Philip II of Spain sends an army into Portugal uniting the countries
under his kingship.
Poet Edmund Spenser is appointed secretary to Arthur Lord Grey,
the new lord deputy of Ireland. He also begins writing his most
important work, The Faerie Queen.
The leaders of Poland's Jewish communities create the Council
of Four Countries. The group is created to discuss the Jewish
affairs of Poland's four provinces.
Juan de Garay reestablishes Buenos Aires, Argentina. This settlement
is more prosperous than the previous one established almost
50 years earlier.
Drake returns to England after circumnavigating the globe. He
is the second to make the trip; Ferdinand Magellan's fleet of
ships was the first.
Francis Drake circumnavigates the globe.
Galileo discovers the isochronous swing of pendulums while he
is studying at the University of Pisa. Galileo uses his pulse
to time the swing of a lamp during an earthquake. He recognizes
that the constant swing can be used in mechanical equipment.
The first two books of Michel de Montaigne's Essais are published.
These present Montaigne's views on ideas, customs and values
and establish the written essay as a literary genre.
The Seventh War of Religion between the Catholics and the Huguenots
in France ends with the Peace of Felix.
The Levant Company is established in England to promote trade
with Mediterranean nations.
The Netherlands declares its independence from Spain.
The Cossacks led by Yermak Timofeyevich invade Siberia, which
is under Asian control.
English Jesuit Edmund Campion is executed at Tyburn, England,
on charges of treason. Campion refuses to renounce the Pope
to Elizabeth I. Campion was the author of Challenge to the Privy
Council (otherwise known as "Campion's Brag"), which stated
his desire to defend Catholicism in England.
English schoolmaster Richard Mulcaster publishes the first of
his two books. The books, Positions and The First Part of Elementarie
(1582), are the first to introduce special training for teachers
and a thorough comprehension of the English language. They are
not widely accepted until two centuries after publication.
Russia ends its war with Poland after 25 years of conflict.
Under the resulting Peace of Jam-Zapolski, Russia loses access
to the Baltic and surrenders Livonia and Estonia.
After 14 years of rule, Japanese leader Oda Nobunaga is murdered
by military general Akechi Mitsuhide. Nobunaga's successor,
Toyotmi Hideyoshi, kills Mitsuhide.
Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci arrives in China to preach Christianity
and study Chinese culture and language.
William Shakespeare marries Anne Hathaway.
Pope Gregory XIII proclaims the use of a new calendar, known
as the Gregorian Calendar, which eliminates 10 days from October
and moves the spring equinox to 21 March. Under the old Julian
calendar, the Easter holiday continued to wander away from the
Dutchman Pieter Morice invents a method of pumping water from
the River Thames to the city of London by using a water wheel
on the side of London Bridge.
Geographer Richard Hakluyt publishes Divers Voyages Touching
the Discouerie of America, which outlines the travels of various
explorers to the New World.
The first English colony in North America is established in
Newfoundland by Humprhey Gilbert. He drowns on his return
Andrea Cesalpion publishes De Plantis Libri XVI. It is the
first and one of the most important books of botany, providing
the first scientific classification of plants.
Historian and philologist Joseph Scaliger creates a new method
to measure time. The Julian Period of 7,980 years is calculated
by multiplying the lunar cycle, the solar cycle and the Roman
indication. This system is still used by astronomers.
The Duke of Anjou fails to capture Antwerp in the French Fury,
a military attempt to gain control over the Netherlands. William
of Orange had granted Anjou limited lordship over the lower
Francis Throckmorton is tried and executed in England for
the plot that bears his name. He attempted to overthrow Elizabeth
I and restore papal authority. Philip II of Spain is alleged
to have also participated in the plot.
Ivan the Terrible, Czar of Russia, dies while preparing to
play a game of chess. He is succeeded by his son, Fyodor I,
but Ivan's brother-in-law, Boris Godunov, takes control.
