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16th Century

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Dutch opticians invent the telescope.
William Gilbert completes De Magnete, Magneticisique Corporibus pioneering concepts of electricity.
1600 Giordano Bruno burned at the stake for supporting Copernican astronomy.

Philip III of Spain and Holland's Staats-Generaland offer prizes for a method of ascertaining longitude.

April 15 Edict of Nantes enhances rights of Protestants in France.


Galileo invents the sector. 1597

Trinity College founded in Dublin. 1591

Dutch spectacle makers Hans and Zacharias Janssen invent compound microscope. 1590

Boris Gudunov asserts Moscow's independence from Constantinople. 1589

1587 Hideyoshi bans Christianity from Japan when he is refused sex for religious reasons.

Dutch mathematician Simon Stevin introduces decimals and fractions in La disme. 1585

Reginald Scot attacks superstition in The Discoverie of Witchcraft. 1584

Andre Cesalpino classifies plants in De Plantis. 1583

October 5 through 14 omitted from the year by Gregory XIII to align Julian calendar with the solar year. 1582 Protestant countries refuse to adopt the Gregorian calendar.

Michel Eyquem de Montaigne publishes Essais. 1580

Vindiciae contra Tyrannos declares that rulers must be accountable to the people.

Humanist George Buchanan declares in De Juri Begni apud Scotos that kings must serve their subjects.


Poland declares all religions under its Constitution. 1573

Tyco Brahe discovers a new star, disproving the idea that the heavens never change. 1572 The Saint Bartholomew Massacre. Rioting Catholics kill 50,000 Hugenots in Paris. Pope Gregory XIII calls for celebratory bonfires.

1570 Ivan the Terrible excutes almost all of his advisors in public.

Royal College of Physicians permitted to perform human dissections. 1565

Galileo Galelei born.

April 23 William Shakespeare born.

1564 To commute his death sentence from the Inquisition for dissecting human bodies, Andreas Vesalius makes a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

Realdo Colombo describes position of human embryo.

Ice cream accidentally discovered in Italy.


England's Elizabethan age begins with the ascension of Elizabeth I. 1558 John Knox publishes First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women deploring the authority of women.

Aztec dictionary published. 1555 Pope Paul IV orders wall built to create the first Jewish ghetto.

  1553 Michael Servetus executed for criticism of doctrine of the trinity and opposition to infant baptism.

1552 British burn boks on geography and astronomy thought to be infected with magic.

Konrad von Gesner publishes Historia Animalium, the first book of modern zoology. 1551

Japanese ukiyoe painting begins.

Billiards is introduced in Italy.


Court jesters appear in Europe. 1549

Henricus Glareanus publishes Dodekachordon.

English Parliament repeals the Statute of the Six Articles which defined heresy.

1547 Nostradamus begins making predictions.

First Welsh book printed, Yny Lhyvyr Mwnn.

Girolamo Fracastoro publishes De Contagione et Contagiosis Morbis et eorum Curatione describing typhus as an infection passed from one person to person as seminaria contagionum.

1546 August 3 Etienne Dolet hanged and burnt at the stake as a heretic and blasphemer for printing the works of humanists, including Erasmus.

John Heywood publishes The Proverbs of John Heywood. 1546

Nikolaus Copernicus describes the solar system with the sun at the center in De Revolutionibus Orbitum Coelestium.

Andreas Vesalius publishes De Corporis Humani Fabrica, the first accurate book of human anatomy.


1543 Spanish Catholics begin burning Protestants at the stake.

Nikolaus Copernicus refuses to publish De Revolutionibus Orbitum Coelestium.

Martin Luther publishes
On the Jews and their Lives.

Pope Paul III issues the Index of forbidden books.

1542 Pope Paul II establishes the Universal Inquisition in Rome.
Dominican cardinals try alleged heretics with no legal counsel.
Henry VIII of England becomes king of Ireland.

English begin keeping records of births, deaths, and marriages. 1538

Niccolo Tartaglia completes Nova Scientia describing trajectories of projectiles and heavenly bodies.

Pope Paul III prohibits enslavement of Indians and excommunicates slave traders.


Parliament declares papal authority void in England. 1536

1535 Sir Thomas More beheaded for refusing to take the Oath of Supremacy.

German mathematician Gemma Frisius introduces new method of surveying. 1533 Francisco Pizzaro orders the execution by strangulation of the last Inca.

1531 Comet, eventually named "Haley's" creates wave of superstition.

Gemma Frisius proposes the prime meridian. 1530 Catholic Church orders the abolition of all innovations to its doctrine at the Diet of Augsburg.

1529 Japanese Tendai monks massacre Nicheren Buddhists in Kyoto.

Hutterites led by Jacob Hutter establish a community of love. 1528 Theophrastus von Hohenheim expelled from Basel for his medical innovations.
Hutterites driven from their community of love.

Theophrastus von Hohenheim rejects four humors and introduces chemotherapy. 1527

June 6 King Gustav I of Sweden crowned.

Mennonite views challenge Catholic hold on spiritual beliefs.

January 19 Huldreich Zwingli publishes his 67 Articles, attacking transubstantiation and papal authority.


Zwingli condemns priesthood celibacy. 1522

Martin Luther publicly burns papal bull of excommunication. 1520 Pope Leo X excommunicates Martin Luther.

1519 May 2 Leonardo da Vinci dies.

1518 Lorens de Gominot receives license to import African slaves.

Bartolome de Las Casas, first priest ordained in the New World, protests the enslavement of Indians.

Martin Luther nails 95 theses of the door Wittenburg Cathedral.

Fifth Lateran Council allows usury.


Thomas More publishes Utopia.

Henry VIII of England issues decrees to protect peasants from land enclosure.
1515 Lateran Council forbids printing books without Church approval.

Pope Leo X speaks out against slavery in a papal bull. 1514

Niccolo Machiavelli publishes Il Principe.

Vasco Nez de Balboa sights the Pacific Ocean.

Cathedral at Chartes completed


Michaelangelo completes the Sistine Chapel ceiling. 1512

Friar Antonio de Montesinos preaches in Hispaniola against the enslavement of Indians. 1511

Leonardo da Vinci designs the horizontal water wheel and completes his Anatomy. 1510

Erasmus publishes Moriae Encomium.

Alexander Barclay publishes The Ship of Fools.

1509 Pope Julius II excommunicates the city of Venice.

1507 To raise money for rebuilding St. Peter's, Pope Julius II proclaims an indulgence.

Korean rebels overthrow Yonsangun.

Leonardo da Vinci completes Mona Lisa
1506 Approximately 3,000 converted Jews are slaughtered in a Lisbon riot.

Michaelangelo completes David 1504

Leonardo da Vinci paints Mona Lisa. 1503

1502 Persian shah executes Sunnis who refuse to accept Shiite version of Islam.

Henry VII of England refuses to lead a crusade against the Ottoman Turks. 1501 Spanish settlers import the first African slaves to Hispaniola.
Gaspar de Corte-Real attempts to bring first American Indians to Portugal as slaves.
Church orders books against papal authority burned.

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