Oregon becomes a state.
In Kansas, drought sets in during June and continues to November of 1860; widespread famine results, many settlers return East, and Eastern states provide relief to those who remain.
Queensland separates from New South Wales, with Brisbane as capital.
The German National Association forms (aimed at uniting Germany under Prussia).
Sardinia and France sign Treaty of Alliance; Austria begins invasion of Sardinia in April; France declares war on Austria in May; Austrian forces defeated at Magenta and Solferino in June; Franco-Austrian armistace is followed by peace of Villafranca (later formalized by Treaty of Zurich).
James Buchanan is President of the United States; Abraham Lincoln will run (and win) next year.
First oil well is drilled at Titusville, Pennsylvania.
R. L. G. Planté developes the first practical storage battery.
Steamroller is invented.
Gounod's "Faust" is performed in Paris.
Daniel Decatur Emmett composes "Dixie."
Published this year:
George Eliot "Adam Bede"
Dickens "A Tale of Two Cities"
Edward Fitzgerald "Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam"
Whistler is painting "At the Piano."
Charles Darwin publishes "On the Origin of the Species by Natural Selection."
Also writing: Karl Marx and J. S. Mill.
Thomas B. Macaulay (historian), Washington Irving (American author), Thomas de Quincey (English author), and Prince Metternich die.
Arthur Conan Doyle (English novelist), Eleonora Duse (Italian actress), A. E. Housman, (English poet), and Pierre Curie (French physicist) are born.
Baseball Club of Washington, D. C., is organized.
French tightrope walker Charles Blondin crosses Niagara Falls on a tightrope.
Work on Suez Canal begins under de Lesseps' direction.
Source (in part): The Timetables of History, by Bernard Grun, based upon Werner Stein's "Kulturfahrplan"