- Estimation: Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire, becomes the largest city of the world, taking the lead from Kaifeng, capital of China.
- January 9 – Jurchen forces sack the Song Chinese capital of Kaifeng, during the Jingkang Incident of the Jin–Song wars, and begin more than a century of political division between northern and southern China.
- Conrad III establishes the Hohenstaufen Dynasty, when he is crowned anti-king to the Holy Roman Emperor, Lothair III.
- The first coalition of the Norman princes against Roger II of Sicily is formed. The same year, Roger regains control over Malta after a rebellion. To guarantee the security of the seas, the king also establishes a pact with the maritime republic of Savona, probably following an Almoravid raid against his realm.
- Count Charles the Good of Flanders is assassinated.
- The consuls in Brescia are first mentioned, indicating that the city has become an independent commune.
- The commune of Milan conquers the neighboring city of Como.
- May 23 – Uijong of Goryeo, Korean monarch of the Goryeo dynasty (d. 1173)
- October 18 – Emperor Go-Shirakawa of Japan (d. 1191)
- November 27 – Emperor Xiaozong of China (d. 1194)
- Constance of Antioch (d. 1163), princess regnant of the Principality of Antioch
- Yang Wanli, Chinese poet (d. 1206)