Famous 16th Century Military Leaders

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 1 
Tokugawa Ieyasu
(Military Leader)
Tokugawa Ieyasu
15
Birthdate: January 31, 1543
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Okazaki Castle, Mikawa (now Okazaki, Japan)
Died: June 1, 1616

Tokugawa Ieyasu was the founder and first shōgun of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan. He is considered one of the three "Great Unifiers" of Japan. He was the son of Matsudaira Hirotada, a minor local warlord. He grew up to be an ambitious young man with exemplary leadership qualities and eventually founded the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan. 

 2 
Philip II of Spain
(King of Spain (1556 - 1598), King of Portugal (1580 - 1598))
Philip II of Spain
11
Birthdate: May 21, 1527
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: 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.
 3 
Hayreddin Barbarossa
(Ottoman Navy Admiral )
Hayreddin Barbarossa
11
Birthdate: 1478 AD
Birthplace: Paleokipos, Greece
Died: July 4, 1546
Remembered as the Pirate of Algiers and Redbeard, legendary Hayreddin Barbarossa from Lesbos, along with his brother Oruç, plundered ships and ports, terrorizing the Mediterranean coast. His exploits led him to become the admiral of the Ottoman Navy. His victory at Preveza remains his most celebrated one.
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 4 
Yi Sun-sin
(Naval Commander)
Yi Sun-sin
8
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.

 5 
Oliver Cromwell
(English Statesman)
Oliver Cromwell
29
Birthdate: April 25, 1599
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Huntingdon, Huntingdonshire, Kingdom of England
Died: September 3, 1658
The Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland, Oliver Cromwell was a military leader and a devoted Puritan who belonged to an affluent landowning family. During the English Civil War, Cromwell fought against King Charles I and caused the deaths of at least 3,000 soldiers and civilians.
 6 
Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk
(English Military Leader and Courtier)
Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk
4
Birthdate: 1484 AD
Birthplace: Guildford, England, United kingdom
Died: August 22, 1545
Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk was the brother-in-law of King Henry VIII of England, through his third wife, Mary Tudor. He was sent by Henry to fix Mary’s marriage to King Francis I of France, but married her himself instead. He received viscountcy for the 1513 campaign against France.
 7 
Lapu-Lapu
(Chieftain of Mactan, Philippines)
Lapu-Lapu
6
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.
 8 
James IV of Scotland
(King of Scotland from 1488 to 1513)
James IV of Scotland
4
Birthdate: March 17, 1473
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Stirling, Scotland
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 
Grace O'Malley
5
Birthdate: 1530 AD
Birthplace: Umhaill, Ireland
Died: June 18, 1603

Part of Irish folklore, Grace O'Malley was known as The Pirate Queen. Born into a seafaring family and was known for her unrelenting attitude toward the English. Known for her exploits in the Nine Years' War, she refused to bow down to Queen Elizabeth, as she herself was a queen.

 10 
Akechi Mitsuhide
(Japanese Samurai General of the Sengoku Period Best Known as the Assassin of Oda Nobunaga)
Akechi Mitsuhide
7
Birthdate: March 10, 1528
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Gife Prefecture
Died: July 2, 1582
Akechi Mitsuhide was a Japanese samurai general who lived during the Sengoku period. He is best remembered as the assassin of Oda Nobunaga, a Japanese daimyo and leading figure of the Sengoku period. Mitsuhide served as a general under Nobunaga during the latter's war of political unification. He betrayed Mitsuhide, forcing him to perform seppuku in Kyoto. 
 11 
Bairam Khan
(Military personnel)
Bairam Khan
4
Birthdate: January 18, 1501
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Badakhshan
Died: January 31, 1561
 12 
John Hawkins
(Privateer)
John Hawkins
4
Birthdate: November 30, 1532
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Plymouth, Devon, England
Died: November 12, 1595
 13 
Nurhaci
(Jurchen chieftain who rose to prominence in the late 16th century in Manchuria)
Nurhaci
4
Birthdate: May 14, 1559
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Fushun, China
Died: September 30, 1626

Nurhaci was a Jurchen chieftain who reigned as the Khan of Later Jin for 10 years. He is credited with uniting and reorganizing several Jurchen tribes. His attack and conquest of Ming dynasty laid the foundation for the formation of the Qing dynasty, which was founded by his descendants in 1636. His life inspired the 2005 TV series, Taizu Mishi.

Louis I de Bourbon, prince de Condé
4
Birthdate: May 7, 1530
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vendôme, France
Died: March 13, 1569
John Dudley, duke of Northumberland
3
Birthdate: 1504 AD
Birthplace: London, United Kingdom
Died: August 22, 1553
Louis, Prince of Conde
4
Birthdate: May 7, 1530
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vendôme, France
Died: March 13, 1569
 17 
Pier Gerlofs Donia
3
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. 

