Died in 1778

Jan 10 Carl Linnaeus a Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist, who laid the foundations for the modern biological naming scheme of binomial nomenclature. He is known as the father of modern taxonomy, and is also considered one of the fathers of modern ecology. Many of his writings were in Latin, and his name is rendered in Latin as Carolus Linnæus
Jan 12 François Bigot a French government official. He served as the Financial Commissary on Île Royale and as Intendant of New France. He was the last official ever to hold the latter position, losing it on the occasion of the conquest of 1760. He was subsequently accused of corruption and put on trial in France, and upon conviction was thrown into the Bastille for eleven months. Upon his release, Bigot was further sentenced to lifelong banishment. However, shortly after the judgement was made, Bigot escaped to Switzerland where he would live until his dying day
Feb 8 Lekain the stage name of Henri Louis Cain , a French actor.
Feb 15 Johann Gottlieb Görner a German composer and organist. His brother was the composer Johann Valentin Görner and his son the organist Karl Friedrich Görner. He was a student at the Thomasschule zu Leipzig and University of Leipzig, then organist of the city's Paulinerkirche from 1716 then its Nikolaikirche from 1721. In 1723 he founded a Collegium Musicum, which competed with Johann Sebastian Bach's. He died in Leipzig
Feb 18 Joseph Marie Terray a Controller-General of Finances during the reign of Louis XV of France, an agent of fiscal reform.
Feb 20 Laura Bassi the first woman in the world to earn a university chair in a scientific field of studies. She received a doctoral degree from the University of Bologna in May 1732, only the third academic qualification ever bestowed on a woman by a European university, and the first woman to earn a professorship in physics at a university in Europe. She was the first woman to be offered an official teaching position at a university in Europe
Mar 5 Thomas Arne an English composer, best known for the patriotic song Rule, Britannia!. He also wrote a version of God Save the King, which became the British national anthem, and the song A-Hunting We Will Arne was the leading British theatre composer of the 18th century, working at Drury Lane and Covent Garden
Mar 7 Charles De Geer a Swedish industrialist and entomologist.
Mar 13 Charles le Beau a French historical writer.
Mar 27 Nicolas-Sébastien Adam a French sculptor working in the Neoclassical style. He was born in Nancy and died in Paris
Mar 29 Baltazar Adam Krčelić a Croatian historian, theologian and lawyer.
Mar 31 Konstanty Ludwik Plater Castellan of Troki from 1770, voivode of Mstislavl from 1758 to 1770, Castellan of Polotsk from 1754 to 1758, the great Lithuanian Magnus Scriptor from 1746 to 1754, Maréchal of the Lithuanian Tribunal in 1754, and Starosta of Livonia and Dyneburg. In 1754, he was awarded with the Order of White Eagle, Knight of the Order of Saint Stanislaus, and the Russian Order of Alexander Nevsky. Married to Countess Augustina Oginska on 16 Aug 1744
Apr 8 Pieter Teyler van der Hulst a wealthy Dutch Mennonite merchant and banker, who died childless, leaving a legacy of two million florins to the pursuit of religion, arts and science in his hometown, that led to the formation of Teyler's Museum. This was not the value of his entire estate. He also founded Teylers Hofje in his name, and made important donations to individuals in the Mennonite community
Apr 28 Shmelke of Nikolsburg one of the great early Chasidic Rebbes. Born Shmuel Horowitz , he was the oldest son of Rabbi Tzvi Hirsh Horowitz of Chortkiv. A Levite, he traced his lineage back directly to the prophet Samuel who was also a Levite. In their early years, Shmelke and his brother Pinchas - who would also become a famous rabbi - studied Torah together. After traveling to Mezritch and meeting the great chasidic master Dovber of Mezeritch, they became his ardent followers
May 6 Jean Baptiste Christophore Fusée Aublet a French pharmacist, botanist and explorer.
May 8 Lorenz Christoph Mizler a German physician, historian, printer, mathematician, Baroque music composer, and precursor of the Polish Enlightenment.
