16th Century Leaders

Find out more about the greatest 16th Century Leaders, including Oliver Cromwell, Anne Boleyn, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, Walter Raleigh and John Calvin.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Philip II of Spain

Philip II of Spain.
5
Famous As: King of Spain
Birthdate: May 21, 1527
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Pimentel Palace, Valladolid, Spain
Died: September 13, 1598
Philip II, son of Charles V, was a 16-th century king of Spain and Portugal. Also known as Philip the Prudent, he became the king of Ireland and England through his marriage to Mary I. Following Mary’s death, he attempted to overthrow Elizabeth I with his armada invasions, but failed.

 2 Yi Sun-sin

Philip II of Spain.
4
Famous As: Naval Commander
Birthdate: April 28, 1545
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Hansung
Died: December 16, 1598

Yi Sun-sin was a Korean military general and admiral best remembered for his famous victories during the Imjin war, where his troops were victorious against the Japanese navy. Since the Imjin war, Yi Sun-sin has been revered in Korea as a national hero. Most of his victories were achieved despite being outnumbered by the enemies.

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 3 King James I

Philip II of Spain.
6
Famous As: King of Scotland
Birthdate: June 19, 1566
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Edinburgh Castle, Scotland
Died: March 27, 1625

King James I of England and Ireland was also the king of Scotland as James VI. Son of Mary, Queen of Scots, he believed in royal absolutism. He had major conflicts with the Parliament and its ever-growing powers, which eventually led to revolts against his successor, Charles I.

 4 Suleiman The Magnificent

Philip II of Spain.
4
Famous As: 10th Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
Birthdate: November 6, 1494
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Trabzon, Ottoman Empire
Died: September 6, 1566
Suleiman The Magnificent ruled the Ottoman Empire from 1520 to 1566 and was instrumental in the empire’s expansion, leading the conquests of Belgrade, Rhodes, and Hungary. He was a patron of art and culture, and a talented poet and goldsmith himself. He married Roxelana, a Christian-turned-Muslim from his harem.
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 5 Francis Drake

Philip II of Spain.
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Famous As: Navigator
Birthdate: 1540 AD
Birthplace: Tavistock, Devon, England
Died: January 27, 1596

Francis Drake was an English explorer and naval officer. He is remembered for his Raiding Expedition, a prominent historical maritime event which unfolded between 1577 and 1580. Although Drake is considered a hero in the United Kingdom, his privateering led the Spanish to refer to him as a pirate. His expedition has also had a major cultural impact in Britain.

 6 Walter Raleigh

Philip II of Spain.
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Famous As: Politician, Writer, Explorer, Aristocrat
Birthdate: January 22, 1554
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: East Budleigh
Died: October 29, 1618
English explorer Walter Raleigh is best remembered for his involvement in the Siege of Smerwick and for colonizing North America. He made smoking tobacco popular in England. His accounts of his first voyage to South America led to the legend of El Dorado. He was executed to please the Spanish.

 7 Toyotomi Hideyoshi

Philip II of Spain.
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Famous As: Japanese Samurai
Birthdate: March 17, 1537
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Nakamura-ku, Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, Japan
Died: September 18, 1598

Japanese samurai and daimyō Toyotomi Hideyoshi of the Sengoku period, also known as the second Great Unifier of Japan, became the Chancellor of the Realm (Daijō-daijin) and Imperial Regent (kampaku). He constructed the Osaka Castle, banned slavery, and established the Tokugawa class system and the Council of Five Elders.

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 8 James IV of Scotland

Philip II of Spain.
6
Famous As: King
Birthdate: March 17, 1473
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Stirling Castle, Stirling,Scotland, United Kingdom
Died: September 9, 1513

James IV of Scotland reigned as the king of Scotland from 1488 until his death in 1513. Although his reign ended at the Battle of Flodden, where he was defeated, James is widely considered the most successful monarch of Scotland from the House of Stewart

 9 Cardinal Richelieu

Philip II of Spain.
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Famous As: French Clergyman, Noble and Statesman
Birthdate: September 9, 1585
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Paris
Died: December 4, 1642

Cardinal Richelieu was a French clergyman and statesman who was active in the early 17th century. He held powerful positions in both the Catholic Church and French government and served as the chief minister to Louis XIII of France in 1624. He helped the French maintain their dominance in the Thirty Years' War that engulfed Europe. 

