|| 2nd millennium
||15th century · 16th century · 17th century
|| 1500s 1510s 1520s 1530s 1540s
1550s 1560s 1570s 1580s 1590s
|| Births – Deaths
Establishments – Disestablishments
As a means of recording the passage of time, the 16th century lasted from 1501 through 1600.
See also: 16th century in literature
- 1500s: Mississippian culture disappears.
- 1500: Portuguese navigator Pedro Álvares Cabral officially discovers Brazil.
- 1500: The Ottoman fleet of Kemal Reis defeats the Venetians at the Second Battle of Lepanto.
- 1501: Michelangelo returns to his native Florence to begin work on the statue David.
- 1501: Safavid dynasty rules Iran until 1736. Safavids adopt a Shia branch of Islam.
- 1503: Nostradamus was born on either December 14, or December 21.
- 1503: Leonardo da Vinci begins painting the Mona Lisa and completes it three or four years later.
- 1503: Spain defeats France at the Battle of Cerignola. Considered to be the first battle in history won by gunpowder small arms.
- 1504: A droughty period, with famine in all of Spain.
- 1506: At least two thousand converted Jews are massacred in a Lisbon riot.
- 1506: Christopher Columbus dies in Valladolid, Spain.
- 1506: Poland is invaded by Tatars from the Crimean Khanate.
- 1509: The Battle of Diu marks the beginning of Portuguese dominance of the Spice trade.
- 1511: Alfonso de Albuquerque of Portugal conquers Malacca, the capital of the Sultanate of Malacca.
- 1512: Copernicus writes Commentariolus, and moves the sun to the centre of the solar system.
- 1512: The southern part (historical core) of the Kingdom of Navarre is invaded by Castile and Aragon.
- 1513: Machiavelli writes The Prince a novel about political philosophy
- 1513: The Portuguese mariner Jorge Álvares lands at Macau, China, during the Ming Dynasty.
- 1513: Henry VIII crush French at the Battle of the Spurs.
- 1513: The Battle of Flodden Field in which invading Scots are defeated by Henry VIII's forces.
- 1513: Sultan Selim I ("The Grim") orders the massacre of Shia Muslims in Anatolia.
- 1514: The Battle of Orsha halts Muscovy's expansion into Eastern Europe.
- 1515: The Ottoman Empire wrests Eastern Anatolia from the Safavids after the Battle of Chaldiran.
- 1516- 17: The Ottomans defeat the Mamluks and gain control of Egypt, Arabia, and the Levant.
- 1517: The Protestant Reformation begins when Martin Luther posts his 95 Theses in Saxony.
- 1518: Mir Chakar Khan Rind leaves Baluchistan and settled in Punjab.
- 1519: Leonardo da Vinci dies of natural causes at May 2.
- 1519: Wang Yangming, the Chinese philosopher and governor of Jiangxi province, describes his intent to use the fire power of the fo-lang-ji, a breech-loading Portuguese culverin, in order to suppress the rebellion of Prince Zhu Chen-hao.
- 1519: Barbary pirates led by Hayreddin Barbarossa raid Provence and Toulon in southern France.
- 1519: Charles I of Spain becomes Emperor of Holy Roman Empire as Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor (ruled until 1556).
- 1519- 22: Spanish expedition commanded by Magellan and Elcano first to circle Earth
- 1519- 21: Hernán Cortés leads the Spanish conquest of Mexico.
, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain.
- 1520- 1566: The reign of Suleiman the Magnificent marks the zenith of the Ottoman Empire.
- 1521: Belgrade is captured by the Ottoman Empire.
- 1521: After building fortifications at Tuen Mun, the Portuguese attempt to invade Ming Dynasty China, but are expelled by Chinese naval forces.
- 1521: Philippines discovered by Ferdinand Magellan. He was later killed in battle in central Philippines in the same year.
- 1522: Rhodes falls to the Ottoman Turks of Suleiman the Magnificent.
- 1523: Sweden gains independence from the Kalmar Union.
