Born in 1731

Jan 4 Karl Abraham Zedlitz a Prussian minister of education who was instrumental in establishing mandatory education in Prussia, which served as a model for the public education system in the United States.
Jan 12 William Hamilton (diplomat) a Scottish diplomat, antiquarian, archaeologist and vulcanologist. After a short period as a Member of Parliament, he served as British Ambassador to the Kingdom of Naples from 1764 to 1800. He studied the volcanoes Vesuvius and Etna, becoming a Fellow of the Royal Society and recipient of the Copley Medal
Jan 13 Carl von Gontard a German architect; he worked primarily in Berlin, Potsdam, and Bayreuth.
Jan 27 Pierre Joseph Buchoz a French physician, lawyer and naturalist.
Feb 9 Gasparo Angiolini an Italian dancer and choreographer, and composer. He was born in Florence and died in Milan
Feb 16 Marcello Bacciarelli a Polish-Italian painter of the late-baroque and Neoclassic periods.
Mar 7 Friedrich Wilhelm von Leysser a German botanist who was a native of Magdeburg. He served as counsellor to the king of Prussia
Mar 28 Ramón de la Cruz a Spanish neoclassical dramatist.
Apr 28 Jean-François Cailhava de L'Estandoux a French dramatist, poet and critic.
May 1 Ulrike Louise of Solms-Braunfels a Countess of Solms-Braunfels by birth, and by marriage a Landgravine of Hesse-Homburg. From 1751 to 1766, she was also regent of Hesse-Homburg, on behalf of her minor son from 1751 to 1766, and regent of the county land
May 8 Beilby Porteus a Church of England reformer and a leading abolitionist in England. He was the first Anglican in a position of authority to seriously challenge the Church's position on slavery
May 28 Johann August Ephraim Goeze a German zoologist from Aschersleben.
Jun 2 Martha Washington the wife of George Washington, the first president of the United States. Although the title was not coined until after her death, Martha Washington is considered to be the first First Lady of the United States. During her lifetime she was often referred to as "Lady Washington"
Jun 11 Francis Grose an English antiquary, draughtsman, and lexicographer. He was born at his father's house in Broad Street, St-Peter-le-Poer, London, son of a Swiss immigrant and jeweller, Francis Jacob Grose , and his wife, Anne , daughter of Thomas Bennett of Greenford in Middlesex. Grose was baptized on 11 June 1731 in the parish of St Peter-le-Poer
Jun 14 Johan Theodor Holmskjold a Danish botanist, courtier and administrator.
Jun 19 Joaquim Machado de Castro one of Portugal's foremost sculptors. He wrote extensively on his works and the theory behind them, including a full-length discussion of the statue of José I entitled Descripção analytica da execucão da estatua equestre, Lisbon 1810
Jul 1 Adam Duncan 1st Viscount Duncan a British admiral who defeated the Dutch fleet off Camperdown on 11 October 1797. This victory was considered one of the most significant actions in naval history
Jul 16 Samuel Huntington (statesman) a jurist, statesman, and Patriot in the American Revolution from Connecticut. As a delegate to the Continental Congress, he signed the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation. He also served as President of the Continental Congress from 1779 to 1781, chief justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court from 1784 to 1785, and the 18th Governor of Connecticut from 1786 until his death
Jul 24 Louis Claude Cadet de Gassicourt a French chemist who synthesised the first organometalic compound.
Aug 30 Jacob Sievers a Russian statesman from the Sievers family.
Aug 31 Ignazio Busca an Italian cardinal and Secretary of State of the Holy See. He was the last son of Lodovico Busca, marquess of Lomagna and Bianca Arconati Visconti. he took a degree in utroque iure in 1759 at the Università La Sapienza of Rome. Relator of the Sacred Consulta and referendary of the tribunal of the Apostolic Signature, he was ordained priest on August 20, 1775. Elected titular archbishop of Emesa, he was consecrated on September 17, 1775 in Frascati, by Henry Benedict Stuart. He was apostolic nuncio in Flanders and apostolic vicar for Netherlands from 1776 to 1785 and later was governor of Rome from 1785 until 1789. Created cardinal in the consistory of March 30, 1789, he received the Galero and the title of Santa Maria della Pace on August 3, 1789. He was appointed Secretary of State by Pope Pius VI in 1796. He participated in the conclave of 1800
Sep 2 Johann Friedrich von Cronegk born at Ansbach.
Sep 3 Stanisław Bohusz Siestrzeńcewicz a Belarusian who became the first bishop of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Mohilev, an Archbishop from 1784 and a prominent member of the Russian Academy , who had earlier converted from Calvinism.
Sep 9 Francisco Javier Clavijero a Novohispano Jesuit teacher, scholar and historian. After the expulsion of the Jesuits from Spanish colonies , he went to Italy, where he wrote a valuable work on the pre-Columbian history and civilizations of Mesoamerica and the central Mexican altiplano
Sep 11 Giovanni Andrea Archetti an Italian Roman Catholic Cardinal.
