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1786 ( MDCCLXXXVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Thursday of the Julian calendar, the 1786th year of the Common Era (CE) and (AD) designations, the 786th year of the Anno Domini 2nd millennium, the 86th year of the 18th century, and the 7th year of the 1780s decade. As of the start of 1786, the Gregorian calendar was 11 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.
July 14 – Convention of London between the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Spain: British settlements on the Mosquito Coast of Central America are to be evacuated; Spain expands the territory available to the British in Belize on the Yucatán Peninsula, for cutting mahogany.
July 31 – The of Kilmarnock volume Robert Burns' Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect is published in Scotland.
August 1 – Caroline Herschel discovers a comet (the first discovered by a woman).
August 8 – Mont Blanc is climbed for the first time, by Dr. Michel-Gabriel Paccard and Jacques Balmat.
August 11 – Captain Francis Light acquires the island of Penang from the Sultan of Kedah on behalf of the British East India Company, renaming it Prince of Wales Island in honour of the heir to the British throne, the first  colony of the British Empire in Southeast Asia.
August 17 – The paternal nephew of Frederick the Great, Frederick William, becomes King of Prussia, as Frederick William II.
August 18 – The Kingdom of Denmark (including Norway) charters six settlements in Iceland to trade with it, thus ending the Danish–Icelandic Trade Monopoly, and founding Reykjavík.
August 29 – Shays' Rebellion begins in Massachusetts.
September–December – Goethe undertook his (published in Italian Journey 1817).
September 2 – A hurricane strikes Barbados.
September 11– 14 – The Annapolis Convention is held by delegates from six of the 13 states (Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and New York) resulting in the scheduling of the Philadelphia Convention to draft a national constitution. 
September 14 – Connecticut cedes to the United States all of its claims to lands between the 41st and 42nd parallels north and west of the Connecticut Western Reserve.  September 26 – Eden Agreement: A commercial treaty is signed between the Kingdoms of Great Britain and France. 
October 6 – HMS begins service with the Royal Navy. Bellerophon 
October 10 – The Confederation Congress of the United States directs backpay for seven months for Virginia officers who have been waiting since 1782. 
October 12 – King George III of the United Kingdom appoints Captain Arthur Phillip as the first Governor of New Holland, which comprises the area of modern Australia from the 135th meridian east to the east coast and all adjacent islands in the Pacific Ocean. 
October 16 – The Confederation Congress establishes the United States Mint to make common coinage and currency for the U.S., to replace individual state coins. 
October 24 – General David Cobb of the Massachusetts militia defeats a body of rebel insurgents at Taunton, Massachusetts in one of the battles of Shays' Rebellion. 
November 7 – The oldest musical organization in the United States, the , is founded. Stoughton Musical Society
November 30 – Peter Leopold Joseph of Habsburg-Lorraine, Grand Duke of Tuscany, promulgates a penal reform, making his country the first state to abolish the death penalty. November 30 is therefore commemorated by 300 cities around the world, as Cities for Life Day.
December 4 – Mission Santa Barbara is founded by Padre Fermín Lasuén as the tenth of the Spanish missions in California. December 20 – Robert Burns's Address to a is first published, in Haggis Edinburgh.
February 16 – Maria Pavlovna of Russia, Grand Duchess of Saxe-Weimar Eisenach (d. 1859)
February 24 – Martin W. Bates, U.S. Senator from Delaware (d. 1869)
February 26 – François Arago, French astronomer, physicist and politician (d. 1853)
February 24 – Wilhelm Grimm, German philologist, folklorist (d. 1859)
March 4 – Agustina de Aragón, Spanish heroine (d. 1857)
March 22 – Joachim Lelewel, Polish historian (d. 1861)
March 25 – Giovanni Battista Amici Italian astronomer, microscopist, and botanist (d. 1863)
April 7 – William R. King, 13th Vice President of the United States (d. 1853)
April 16 – John Franklin, British naval officer and explorer (d. 1847)
April 28 – Elizabeth Andrew Warren, Cornish botanist, marine algolologist (d. 1864)
May 12 – Jean-François Barrière, French historian (d. 1868)
May 29 – Alexander Bryan Johnson, American philosopher (d. 1867) June 13 – Winfield Scott, American general, Presidential candidate (d. 1866)
January 4 – Moses Mendelssohn, Jewish philosopher (b. 1729)
January 7 – Jean-Étienne Guettard, French physician, scientist (b. 1715)
January 14 – Meshech Weare, Governor of New Hampshire (b. 1713)
January 26 – Hans Joachim von Zieten, Prussian field marshal (b. 1699)
February 25 – Thomas Wright, British astronomer (b. 1711)
February 28 – John Gwynn, English architect and engineer (b. 1713)
March 11 – Charles Humphreys, American delegate to the Continental Congress (b. 1714)
April 10 – John Byron, British naval officer (b. 1723)
April 20 – John Goodricke, English astronomer (b. 1764)
May 1 – Benjamin Waller, American politician (b. 1716)
May 2 – Petronella Johanna de Timmerman, Dutch poet, scientist (b. 1723)
May 15 – Eva Ekeblad, Swedish scientist and agronomist, first female member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (b. 1724) May 19 – John Stanley, English composer (b. 1712)
August 17 – King Frederick II of Prussia ("Frederick the Great") (b. 1712)
August 27 – Carl Fredrik Scheffer, Swedish politician (b. 1715)
September 5 – Jonas Hanway, English merchant, traveler, and philanthropist (b. 1712)
September 17 – Tokugawa Ieharu, Japanese shōgun (b. 1737)
September 18 – Giovanni Battista Guadagnini, Italian luthier (b. 1711)
October 2 – Augustus Keppel, 1st Viscount Keppel, British admiral (b. 1725)
October 5 – Johann Gottlieb Gleditsch, German botanist (b. 1714)
October 17 – Johann Ludwig Aberli, Swiss artist (b. 1723)
October 20 – Humphrey Sturt, British architect (b. 1725)
October 31 – Princess Amelia of Great Britain, Second daughter of George II of Great Britain (b. 1711)
November 30 – Bernardo de Gálvez, Spanish military leader who aided the United States in its quest for independence, in the American Revolutionary War (b. 1746) December 26 – Gasparo Gozzi, Italian critic, dramatist (b. 1713)
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^ Stephen James O'Meara,
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^ Colin Pengelly,
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Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia (January 6, 1787) p145
^ "Conquest", by Alan Atkinson, in
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Lennart Sundström (November 5, 2013). "Föreningen Gamla Östersund" (in Swedish). Länstidningen Östersund . Retrieved . September 10, 2018
Collections of the Old Colony Historical Society No. 6 (1899) p151
Hickey, Kieran R. (2000). "A geographical perspective on the decline and extermination of the Irish wolf canis lupus" (PDF). Irish Geography. 33: 185–98. doi: 10.1080/00750770009478590 . Retrieved . February 25, 2011