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|Centuries:||17th century – 18th century – 19th century|
|Decades:||1740s 1750s 1760s – 1770s – 1780s 1790s 1800s|
|Years:||1775 1776 1777 – 1778 – 1779 1780 1781|
|1778 by topic:|
|Arts and Sciences|
|Archaeology – Architecture – Art – Literature ( Poetry) – Music – Science|
|Canada – Great Britain – United States|
|Lists of leaders|
|Colonial governors – State leaders|
|Birth and death categories|
|Births – Deaths|
|Establishments and disestablishments categories|
|Establishments – Disestablishments|
|Ab urbe condita||2531|
|British Regnal year||18 Geo. 3 – 19 Geo. 3|
|Chinese calendar|| 丁酉年十二月初三日
— to —戊戌年十一月十三日
|- Vikram Samvat||1834–1835|
|- Shaka Samvat||1700–1701|
|- Kali Yuga||4879–4880|
|- Ǹrí Ìgbò||778–779|
|Japanese calendar|| An'ei 7
|Juche calendar||N/A (before 1912)|
|Julian calendar||Gregorian minus 11 days|
|Minguo calendar||134 before ROC
|Thai solar calendar||2321|
Year 1778 (MDCCLXXVIII) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Monday of the 11-day slower Julian calendar.
- January 18 – Third voyage of James Cook: Captain James Cook, with ships HMS Resolution and HMS Discovery, first views Oahu then Kauai in the Hawaiian Islands of the Pacific Ocean, which he names the Sandwich Islands.
- February 5 – South Carolina becomes the first state to ratify the Articles of Confederation.
- February 6 – American Revolutionary War: In Paris the Treaty of Alliance and the Treaty of Amity and Commerce are signed by the United States and France, signaling official French recognition of the new republic.
- February 23 – American Revolutionary War: Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben arrives at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania and begins to train the American troops.
- March 6– October 24 – Captain Cook explores and maps the Pacific Northwest coast of North America from Cape Foulweather (Oregon) to the Bering Strait.
- March 10 – American Revolutionary War: George Washington approves the dishonorable discharge of Lieut. Frederick Gotthold Enslin for "attempting to commit sodomy, with John Monhort a soldier".
- May 30 – Benedict Arnold signs US oath of allegiance at Valley Forge
- June 24 – A total solar eclipse takes place across parts of USA from Texas to Virginia.
- June 28 – American Revolutionary War – Battle of Monmouth: George Washington's Continental Army battles the British general Sir Henry Clinton's army to a draw near Monmouth, New Jersey.
- July 3 – American Revolutionary War: the Wyoming Massacre takes place near Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, ending in a terrible defeat of the local colonists.
- July 4 – American Revolutionary War: George Rogers Clark takes Kaskaskia.
- July 10 – Louis XVI of France declares war on the Kingdom of Great Britain.
- July 27 – American Revolutionary War – First Battle of Ushant: British and French fleets fight to a standoff.
- August 26 – Triglav, at 2,864 meters above sea level the highest peak of Slovenia, is ascended for the first time by four men: Luka Korošec, Matevž Kos, Štefan Rožič, and Lovrenc Willomitzer on Sigmund Zois' initiative.
- August 29 – American Revolutionary War: The tactically inconclusive Battle of Rhode Island takes place, after which the Continental Army abandons its position on Aquidneck Island.
- September – The Massachusetts Banishment Act, providing punishment for Loyalists, is passed.
- September 17 – The Treaty of Fort Pitt is signed, the first formal treaty between the United States and a Native American tribe (the Lenape or Delaware).
- September 19 – The Continental Congress passes the first budget of the United States.
- November 26 – In the Hawaiian Islands, Captain James Cook becomes the first European to land on Maui.
- The first settlement is made in the area of what is now Louisville, Kentucky, by 13 families under Colonel George Rogers Clark.
- Phillips Academy, the most prestigious secondary boarding school in the United States, is founded by Samuel Phillips Jr.
- The term " thoroughbred" is first used in the United States in an advertisement in a Kentucky gazette to describe a New Jersey stallion called Pilgarlick.
- January 3 – Antoni Melchior Fijałkowski, Polish bishop (d. 1861)
- January 27 – Andrew Sterett, American naval officer (d. 1807)
- February 14 – Fernando Sor, Spanish Composer & Guitarist (d. 1839)
- February 22 – Rembrandt Peale, American artist (d. 1860)
- March 19 – Edward Pakenham, British general (d. 1815)
- April 10 – William Hazlitt, English essayist (d. 1830)
- May 18 – Charles Vane, 3rd Marquess of Londonderry, British politician (d. 1854)
- August 11 – Friedrich Ludwig Jahn, German patriot (d. 1852)
- September 8 – Clemens Brentano, German poet (d. 1842)
- September 19 – Henry Peter Brougham, Lord Chancellor of Great Britain (d. 1868)
- October 11 – George Bridgetower, Afro-Polish violinist (d. 1860)
- November 1 – Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden (d. 1837)
- November 23 – Samuel Humphreys, American naval architect (d. 1846)
- November 25 – Mary Anne Schimmelpenninck, British Christian writer (d. 1856)
- December 17 – Sir Humphry Davy, English chemist (d. 1829)
- December 19 – Marie Thérèse Charlotte (d. 1851)
- December 28 – Franciszek Ksawery Drucki-Lubecki, Polish politician (d. 1846)
- date unknown – Sardar Fath 'Ali Khan, Wazir-i-azam of Kabul (d. 1818)
- January 10 – Carl Linnaeus, Swedish botanist (b. 1707)
- February 18 – Joseph Marie Terray, French statesman (b. 1715)
- February 20 – Laura Bassi, Italian scholar (b. 1711)
- March 5 – Thomas Arne, English composer of Rule, Britannia! (b. 1710)
- March 7 – Charles De Geer, Swedish industrialist and entomologist (b. 1720)
- March 13 – Charles le Beau, French historian (b. 1701)
- April 22 – James Hargreaves, English weaver, carpenter, and inventor (b. 1720)
- May 11 – William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (b. 1708)
- May 16 – Robert Darcy, 4th Earl of Holderness, English diplomat and politician (b. 1718)
- May 30 – Voltaire, French philosopher (b. 1694)
- June 12 – Philip Livingston, American signer of the Declaration of Independence (b. 1716)
- June 16 – Konrad Ekhof, German actor (b. 1720)
- June 24 – Pieter Burman the Younger, Dutch philologist (b. 1714)
- July 2 – Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Swiss philosopher (b. 1712)
- July 2 – Bathsheba Spooner, American murderer (b. c. 1746)
- July 3 – Anna Maria Mozart, Austrian mother to the Mozarts (b. 1720)
- July 5 – James Townley, English dramatist (b. 1714)
- August 5 – Charles Clémencet, French historian (b. 1703)
- August 12 – Peregrine Bertie, 3rd Duke of Ancaster and Kesteven, British general and politician (b. 1714)
- November 9 – Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Italian artist (b. 1720)
- November 20 – Francesco Cetti, Italian Jesuit scientist (b. 1726)
- date unknown – Tomas Johnson, furniture maker (b. 1714)