1850 1851 1852 – 1853 – 1854 1855 1856
| Decades: |
1820s 1830s 1840s – 1850s – 1860s 1870s 1880s
| Centuries: |
18th century – 19th century – 20th century
1853 was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar).
- January 19 – Giuseppe Verdi's opera Il Trovatore premieres in Rome
- January 21 – Russell L. Hawes patents the envelope folding machine
- January 29 – Napoleon III marries the Spanish Countess Eugènie at the Tuileries
- March 4 – Inauguration of US president Franklin Pierce
- June 7 – Franklin College of Lancaster, Pennsylvania merges with Marshall College of Mercersburg, Pennsylvania to form Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster
- July 8 – U.S. Commodore Matthew Perry arrives in Edo Bay with a request for a trade treaty
- July 25 Outlaw and bandit Joaquin Murietta is killed.
- August 12 – New Zealand acquires self-government
- August 24 – Potato chips first prepared.
- November 15 – Maria II of Portugal is succeeded by her son Pedro
- November 30 – Crimean War: Battle of Sinope – The Russian fleet destroys the Turkish fleet.
- December 30 – Gadsden Purchase: The United States buys land from Mexico to facilitate railroad building in the Southwest
- Yellow fever kills 7790 in New Orleans
- Alexander Wood invents the hypodermic syringe
- Argentina adopts federal constitution – Buenos Aires opposes that
- Donald McKay builds the Great Republic, the world's biggest sailing ship, which at 4,500 tons was too large to be successful
- Isambard Kingdom Brunel began work on the Great Eastern passenger steamer
- Start of Crimean War
- Independent Santa Cruz Maya of Eastern Yucatan recognized as an independent nation by British Empire
- Iesada succeeds Ieoshi as Japanese Shogun
- Beginning of the Late Tokugawa shogunate, the last part of the Edo period in Japan.
- Stephen Foster writes "My Old Kentucky Home."
- January 28 – José Martí, Cuban revolutionary (d. 1895)
- February 6 – Ignacij Klemenčič, Slovenian physicist (d. 1901)
- March 14 – Ferdinand Hodler, Swiss painter (d. 1918)
- March 30 – Vincent van Gogh, Dutch painter (d. 1890)
- May 28 – Carl Larsson, Swedish painter (d. 1919)
- June 3 – William Flinders Petrie, English Egyptologist (d. 1942)
- July 5 – Cecil Rhodes, English businessman (d. 1902)
- July 18- Hendrik Lorentz, Dutch physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1928)
- September 2 – Wilhelm Ostwald, German chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1932)