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1808 ( MDCCCVIII) was a leap year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar and a leap year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar, the 1808th year of the Common Era (CE) and (AD) designations, the 808th year of the Anno Domini 2nd millennium, the 8th year of the 19th century, and the 9th year of the 1800s decade. As of the start of 1808, the Gregorian calendar was 12 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.
January 22 – Transfer of the Portuguese court to Brazil: John (Dom João), Prince Regent, and the Bragança royal family of Portugal arrive in their colony of Brazil in exile from the French occupation of their home kingdom.
January 26 – Rum Rebellion: On the 20th anniversary of the foundation of the colony of New South Wales, disgruntled military officers of the New South Wales Corps (the Rum Corps) overthrow and imprison Governor William Bligh and seize control of the colony.
February 2 – French troops occupy the Papal States.
February 6 – The ship (from Boston April 5, 1807, hunting seals) rediscovers the Topaz Pitcairn Islands; only one HMS mutineer is still alive, Bounty John Adams, who is using the pseudonym Alexander Smith.
February 11 – In Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Jesse Fell becomes the first person in the world to burn anthracite coal as residential heating fuel.
March 1 – The slave trade is abolished by the United Kingdom in all of its colonies as the Slave Trade Act 1807 takes effect. This year, the British  Royal Navy establishes the West Africa Squadron on the coast of West Africa to enforce the abolitionist Blockade of Africa.
March 7 – Transfer of the Portuguese court to Brazil: The Portuguese royal court arrives in Rio de Janeiro, making it the centre of the Portuguese Empire.
March 11 – Russian troops occupy Tampere in Finland.
March 13 – Upon the death of Christian VII, Frederick VI becomes king of Denmark. The next day ( March 14), Denmark declares war on Sweden.
March 19 – Charles IV of Spain abdicates in favor of his son, Ferdinand VII. March 22
October 6 – English chemist Humphry Davy electrochemically isolates potassium from potash. 
October 12 – Banco do Brasil, a major financial group in South America, founded in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
November 8 – 1808 United States presidential election: James Madison defeats Charles C. Pinckney, winning 122 electoral votes to Pinckney's 47. Ten of the 17 states choose their electors by popular vote, the rest choose through state legislatures. George Clinton, who is separately elected as vice president, gets six electoral votes for president. 
November 12 – Four large French frigates under the command of Jacques Félix Emmanuel Hamelin, including the Venus, are sent to operate from Isle de France (Mauritius) against British trade in the Indian Ocean, triggering the Mauritius campaign of 1809-11. 
November 15 – Mahmud II (1808- 1839) succeeds Mustafa IV ( 1807-1808), as sultan of the Ottoman Empire.
November 19 – A new truce at Olkijoki ends fighting in Finland, and Swedish troops concede that area to Russia. 
November 23 – Battle of Tudela: French Marshal Lannes defeats a Spanish army.
December 1 – Tsar Alexander I of Russia proclaims Finland a part of Russia. 
December 4 – Napoleon joins his army in Spain. 
December 9 – At 20:34 UTC, Mercury occults Saturn (there are no observation records).
