- William Brown, merchant
- February: Reinhard Wilda, founder of the Birmingham Steam Laundry
- April 13: Samuel Ullman, prominent leader of the Birmingham Board of Education
- June: Henry Allen, builder
- July 22: Henry F. DeBardeleben, industrialist and founder of Bessemer
- September 29: Luman Handley, Presbyterian minister
- October 3: D. C. Redington, photographer
- December 15: Margaret Ward, proprietor of the Relay House
- William Jennings, Revolutionary War veteran
In 1840, the Second Seminole War and First Opium War continued. Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom married Prince Albert of Saxe Coburg-Gotha. Britain issued the Penny Black, the world's first adhesive postage stamp. The Great Natchez Tornado killed 317 and injured 109 in Natchez, Mississippi. New Zealand was declared a British colony. David Livingstone left Britain for Africa.
Notable births in 1840 included composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, writer Thomas Hardy, sculptor Auguste Rodin, and painter Claude Monet. Notable deaths included mathematician and physicist Siméon-Denis Poisson and King Frederick William III of Prussia.
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