 18 
Hasekura Tsunenaga
(The First Japanese Ambassador to the Spain and to the Americas)
Hasekura Tsunenaga
5
Birthdate: 1571 AD
Birthplace: Japan
Died: August 7, 1622

Hasekura Tsunenaga was a Japanese samurai who served under Date Masamune, the daimyō of Sendai. He is best remembered for heading a diplomatic mission called the Keichō Embassy and is regarded as the first Japanese ambassador in Spain and in the Americas. Hasekura Tsunenaga's life and career have inspired several works of art including a 1980 novel titled The Samurai

 19 
Piri Reis
(Ottoman Admiral, Geographer, Cartographer.)
Piri Reis
7
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.  

 20 
Daniel Morgan
(Politician)
Daniel Morgan
5
Birthdate: July 6, 1736
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Hunterdon County, New Jersey, United States
Died: July 6, 1802
 21 
Myles Standish
(Colonist)
Myles Standish
3
Birthdate: 1584 AD
Birthplace: Lancashire, United Kingdom
Died: October 3, 1656
 22 
Birbal
(One of the Most Important Courtiers of Mughal Emperor Akbar and Iconic Figure Renowned for his Wit)
Birbal
9
Birthdate: 1528 AD
Birthplace: Uttar Pradesh, India
Died: February 16, 1586

Birbal was an advisor and chief commander of army in Mughal Emperor Akbar's court. He is best remembered for the folk tales that glorify his wit and intelligence. One of Akbar's most important courtiers, Birbal was part of The Navaratnas, a group of nine extraordinary people in the emperor's court. He has been portrayed in many folk tales and films. 

 23 
Ishida Mitsunari
(Japanese Samurai Who Commanded The Western Army During the 'Battle of Sekigahara')
Ishida Mitsunari
5
Birthdate: 1559 AD
Birthplace: Ōmi Province, Nagahama, Japan
Died: November 6, 1600

Ishida Mitsunari was a Japanese military commander and samurai of the late Sengoku period. He is best remembered for commanding the Western army during the famous Battle of Sekigahara. Like many other Japanese samurai, Ishida Mitsunari has been fictionalized and depicted in many novels, TV series, and video games.

 24 
Henry I, Duke of Guise
3
Birthdate: December 31, 1550
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: France
Died: December 23, 1588
 25 
John of Austria
(Admiral of the Holy Alliance Fleet at the Battle of Lepanto)
John of Austria
4
Birthdate: February 24, 1547
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Regensburg, Germany
Died: October 1, 1578

John of Austria was an illegitimate son of Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor who reigned from 1519 to 1556. John served as a military leader under his half-brother, King Philip II of Spain. John of Austria is best remembered for his role at the Battle of Lepanto, where he served as the admiral of the Holy Alliance fleet.

 26 
Pedro Menéndez de Avilés
(1st Governor of Florida (1565 - 1574))
Pedro Menéndez de Avilés
3
Birthdate: February 15, 1519
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Avilés, Asturias, Spain
Died: September 17, 1574

Remembered as the founder of St. Augustine in Florida, USA, Spanish admiral and explorer Pedro Menéndez de Avilés has also been credited with planning the first regular trans-Atlantic convoys. Ruthlessly loyal to the Spanish king, he massacred the entire population of a nearby French post and established a string of forts along the Atlantic coast to protect Spanish interests.

Thomas Wentworth, 1st earl of Strafford
3
Birthdate: April 13, 1593
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London, England
Died: May 12, 1641
 28 
Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, 3rd Duke of Alba
(Spanish Noble Who is Considered One of the Greatest Generals in the Military History)
Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, 3rd Duke of Alba
3
Birthdate: October 29, 1507
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Piedrahíta, Spain
Died: December 11, 1582

An adviser of King Charles I and, Philip II of Spain, Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, 3rd Duke of Alba was a Spanish general and diplomat. A master of logistics, he had an unshakable self-confidence, which helped him to sail through most adverse situations. Notable for his conquest of Portugal, he is also remembered for his tyranny as the governor-general of Netherlands.

 29 
Alexander Farnese, Duke of Parma
(Duke of Parma, Piacenza from 1586 to 1592)
Alexander Farnese, Duke of Parma
5
Birthdate: August 27, 1545
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: December 3, 1592

Alexander Farnese, Duke of Parma was an Italian condottiero and noble. He is best remembered for his service as a general in the Spanish army. From 1578 to 1592, Alexander Farnese served as the Governor of the Spanish Netherlands. He was also the Duke of Parma and Piacenza from 15 September 1586 to 3 December 1592.

 30 
Maurice, Prince of Orange
(Prince of Orange (1618 - 1625))
Maurice, Prince of Orange
5
Birthdate: November 14, 1567
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Dillenburg, Germany
Died: April 23, 1625

Maurice, Prince of Orange is remembered for transforming the Dutch army with his modern military strategy and engineering. The second son of William I the Silent, he was part of the Eighty Years’ War with Spain. He passed away shortly before the siege of Breda was completed.

 31 
Johann Tserclaes, Count of Tilly
(Field Marshal Who Commanded the Catholic League’s Forces in the Thirty Years’ War)
Johann Tserclaes, Count of Tilly
2
Birthdate: 1559
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Tilly, Belgium
Died: April 30, 1632

Johann Tserclaes, Count of Tilly was a field marshal who played a major role in the famous Thirty Years' War. A fierce field marshal, Johann Tserclaes had a string of prominent victories from 1620 to 1631 against the Protestants. He destroyed the Protestant city of Magdeburg, so much so that 20,000 inhabitants out of a population of 25,000 were dead.