December 22 – Beethoven concert of 22 December 1808: Ludwig van Beethoven conducts and plays piano in a marathon benefit concert, at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna, consisting entirely of first public performances of works by him, including Symphony No. 5, Symphony No. 6, Piano Concerto No. 4 and . Choral Fantasy
January 6 – Joseph Pitty Couthouy, American naval officer (d. 1864)
January 13 – Salmon P. Chase, American politician, Chief Justice of the United States (d. 1873)
January 19 – Lysander Spooner, American philosopher (d. 1887)
January 27 – David Strauss, German theologian (d. 1874)
February 5 – Carl Spitzweg, German painter (d. 1885)
February 26 – Honoré Daumier, French painter, illustrator and sculptor (d. 1879)
March 1 – Edward "Ned" Kendall, American bandleader, instrumentalist (keyed bugle) (d. 1861)
March 17 – Pierre-Louis Dietsch, French composer, conductor (d. 1865)
March 19 – José María Urvina, 5th President of Ecuador (d. 1891)
March 24 – Maria Malibran, née García, Spanish-French operatic singer (d. 1836)
April 13 – Antonio Meucci, Italian-born inventor (d. 1889)
April 20 – Napoleon III, Emperor of the French (d. 1873)
May 6 – William Strong, American politician, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (d. 1895)
May 9 – John Scott Russell, Scottish civil engineer (d. 1882)
May 18 – Venancio Flores, general, president of Uruguay (d. 1868)
May 21 – David de Jahacob Lopez Cardozo, Dutch Talmudist (d. 1890)
May 22 – Gérard de Nerval, French writer (d. 1855)
May 30 – Caroline Chisholm, Australian humanitarian (d. 1877)
June 3 – Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States (d. 1889)
June 13 – Patrice de MacMahon, Duke of Magenta, French general and politician, first president of the Third Republic (1875-1879) (d. 1893)
June 16 – James Frederick Ferrier, Scottish metaphysical writer and philosopher (d. 1864)
June 17 – Henrik Wergeland, Norwegian author (d. 1845) June 20 – Samson Raphael Hirsch, German rabbi (d. 1888)
July 9 – Alexander William Doniphan, American lawyer, military leader (d. 1887)
July 16 – Daniel Wells Jr., American politician (d. 1902)
September 7 – William Lindley, English sanitary engineer (d. 1900)
September 9 – Wendela Hebbe, Swedish journalist (d. 1899)
September 12 – August von Werder, Prussian general (d. 1887)
September 15 – John Hutton Balfour, Scottish botanist (d. 1884)
September 29 – Henry Bennett, American politician (d. 1868)
October 6 – King Frederick VII of Denmark (d. 1863)
October 20 – Karl Andree, German geographer (d. 1875)
November 1 – John Taylor, American Mormon leader (d. 1887)
November 2 – Jules Amédée Barbey d'Aurevilly, French writer (d. 1889)
November 6 – Friedrich Julius Richelot, German mathematician (d. 1875)
November 29 – William F. Johnston, American politician (d. 1872) December 29 – Andrew Johnson, 17th President of the United States (d. 1875)
January 4 – Prince Benedetto, Duke of Chablais, Italian general in the French Revolution (b. 1741)
January 5 – Alexei Grigoryevich Orlov, Russian soldier and statesman (b. 1737)
January 8 – William Linn, American President of Queen's College) (b. 1752)
February 12 – Anna Maria Bennett, English novelist (d. 1750)
February 14 – John Dickinson, American lawyer, governor of Delaware and Pennsylvania (b. 1732)
March 13 – King Christian VII of Denmark (b. 1749)
May 18 – Elijah Craig, American minister, inventor (b. 1738)
March 19 – John Redman (physician), American physician (b. 1722) May 28 – Richard Hurd, English bishop, writer (b. 1720)
September 3 – John Montgomery, American delegate to the Continental Congress (b. 1722)
September 5 – John Home, Scottish writer (b. 1722)
September 6 – Louis-Pierre Anquetil, French historian (b. 1723)
September 13 – Saverio Bettinelli, Italian writer (b. 1718)
September 17 – Benjamin Bourne, American politician (b. 1755)
October 1 – Carl Gotthard Langhans, German architect (b. 1732)
October 9 – John Claiborne, American politician (b. 1777)
November 3 – Theophilus Lindsey, English theologian (b. 1723)
November 10 – Guy Carleton, 1st Baron Dorchester, British soldier, governor of Quebec (b. 1724) November 17 – David Zeisberger, Moravian missionary (b. 1721)
^ Joseph R. Conlin,
The American Past: A Survey of American History (Cengage Learning, 2008)
^ a b
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The Lost Elements: The Periodic Table's Shadow Side (Oxford University Press, 2014)
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^ Thomas Hudson McKee,
The National Conventions and Platforms of All Political Parties (Friedenwald, 1901) p18
^ William James and Frederick Chamier,
The Naval History of Great Britain, Volume 5 (Macmillan and Company, 1902) p53
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Denmark and Sweden: With Iceland and Finland (T.F. Unwin, Ltd., 1916) p332
^ Edward C. Thaden,
Russia's Western Borderlands, 1710-1870 (Princeton University Press, 2014) p85
^ James Harvey Robinson and Charles A. Beard, eds.,
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"The beginning". History of the Rijksmuseum. Rijksmuseum . Retrieved 2018.