The 16th century is regarded by several historians as the century in which the rise of the West occurred. European nations were widely exploring the hitherto unexplored corners of the Earth and opened newer trade routes. Sir Francis Drake, Francisco de Orellana, Fernão Mendes Pinto, and Luis Váez de Torres were among the prominent navigators and explorers who were born in the century. The era also saw the birth of several famous rulers and emperors including Akbar the Great-third Mughal emperor, Charles V-Holy Roman Emperor, Edward VI of England, and Henry IV of France and Navarre. Fine arts also thrived during this period which saw the emergence of artists like Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Giorgio Vasari, and Juan de Herrera. Musicians and composers including Felice Anerio, Adriano Banchieri, Sebastian Aguilera de Heredia, and Claudio Merulo lived during this period. Galileo Galilei and Johannes Kepler made important mathematical discoveries while the likes of Michael Servetus and Francisco Suarez enriched the field of philosophy. The people of the 16th century played very significant role in shaping the world as it is today. Read on to learn more about the life and works of famous people of the 16th century.
Mary, Queen of ScotsMary, Queen of Scots
08 December 1542, Scottish
Queen of Scotland
Catherine of AragonCatherine of Aragon
16 December 1485, British
Ambassador

William ShakespeareWilliam Shakespeare
26 April 1564, British
Writer

Mary I of EnglandMary I of England
18 February 1516, British
Queen of England and Ireland

Anne BoleynAnne Boleyn
1501 AD, British
Marquess of Pembroke

Henry VIIHenry VII of England
28 January 1457, British
King of England
Leonardo da VinciLeonardo da Vinci
15 April 1452, Italian
Polymath

Guy FawkesGuy Fawkes
13 April 1570, British
Soldier

Margaret TudorMargaret Tudor
28 November 1489, Scottish
Queen Consort of Scotland
Oliver CromwellOliver Cromwell
25 April 1599, British
English Statesman

AkbarAkbar
14 October 1542, Indian
Mughal Emperor
NostradamusNostradamus
14 December 1503, French
Physician

Lady Jane GreyLady Jane Grey
1537 AD, British
Monarch

Francis II of FranceFrancis II of France
19 January 1544, French
King of France

Elizabeth I of EnglandElizabeth I of England
07 September 1533, British
Queen of England

MichelangeloMichelangelo
06 March 1475, Italian
Sculptor
Catherine HowardCatherine Howard
1523 AD, British
Queen of England from (1540-1541)

Suleiman the MagnificentSuleiman The Magnificent
06 November 1494, Turkish
10th Sultan of the Ottoman Empire

Edward VI of EnglandEdward VI of England
12 October 1537, British
King of England

PocahontasPocahontas
1596 AD, American
Native American
Elizabeth BáthoryElizabeth Báthory
07 August 1560, Hungarian
Countess, Serial Killer

Philip II of SpainPhilip II of Spain
21 May 1527, Spanish
King of Spain
Catherine de' MediciCatherine de' Medici
13 April 1519, Italian
Queen of France

Anne of ClevesAnne of Cleves
22 September 1515, German, British
Former Queen of England

Mary BoleynMary Boleyn
1499 AD, British
Mistress of Henry VIII
Catherine ParrCatherine Parr
31 July 1512, British
Queen of England & Ireland

Niccolò MachiavelliNiccolò Machiavelli
03 May 1469, Italian
Political Philosopher
Henry Stuart, Lord DarnleyHenry Stuart, Lord Darnley
07 December 1545, British
King Consort of Scotland (1565-1567)

Shah JahanShah Jahan
05 January 1592, Indian
Mughal Emperor

Francis BaconFrancis Bacon
22 January 1561, British
Philosopher
Henry II of FranceHenry II of France
31 March 1519, French
King of France

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René DéscartesRené Déscartes
31 March 1596, French
Mathematician, Philosopher and Writer
Charles V, Holy Roman EmperorCharles V, Holy Roman Emperor
24 February 1500, Italian
Former Holy Roman Emperor

Ivan the TerribleIvan the Terrible
25 August 1530, Russian
First Russian Tsar

Lady Margaret BeaufortLady Margaret Beaufort
31 May 1443, British
Mother of King Henry VII

JahangirJahangir
31 August 1569, Indian
Mughal Emperor
Maharana PratapMaharana Pratap
09 May 1540, Indian
Ruler of Mewar
Walter RaleighWalter Raleigh
22 January 1554, British
Politician, Writer, Explorer, Aristocrat

Nicolaus CopernicusNicolaus Copernicus
19 February 1473, Polish
 

James V of ScotlandJames V of Scotland
10 April 1512, Scottish
Former King of Scotland

