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

Leonardo da VinciLeonardo da Vinci
15 April 1452, Italian
Polymath

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

Anne BoleynAnne Boleyn
1501 AD, British
Marquess of Pembroke
PocahontasPocahontas
1596 AD, American
Native American

AkbarAkbar
14 October 1542, Indian
Mughal Emperor

Catherine of AragonCatherine of Aragon
16 December 1485, British
Ambassador
Oliver CromwellOliver Cromwell
25 April 1599, British
English Statesman

Guy FawkesGuy Fawkes
13 April 1570, British
Soldier
Catherine HowardCatherine Howard
1523 AD, British
Queen of England from (1540-1541)

NostradamusNostradamus
14 December 1503, French
Physician

Francis BaconFrancis Bacon
22 January 1561, British
Philosopher

MichelangeloMichelangelo
06 March 1475, Italian
Sculptor

Elizabeth I of EnglandElizabeth I of England
07 September 1533, British
Queen of England
Lady Jane GreyLady Jane Grey
1537 AD, British
Monarch

Elizabeth BáthoryElizabeth Báthory
07 August 1560, Hungarian
Countess, Serial Killer

Niccolò MachiavelliNiccolò Machiavelli
03 May 1469, Italian
Political Philosopher

Francis II of FranceFrancis II of France
19 January 1544, French
King of France
Francis DrakeFrancis Drake
1540 AD, British
Navigator

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

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

Philip II of SpainPhilip II of Spain
21 May 1527, Spanish
King of Spain
Amerigo VespucciAmerigo Vespucci
09 March 1454, Italian
Discoverer of South America

Shah JahanShah Jahan
05 January 1592, Indian
Mughal Emperor
Ivan the TerribleIvan the Terrible
25 August 1530, Russian
First Russian Tsar

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

Miyamoto MusashiMiyamoto Musashi
1584 AD, Japanese
Swordsman & Warrior
JahangirJahangir
31 August 1569, Indian
Mughal Emperor

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Charles V, Holy Roman EmperorCharles V, Holy Roman Emperor
24 February 1500, Italian
Former Holy Roman Emperor
Mariam-uz-ZamaniMariam-uz-Zamani
1542 AD, Indian
Akbar's Third Wife

Maharana PratapMaharana Pratap
09 May 1540, Indian
Ruler of Mewar

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

Nicolaus CopernicusNicolaus Copernicus
19 February 1473, Polish
 
Margaret TudorMargaret Tudor
28 November 1489, Scottish
Queen Consort of Scotland
Oda NobunagaOda Nobunaga
23 June 1534, Japanese
16th Century Japanese Feudal Lord

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

Henry IV of FranceHenry IV of France
13 December 1553, French
King of France, King of Navarre

Lady Margaret BeaufortLady Margaret Beaufort
31 May 1443, British
Mother of King Henry VII
Artemisia GentileschiArtemisia Gentileschi
08 July 1593, Italian
Painter

Henry Stuart, Lord DarnleyHenry Stuart, Lord Darnley
07 December 1545, British
King Consort of Scotland (1565-1567)

Hieronymus BoschHieronymus Bosch
1450 AD, Dutch
Painter

HumayunHumayun
17 March 1508, Indian
Mughal Emperor

Marcus Licinius CrassusMarcus Licinius Crassus
0115 BC, Ancient Roman
Roman General
CaravaggioCaravaggio
29 September 1571, Italian
Painter

John CalvinJohn Calvin
10 July 1509, French
Protestant Reformer, Theologian, Pastor
Charles IX of FranceCharles IX of France
27 June 1550, French
King of France

PowhatanPowhatan
17 June 1545, American
Native American Leader

Henry III of FranceHenry III of France
19 September 1551, French
King of France
Selim ISelim I
10 October 1470, Turkish
ottoman Sultan

Thomas HobbesThomas Hobbes
05 April 1588, British
Philosopher
KabirKabir
1440 AD, Indian
Saint and Mystic Poet

Sandro BotticelliSandro Botticelli
1445 AD, Italian
Painter

Miguel de CervantesMiguel de Cervantes
29 September 1547, Spanish
Novelist

Toyotomi HideyoshiToyotomi Hideyoshi
17 March 1537, Japanese
Japanese Samurai

Joanna of CastileJoanna of Castile
06 November 1479, Spanish
Queen
Selim IISelim II
28 May 1524, Turkish
Sultan of the Ottoman Empire

Christopher MarloweChristopher Marlowe
26 February 1564, British
Playwright, Poet

Mary BoleynMary Boleyn
1499 AD, British
Mistress of Henry VIII

James V of ScotlandJames V of Scotland
10 April 1512, Scottish
Former King of Scotland
Sawney BeanSawney Bean
 , Scottish
Criminal

Juan Ponce de LeónJuan Ponce de León
1474 AD, Spanish
Explorer
Pope Leo XPope Leo X
11 December 1475, Italian
Pope

Giordano BrunoGiordano Bruno
1548 AD, Italian
Philosopher

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
Murad IIIMurad III
04 July 1546, Turkish
Ottoman Sultan

Pope Clement VIIPope Clement VII
26 May 1478, Italian
Pope

Mary of GuiseMary of Guise
22 November 1515, French
Regent of Scotland
Cardinal RichelieuCardinal Richelieu
09 September 1585, French
French Clergyman, Noble and Statesman

Peter Paul RubensPeter Paul Rubens
28 June 1577, Belgian
Painter & Printmaker
Francis XavierFrancis Xavier
07 April 1506, Spanish
Missionary

Tycho BraheTycho Brahe
14 December 1546, Danish
Astronomer

Yi Sun-sinYi Sun-sin
28 April 1545, South Korean
Naval Commander

Hayreddin BarbarossaHayreddin Barbarossa
1478 AD, Turkish
16th Century Naval Commander
ParacelsusParacelsus
17 December 1493, Swiss
Physician, Botanist, Astrologer
John KnoxJohn Knox
1514 AD, Scottish
Protestant Leader

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

Bartolomé de las CasasBartolomé de las Casas
11 November 1484, Spanish
Historian

James IV of ScotlandJames IV of Scotland
17 March 1473, Scottish
King
Louis XII of FranceLouis XII of France
27 June 1462, French
King

John DeeJohn Dee
13 July 1527, British
Mathematician, Philosopher

La MalincheLa Malinche
1496 AD, Mexican
Mexican Interpreter

Caterina SforzaCaterina Sforza
1463 AD, Italian
Noblewoman

Marie de' Medici Marie de' Medici
26 April 1576, French
Queen consort of France and Navarre
Michel de MontaigneMichel de Montaigne
28 February 1533, French
Philosopher

William the SilentWilliam the Silent
24 April 1533, German, Dutch
Military Leader
Pieter Bruegel the ElderPieter Bruegel the Elder
1525 AD, Dutch
Artist

Hamnet ShakespeareHamnet Shakespeare
31 December 1585, British
William Shakespeare's Son
Hans Holbein the YoungerHans Holbein the Younger
1497 AD, German
Artist
Philip III of SpainPhilip III of Spain
14 April 1578, Spanish
King