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|( 1850s: ) 1853|
Battle of Sinop, the last major naval battle involving sailing warships.
- January 6 – Florida Governor Thomas Brown signs legislation that provides public support for the new East Florida Seminary, leading to the establishment of the University of Florida.
- January 8 – Taiping Rebellion: Zeng Guofan is ordered to assist the governor of Hunan, in organising a militia force to search for local bandits.
- January 12 – Taiping Rebellion: The Taiping army occupies Wuchang.
- January 19 – Giuseppe Verdi's opera Il Trovatore premieres, in performance at Teatro Apollo in Rome.
- February 10 – Taiping Rebellion: Taiping forces assemble at Hanyang, Hankou and Wuchang, for the march on Nanjing.
- February 12 – Puerto Montt is founded in the Reloncaví Sound, Chile.
- February 22 – Washington University in St. Louis is founded as Eliot Seminary.
- March – The clothing company Levi Strauss & Co. is founded in the United States.
- March 4 – Inauguration of Franklin Pierce as 14th President of the United States (his only child was killed in a train accident on January 6).
- March 5 – Saint Paul Fire and Marine, as predecessor of The Travelers Companies, a worldwide insurance service, founded in Minnesota, United States.
- March 20 – Taiping Rebellion: A rebel army of around 750,000 seizes Nanjing, killing 30,000 Imperial troops.
- March 29 – Manchester is granted city status in the United Kingdom
- April 16 – Indian Railways: The first passenger railway in India opens from Bombay to Thana, Maharashtra, 22 miles (35 km).
- May 12–October 31 – The Great Industrial Exhibition is held in Dublin, Ireland.
- May 23 – The first plat for Seattle, Washington is laid out.
- June 27 – Taiping Rebellion: The Northern Expeditionary Force crosses the Yellow River.
- June 30 – Georges-Eugène Haussmann is selected as préfect of the Seine (department), to begin the re-planning of Paris.
- July 1 - The Swiss watch company Tissot is founded.
- July 8 – U.S. Commodore Matthew C. Perry arrives in Edo Bay, Japan, with a request for a trade treaty.
- July 25 – Outlaw and bandit Joaquin Murrieta is killed in California.
- July 27 – Iesada succeeds his father Ieyoshi, as Japanese shōgun. The Late Tokugawa shogunate (the last part of the Edo period in Japan) begins.
- August 12 – New Zealand acquires self-government.
- August 23 – The first true International Meteorological Organization is established in Brussels, Belgium.
- August 24
- September 19 – Hudson Taylor first leaves for China.
- September 20 – Otis Elevator, as predecessor of Otis Worldwide was founded in United States.
- October 1 – C. Bechstein's piano factory is founded, one of three established in a "Golden year" in the history of the piano (Julius Blüthner and Steinway & Sons being the others).
- October 4–5 – Crimean War: The Ottoman Empire begins war with Russia.
- October 4 – On the east coast of the United States, Donald McKay launches the Great Republic, the world's biggest sailing ship, which at 4,500 tons is too large to be successful.
- October 28 – Crimean War: The Ottoman army crosses the Danube into Vidin/Calafat, Wallachia.
- October 30 – Taiping Rebellion: The Taiping Northern Expeditionary Force comes within 3 miles (4.8 km) of Tianjin.
- November 3 – Troops of William Walker capture La Paz in Baja California Territory, and declare the (short-lived) Republic of Lower California.
- November 4 – Crimean War: Battle of Oltenitza – Turkish forces defeat the Russians.
- November 15 – Maria II of Portugal is succeeded by her son Pedro V.
- November 30 (November 18 O.S.) – Crimean War: Battle of Sinop – The Russian fleet destroys the Turkish fleet.
- December 6 – Taiping Rebellion: French minister de Bourboulon arrives at the Heavenly Capital, aboard the Cassini.
- December 14 – Compagnie Générale des Eaux, predecessor of Vivendi, a global media conglomerate, is founded in Paris, France.
- December 30 – Gadsden Purchase: The United States buys approximately 77,000 square kilometres (30,000 sq mi) of land from Mexico, to facilitate railroad building in the Southwest.
- The Independent Santa Cruz Maya of Eastern Yucatán is recognized as an independent nation, by the British Empire.
- Arthur de Gobineau begins publication of his An Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races (Essai sur l'inégalité des races humaines).
- Charles Pravaz and Alexander Wood independently invent a practical hypodermic syringe.
- Wheaton Academy is founded in West Chicago, Illinois.
- The Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China is incorporated in London by Scotsman James Wilson, under a Royal Charter from Queen Victoria.
- Ishikawajima Shipyard, as predecessor of IHI Corporation, a shipyard and transport-related machinery manufacturer in Japan, is founded.
- Melbourne Cricket Ground, now the largest sports stadium in the Southern Hemisphere, officially opens.
- 1853–1873 – More than 130,000 Chinese laborers come to Cuba.
|University of Melbourne||Public||A large number of Australian leaders have studied here|
|Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary||Military ranks||Methodist seminary|
|Title||Born||Place of birth||Died||Summary||Description|
|Charles Gore||22 January 1853||London|
|17 January 1932||Clergy||Bishop of Oxford, a friend of Herbert Asquith|
|Alfred Beit||15 February 1853||Germany|
|16 July 1906||Businessperson|
|Henry Birchenough||7 March 1853||12 May 1937||Deep state operative|
|UK deep state operative|
|Knut Agathon Wallenberg||19 May 1853||1 June 1938||Politician|
|Cecil Rhodes||5 July 1853||Hertfordshire|
|26 March 1902||Deep politician|