Walter Raleigh and his expedition land on the southeastern
coast of North America. He names the area Virginia after Queen
Elizabeth, the Virgin Queen. Raleigh is knighted the following
Catholic fanatic Balthasar Gerard assassinates the Protestant
William the Silent, prince of Orange. William was partly responsible
for Dutch independence and was an enemy of Philip II of Spain.
The Duke of Anjou, younger brother to the childless Henry
III of France, dies. The Valois line is without a successor
resulting in conflicts among Henry III, his cousin Henry of
Navarre and Henri, Duke of Guise, head of the Catholic Holy
Italian philosopher and astronomer Giordano Bruno begins writing
his six dialogues on moral philosophy and astronomical theory.
In these dialogues he suggests the universe is infinite, the
Bible should only be used for moral teachings and not astronomical
studies and suggests there is a moral connection between human
souls and universal souls.
Elizabeth I signs the Treaty of Nonsuch and sends aid to the
Netherlands to fight against Spain.
Sixtus V succeeds Gregory XIII as Pope.
Henry of Navarre, a Huguenot, becomes heir to the French throne.
Roman Catholics of the Holy League refuse to accept a Protestant
king. Subsequently, Henry of Navarre fights for his right
to the throne in the War of the Three Henries with the support
of Henry III against League leader Henri, Duke of Guise.
Flemish mathematician Simon Stevin introduces the decimal
system in his work Die Thiende, replacing the old system based
on counting in twelves. His experiments, which studied gravity,
preceded Galileo's theories by at least three years.
Roanoke Island becomes the first English settlement in the
Anthony Babington is tried and executed in England. He plotted
to rescue the captive Mary, Queen of Scots and assassinate
Elizabeth I. This plot leads to Mary's trial and execution
the following year.
Less than a year after their arrival, English colonists leave
Roanoke Island. Colonists are discouraged by a lack of supplies
and Indian attacks.
Stephen Bathory, king of Poland and prince of Transylvania,
dies. Sigismund III succeeds him.
Akbar the Great, shah of Persia, establishes his own faith,
Din Ilahi. The faith, which combines components of various
religions, endures until the 18th century.
The Rose Theatre opens on the bank of the Thames in London.
The first works of Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare
are performed here.
The first performance of Christopher Marlowe's Tamburlaine
the Great takes place.
Japanese ruler Hideyoshi expels Christians from the country,
though not all Christians leave.
The Banco di Rialto, the first public banking system in Europe,
opens in Venice.
Mary, Queen of Scots is executed by order of Elizabeth I for
her alleged part in the Babington Plot, an attempt to remove
Elizabeth from the English throne. Sir Walter Raleigh establishes
a second colony in Roanoke. The colonists disappear within
Virginia Dare is born in Roanoke. She is the first child of
English parentage born in the present-day US.
English navigator John Davis discovers a strait linking the
Atlantic to the Baffin Sea during an attempt to find the Northwest
Catherine de Medici dies.
Work begins on the Rialto Bridge in Venice.
Catherine de Medici, dowager Queen of France, dies at the age
Sultan Mohammed, shah of Persia, hands over the throne to his
son Abbas I.
Architect Antonio da Ponte begins work on the Rialto Bridge
in Venice. The bridge was a high point of Renaissance architecture
and remained the only way to cross the Grand Canal by foot until
the 1854 construction of the Academia Bridge.
Eleven-year-old Christian IV becomes the king of Denmark after
the death of Frederick II.
An Anglican bishop in Wales, William Morgan, translates the
Bible into Welsh. This publication ensures the survival of Welsh
literature. Morgan's Bible is used well into the 20th century.
Philip II sends the Spanish Armada to secure the English Channel.
The Armada is defeated by the English and severe storms.
Issihak II becomes ruler of the Songhai Empire in West Africa.
The once-great empire begins a steady decline under Issihak's
Henry of Navarre becomes the first Bourbon king of France after
the assassination of Henry III.
An English clergyman, William Lee, invents the stocking frame.
It is the first knitting machine.
Continuing his writing on English exploration in the New World,
Richard Hakluyt publishes The Principall Navigations, Voiages
and Discoveries of the English Nation.
This article originally appeared as part of a larger piece
on the 1580s in our October/November 2001