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

Leonardo da VinciLeonardo da Vinci
15 April 1452, Italian

Henry VIIHenry VII of England
28 January 1457, British
King of England

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

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

Catherine of AragonCatherine of Aragon
16 December 1485, British

Francis II of FranceFrancis II of France
19 January 1544, French
King of France
Suleiman the MagnificentSuleiman The Magnificent
06 November 1494, Turkish
10th Sultan of the Ottoman Empire

Oliver CromwellOliver Cromwell
25 April 1599, British
English Statesman
14 October 1542, Indian
Mughal Emperor

Toyotomi HideyoshiToyotomi Hideyoshi
17 March 1537, Japanese
Japanese Samurai

06 March 1475, Italian

14 December 1503, French

Catherine de' MediciCatherine de' Medici
13 April 1519, Italian
Queen of France
Tokugawa IeyasuTokugawa Ieyasu
31 January 1543, Japanese
Military Leader

Lady Jane GreyLady Jane Grey
1537 AD, British

1596 AD, American
Native American

Elizabeth BáthoryElizabeth Báthory
07 August 1560, Hungarian
Countess, Serial Killer
Henry Stuart, Lord DarnleyHenry Stuart, Lord Darnley
07 December 1545, British
King Consort of Scotland (1565-1567)

Margaret TudorMargaret Tudor
28 November 1489, Scottish
Queen Consort of Scotland
Elizabeth I of EnglandElizabeth I of England
07 September 1533, British
Queen of England

Philip II of SpainPhilip II of Spain
21 May 1527, Spanish
King of Spain

Niccolò MachiavelliNiccolò Machiavelli
03 May 1469, Italian
Political Philosopher
Edward VI of EnglandEdward VI of England
12 October 1537, British
King of England

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

Shah JahanShah Jahan
05 January 1592, Indian
Mughal Emperor

Ivan the TerribleIvan the Terrible
25 August 1530, Russian
First Russian Tsar
Guy FawkesGuy Fawkes
13 April 1570, British

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Catherine HowardCatherine Howard
1523 AD, British
Queen of England from (1540-1541)
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

Nicolaus CopernicusNicolaus Copernicus
19 February 1473, Polish

Charles IX of FranceCharles IX of France
27 June 1550, French
King of France
Anne of ClevesAnne of Cleves
22 September 1515, German, British
Former Queen of England
Christopher MarloweChristopher Marlowe
26 February 1564, British
Playwright, Poet

Maharana PratapMaharana Pratap
09 May 1540, Indian
Ruler of Mewar

Catherine ParrCatherine Parr
31 July 1512, British
Queen of England & Ireland

Walter RaleighWalter Raleigh
22 January 1554, British
Politician, Writer, Explorer, Aristocrat
Francis DrakeFrancis Drake
1540 AD, British

Miyamoto MusashiMiyamoto Musashi
1584 AD, Japanese
Swordsman & Warrior

31 August 1569, Indian
Mughal Emperor

Mary BoleynMary Boleyn
1499 AD, British
Mistress of Henry VIII

Henry III of FranceHenry III of France
19 September 1551, French
King of France
Henry IV of FranceHenry IV of France
13 December 1553, French
King of France, King of Navarre

Selim IISelim II
28 May 1524, Turkish
Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
Lady Margaret BeaufortLady Margaret Beaufort
31 May 1443, British
Mother of King Henry VII

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

1542 AD, Indian
Akbar's Third Wife
1491 AD, Filipino
Chieftain of Mactan, Philippines

29 September 1571, Italian
Thomas HobbesThomas Hobbes
05 April 1588, British

17 March 1508, Indian
Mughal Emperor

Francis I of FranceFrancis I of France
12 September 1494, French
King of France

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

Hieronymus BoschHieronymus Bosch
1450 AD, Dutch
1440 AD, Indian
Saint and Mystic Poet

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

Joanna of CastileJoanna of Castile
06 November 1479, Spanish

Mary of GuiseMary of Guise
22 November 1515, French
Regent of Scotland
Sandro BotticelliSandro Botticelli
1445 AD, Italian

Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of SuffolkCharles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk
1484 AD, British
Military Leader
John CalvinJohn Calvin
10 July 1509, French
Protestant Reformer, Theologian, Pastor

Jonathan SwiftJonathan Swift
30 November 1667, Irish
Author and Satirist

Selim ISelim I
10 October 1470, Turkish
ottoman Sultan
Giordano BrunoGiordano Bruno
1548 AD, Italian

Murad IIIMurad III
04 July 1546, Turkish
Ottoman Sultan
Johannes KeplerJohannes Kepler
27 December 1571, German
Astronomer, Mathematician & Astrologer

Sawney BeanSawney Bean
 , Scottish

John DonneJohn Donne
22 January 1572, British
Poet, lawyer, satirist
1498 AD, Indian
Bhakti Saint

John KnoxJohn Knox
1514 AD, Scottish
Protestant Leader
James IV of ScotlandJames IV of Scotland
17 March 1473, Scottish

Albrecht DurerAlbrecht Durer
21 May 1471, German

Ferdinand II of AragonFerdinand II of Aragon
10 March 1452, Spanish
King of Aragon

Juan Ponce de LeónJuan Ponce de León
1474 AD, Spanish
Artemisia GentileschiArtemisia Gentileschi
08 July 1593, Italian
Miguel de CervantesMiguel de Cervantes
29 September 1547, Spanish

Tycho BraheTycho Brahe
14 December 1546, Danish

Peter Paul RubensPeter Paul Rubens
28 June 1577, Belgian
Painter & Printmaker

Cardinal RichelieuCardinal Richelieu
09 September 1585, French
French Clergyman, Noble and Statesman
Saint Teresa of AvilaSaint Teresa of Avila
28 March 1515, Spanish

Pope Leo XPope Leo X
11 December 1475, Italian

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

17 December 1493, Swiss
Physician, Botanist, Astrologer

Francis XavierFrancis Xavier
07 April 1506, Spanish
Pieter Bruegel the ElderPieter Bruegel the Elder
1525 AD, Dutch

Louis XII of FranceLouis XII of France
27 June 1462, French
Diego VelazquezDiego Velázquez (Painter)
06 June 1599, Spanish

John DeeJohn Dee
13 July 1527, British
Mathematician, Philosopher
Pope Clement VIIPope Clement VII
26 May 1478, Italian
La MalincheLa Malinche
1496 AD, Mexican
Mexican Interpreter