This article is about the year 1785. For the number, see 1785 (number)
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1785 (MDCCLXXXV) was a common year starting on Saturday (dominical letter B) of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Wednesday (dominical letter E) of the Julian calendar, the 1785th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 785th year of the 2nd millennium, the 85th year of the 18th century, and the 6th year of the 1780s decade. Note that the Julian day for 1785 is 11 calendar days difference, which continued to be used from 1582 until the complete conversion of the Gregorian calendar was entirely done in 1929.
- January 1 – The first issue of the Daily Universal Register, later known as The Times, is published in London.
- January 7 – Frenchman Jean-Pierre Blanchard and American John Jeffries travel from Dover, England to Calais, France in a hydrogen gas balloon, becoming the first to cross the English Channel by air.
- January 20 – Invading Siamese forces, attempting to exploit the political chaos in Vietnam, are ambushed and annihilated at the Mekong river by the Tây Sơn in the Battle of Rạch Gầm-Xoài Mút.
- January 27 – The University of Georgia is founded.
- May 10 – A hot air balloon crashes in Tullamore, Ireland, causing a fire that burns down about 100 houses, making it the world's first aviation disaster (by 36 days).
- June 3 – Continental Navy disbanded.
- June 15 – After several attempts, Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and his companion, Pierre Romain, set off in a balloon from Boulogne-sur-Mer, but the balloon suddenly deflates (without the envelope catching fire) and crashes near Wimereux in the Pas-de-Calais, killing both men, making it the first fatal aviation disaster.
- January 4
- January 15 – William Prout English chemist, physician, and natural theologian (d. 1850)
- February 8 – Martín Miguel de Güemes Argentine military leader (d. 1821)
- February 10 – Claude-Louis Navier, French engineer and physicist (d. 1836)
- March 27 – Louis XVII of France (d. 1795)
- April 4 – Bettina von Arnim, German poet (d. 1859)
- April 26 – John James Audubon, French-American naturalist and illustrator (d. 1851)
- April 29 – Karl Drais, German Inventor, created a precursor to the bicycle (d. 1851)
- May 18 – John Wilson, Scottish writer (d. 1854)
- May 20 – Marcellin Champagnat, Saint (d. 1840)
- May 22 – John Hindmarsh, English naval officer and the first Governor of South Australia (d. 1860)
- July 6 – William Jackson Hooker, English botanist (d. 1865)
- July 20 – Mahmud II, Ottoman sultan (d. 1839)
- August 15 – Thomas de Quincey, English writer (d. 1859)
- August 23 – Oliver Hazard Perry, American naval officer (d. 1819)
- September 27 – David Walker, Abolitionist (d. 1830)
- October 15 – José Miguel Carrera, Chilean general and founding father (d. 1821)
- October 18 – Thomas Love Peacock, English satirist (d. 1866)
- October 20 – George Ormerod, English historian and antiquarian (d. 1873)
- November 18 – David Wilkie, Scottish artist (d. 1841)
- December 23 – Christian Gobrecht, designer of the "Liberty Seated" coins (d. 1844)
- January 3 – Baldassare Galuppi, Italian composer (b. 1706)
- January 19 – Jonathan Toup, English classical scholar and critic (b. 1713)
- January 23 – Matthew Stewart, Scottish mathematician (b. 1717)
- February 26 – Barbara Erni, Liechtenstein confidence trickster (b. 1743)
- April 14 – William Whitehead, English writer (b. 1715)
- May 8
- June 2 – Jean Paul de Gua de Malves, French mathematician (b. 1713)
- June 30 – James Oglethorpe, English general and founder of the state of Georgia (b. 1696)
- August 17 – Jonathan Trumbull, Governor of the Colony and the state of Connecticut (b. 1710)
- August 26 – George Germain, 1st Viscount Sackville, British soldier and politician (b. 1716)
- August 28 – Jean-Baptiste Pigalle, French sculptor (b. 1714)
- October 4 – David Brearley, delegate to the U.S. Constitutional Convention (b. 1703)
- November 18 – Louis Philippe I, Duke of Orléans, French soldier and writer (b. 1725)
- November 19 – Bernard de Bury, French composer (b. 1720)
- November 25 – Richard Glover, English poet (b. 1712)
- December 6 – Kitty Clive, English actress and playwright (b. 1711)
- December 29 – Johan Herman Wessel, Norwegian author (b. 1742)