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1841 (MDCCCXLI) was a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar, the 1841st year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 841st year of the 2nd millennium, the 41st year of the 19th century, and the 2nd year of the 1840s decade. As of the start of 1841, the Gregorian calendar was 12 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.
- January 20 – Charles Elliot of the United Kingdom, and Qishan of the Qing Dynasty, agree to the Convention of Chuenpi.
- January 26 – Britain occupies Hong Kong. Later in the year, the first census of the island records a population of about 7,500.
- January 27 – The active volcano Mount Erebus in Antarctica is discovered, and named by James Clark Ross.
- January 28 – Ross discovers the "Victoria Barrier", later known as the Ross Ice Shelf. On the same voyage, he discovers the Ross Sea, Victoria Land and Mount Terror.
- January 30 – A fire ruins and destroys two-thirds of the villa (modern-day city) of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico.
- February 4 – First known reference to Groundhog Day in North America, in the diary of a James Morris.
- February 10 – The Act of Union (British North America Act, 1840) is proclaimed in Canada.
- February 11 – The two colonies of The Canadas are merged, into the United Province of Canada.
- February 18 – The first ongoing filibuster in the United States Senate begins, and lasts until March 11.
- February – El Salvador proclaims itself an independent republic, bringing an end to the (already de facto defunct) Federal Republic of Central America.
- March 4 – William Henry Harrison is sworn in, as the ninth President of the United States.
- March 9 – United States v. The Amistad: The Supreme Court of the United States rules in the case, that the Africans who seized control of the ship had been taken into slavery illegally.
- March 12 – SS President, commanded by legendary captain Richard Roberts ("I'd Go to Sea in a Bathtub"), founders in rough seas, with all passengers and crew lost.
- April 4 – President William Henry Harrison dies of pneumonia, aged 68, becoming the first President of the United States to die in office, and at one month, the American president with the shortest term served. He is succeeded by Vice President John Tyler, who becomes the tenth President of the United States.
- April 6 – President John Tyler is sworn in.
- May – The Sino-Sikh War begins.
- May 3 – New Zealand becomes a British colony.
- May 22 – 1841 rebellion in Guria: The Georgian province of Guria revolts against the Russian Empire.
- June 6 – The United Kingdom Census is held, the first to record names and approximate ages of every household member, and to be administered nationally.
- June 21 – St. John's College (later Fordham University) is founded in The Bronx, by the Society of Jesus.
- June 28 – The ballet Giselle is first presented by the Ballet du Théâtre de l'Académie Royale de Musique, at the Salle Le Peletier in Paris, France.
- October 10 – First Opium War: Battle of Chinhai – British capture a Chinese garrison.
- October 13 – First Opium War: British occupy Ningbo.
- October 16 – Queen's University is founded in Kingston, Ontario, by Rev. Thomas Liddell, who carries a Royal Charter from Queen Victoria, and becomes the school's first principal.
- October 30 – A fire at the Tower of London destroys its Grand Armoury, and causes a quarter of a million pounds worth of damage.
- November – The settlement of Dallas, Texas is founded by John Neely Bryan.
- November 13 – Scottish surgeon James Braid first sees a demonstration of animal magnetism by Charles Lafontaine in Manchester, which leads to his study of the phenomenon that he (Braid) eventually calls hypnotism.
- December 20 – The first multilateral treaty for the suppression of the African slave trade, the Treaty for the Suppression of the African Slave Trade, signed in London by the representatives of Austria, Britain, France, Prussia and Russia.
- December 23 – First Anglo-Afghan War: At a meeting with the Afghan general Akbar Khan, British diplomat Sir William Hay Macnaghten is shot dead at close quarters.
