|Year:||1848 1849 1850 – 1851 – 1852 1853 1854|
1851 (MDCCCLI) was a common year starting on Wednesday.
- November 14 – Herman Melville's novel Moby-Dick; or The Whale is published in the U.S. by Harper & Brothers, New York, after being first published on October 18 in London by Richard Bentley, in 3 volumes as The Whale.
- December 2 – Louis Napoleon, president of France, dissolves the French National Assembly and declares a new constitution to extend his term. Later he declares himself as Emperor Napoleon III, ending the Second Republic.