William IV.
- June 12–23 – The World Anti-Slavery Convention is organised by the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, at Exeter Hall in London, England. Arguments over the exclusion of women from the convention have important ramifications for the movement for women's suffrage in the United States.
- July 4 – The Cunard Line's 700-ton wooden paddlewheel steamer Britannia departs from Liverpool, bound for Halifax, Nova Scotia, on the first steam transatlantic passenger mail service
- July 15 – The Austrian Empire, the United Kingdom, the Kingdom of Prussia, and the Russian Empire sign the Convention of London with the Sublime Porte, ruler of the Ottoman Empire.
- July 23 Pedro II is declared "of age" prematurely, and begins to reassert central control in Brazil.
- July 23 The Province of Canada is created by the Act of Union.
- August 1 – The end of the slave trade in the United Kingdom by the Slavery Abolition Act
- September 10 – Ottoman and British troops bombard Beirut, and land troops on the coast, to pressure Egyptian Muhammad Ali to retreat from the country.
- November 4 – U.S. presidential election, 1840: William Henry Harrison defeats Martin Van Buren in a landslide.
- December 7 – David Livingstone leaves Britain for Africa.
|Title||Born||Place of birth||Died||Summary|
|Émile Zola||2 April 1840||France|
|29 September 1902||Author|
|Nathan Rothschild (1st Baron Rothschild)||8 November 1840||31 March 1915||Banker|