- 1524- 25: Peasants' War in the Holy Roman Empire.
- 1524 - Giovanni da Verrazzano is the first European to explore the Atlantic coast of North America between South Carolina and Newfoundland.
- 1525: Spain and Germany defeat France at the Battle of Pavia, Francis I of France is captured.
- 1526: The Ottomans conquer the Kingdom of Hungary at the Battle of Mohács.
- 1526: Mughal Empire, founded by Babur, rules India until 1739 and hold titles until 1857.
- 1527: Sack of Rome is considered the end of the Italian Renaissance.
- 1527: Protestant Reformation begins in Sweden.
- 1529: The Siege of Vienna marks the Ottoman Empire's furthest advance into Europe.
- 1531- 32: The Church of England breaks away from the Roman Catholic Church and recognizes King Henry VIII as the head of the Church.
- 1531: The Inca Civil War is fought between the two brothers, Atahualpa and Huáscar.
- 1532: Francisco Pizarro leads the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire.
- 1534: Jacques Cartier claims Quebec for France.
- 1534: The Ottomans capture Baghdad.
- 1534: Affair of the Placards - Francis becomes more active in repression of French Protestants.
- 1535: The Münster Rebellion, an attempt of radical, millennialist, Anabaptists to establish a theocracy ends in bloodshed.
- 1537: Portuguese establishes Recife in Pernambuco, north-east of Brazil.
- 1538: Spanish- Venetian fleet is defeated by the Ottoman Turks at the Battle of Preveza.
- 1539: Hernando de Soto explores inland North America.
Henry VIIIKing of England and Ireland
by Hans Holbein the Younger.
- 1541: Pedro de Valdivia founds Santiago de Chile.
- 1541: An Algerian military campaign by Charles V of Spain ( Habsburg) is unsuccessful.
- 1541: Amazon River is discovered by Francisco de Orellana.
- 1541: Capture of Buda and the absorption of the major part of Hungary by the Ottoman Empire.
- 1541: Sahib I Giray of Crimea invade Russia.
- 1542: War resumes between Francis I of France and Emperor Charles V. This time Henry VIII is allied to the Emperor, while James V of Scotland and Sultan Suleiman I are allied to the French.
- 1543: Ethiopian/Portuguese troops decisively defeat the Muslim army at the Battle of Wayna Daga; Imam Ahmad Gragn killed.
- 1543: The Nanban trade period begins after Portuguese traders make contact with Japan.
- 1544: The French defeat an Imperial-Spanish army at the Battle of Ceresole.
- 1544: Battle of the Shirts in Scotland. The Frasers and Macdonalds of Clan Ranald fight over a disputed chiefship; reportedly, 5 Frasers and 8 Macdonalds survive.
- 1546: Michelangelo Buonarroti is made chief architect of St. Peter's Basilica.
- 1547: Emperor Charles V decisively dismantles the Schmalkaldic League at the Battle of Mühlberg.
- 1548: Battle of Uedahara: Firearms are used for the first time on the battlefield in Japan, and Takeda Shingen is defeated by Murakami Yoshikiyo.
- 1548: The Ming Dynasty government of China issues a decree banning all foreign trade and closes down all seaports along the coast; these Hai jin laws came during the Wokou wars with Japanese pirates.
- 1549: Tomé de Souza establishes Salvador in Bahia, north-east of Brazil .
- 1550: Mongols led by Altan Khan invade China and besiege Beijing.
- 1550- 1551: Valladolid debate concerning the existence of souls in Amerindians
- 1551: Fifth outbreak of sweating sickness in England. John Caius of Shrewsbury writes the first full contemporary account of the symptoms of the disease.
- 1551: North African pirates enslave the entire population of the Maltese island Gozo, between 5,000 and 6,000, sending them to Libya.
- 1552: Russia conquers the Khanate of Kazan.
- 1553: Portuguese found a settlement at Macau.
- 1555: The Muscovy Company is the first major English joint stock trading company.
