1812 was a leap year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar).
January 1 - the Allgemeines Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch, the Austrian civil code enters into force in the Austrian Empire
February 2 - Russia establishes a fur trading colony at Fort Ross, California
February 7 - The strongest in a series of massive earthquakes near New Madrid, Missouri, est. >8 on Richter scale
February 11 - Massachusetts governor Elbridge Gerry invents gerrymandering
March 26 - An earthquake destroys Caracas, Venezuela
April 30 - Louisiana is admitted as the 18th U.S. state.
May 11 - Prime Minster Spencer Perceval is assassinated by a bankrupt banker in the lobby of the British House of Commons.
June 1 - War of 1812: U.S. President James Madison asks the U.S. Congress to declare war on the United Kingdom.
June 4 - Following Louisiana's admittance as a U.S. state, the territory by that name was renamed to Missouri Territory.
June 18 - The War of 1812 begins between the United States and the United Kingdom.
June 24 - Napoleon invades Russia (see Patriotic War of 1812)
July 12 - Americans invade Canada at Windsor, Ontario.
July 22 - Peninsular War: Battle of Salamanca - British forces led by Lord Wellington defeat French troops near Salamanca in Spain.
August 5 - War of 1812: Tecumseh's Indian force ambushes Thomas Van Horne 's 200 Americans at Brownstone Creek, causing them to flee and retreat.
August 12 - Peninsular War: Wellington enters Madrid following the Battle of Salamanca.
August 16 - War of 1812: American General William Hull surrenders Fort Detroit without a fight to the British Army.
August 19 - War of 1812: USS Constitution defeats the British frigate Guerrière off the coast of Nova Scotia. The British shot is said to have bounced off the Constitution's sides, earning her the nickname "Old Ironsides".
September 7 - Napoleonic Wars: Battle of Borodino - Napoleon defeats the Russian army of Alexander I near the village of Borodino.
September 14 - Napoleon's invasion of Russia is thwarted by the burning of Moscow.
October 9 - War of 1812: In a naval engagement on Lake Erie, American forces capture two British ships; HMS Detroit and HMS Caledonia .
October 13 - War of 1812: Battle of Queenston Heights - On the Niagara frontier in Ontario, Canada, United States forces under General Stephen Van Rensselaerof are repulsed from invading Canada by British and native troops led by Sir Isaac Brock (although he dies during the battle).
October 19 - Napoleon begins his retreat from Moscow
October 24 - Napoleonic Wars - Battle of Maloyaroslavets - an indecisive encounter between the French vanguard and a Russian force leads Napoleon to decide to retreat along the same line as his advance, with disastrous results.
November - James Madison defeats De Witt Clinton in U.S. presidential election
Bishop James Madison Society founded at the College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia.
Spanish Cortes, in exile at Cádiz, create the first modern Spanish constitution.
The Old Oscar Pepper Distillery (now the Labrot & Graham Distillery), the oldest Kentucky Bourbon distillery, is established along Glenn's Creek in Woodford County, Kentucky.
Coffee is banned in Sweden.
Cholera in Jessore , India
Capital of Finland moved from Turku to Helsinki.
January 10 - Hong Xiuquan, leader of the Taiping Rebellion (d. 1864).
February 11 - Alexander Hamilton Stephens, Vice President ( Confederate States of America).
February 11 - Benjamin Franklin Sands , Commander (Union Navy).
February 15 - Charles Lewis Tiffany, jeweler (d. 1902)
March 6 - Aaron Lufkin Dennison father of the American System of Watch Manufacturing in Freeport, Main, U.S.A.
March 22 - Stephen Pearl Andrews Anarchist Abolitionist
April 22 - Solomon Caesar Malan, Orientalist (d. 1894)
May 7 - Robert Browning, English Poet (d. 1889)
June 9 - Johann Gottfried Galle, German astronomer (d. 1910)
July 2 - Nathaniel de Rothschild, wine grower (d. 1870)
December 24 - Karl Eduard Zachariae Expert on Byzantine Law.
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