 32 
Gaspard II de Coligny
2
Birthdate: February 16, 1519
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Châtillon-Coligny, France
Died: August 24, 1572
 33 
Pedro de Valdivia
(Spanish Conquistador Who Became the 1st Royal Governor of Chile)
Pedro de Valdivia
3
Birthdate: April 17, 1497
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Castuera
Died: December 25, 1553

Spanish conquistador Pedro de Valdivia served the Spanish army under Charles I. He led an expedition into Chile where he founded the cities of Santiago, Concepción and Valdivia, the latter was named after him. He extended Spanish rule south to the Biobío River and served as 1st Royal Governor of Chile. He also held-office as 2nd Adelantado of Terra Australis.

 34 
Joseph-François Dupleix
(French colonial official)
Joseph-François Dupleix
2
Birthdate: January 1, 1697
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Landrecies, France
Died: November 10, 1763
 35 
Wang Yangming
(Calligrapher)
Wang Yangming
3
Birthdate: October 26, 1472
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Yuyao, Zhejiang Province
Died: January 9, 1529
 36 
Lautaro
(Mapuche War Leader Who Led the Indigenous Chile Resistance Against the Spanish)
Lautaro
3
Birthdate: 1534 AD
Birthplace: Treguaco, Chile
Died: April 29, 1557

Lautaro was a Mapuche war leader best remembered for spearheading the indigenous resistance against the conquest of Chile by the Spanish. He led the warriors of Mapuche to a series of triumphs against the Spanish. He was killed at the Battle of Mataquito in his early 20s. Lautaro is credited with developing tactics that were used even after his death.

 37 
Claude, Duke of Guise
2
Birthdate: October 20, 1496
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Castle of Condé, France
Died: April 12, 1550
 38 
Jan Pieterszoon Coen
(Governor-General)
Jan Pieterszoon Coen
3
Birthdate: January 8, 1587
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Hoorn, Netherlands
Died: September 21, 1629
 39 
Charles III, Duke of Bourbon
2
Birthdate: February 17, 1490
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Montpensier, France
Died: May 6, 1527
 40 
Francis, Duke of Guise
3
Birthdate: February 17, 1519
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bar, France
Died: February 24, 1563
 41 
Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy
(Duke of Savoy Who Recovered Most of the Territories Previously Lost to Spain and France)
Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy
2
Birthdate: July 8, 1528
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Chambéry, France
Died: August 30, 1580

A 16th-century Duke of Savoy, Emmanuel Philibert, also known as Testa di ferro, was the only child of Charles III, Duke of Savoy. An able soldier, he is remembered for recovering most of the territories his father had lost to Spain and France. He also stressed on Italian as the official language.

 42 
Richard Grenville
(Naval commander)
Richard Grenville
2
Birthdate: June 15, 1542
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bideford, Devon, England
Died: September 10, 1591
 43 
Maeda Toshiie
(Head of Maeda clan (1560–1599))
Maeda Toshiie
3
Birthdate: January 15, 1538
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Arako, Japan
Died: April 27, 1599

Samurai warrior Maeda Toshiie was a leading general of the Sengoku period and served Oda Nobunaga. He was known for his mastery with a traditional Japanese blade-like weapon called yari. He showcased his military exploits in battles such as the Battle of Tedorigawa and trusted a core group of vassals.

 44 
Charles Howard, 1st Earl of Nottingham
(politician, military personnel)
Charles Howard, 1st Earl of Nottingham
2
Birthdate: 1536 AD
Died: December 14, 1624
Anne, duke de Montmorency
2
Birthdate: March 15, 1493
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Chantilly, France
Died: November 12, 1567
 46 
Jean Ribault
(French Navigator and Naval Officer Who Colonized the American Southeast)
Jean Ribault
2
Birthdate: 1520 AD
Birthplace: Dieppe, France
Died: October 12, 1565

Jean Ribault was a French navigator and naval officer. He is best remembered for colonizing what would eventually become the American Southeast. Jean Ribault also played an important role in the attempts of the French to colonize Florida.

 47 
Piet Pieterszoon Hein
3
Birthdate: November 25, 1577
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Delfshaven, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Died: June 18, 1629
 48 
Thomas Howard, 1st Earl of Suffolk
2
Birthdate: August 24, 1561
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England
Died: May 28, 1626
 49 
Maarten Tromp
(General)
Maarten Tromp
2
Birthdate: April 23, 1598
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Breille, Netherlands
Died: August 10, 1653
 50 
Walter Devereux, 1st earl of Essex
2
Birthdate: September 16, 1541
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Carmarthen, Wales
Died: September 22, 1576

Sixteenth-century English nobleman Walter Devereux, 1st earl of Essex is known for his infamous and unsuccessful attempt to colonize Ulster, an Irish province. His brutal raids included the murders of numerous people, including the families of top officials and the women and children he found hiding in caves.