- 1556: Publication in Venice of Delle Navigiationi et Viaggi (terzo volume) by Giovanni Battista Ramusio, secretary of Council of Ten, with plan La Terra de Hochelaga, an illustration of Indian village Hochelaga. See
- 1556: The Shaanxi Earthquake in China is history's deadliest known earthquake.
- 1556: Georgius Agricola, the "Father of Mineralogy", publishes his De re metallica.
- 1556: Akbar the Great defeats the Sultan of Bengal at the Second battle of Panipat
- 1556: Russia conquers the Astrakhan Khanate.
- 1556- 1605: During his reign, Akbar expands the Mughal Empire in a series of conquests.
- 1556: Mir Chakar Khan Rind captured Delhi with Emperor Humayun.
- 1556: Pomponio Algerio, radical theologian, is executed by boiling in oil as part of the Roman inquisition.
- 1557: The Portuguese settle in Macau.
- 1557: Spain became the first sovereign nation in history to declare bankruptcy. Philip II of Spain had to declare four state bankruptcies in 1557, 1560, 1575 and 1596.
- 1558- 1603: The Elizabethan era is considered the height of the English Renaissance.
- 1558- 83: Livonian War between Poland, Grand Principality of Lithuania, Sweden, Denmark and Russia.
- 1558: After 200 years, the Kingdom of England loses Calais to France.
- 1559: With the Peace of Cateau Cambrésis, the Italian Wars conclude.
- 1560: Ottoman navy defeats the Spanish fleet at the Battle of Djerba.
- 1560: Erzsebet Bathory is born in Nyirbator, Hungary.
- 1561: Guido de Bres draws up the Belgic Confession of Protestant faith.
- 1562: Mughal leader Akbar reconciles the Muslim and Hindu factions by marrying into the powerful Rajput Hindu caste.
- 1562- 98: French Wars of Religion between Catholics and Huguenots.
- 1562: Massacre of Wassy and Battle of Dreux in the French Wars of Religion.
- 1563: Plague outbreak claimed 80,000 people in Elizabethan England. In London alone, over 20,000 people died of the disease.
- 1564: William Shakespeare baptized 26 April
- 1565: Battle of Talikota fought between the Hindu kingdom of Vijayanagar and the Deccan sultanates.
- 1565: Mir Chakar Khan Rind died age of 97.
- 1565: Estácio de Sá establishes Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
- 1565: Siege of Malta by Ottoman Turkish forces.
- 1566- 1648: Eighty Years' War between Spain and the Netherlands.
- 1567: Rising of the North in England.
- 1568- 1571: Morisco Revolt in Spain.
- 1568- 1600: The Azuchi-Momoyama period in Japan.
- 1569: The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth is created with the Union of Lublin which lasts until 1795.
- 1570: Ivan the Terrible orders to massacre inhabitants of Novgorod.
- 1571: Pope Pius V completes the Holy League as a united front against the Ottoman Turks.
- 1571: The Holy League defeats a force of Ottoman galleys in the Battle of Lepanto.
- 1571: Crimean Tatars attack and sack Moscow, burning everything but the Kremlin.
- 1571: Spanish missionaries are murdered by Indians at the later Jamestown Settlement, Virginia.
- 1572: Brielle is taken from Habsburg Spain by Protestant Watergeuzen in the Capture of Brielle, in the Eighty Years' War.
- 1572: Spanish conquistadores apprehend the last Inca leader Tupak Amaru at Vilcabamba, Peru, and execute him in Cuzco.
- 1572: Catherine de' Medici instigates the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre which takes the lives of Protestant leader Gaspard de Coligny and thousands of Huguenots. The violence spreads from Paris to other cities and the countryside.
- 1573: After heavy losses on both sidee the Siege of Haarlem ends in a Spanish victory.
- 1574: in the Eighty Years' War the capital of Zeeland, Middelburg declares for the Protestans.
- 1574: After a siege of 4 months the Siege of Leiden ends in a comprehensive Dutch victory.
- 1575: Oda Nobunaga finally captures Nagashima fortress.
