Died in 1788

Jan 11 François Joseph Paul de Grasse a French admiral. He is best known for his command of the French fleet at the Battle of the Chesapeake, which led directly to the British surrender at Yorktown
Jan 12 Francisco Noronha a Spanish physician and botanist who resided for some time at Manila, Luzon, Philippines, where he took much effort to organize the Royal Botanic Garden and stock it with valuable plants. Three sets of his water-colour drawings of Javan plants and one set of 108 numbered drawings still exist. Williams describes him as "a Spanish physician and botanist who had visited Madagascar", while Zuidevaart & Van Gent call him "a capable botanist from Manila" who in 1786 had taken over supervision of the museum of the Batavian Society of Arts and Sciences in Java
Jan 15 Gaetano Latilla an Italian opera composer, the most important of the period immediately preceding Niccolò Piccinni.
Jan 31 Charles Edward Stuart the second Jacobite pretender to the thrones of England, Scotland, and Ireland. This claim was as the eldest son of James Francis Edward Stuart, himself the son of James II of England. Charles is perhaps best known as the instigator of the unsuccessful Jacobite uprising of 1745, in which he led an insurrection to restore his family to the throne of the Kingdom of Great Britain, which ended in defeat at the Battle of Culloden that effectively ended the Jacobite cause. Charles's flight from Scotland after the uprising has rendered him a romantic figure of heroic failure in some later representations. In 1759 he was involved in a French plan to invade Britain which was abandoned following British naval victories
Feb 2 James Stuart (1713–1788) an English archaeologist, architect and artist, best known for his central role in pioneering Neoclassicism.
Feb 17 Maurice Quentin de La Tour a French Rococo portraitist who worked primarily with pastels. Among his most famous subjects were Voltaire, Rousseau, Louis XV and Madame de Pompadour
Feb 18 John Whitehurst a clockmaker and scientist, and made significant early contributions to geology. He was an influential member of the Lunar Society
Feb 20 John Lightfoot (biologist) an English parson-naturalist, spending much of his free time as a conchologist and botanist. He was a systematic and effective curator of the private museum of Margaret Bentinck, Duchess of Portland. He is best known for his Flora Scotica which pioneered the scientific study of the plants and fungi of Scotland. He became a Fellow of the Royal Society for his scientific work
Feb 21 Johann Georg Palitzsch a German astronomer who became famous for recovering Comet 1P/Halley on Christmas Day, 1758. The periodic nature of this comet had been deduced by its namesake Edmond Halley in 1705, but Halley had died before seeing if his prediction would come true
Feb 28 Thomas Cushing an American lawyer, merchant, and statesman from Boston, Massachusetts. Active in Boston politics, he represented the city in the provincial assembly from 1761 to its dissolution in 1774, serving as the lower house's speaker for most of those years. Because of his role as speaker, his signature was affixed to many documents protesting British policies, leading officials in London to consider him a dangerous radical. He engaged in extended communications with Benjamin Franklin who at times lobbied on behalf of the legislature's interests in London, seeking ways to reduce the rising tensions of the American Revolution
Mar 2 Salomon Gessner a Swiss painter and poet. His writing suited the taste of his time, though by some more recent standards it is “insipidly sweet and monotonously melodious.” As a painter, he represented the conventional classical landscape
Mar 29 Charles Wesley an English leader of the Methodist movement, son of Anglican clergyman and poet Samuel Wesley, the younger brother of Methodist founder John Wesley and Anglican clergyman Samuel Wesley the Younger. He was father of musician Samuel Wesley and grandfather of musician Samuel Sebastian Wesley. Despite their closeness, Charles and his brother John did not always agree on questions relating to their beliefs. In particular, Charles was strongly opposed to the idea of a breach with the Church of England into which they had both been ordained. Charles Wesley is mostly remembered for the over 6,000 hymns he wrote. He ministered for part of his life in The New Room Chapel in Bristol. His house, located nearby, can still be visited
Apr 12 Carlo Antonio Campioni an Italian composer, as well as a collector of early music.
Apr 15 Giuseppe Bonno an Austrian composer of Italian origin.
Apr 16 Georges-Louis Leclerc Comte de Buffon a French naturalist, mathematician, cosmologist, and encyclopedic author.
Apr 18 Count Karl Leopold von Schlieben Royal Prussian Minister of War, between 1769 and 1772.
May 8 Giovanni Antonio Scopoli a Tyrolean physician and naturalist. His biographer Otto Guglia named him the "first anational European" and the "Linnaeus of the Austrian Empire"
May 11 Emanuel Giani Ruset a Prince of Wallachia , and Prince of Moldavia. He was a Phanariote and member of the Rosetti family
May 12 Duke Louis Ernest of Brunswick-Lüneburg a field-marshal in the armies of the Holy Roman Empire and the Dutch Republic. From 13 November 1750 to 1766 he was the Captain-General of the Netherlands, where he was known as the Duke of Brunswick or Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel. Another brother was Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick who led the Allied Anglo-German army during the Seven Years' War
Jun 18 Adam Gib a Scottish religious leader, head of the Antiburgher section of the Scottish Secession Church.
Jun 20 Sydir Bily Zaporozhian Kosh otaman.