 10 Lapu-Lapu

Philip II of Spain.
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Famous As: Chieftain of Mactan, Philippines
Birthdate: 1491 AD
Birthplace: Mactan, Philippines
Died: 1542 AD
Lapu-Lapu, also known as Çilapulapu or Cilapulapu, was a datu of Mactan. He is remembered for his revolt against the Spanish colonizers of the Philippines and is regarded as the first Filipino hero. He defeated Ferdinand Magellan and his allies at the Battle of Mactan in 1521.

 11 Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk

Philip II of Spain
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: March 10, 1473
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Unknown
Died: August 25, 1554

 12 Francis Walsingham

Philip II of Spain
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Famous As: Spymaster
Birthdate: 1532 AD
Birthplace: probably Chislehurst, Kent, England
Died: April 6, 1590

 13 Thomas Seymour, Baron Seymour

Philip II of Spain
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: 1508 AD
Birthplace: Wulfhall, United Kingdom
Died: March 20, 1549

 14 Akechi Mitsuhide

Philip II of Spain
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Famous As: Samurai
Birthdate: March 10, 1528
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Gife Prefecture
Died: July 2, 1582

 15 John Winthrop

Philip II of Spain.
3
Famous As: Politician, Theologian
Birthdate: January 12, 1588
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Edwardstone, Suffolk, England
Died: March 26, 1649

 16 Date Masamune

Philip II of Spain
3
Famous As: Samurai
Birthdate: September 5, 1567
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Yonezawa
Died: June 27, 1636

 17 Grace O'Malley

Philip II of Spain
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Famous As: Pirate
Birthdate: 1530 AD
Birthplace: Umhaill, Ireland
Died: June 18, 1603

 18 Edward Seymour, 1st duke of Somerset

Philip II of Spain
3
Famous As: Government Official
Birthdate: 1500 AD
Birthplace: England
Died: January 22, 1552

 19 Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor

Philip II of Spain
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: July 18, 1552
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Vienna
Died: January 20, 1612

 20 Robert Dudley, earl of Leicester

Philip II of Spain
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: June 24, 1532
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London, United Kingdom
Died: September 4, 1588

 21 Birbal

Philip II of Spain
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Famous As: Advisor
Birthdate: 1528 AD
Birthplace: Uttar Pradesh, India
Died: 1586 AD

 22 Hiawatha

Philip II of Spain
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Famous As: Orator
Birthdate: 1525 AD
Birthplace: United States
Died: 1595 AD

 23 Boris Godunov

Philip II of Spain
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Famous As: Tsar of Russia
Birthdate: 1551 AD
Died: April 23, 1605

 24 Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey

Philip II of Spain
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: 1517 AD
Birthplace: Hunsdon, England
Died: January 19, 1547

 25 Thomas Wyatt

Philip II of Spain
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Famous As: Poet & Politician
Birthdate: 1503 AD
Birthplace: Allington, England
Died: October 11, 1542

 26 Bairam Khan

Philip II of Spain
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Famous As: Military personnel
Birthdate: January 18, 1501
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Badakhshan
Died: January 31, 1561

 27 Francis, Duke of Anjou

Philip II of Spain
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Famous As: Duke
Birthdate: March 18, 1555
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Fontainebleau, France
Died: June 10, 1584

 28 William the Silent

Philip II of Spain.
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Famous As: Military Leader
Birthdate: April 24, 1533
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dillenburg, Germany
Died: July 10, 1584

William the Silent played an important role in the Dutch Revolt where he led a group of fighters against the Spanish Habsburgs. The revolt resulted in the Eighty Years' War, which in turn paved the way for the independence of the United Provinces. Thanks to his efforts during the Dutch Revolt, William is referred to as Father of the Fatherland.    

 29 Uesugi Kenshin

Philip II of Spain
3
Famous As: Samurai
Birthdate: February 18, 1530
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Echigo Province
Died: April 19, 1578

Uesugi Kenshin was one of the most influential 16th-century Japanese military figures and a daimyō of the Sengoku period. His military prowess earned him the nickname Dragon of Echigo. Born Nagao Torachiyo, he changed his name after defeated leader Uesugi Norimasa took refuge in his home and adopted him.

 30 Cesare Beccaria

Philip II of Spain
3
Famous As: Jurist
Birthdate: March 15, 1738
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Milan
Died: November 28, 1794

Cesare Beccaria was an 18th-century Italian criminologist, philosopher, jurist, and politician. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest thinkers of the Age of Enlightenment. He is still remembered for his treatise On Crimes and Punishments (1764), a pioneering work in the field of penology. He is considered the father of modern criminal law. 