Sep 17 Jacques-Christophe Valmont de Bomare a French botanist and naturalist. He wrote an influential encyclopedia of natural history in the 1760s: Dictionnaire raisonné universel d’histoire naturelle
Sep 24 Princess Charlotte Sophie of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld a German duchess.
Oct 10 Henry Cavendish a British natural philosopher, scientist, and an important experimental and theoretical chemist and physicist. Cavendish is noted for his discovery of hydrogen or what he called "inflammable air". He described the density of inflammable air, which formed water on combustion, in a 1766 paper "On Factitious Airs". Antoine Lavoisier later reproduced Cavendish's experiment and gave the element its name
Nov 4 Maria Josepha of Saxony Dauphine of France a Duchess of Saxony and the Dauphine of France. She became Dauphine at the age of fifteen through her marriage to Louis de France, the son and heir of Louis Marie Josèphe was the mother of three kings of France, including Louis XVI, who died under the guillotine during the French Revolution. Her youngest daughter, Madame Élisabeth, also was beheaded during the Revolution
Nov 7 Robert Rogers (soldier) an American colonial frontiersman. Rogers served in the British army during both the French and Indian War and the American Revolution. During the French and Indian War Rogers raised and commanded the famous Rogers' Rangers
Nov 9 Benjamin Banneker a free African American scientist, surveyor, almanac author and farmer. Born in Baltimore County, Maryland, to a free African American woman and a former slave, Banneker had little formal education and was largely self-taught. He is known for being part of a group led by Major Andrew Ellicott that surveyed the borders of the original District of Columbia, the federal capital district of the United States
Nov 24 Maria Fortunata d'Este a Modenese princess by birth and a princess of the blood of France by marriage. By her marriage to a second cousin Louis François Joseph de Bourbon, Prince of Conti, she became the Countess of La Marche and later the Princess of Conti and was a member of the French court of Louis XV and Louis XVI. She was the last Princess of Conti and died without issue
Nov 26 William Cowper an English poet and hymnodist. One of the most popular poets of his time, Cowper changed the direction of 18th century nature poetry by writing of everyday life and scenes of the English countryside. In many ways, he was one of the forerunners of Romantic poetry. Samuel Taylor Coleridge called him "the best modern poet", whilst William Wordsworth particularly admired his poem Yardley-Oak. He was a nephew of the poet Judith Madan
Nov 27 Gaetano Pugnani born in Turin. He trained on the violin under Giovanni Battista Somis. In 1752, Pugnani became the first violinist of the Royal Chapel of Turin. Then he went on a large tour that granted him great fame for his extraordinary skill on the violin. In 1754, he was very well received at the Concert Spirituel in Paris, but in 1768 he had an even more successful musical encounter in London, directing the King's Theatre from 1767 to 1769
Dec 3 Stefano Borgia The Most Rev. Stefano Cardinal Borgia was a senior Italian prelate, theologian, antiquarian and historian
Dec 7 Abraham Hyacinthe Anquetil-Duperron the first professional French scholar of Indian culture. He conceived the institutional framework for the new profession. He inspired the founding of the École française d'Extrême-Orient a century after his death and, later still, the founding of the Institut francais de Pondichéry
Dec 7 John Baptist Albertrandi a Polish Jesuit, bishop and historian of Italian extraction, born in Warsaw.
Dec 8 František Xaver Dušek a Czech composer and one of the most important harpsichordists and pianists of his time.
Dec 10 Franciszek Kareu Very Rev. Franciszek Kareu, S.J. was Temporary Vicar General of the Society of Jesus in Russia from 1799 to 1801. After Pope Pius VII's official approval of the Jesuits' existence in Russia, he was declared Superior General of the Society of Jesus
Dec 12 Erasmus Darwin an English physician. One of the key thinkers of the Midlands Enlightenment, he was also a natural philosopher, physiologist, slave-trade abolitionist, inventor and poet. His poems included much natural history, including a statement of evolution and the relatedness of all forms of life. He was a member of the Darwin–Wedgwood family, which includes his grandsons Charles Darwin and Francis Galton. Darwin was also a founding member of the Lunar Society of Birmingham, a discussion group of pioneering industrialists and natural philosophers. He turned down George III's invitation to be a physician to the King
Dec 19 Thomas Willing an American merchant, a Delegate to the Continental Congress from Pennsylvania and the first president of the First National Bank of the United States.
Dec 28 Christian Cannabich a German violinist, composer, and Kapellmeister of the Classical era. A composer of some 200 works, he continued the legacy of Johann Stamitz and helped turn the Mannheim orchestra into what Charles Burney described as "the most complete and best disciplined in Europe.". The orchestra was particularly noted for the carefully graduated crescendos and diminuendos characteristic of the Mannheim school. Together with Stamitz and the other composers of the Mannheim court, he helped develop the orchestral texture that paved the way for the orchestral treatment of the First Viennese School