This article is about the year 1842.
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1842 (MDCCCXLII) was a common year starting on Saturday (dominical letter B) of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Thursday (dominical letter D) of the Julian calendar, the 1842nd year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 842nd year of the 2nd millennium, the 42nd year of the 19th century, and the 3rd year of the 1840s decade. Note that the Julian day for 1842 is 12 calendar days difference, which continued to be used from 1582 until the complete conversion of the Gregorian calendar was entirely done in 1929.
- January – Michael Alexander takes office as first appointee to the Anglican-German Bishopric in Jerusalem.
- January 6–13 – First Anglo-Afghan War: Massacre of Elphinstone's army (Battle of Gandamak): British East India Company troops destroyed by Afghan forces on the road from Kabul to Jalalabad, Afghanistan, by Akbar Khan, son of Dost Mohammad Khan.
- January 8 – Delft University of Technology established by William II of the Netherlands as a 'Royal Academy for the education of civilian engineers'.
- January 23 – Antarctic explorer James Clark Ross, charting the eastern side of James Ross Island, reaches a Farthest South of 78°09'30"S.
- February 7 – Battle of Debre Tabor: Ras Ali Alula, Regent of the Emperor of Ethiopia, defeats warlord Wube Haile Maryam of Semien.
- March – Commonwealth v. Hunt: the Massachusetts Supreme Court makes strikes and unions legal in the United States.
- March 2 – Gaylad, ridden by Tom Olliver, wins the Grand National at Aintree Racecourse.
- March 5 – Mexican troops led by Rafael Vasquez invade Texas, briefly occupy San Antonio, and then head back to the Rio Grande. This is the first such invasion since the Texas Revolution.
- March 9 – Giuseppe Verdi's third opera Nabucco premieres at La Scala in Milan; its success establishes Verdi as one of Italy's foremost operatic composers.
- March 17 – The Relief Society, a philanthropic and educational women's organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) is founded.
- March 30 – Anesthesia is used for the first time in an operation; Dr. Crawford Long performs the operation using ether.
- March 31 – Middleton Junction and Oldham Branch Railway line opened up to Werneth in North West England.
File:Carl von Linde 1925.jpg
- January 11 – William James, American psychologist and philosopher (d. 1910)
- January 15 – Mary MacKillop, first Australian saint (d. 1909)
- February 3 – Sidney Lanier, American writer (d. 1881)
- February 4 – Arrigo Boito, Italian poet and composer (d. 1918)
- February 23 – Karl Robert Eduard von Hartmann, German philosopher (d. 1906)
- February 25 – Karl May, German writer (d. 1912)
- March 2 – Carl Jacobsen, Danish brewer and patron of the arts after whom the Carlsberg brewery was named (d. 1914)
- March 10 – Mykola Lysenko, Ukrainian composer (d. 1912)
- March 18 – Stéphane Mallarmé, French poet (d. 1898)
- March 26 – Alexandre Saint-Yves d'Alveydre, French occultist (d. 1909)
- March 30 – John Fiske, American philosopher (d. 1901)
- April 2 – Dominic Savio, Italian adolescent student of John Bosco (d. 1857)
- May 8 – Emil Christian Hansen, Danish fermentation physiologist (d. 1909)
- May 13 – Arthur Sullivan, English composer (d. 1900)
- June 11 – Carl von Linde, German scientist and engineer (d. 1934)
- June 12 – Rikard Nordraak, Norwegian composer (d. 1866)
- June 24 – Ambrose Bierce, American writer and satirist (d. ca. 1914)
- June 25 – Eloy Alfaro Delgado Gabriel, former President of Ecuador (d. 1912)
- July 4 – Hermann Cohen, German-Jewish philosopher (d. 1918)
- July 30 – Thomas J. O'Brien, American politician and diplomat (d. 1933)
- August 23 – Osborne Reynolds, Irish engineer and physicist (d. 1912)
- September 13 – John H. Bankhead, U.S. Senator (d. 1920)
- September 22 – Abdul Hamid II, Ottoman Sultan (d. 1918)
- October 3 – Frederick Rodgers, American admiral (d. 1917)
- October 14 – Joe Start, baseball player (d. 1927)
- October 28 – Anna Elizabeth Dickinson, American orator (d. 1932)
- November 12
- December 2 – C. W. Alcock, English footballer and football official (d. 1907)
- December 9 – Peter Kropotkin, Russian anarchist (d. 1921)
- December 12
- July 13 – Prince Ferdinand Philippe, Duke of Orléans, French prince (b. 1810)
- July 25 – Dominique Jean Larrey, French surgeon (b. 1766)
- July 28 – Clemens Brentano, German poet (b. 1778)
- September 10 – William Hobson 1st governor general of nz/ treaty of waitangi writer (b.26 September 1792)
- September 15 – Francisco Morazán, President of Central America (b. 1792)
- October 2 – William Ellery Channing, Influential Unitarian theologian and minister (b. 1780)
- October 20 – Grace Darling, heroine (b. 1815)
- October 24 – Bernardo O'Higgins, first Chilean head of state after independence (b.1778)
- December 1 – Philip Spencer, Founder of Chi Psi Fraternity and midshipman aboard the USS Somers
- December 12 – Robert Haldane, theologian (b. 1764)
- December 24 – Adam Gillies, Lord Gillies, Scottish judge (b. 1760)