- 1576: Sack of Antwerp by badly paid Spanish soldiers.
- 1577- 80: Francis Drake circles the World.
- 1578: King Sebastian of Portugal is killed at the Battle of Alcazarquivir.
- 1579: The Union of Utrecht unifies the northern Netherlands, a foundation for the later Dutch Republic.
- 1579: The Union of Arras unifies the southern Netherlands, a foundation for the later states of the Spanish Netherlands, the Austrian Netherlands and Belgium
- 1580: Drake's royal reception after his attacks on Spanish possessions, influences Philip II of Spain to build up the Spanish Armada. English ships in Spanish harbours are impounded.
- 1580: Spain unifies with Portugal under Philip II. The struggle for the throne of Portugal ends the Portuguese Empire. The Spanish and Portuguese crowns are united for 60 years, i.e. until 1640.
- 1582: Pope Gregory XIII issues the Gregorian calendar.
- 1582: Yermak Timofeyevich conquers the Siberia Khanate on behalf of the Stroganovs.
- 1584- 85: After the Siege of Antwerp, many of its merchants flee to Amsterdam.
- 1585- 1604: The Anglo-Spanish War is fought on both sides of the Atlantic.
- 1588: England repulses the Spanish Armada.
- 1589: Spain repulses the English Armada.
- 1591: Gazi Giray leads a huge Tatar expedition against Moscow.
- 1591: In Mali, Moroccan forces of the Sultan Ahmad al-Mansur led by Judar Pasha defeat the Songhai Empire at the Battle of Tondibi.
- 1592- 1593: John Stow reports 10,675 plague deaths in London, a city of approximately 200,000 people.
- 1592- 98: Korea, with the help of Ming Dynasty China, repels two Japanese invasions.
- 1593- 1606: The Long War between the Habsburg monarchy and the Ottoman Turks.
- 1598: The Edict of Nantes ends the French Wars of Religion.
- 1598- 1613: Russia descends into anarchy during the Time of Troubles.
- 1600: Giordano Bruno is burned at the stake for heresy in Rome.
- 1600: Battle of Sekigahara in Japan. End of the Warring States period and beginning of the Edo period.
, Baldassare Castiglione,
Hans Holbein the Younger, Portrait of Sir Thomas More,
1527, oil on wood, 74.2 x 59 cm, The Frick Collection, New York
- Henry VII of England, founder of the Tudor dynasty. Introduced ruthlessly efficient mechanisms of taxation which restored the kingdom after a state of virtual bankruptcy due to the effects of the Wars of the Roses ( 1457 - 1509).
- Pedro Álvares Cabral, first European to arrive in Brazil in 22 April 1500 (c. 1467 - 1520).
- Zygmunt I the Old, King of Poland, established a conscription army and the bureaucracy needed to finance it ( 1467 - 1548).
- Vasco da Gama, Portuguese navigator, first one to sail around the Cape of Good Hope (c. 1469 - 1524).
- György Dózsa, leader of the peasants' revolt in Hungary ( 1470 - 1514)
- Nicolaus Copernicus, developed the heliocentric (Sun-centered) theory using scientific methods ( 1473 - 1543).
- Ferdinand Magellan Portuguese navigator who sailed around the world ( 1480 - 1521).
- Martin Luther, German religious reformer ( 1483 - 1546).
- Hernán Cortés, Spanish Conquistador ( 1485 - 1547).
- King Henry VIII of England, founder of Anglicanism ( 1491 - 1547).
- Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus ( 1491 - 1556).
- King Francis I of France, considered the first Renaissance monarch of his Kingdom ( 1494 - 1547).
- Suleiman the Magnificent, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. Conqueror and legal reformer ( 1494 - 1566).
- King Gustav I of Sweden, restored Swedish sovereignty and introduced Protestantism in Sweden ( 1496- 1560).
- Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and the first to reign as King of Spain. Involved in almost constant conflict with France and the Ottoman Empire while promoting the Spanish colonization of the Americas ( 1500 - 1558).
