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Centuries: 15th century - 16th century - 17th century
- January 23 - The assassination of regent James Stewart, Earl of Moray throws Scotland into civil war
- February 25 - Pope Pius V excommunicates Queen Elizabeth I of England.
- May 20 - Abraham Ortelius issues the first modern atlas.
- August 8 - The Peace of Saint-Germain ends the Third War of Religion in France. Again, the Huguenots are promised religious freedom and political autonomy.
- Académie française founded
- China, the Voyage in Occident, (Novel)
- April 13 - Guy Fawkes, English Gunpowder Plot conspirator
- September 12 - Henry Hudson, English navigator