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
William ShakespeareWilliam Shakespeare
26 April 1564, British
Writer

NostradamusNostradamus
14 December 1503, French
Physician

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

Leonardo da VinciLeonardo da Vinci
15 April 1452, Italian
Polymath

Anne BoleynAnne Boleyn
1501 AD, British
Marquess of Pembroke
Henry VIIHenry VII of England
28 January 1457, British
King of England

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

Catherine of AragonCatherine of Aragon
16 December 1485, British
Ambassador
AkbarAkbar
14 October 1542, Indian
Mughal Emperor

PocahontasPocahontas
1595 AD, American
Native American
Oliver CromwellOliver Cromwell
25 April 1599, British
Military & Political Leader

MichelangeloMichelangelo
06 March 1475, Italian
Sculptor

Lady Jane GreyLady Jane Grey
1537 AD, British
Monarch

Maharana PratapMaharana Pratap
09 May 1540, Indian
Ruler of Mewar

Edward VI of EnglandEdward VI of England
12 October 1537, British
King of England
Catherine HowardCatherine Howard
1523 AD, British
Queen of England from (1540-1541)

Niccolò MachiavelliNiccolò Machiavelli
03 May 1469, Italian
Political Philosopher

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

Philip II of SpainPhilip II of Spain
21 May 1527, Spanish
King of Spain
Charles V, Holy Roman EmperorCharles V, Holy Roman Emperor
24 February 1500, Italian
Former Holy Roman Emperor

Catherine ParrCatherine Parr
31 July 1512, British
Queen of England & Ireland
Ivan the TerribleIvan the Terrible
25 August 1530, Russian
First Russian Tsar

Catherine de' MediciCatherine de' Medici
13 April 1519, Italian
Queen of France

Shah JahanShah Jahan
05 January 1592, Indian
Mughal Emperor
Elizabeth BáthoryElizabeth Báthory
07 August 1560, Hungarian
Countess, Serial Killer

Francis BaconFrancis Bacon
22 January 1561, British
Philosopher
Guy FawkesGuy Fawkes
13 April 1570, British
Soldier

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

JahangirJahangir
31 August 1569, Indian
Mughal Emperor
Margaret TudorMargaret Tudor
28 November 1489, Scottish
Queen Consort of Scotland

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Francis DrakeFrancis Drake
1540 AD, British
Navigator
Mariam-uz-ZamaniMariam-uz-Zamani
1542 AD, Indian
Akbar's Third Wife

Nicolaus CopernicusNicolaus Copernicus
19 February 1473, Polish
 

Pope Leo XPope Leo X
11 December 1475, Italian
Pope

Oda NobunagaOda Nobunaga
23 June 1534, Japanese
16th Century Japanese Feudal Lord
Sandro BotticelliSandro Botticelli
1445 AD, Italian
Painter
Henry Stuart, Lord DarnleyHenry Stuart, Lord Darnley
07 December 1545, British
King Consort of Scotland (1565-1567)

Walter RaleighWalter Raleigh
22 January 1554, British
Politician, Writer, Explorer, Aristocrat

Henry II of FranceHenry II of France
31 March 1519, French
King of France

Henry IV of FranceHenry IV of France
13 December 1553, French
King of France, King of Navarre
Miyamoto MusashiMiyamoto Musashi
1584 AD, Japanese
Swordsman & Warrior

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

Hieronymus BoschHieronymus Bosch
1450 AD, Dutch
Painter

CaravaggioCaravaggio
29 September 1571, Italian
Painter

Pope Clement VIIPope Clement VII
26 May 1478, Italian
Pope
Mary BoleynMary Boleyn
1499 AD, British
Mistress of Henry VIII

Thomas HobbesThomas Hobbes
05 April 1588, British
Philosopher
Claudio MonteverdiClaudio Monteverdi
15 May 1567, Italian
Composer

HumayunHumayun
17 March 1508, Indian
Mughal Emperor

James V of ScotlandJames V of Scotland
10 April 1512, Scottish
Former King of Scotland
Henry III of FranceHenry III of France
19 September 1551, French
King of France

John CalvinJohn Calvin
10 July 1509, French
Protestant Reformer, Theologian, Pastor
Joanna of CastileJoanna of Castile
06 November 1479, Spanish
Queen

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

Christopher MarloweChristopher Marlowe
26 February 1564, British
Playwright, Poet

Johannes KeplerJohannes Kepler
27 December 1571, German
Astronomer, Mathematician & Astrologer

Charles IX of FranceCharles IX of France
27 June 1550, French
King of France
Toyotomi HideyoshiToyotomi Hideyoshi
17 March 1537, Japanese
Japanese Samurai

KabirKabir
1440 AD, Indian
Saint and Mystic Poet

Marcus Licinius CrassusMarcus Licinius Crassus
0115 BC, Ancient Roman
Roman General

Selim IISelim II
28 May 1524, Turkish
Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
Selim ISelim I
10 October 1470, Turkish
ottoman Sultan

Miguel de CervantesMiguel de Cervantes
29 September 1547, Spanish
Novelist
Mary of GuiseMary of Guise
22 November 1515, French
Regent of Scotland

Jonathan SwiftJonathan Swift
30 November 1667, Irish
Author and Satirist

Giordano BrunoGiordano Bruno
1548 AD, Italian
Philosopher
Peter Paul RubensPeter Paul Rubens
28 June 1577, Belgian
Painter & Printmaker

Artemisia GentileschiArtemisia Gentileschi
08 July 1593, Italian
Painter
Ferdinand II of AragonFerdinand II of Aragon
10 March 1452, Spanish
King of Aragon

Juan Ponce de LeónJuan Ponce de León
1474 AD, Spanish
Explorer

Cardinal RichelieuCardinal Richelieu
09 September 1585, French
French Clergyman, Noble and Statesman
John DonneJohn Donne
22 January 1572, British
Poet, lawyer, satirist

Caterina SforzaCaterina Sforza
1463 AD, Italian
Noblewoman
Murad IIIMurad III
04 July 1546, Turkish
Ottoman Sultan

Tycho BraheTycho Brahe
14 December 1546, Danish
Astronomer

Francis XavierFrancis Xavier
07 April 1506, Spanish
Missionary

James IV of ScotlandJames IV of Scotland
17 March 1473, Scottish
King
ParacelsusParacelsus
17 December 1493, Swiss
Physician, Botanist, Astrologer
John KnoxJohn Knox
1514 AD, Scottish
Protestant Leader

Pieter Bruegel the ElderPieter Bruegel the Elder
1525 AD, Dutch
Artist

Guru ArjanGuru Arjan
15 April 1563, Indian
Fifth Sikh Guru

Juan Sebastián ElcanoJuan Sebastián Elcano
30 November 1476, Spanish
Explorer
Yi Sun-sinYi Sun-sin
28 April 1545, South Korean
Naval Commander

El GrecoEl Greco
01 October 1541, Spanish, Greek
Painter

Hans Holbein the YoungerHans Holbein the Younger
1497 AD, German
Artist

Sawney BeanSawney Bean
 , Scottish
Criminal

Michel de MontaigneMichel de Montaigne
28 February 1533, French
Philosopher
Louis XII of FranceLouis XII of France
27 June 1462, French
King

John DeeJohn Dee
13 July 1527, British
Mathematician, Philosopher
Marie de' Medici Marie de' Medici
26 April 1576, French
Queen consort of France and Navarre

Pope Julius IIPope Julius II
05 December 1443, Italian
Pope
Philip III of SpainPhilip III of Spain
14 April 1578, Spanish
King
William the SilentWilliam the Silent
24 April 1533, German, Dutch
Military Leader