1805 1806 1807 - 1808 - 1809 1810 1811
1770s 1780s 1790s - 1800s - 1810s 1820s 1830s
Events of 1808
- January 1 – The importation of slaves into the United States is banned; this is also the earliest day under the United States Constitution that an amendment can be made restricting slavery.
- January 12 – The organizational meeting leading to the creation of the Wernerian Natural History Society, a former Scottish learned society, is held in Edinburgh.
- January 22 – The Bragança Portuguese Royal Family arrives in Brazil, running away from the French army.
- 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 – Russia issues an ultimatum to Sweden, to join France, Denmark and Russia and attack Finland.
- February 2 – French troops occupy the Papal States (Vatican).
- February 6 – The ship Topaz (from Boston April 5, 1807 hunting seals) rediscovers the Pitcairn Islands; only one HMS Bounty mutineer is still alive, Alexander Smith (John Adams).
- February 11 – Anthracite coal is first burned as fuel by Jesse Fell in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania; the discovery leads to the use of coal as the key fuel source of America's industrial revolution.
- February 21 – Finnish War: Russian troops cross the border into Finland without a declaration of war.
- March 2 – Russian troops occupy Helsinki and threaten Sveaborg.
- March 2 – The inaugural meeting of the Wernerian Natural History Society, a former Scottish learned society, is held in Edinburgh.
- March 8 – Brazil: With the arrival of the Portuguese royal family in Brazil (1808), the colony became the seat of Portuguese Empire.
- March 11 – Russian troops occupy Tampere.
- 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 22 – Russian troops occupy Turku.
- March 26 – Charles IV of Spain abdicates in favor of his son, Ferdinand VII.
- April 6 – John Jacob Astor incorporates the American Fur Company.
- April 16 – Troops under colonel Carl von Döbeln clash with Russian troops in Pyhäjoki, Finland.
- May 2 – Peninsular War: The people of Madrid rise up against the French troops.
- May 3
- June 12 – Finnish War: A landing of Swedish troops at Ala-Lemu, near Turku, fails.
- June 19 – Finnish War: A second landing of Swedish troops at Ala-Lemu fails.
- July 14 – Troops under Colonel Adlercreutz force the Russians to withdraw in Lapua.
- July 22 – French General Dupont surrenders to Spanish irregular forces following the Battle of Bailén.
- August 10 – Troops under Carl von Döbeln defeat a Russian attack in Kauhajoki.
- August 21 – Battle of Vimiero: British troops under Duke of Wellington defeat the French under General Junot.
- September 27 – The Congress of Erfurt between the emperors Napoleon I of France and Alexander I of Russia starts.
- September 29 – A truce is declared between Swedish and Russian troops in Finland; it ends on October 19.
- November 15 – Mahmud II (1808–1839) succeeds Mustafa IV (1807–1808) as sultan of the Ottoman Empire.
- November 19 – A new truce ends fighting in Finland.
- November 23 – Battle of Tudela: French Marshal Lannes defeats a Spanish army at the
- November – Swedish troops evacuate Finland. Tsar Alexander I of Russia proclaims Finland a part of Russia.
- November – James Madison defeats Charles C. Pinckney in the U.S. presidential election.
- December – Napoleon joins his army in Spain.
- December 9 – At 20:34 UTC Mercury occults Saturn (there are no observation records).
- December 20 – The original Covent Garden Theatre in London is destroyed by a fire, along with most of the scenery, costumes and scripts.
- December 22 – Ludwig van Beethoven conducts and performs in concert at the Theater an der Wien, Vienna, with the premiere of his Fifth Symphony, Sixth Symphony, Fourth Piano Concerto (performed by Beethoven himself) and Choral Fantasy (with Beethoven at the piano).