Francis DrakeFrancis Drake
1540 AD, British
Navigator
Joanna of CastileJoanna of Castile
06 November 1479, Spanish
Queen

Miyamoto MusashiMiyamoto Musashi
1584 AD, Japanese
Swordsman & Warrior

Charles IX of FranceCharles IX of France
27 June 1550, French
King of France

Charles IXCharles IX
27 June 1550, French
King of France

Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of SuffolkCharles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk
1484 AD, British
Military Leader
Christopher MarloweChristopher Marlowe
26 February 1564, British
Playwright, Poet

Henry IV of FranceHenry IV of France
13 December 1553, French
King of France, King of Navarre
Mariam-uz-ZamaniMariam-uz-Zamani
1542 AD, Indian
Akbar's Third Wife

Henry III of FranceHenry III of France
19 September 1551, French
King of France

Mary of GuiseMary of Guise
22 November 1515, French
Regent of Scotland
Thomas HobbesThomas Hobbes
05 April 1588, British
Philosopher

CaravaggioCaravaggio
29 September 1571, Italian
Painter
Francis I of FranceFrancis I of France
12 September 1494, French
King of France

HumayunHumayun
17 March 1508, Indian
Mughal Emperor

Selim IISelim II
28 May 1524, Turkish
Sultan of the Ottoman Empire

Oda NobunagaOda Nobunaga
23 June 1534, Japanese
16th Century Japanese Feudal Lord

Marcus Licinius CrassusMarcus Licinius Crassus
0115 BC, Ancient Roman
Roman General
James IV of ScotlandJames IV of Scotland
17 March 1473, Scottish
King

Hieronymus BoschHieronymus Bosch
1450 AD, Dutch
Painter

Amerigo VespucciAmerigo Vespucci
09 March 1454, Italian
Discoverer of South America

KabirKabir
1440 AD, Indian
Saint and Mystic Poet
John CalvinJohn Calvin
10 July 1509, French
Protestant Reformer, Theologian, Pastor

Johannes KeplerJohannes Kepler
27 December 1571, German
Astronomer, Mathematician & Astrologer
Ferdinand II of AragonFerdinand II of Aragon
10 March 1452, Spanish
King of Aragon

Jonathan SwiftJonathan Swift
30 November 1667, Irish
Author and Satirist

Sandro BotticelliSandro Botticelli
1445 AD, Italian
Painter
Francis XavierFrancis Xavier
07 April 1506, Spanish
Missionary

Albrecht DurerAlbrecht Durer
21 May 1471, German
Painter
Giordano BrunoGiordano Bruno
1548 AD, Italian
Philosopher

Artemisia GentileschiArtemisia Gentileschi
08 July 1593, Italian
Painter

Louis XII of FranceLouis XII of France
27 June 1462, French
King
MirabaiMirabai
1498 AD, Indian
Bhakti Saint

Juan Ponce de LeónJuan Ponce de León
1474 AD, Spanish
Explorer
Tycho BraheTycho Brahe
14 December 1546, Danish
Astronomer

Lapu-LapuLapu-Lapu
1491 AD, Filipino
Chieftain of Mactan, Philippines

John DonneJohn Donne
22 January 1572, British
Poet, lawyer, satirist

Selim ISelim I
10 October 1470, Turkish
ottoman Sultan
Murad IIIMurad III
04 July 1546, Turkish
Ottoman Sultan
John KnoxJohn Knox
1514 AD, Scottish
Protestant Leader

Sawney BeanSawney Bean
 , Scottish
Criminal

Miguel de CervantesMiguel de Cervantes
29 September 1547, Spanish
Novelist

Toyotomi HideyoshiToyotomi Hideyoshi
17 March 1537, Japanese
Japanese Samurai
Peter Paul RubensPeter Paul Rubens
28 June 1577, Belgian
Painter & Printmaker

Tokugawa IeyasuTokugawa Ieyasu
31 January 1543, Japanese
Military Leader

Cardinal RichelieuCardinal Richelieu
09 September 1585, French
French Clergyman, Noble and Statesman

Hamnet ShakespeareHamnet Shakespeare
31 December 1585, British
William Shakespeare's Son

Saint Teresa of AvilaSaint Teresa of Avila
28 March 1515, Spanish
Saint
ParacelsusParacelsus
17 December 1493, Swiss
Physician, Botanist, Astrologer

Pope Leo XPope Leo X
11 December 1475, Italian
Pope
Pieter Bruegel the ElderPieter Bruegel the Elder
1525 AD, Dutch
Artist

Diego VelazquezDiego Velázquez (Painter)
06 June 1599, Spanish
Painter
Pope Clement VIIPope Clement VII
26 May 1478, Italian
Pope
John DeeJohn Dee
13 July 1527, British
Mathematician, Philosopher