- Cuauhtémoc, the last Tlatoani of the Aztec, led the native resistance against the Conquistadores ( 1502 - 1525).
- Michel Nostradamus, French astrologer and doctor, author of Les Propheties, a book of world prophecies ( 1503 - 1566).
- Qiu Ying, Chinese painter who belonged to the Wu School and used gongbi brush style ( 1494 - 1552)
- Ahmad ibn Ibrihim al-Ghazi, Somali Imam and general ( 1507 - 1543).
- John Calvin, theologian, and reformer. Founder of Calvinism ( 1509 - 1564).
- Mary I of England. Attempted to counter the Protestant Reformation in her domains. Nick-named Bloody Mary for her Religious persecution ( 1516 - 1558).
- Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Italian Composer ( 1525 - 1594)
- King Philip II of Spain, self-proclaimed leader of Counter-Reformation ( 1527 - 1598).
- Ivan IV of Russia, first Russian tsar ( 1533- 1584).
- William the Silent, William I of Orange-Nassau, main leader of the Dutch revolt against the Spanish ( 1533- 1584).
- Wanli Emperor, Emperor of China during the Ming Dynasty, aided Korea in the Imjin War, ( 1563 - 1620)
- Elizabeth I of England, central figure of the Elizabethan era ( 1533 - 1603). She was the granddaughter of the aforementioned Henry VII, daughter of Henry VIII and parental half-sister of Mary I. Though some within her court thought of her merely as a bastard, due to the fact that her father executed her supposedly criminal mother Anne Boleyn, her reign is still considered one of the greatest ever in England's history.
- Oda Nobunaga , daimyo of the Sengoku period of Japanese civil war. First ruler of the Azuchi-Momoyama period ( 1534 - 1582).
- Toyotomi Hideyoshi , daimyo of the Sengoku period of Japanese civil war. Second ruler of the Azuchi-Momoyama period ( 1536 - 1598).
- Edward VI of England, notable for further differentiating Anglicanism from the practices of the Roman Catholic Church ( 1537 - 1553).
- Lady Jane Grey, Queen regnant of England and Ireland. Notably deposed by popular revolt ( 1537 - 1554).
- Mary I of Scotland, First female head of the House of Stuart ( 1542 - 1587).
- Johan van Oldenbarnevelt, Dutch politician and Grand Pensionary, played a pivotal role in organizing the Dutch revolt against Spain ( 1542 - 1619).
- Admiral Yi Sun-sin , Korean admiral, respected as one of the greatest admirals in world history. ( 1545 - 1598).
- Giordano Bruno, Italian philosopher and astronomer/astrologer ( 1548 - 1600).
- King Henry IV of France and Navarre, ended the French Wars of Religion and reunited the kingdom under his command ( 1553 - 1610).
- Michael the Brave, ruler of Walachia, national symbol of Romanians for uniting the three provinces under his rule in 1600 ( 1558 - 1601)
- Giovanni Battista Ramusio, diplomat and secretary of council of Ten of Venice Italy, author of Delle Navigationi et Viaggi. Third volume (terzo volume) containing plan La Terra de Hochelaga showing village of Hochelaga ( 1585 - 1657). See
- Matteo Ricci, Italian Jesuit who traveled to Macau, China in 1582, and died in Beijing, ( 1552 - 1610)
- Andrea Amati, (ca. 1520 – ca. 1578) was the earliest maker of violins whose instruments still survive today.
- Michelangelo Buonarroti, Italian painter and sculptor ( 1475 - 1564).
- Caravaggio, Italian artist ( 1571 - 1610).
- Albrecht Dürer, German artist, ( 1471 - 1528)
- Hans Holbein the Younger, German artist, ( 1497 - 1543)
- Raphael, Italian painter, ( 1483 - 1520)
- Titian, Italian painter, ( 1485 - 1576)
- Leonardo da Vinci famous artist and inventor and scientist ( 1452 – 1519).
- Juan Martínez de Jáuregui y Aguilar, Spanish poet and painter, ( 1483 - 1541)
- Luís de Camões, Portuguese poet (c. 1524 – 1580).