 31 Hasekura Tsunenaga

Philip II of Spain
3
Famous As: diplomat
Birthdate: 1571 AD
Birthplace: Japan
Died: August 7, 1622

 32 John Hawkins

Philip II of Spain
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Famous As: Privateer
Birthdate: November 30, 1532
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Plymouth, Devon, England
Died: November 12, 1595

 33 Pier Gerlofs Donia

Philip II of Spain.
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Famous As: Pirate
Birthdate: 1480 AD
Birthplace: Kimswerd, Frisia, Netherlands
Died: October 28, 1520

Pier Gerlofs Donia was a Frisian rebel leader and pirate, whose life is shrouded in mystery. He was said to be a big, strong man with a dark complexion. He led an armed band, known as the Arumer Zwarte Hoop, against the Hollanders and Burgundians at sea and targeted ships that traveled the Zuiderzee. He died in 1520. 

 34 Miguel López de Legazpi

Philip II of Spain
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Famous As: explorer, military personnel
Birthdate: 1502 AD
Birthplace: Zumárraga
Died: August 20, 1572

 35 Louis I de Bourbon, prince de Condé

Philip II of Spain
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Famous As: General
Birthdate: May 7, 1530
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vendôme, France
Died: March 13, 1569

 36 Louis, Prince of Conde

Philip II of Spain
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Famous As: Prince
Birthdate: May 7, 1530
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vendôme, France
Died: March 13, 1569

 37 John Dudley, duke of Northumberland

Philip II of Spain
3
Famous As: General
Birthdate: 1504 AD
Birthplace: London, United Kingdom
Died: August 22, 1553

 38 Piri Reis

Philip II of Spain.
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Famous As: Ottoman Admiral, Geographer, Cartographer.
Birthdate: 1465 AD
Birthplace: Gelibolu, Turkey
Died: 1553 AD

Piri Reis was an Ottoman navigator, admiral, cartographer, and geographer. He is best remembered for his Book of Navigation, which contains maps and charts and information on navigational techniques. He gained international recognition in 1929 when a portion of his first world map was discovered at the Topkapı Palace in Turkey. Piri Reis finds mention in several popular video games.  

 39 Matthias, Holy Roman Emperor

Philip II of Spain
3
Birthdate: February 24, 1557
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Vienna
Died: March 20, 1619

 40 Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk

Philip II of Spain
3
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: 1443 AD
Birthplace: England
Died: May 21, 1524

 41 Pope Paul III

Philip II of Spain
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Famous As: Pope
Birthdate: February 29, 1468
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Canino, Italy
Died: November 10, 1549

 42 William Bradford

Philip II of Spain
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Famous As: Plymouth Colony governor
Birthdate: March 19, 1590
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Austerfield, United Kingdom
Died: May 9, 1657

 43 Alessandro de' Medici, Duke of Florence

Philip II of Spain
3
Famous As: Duke
Birthdate: July 22, 1510
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Florence, Italy
Died: January 6, 1537

 44 Isabella d'Este

Philip II of Spain
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Famous As: Political Figure
Birthdate: May 19, 1474
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Ferrara, Italy
Died: February 13, 1539

 45 Archibald Douglas, 6th earl of Angus

Philip II of Spain
3
Famous As: Nobleman
Birthdate: 1489 AD
Birthplace: Lanarkshire, Scotland
Died: January 22, 1557

 46 Bohdan Khmelnytsky

Philip II of Spain
3
Famous As: Cossack
Birthdate: 1595 AD
Birthplace: Subotiv, Ukraine
Died: August 6, 1657

 47 Feodor I of Russia

Philip II of Spain
3
Birthdate: May 31, 1557
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Moscow
Died: January 1, 1598

 48 Francis de Sales

Philip II of Spain
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Famous As: Bishop
Birthdate: August 21, 1567
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Château de Sales, Thorens-Glières, France
Died: December 28, 1622

Called the Gentleman Saint for his tenderness and patience, Francis de Sales was a Catholic priest and Bishop of Geneva (1602-1622). Canonized in 1665, he was later proclaimed Doctor of the Church for his contribution to theology and patron of writers and journalists for his extensive use of broadsheets and books. He also invented sign languages for teaching the deaf.

 49 Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk

Philip II of Spain
3
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: March 10, 1536
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kenninghall, England
Died: June 2, 1572

 50 Michael I of Russia

Philip II of Spain
3
Birthdate: July 12, 1596
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Moscow
Died: July 12, 1645