Jun 21 Johann Georg Hamann a German philosopher, whose work was used by his student G. Herder as a main support of the Sturm und Drang movement, and associated by historian of ideas Isaiah Berlin with the Counter-Enlightenment. However, recent scholarship such as that by theologian Oswald Bayer places Hamann into a more nebulous category of theologian and philologist, less the proto-Romantic that Herder presented and more a premodern-postmodern thinker who brought the consequences of Lutheran theology to bear upon the burgeoning Enlightenment and especially in reaction to Kant. Goethe and Kierkegaard were among those who considered him to be the finest mind of his time
Jul 3 François Jacquier a French Franciscan mathematician and physicist.
Jul 8 Armand de Vignerot du Plessis a French soldier, diplomat and statesman. Joining the army, he participated in three major wars and eventually rose to the rank of Marshal of France
Jul 14 Johann Gottfried Müthel a German composer and noted keyboard virtuoso. Along with C.P.E. Bach, he represented the Sturm und Drang style of composition
Jul 15 Jean Germain Drouais born in Paris. His father, Francois Hubert Drouais, and his grandfather, Hubert Drouais, were well-known portrait painters; and it was from his father that he received his first artistic instruction
Jul 30 Kajetan Sołtyk a Polish Catholic priest, bishop of Kiev from 1756, bishop of Cracow from 13 March 1759.
Aug 2 Thomas Gainsborough an English portrait and landscape painter.
Aug 25 Tanuma Okitsugu a rōjū of the Tokugawa shogunate who introduced monetary reform. He was also a daimyo, and ruled the Sagara han. He used the title Tonomo-no-kami
Sep 22 Toriyama Sekien an 18th-century scholar and ukiyo-e artist of Japanese folklore. He was the teacher of Utamaro and, before taking up printmaking, a painter of the Kanō school. Toriyama is most famous for his attempt to catalogue all species of yōkai in the Hyakki Yagyō series
Sep 27 Duchess Augusta of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel the first wife of Frederick of Württemberg and the mother of William I of Württemberg.
Sep 30 Matthäus Günther an important German painter and artist of the Baroque and Rococo era.
Oct 13 Robert Nugent 1st Earl Nugent an Irish politician and poet. He was tersely described by Richard Glover as a jovial and voluptuous Irishman who had left popery for the Protestant religion, money and widows
Oct 15 Samuel Greig known in Russia - Scottish-born Russian admiral who distinguished himself in the Battle of Chesma and the Battle of Hogland. His son Alexey Greig also made a spectacular career in the Imperial Russian Navy
Oct 17 John Brown (doctor) a Scottish physician.
Oct 24 François-Jean de Chastellux a military officer who served during the War of American Independence as a major general in the French expeditionary forces led by general Comte de Rochambeau. Being on general Rochambeau's staff for the duration of the war, Chastellux acted as the principal liaison officer between the French commander in chief and George Washington. However the Chevalier de Chastellux was also widely recognized, at the time of his campaigns in America, as a highly talented man of letters and a member of the Académie française
Nov 25 Manuel de Guirior a Spanish naval officer and colonial administrator. He was viceroy of New Granada from 1772 to 1776 and of Peru from July 17, 1776 to July 21, 1780
Dec 6 Jonathan Shipley the son of a London stationer; his mother's family were owners of Twyford House, a large manor in Winchester, England. He was ordained a minister in the Church of England and became both Bishop of Llandaff and Bishop of St Asaph
Dec 6 Nicole-Reine Lepaute a French astronomer and mathematician. She predicted the return of Halley's Comet, calculated the timing of a solar eclipse and constructed a group of catalogs for the stars. She was a member of the Scientific Academy of Béziers
Dec 8 Pierre André de Suffren Admiral comte Pierre André de Suffren de Saint Tropez, bailli de Suffren , French admiral. He was most famous for his campaign in the Indian Ocean, in which he inconclusively contended for supremacy against the established British power there, led by Vice-Admiral Sir Edward Hughes
Dec 12 Frederick Henry Margrave of Brandenburg-Schwedt the last owner of the Prussian secundogeniture of Brandenburg-Schwedt. His father was Margrave Philip William; his mother was Charlotte Johanna, a daughter of Prince John George II of Anhalt-Dessau and Princess Henriette Catherine of Nassau
Dec 14 Charles III of Spain the King of Spain and the Spanish Indies from 1759 to 1788. He was the fifth son of Philip V of Spain, but eldest by his second wife, Elisabeth Farnese. In 1731, the 15-year-old Charles became the Duke of Parma and Piacenza, as Charles I, on the death of his childless granduncle Antonio Farnese
Dec 14 Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach a German Classical period musician and composer, the fifth child and second son of Johann Sebastian Bach and Maria Barbara Bach. His second name was given in honor of his godfather Georg Philipp Telemann, a friend of Johann Sebastian Bach
Dec 19 Juan Bautista de Anza a Basque New-Spanish explorer and Governor of New Mexico for the Spanish Empire.
Dec 22 Percivall Pott an English surgeon, one of the founders of orthopedy, and the first scientist to demonstrate that a cancer may be caused by an environmental carcinogen.
Dec 30 Francesco Zuccarelli an Italian painter of the late Baroque period.