- Baldassare Castiglione, Italian author ( 1478 - 1529)
- Miguel de Cervantes, Spanish author ( 1547 - 1616).
- John Donne, English metaphysical poet ( 1572 - 1631)
- John Ford, English dramatist ( 1586 - c. 1640).
- Thomas Heywood, English dramatist (c, early 1570s - 1641)
- Ben Jonson, English dramatist c. 1572 - 1637)
- Thomas Kyd, English dramatist ( 1558 – 1594)
- Thomas Lodge, English dramatist ( 1558 - 1625)
- Niccolò Machiavelli, Italian author ( 1469 - 1527)
- Christopher Marlowe, English poet and dramatist ( 1564 – 1593).
- Michel de Montaigne, French essayist ( 1533 – 1592).
- Thomas More, English politician and author ( 1478 - 1535).
- Miyamoto Musashi, famous warrior in Japan, author of The Book of Five Rings, a treaty on strategy and martial combat. ( 1584 - 1645)
- François Rabelais, French author (c. 1493 - 1553).
- Mikolaj Rej, Polish writer ( 1505 - 1569).
- Pierre de Ronsard, French poet. Called the 'Prince of poets' of his generation. ( 1524 – 1585).
- William Shakespeare, English author ( 1564 - 1616).
- Edmund Spenser, English poet (c. 1552 - 1599)
- Lope de Vega, Spanish dramatist ( 1562 – 1635).
Inventions, discoveries, introductions
- Related article: List of 16th century inventions.
- The Columbian Exchange introduces many plants, animals and diseases to the Old and New Worlds.
- Introduction of the spinning wheel revolutionizes textile production in Europe.
- Modern square root symbol (√ )
- The letter J is introduced into the English alphabet.
- Copernicus publishes his theory that the Earth and the other planets revolve around the Sun ( 1543)
- Gregorian Calendar adopted by Catholic countries ( 1582)
- 1513: Juan Ponce de León sights Florida and Vasco Núñez de Balboa sights the eastern edge of the Pacific Ocean.
- 1519- 22: Ferdinand Magellan and Juan Sebastián Elcano lead the first circumnavigation of the World.
- 1519- 1540: In America, Hernando de Soto expeditions map the Gulf of Mexico coastline and bays.
- 1540: Francisco Vásquez de Coronado sights the Grand Canyon.
- 1541- 42: Francisco de Orellana sails the length of the Amazon River.
- 1559- 1562: Spanish settlements in Alabama/Florida and Georgia confirm dangers of hurricanes and local native warring tribes.
- 1565: Spanish settlers outside New Spain (Mexico) colonize Florida's coastline at St. Augustine.
- 1597: Opera in Florence by Jacopo Peri.
- 1500: First portable watch is created by Peter Henlein of Germany.
- 1545: Theory of complex numbers is first developed by Gerolamo Cardamo of Italy.
- 1558: Camera obscura is first used in Europe by Giambattista della Porta of Italy.
- 1565: Invention of the graphite pencil (in a wooden holder) by Conrad Gesner. Modernized in 1812.
- 1568: Gerardus Mercator creates the first European Mercator Projection map, after Su Song in 11th century China.
- 1572: Supernova SN 1572 is observed by Tycho Brahe in the Milky Way.
- 1582: Gregorian calendar is introduced in Europe by Pope Gregory XIII.
- c. 1583: Galileo Galilei of Pisa, Italy identifies the constant swing of a pendulum, leading to development of reliable timekeepers.
- 1585: earliest known reference to the ' sailing carriage' in China.
- 1589: William Lee invents the stocking frame.
- 1591: First flush toilet is introduced by Sir John Harrington of England, the design published under the title 'The Metamorphosis of Ajax'.
- 1593 - Galileo Galilei invents a thermometer.
- 1596: William Barents discovers Spitsbergen.
Decades and years
Decades and years
|16th century14th century←15th century← ↔ →17th century→18th century
Centuries and millennia