- January 8
- January 14 – Berthe Morisot, French painter (d. 1895)
- January 15 – Frederick Stanley, 16th Earl of Derby, English-Canadian politician, soldier (d. 1908)
- January 23 – Benoît-Constant Coquelin, French actor, Cyrano de Bergerac (d. 1909)
- January 25 – John Fisher, 1st Baron Fisher, British admiral (d. 1920)
- January 27 – Alexandru Candiano-Popescu, Romanian general, lawyer, journalist, and poet (d. 1901)
- January 28 – Sir Henry Morton Stanley, Welsh explorer, journalist (d. 1904)
- January 30 – Félix Faure, President of France (d. 1899)
- February 2 – François-Alphonse Forel, Swiss hydrologist (d. 1912)
- February 4 – Clément Ader, French engineer, inventor, and airplane pioneer (d. 1926)
- February 10 – Alfred Heaver, English property developer (d. 1901)
- February 15 – Manuel Ferraz de Campos Sales, 4th President of Brazil (d. 1913)
- February 16 – Armand Guillaumin, French painter, lithographer (d. 1927)
- February 24 – Carl Gräbe, German chemist (d. 1927)
- February 25 – Pierre-Auguste Renoir, French painter (d. 1919)
- March 1 – Luigi Luzzatti, Italian financier, economist, philosopher, and jurist, 20th Prime Minister of Italy (d. 1927)
- March 8 – Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (d. 1935)
- March 15 – Pietro Bonilli, Italian Roman Catholic priest and blessed (d. 1935)
- April 3 – Hermann Carl Vogel, German astrophysicist, astronomer (d. 1907)
- April 9 – William George Aston, British consular official (d. 1911)
- April 13 – Louis-Ernest Barrias, French sculptor (d. 1905)
- May 10 – James Gordon Bennett, Jr., American newspaper publisher (d. 1918)
- May 15 – Clarence Dutton, American geologist (d. 1912)
- June 1 – Edward Lyon Buchwalter, Union captain in the American Civil War, businessman, and banker (d. 1933)
- July 2 – Alexander Mikhaylovich Zaytsev, Russian chemist (d. 1910)
- July 5 – Mary Arthur McElroy, de facto First Lady of the United States (d. 1917)
- August 6 – Florence Baker, Hungarian-born explorer (d. 1916)
- August 14 – Joaquín Vara de Rey y Rubio, Spanish general (d. 1898)
- August 24 – Anna Hierta-Retzius, Swedish women's rights activist (d. 1924)
- August 25 – Emil Kocher, Swiss medical researcher, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (d. 1917)
- August 28 – Louis Le Prince, French inventor, Father of Cinematography (d. 1890)
- September 8
- September 10 – Yamaji Motoharu, Japanese general (d. 1897)
- September 28 – Georges Clemenceau, French statesman (d. 1929)
- October 4 – Prudente de Morais, 3rd President of Brazil (d. 1902)
- October 7 – King Nicholas I of Montenegro (d. 1921)
- October 16 – Prince It? Hirobumi, 4-time Prime Minister of Japan (d. 1909)
- November 6
- November 9 – King Edward VII of the United Kingdom (d. 1910)
- November 13 – Edward Burd Grubb, Jr., American Civil War Union Brevet Brigadier General (d.1913)
- November 20 – Sir Wilfrid Laurier, 7th Prime Minister of Canada (d. 1919)
- December 6 – Frédéric Bazille, French painter (d. 1870)
- December 20 – Ferdinand Buisson, French pacifist, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (d. 1932)
- January 15 – Johann Jacob Friedrich Wilhelm Parrot, Baltic-German naturalist, traveller (b. 1792)
- January 20 – Jørgen Jørgensen, Danish adventurer (b. 1780)
- February 12 – Sir Astley Cooper, British surgeon and anatomist (b. 1768)
- February 17 – Ferdinando Carulli, Italian guitarist (b. 1770)
- March 1 – Claude Victor-Perrin, Duc de Belluno, French marshal (b. 1764)
- March 12 – Richard Roberts, captain of SS President (b. 1803)
- March 16 – Félix Savart, French physicist (b. 1791)
- April 4 – William Henry Harrison, American military officer and politician, 9th President of the United States (b. 1773)
- April 10 – William Lloyd, Welsh Anglican priest turned schoolteacher, Methodist preacher (b. 1771)
- April 28 – Peter Chanel, French Roman Catholic priest, missionary, and saint (martyred) (b. 1803)
- April 30 – Peter Andreas Heiberg, Danish author, philologist (b. 1758)
- May 13 – Maria Madeline Taylor, Australian stage actor (b. 1805)
- May 16 – Marie Boivin, French midwife, inventor, and obstetrics writer (b. 1773)
- May 20 – Joseph Blanco White, British theologian (b. 1775)
- May 23 – Franz Xaver von Baader, German philosopher, theologian (b. 1765)
- June 1
- July – Mary Rogers ("Beautiful Cigar Girl"), American murder victim (b. c. 1820)
- August 16 – Fernando Errázuriz Aldunate, Chilean politician, President of Chile (b.c 1777)
- August 24 – Theodore Edward Hook, English author (b. 1788)
- September 25 – John Chandler, American politician (b. 1762)
- October 9 – Karl Friedrich Schinkel, German architect (b. 1781)
- November 18 – Agustín Gamarra, Peruvian general and politician, 10th and 14th President of Peru (b. 1785)
- December 4 – David Daniel Davis, British physician (b. 1777)
- December 23 – William Hay Macnaghten, Anglo-Indian diplomat (b. 1793)