May 11 William Pitt 1st Earl of Chatham a British statesman of the Whig group who led the government of Great Britain twice in the middle of the 18th century. Historians call him Pitt or Chatham, or William Pitt the Elder to distinguish from his son, William Pitt the Younger, who also was a prime minister. Pitt was also known as The Great Commoner, because of his long-standing refusal to accept a title until 1766
May 16 Robert Darcy 4th Earl of Holderness a British diplomat and politician. From 1744 to 1746 he was ambassador at Venice and from 1749 to 1751 he represented his country at The Hague. In 1751 he became Secretary of State for the Southern Department, transferring in 1754 to the Northern Department, and he remained in office until March 1761, when he was dismissed by King George III in favor of Lord Bute, although he had largely been a cipher in that position to the stronger personalities of his colleagues, successively the Duke of Newcastle, Thomas Robinson, Henry Fox, and William Pitt the Elder. From 1771 to 1776 he acted as governor to two of the King's sons, a solemn phantom as Horace Walpole calls him. He left no sons, and all his titles became extinct except the Baronies of Darcy and Conyers, which were Baronies by Writ, and the Portuguese countship of Mértola. In those peerages he was succeeded by his daughter, Amelia Osborne, Marchioness of Carmarthen
May 30 Voltaire a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit, his attacks on the established Catholic Church, and his advocacy of freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and separation of church and state. Voltaire was a versatile writer, producing works in almost every literary form, including plays, poems, novels, essays, and historical and scientific works. He wrote more than 20,000 letters and more than 2,000 books and pamphlets. He was an outspoken advocate, despite the risk this placed him in under the strict censorship laws of the time. As a satirical polemicist, he frequently made use of his works to criticize intolerance, religious dogma, and the French institutions of his day
Jun 12 Philip Livingston an American merchant and statesman from New York City. He was a delegate for New York to the Continental Congress from 1775 to 1778, and signed the Declaration of Independence
Jun 16 Konrad Ekhof a German actor, widely regarded as one of the foremost actors of the German-speaking realm in the 18th century.
Jun 24 Pieter Burman the Younger a Dutch philologist, born at Amsterdam.
Jun 26 Therese of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel a German noblewoman. She was a member of the House of Welf and was princess-abbess of the Imperial Free secular Abbey in Gandersheim
Jul 2 Bathsheba Spooner the first woman to be executed in the United States by Americans rather than the British.
Jul 2 Jean-Jacques Rousseau a Genevan philosopher, writer, and composer of the 18th century. His political philosophy influenced the French Revolution as well as the overall development of modern political, sociological, and educational thought
Jul 3 Anna Maria Mozart the mother of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Maria Anna Mozart.
Aug 4 Pierre de Rigaud Marquis de Vaudreuil-Cavagnial a Canadien-born colonial governor of Canada in North America. He was governor of French Louisiana and in 1755 became the last Governor-General of New France. In 1759 and 1760 the British conquered the colony in the Seven Years' War
Aug 5 Charles Clémencet a French Benedictine historian.
Aug 11 Augustus Toplady an Anglican cleric and hymn writer. He was a major Calvinist opponent of John Wesley. He is best remembered as the author of the hymn "Rock of Ages". Three of his other hymns – "A Debtor to Mercy Alone", "Deathless Principle, Arise" and "Object of My First Desire" – are still occasionally sung today, though all three are far less popular than "Rock of Ages"
Aug 12 Peregrine Bertie 3rd Duke of Ancaster and Kesteven the son of Peregrine Bertie, 2nd Duke of Ancaster and Kesteven.
Sep 12 Duke Louis of Mecklenburg-Schwerin heir to the Dukedom of Mecklenburg-Schwerin from 1756 to his death. He was also the father of the first Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin Frederick Francis I
Sep 16 Melusina von der Schulenburg Countess of Walsingham the natural daughter of King George I of Great Britain and his longtime mistress, Melusine von der Schulenburg, Duchess of Kendal.
Oct 1 Washington Shirley 5th Earl Ferrers a British Royal Navy officer, peer, freemason and amateur astronomer.
Nov 8 Princess Casimire of Anhalt-Dessau a princess of Anhalt-Dessau by birth and Countess of Lippe-Detmold by marriage.
Nov 9 Giovanni Battista Piranesi an Italian artist famous for his etchings of Rome and of fictitious and atmospheric "prisons".
Nov 20 Francesco Cetti an Italian Jesuit priest, zoologist and mathematician.
Dec 3 Göran Rothman a Swedish naturalist, physician and an apostle of Carl Linnaeus.
Dec 12 Hermann Raupach a German composer.
Dec 17 Johann Erich Thunmann a linguist, historian and theologian born in Thoresund in Sweden. He studied at Strängnäs and Uppsala then left Sweden to study at Greifswald. Thunmann was professor of philosophy at the University of Halle
Dec 22 Simon Mathurin Lantara a French landscape painter.
Dec 31 Alvise Giovanni Mocenigo doge of Venice from 1763 until his death.