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
(Queen of Scotland)

08 December 1542

Scottish

William ShakespeareWilliam Shakespeare
(Writer)

23 April 1564

British

Elizabeth I of EnglandElizabeth I of England
(Queen of England)

07 September 1533

British

Guy FawkesGuy Fawkes
(Soldier)

13 April 1570

British

AkbarAkbar
(Mughal Emperor)

14 October 1542

Indian

Mary I of EnglandMary I of England
(Queen of England and Ireland)

18 February 1516

British

Galileo GalileiGalileo Galilei
(Astronomer, Mathematician, Philosopher, Rebel Scientist, Physicist)

15 February 1564

Italian

Anne BoleynAnne Boleyn
(Marquess of Pembroke)

1501 AD

British

PocahontasPocahontas
(Native American)

1595 AD

American

Oliver CromwellOliver Cromwell
(Military & Political Leader)

25 April 1599

British

Edward VI of EnglandEdward VI of England
(King of England)

12 October 1537

British

JahangirJahangir
(Mughal Emperor)

31 August 1569

Indian

Elizabeth BáthoryElizabeth Báthory
(Countess, Serial Killer)

07 August 1560

Hungarian

Francis II of FranceFrancis II of France
(King of France)

19 January 1544

French

Niccolò MachiavelliNiccolò Machiavelli
(Political Philosopher)

03 May 1469

Italian

Shah JahanShah Jahan
(Mughal Emperor)

05 January 1592

Indian

Catherine of AragonCatherine of Aragon
(Ambassador)

16 December 1485

British

Lady Jane GreyLady Jane Grey
(Monarch)

1537 AD

British

Philip II of SpainPhilip II of Spain
(King of Spain)

21 May 1527

Spanish

Nicolaus CopernicusNicolaus Copernicus

19 February 1473

Polish

Catherine de' MediciCatherine de' Medici
(Queen of France)

13 April 1519

Italian

Charles V, Holy Roman EmperorCharles V, Holy Roman Emperor
(Former Holy Roman Emperor)

24 February 1500

Italian

Walter RaleighWalter Raleigh
(Politician, Writer, Explorer, Aristocrat)

22 January 1554

British

Francis BaconFrancis Bacon
(Philosopher)

22 January 1561

British

NostradamusNostradamus
(Physician)

14 December 1503

French

Mariam-uz-ZamaniMariam-uz-Zamani
(Akbar's Third Wife)

1542 AD

Indian

Francis DrakeFrancis Drake
(Navigator)

1540 AD

British

Ivan the TerribleIvan the Terrible
(First Russian Tsar)

25 August 1530

Russian

Amerigo VespucciAmerigo Vespucci
(Discoverer of South America)

09 March 1454

Italian

Thomas HobbesThomas Hobbes
(Philosopher)

05 April 1588

British

Henry II of FranceHenry II of France
(King of France)

31 March 1519

French

Anne of ClevesAnne of Cleves
(Former Queen of England)

22 September 1515

German,British

Maharana PratapMaharana Pratap
(Ruler of Mewar)

09 May 1540

Indian

Johannes KeplerJohannes Kepler
(Astronomer, Mathematician & Astrologer)

27 December 1571

German

Henry IV of FranceHenry IV of France
(King of France, King of Navarre)

13 December 1553

French

HumayunHumayun
(Mughal Emperor)

17 March 1508

Indian

John CalvinJohn Calvin
(Protestant Reformer, Theologian, Pastor)

10 July 1509

French

Margaret TudorMargaret Tudor
(Queen Consort of Scotland)

28 November 1489

Scottish

CaravaggioCaravaggio
(Painter)

29 September 1571

Italian

James V of ScotlandJames V of Scotland
(Former King of Scotland)

10 April 1512

Scottish

Charles IX of FranceCharles IX of France
(King of France)

27 June 1550

French

Henry III of FranceHenry III of France
(King of France)

19 September 1551

French

Oda NobunagaOda Nobunaga
(16th Century Japanese Feudal Lord)

23 June 1534

Japanese

Hieronymus BoschHieronymus Bosch
(Painter)

1450 AD

Dutch

Miyamoto MusashiMiyamoto Musashi
(Swordsman & Warrior)

1584 AD

Japanese

Juan Ponce de LeónJuan Ponce de León
(Explorer)

1474 AD

Spanish

Francis XavierFrancis Xavier
(Missionary)

07 April 1506

Spanish

Mary BoleynMary Boleyn
(Mistress of Henry VIII)

1499 AD

British

Tycho BraheTycho Brahe
(Astronomer)

14 December 1546

Danish

Jonathan SwiftJonathan Swift
(Author and Satirist)

30 November 1667

Irish

Marcus Licinius CrassusMarcus Licinius Crassus
(Roman General)

0115 BC

Ancient Roman

Miguel de CervantesMiguel de Cervantes
(Novelist)

29 September 1547

Spanish

Peter Paul RubensPeter Paul Rubens
(Painter & Printmaker)

28 June 1577

Belgian

Samuel de ChamplainSamuel de Champlain
(Explorer)

31 July 1574

French

John DonneJohn Donne
(Poet, lawyer, satirist)

22 January 1572

British

Sandro BotticelliSandro Botticelli
(Painter)

1445 AD

Italian

Cardinal RichelieuCardinal Richelieu
(French Clergyman, Noble and Statesman)

09 September 1585

French

John KnoxJohn Knox
(Protestant Leader)

1514 AD

Scottish

ParacelsusParacelsus
(Physician, Botanist, Astrologer)

17 December 1493

Swiss

Artemisia GentileschiArtemisia Gentileschi
(Painter)

08 July 1593

Italian

Hernando de SotoHernando de Soto
(Explorer)

1500 AD

Spanish

La MalincheLa Malinche
(Mexican Interpreter)

1496 AD

Mexican

William HarveyWilliam Harvey
(Physician)

01 April 1578

British

Anne HutchinsonAnne Hutchinson
(Puritan spiritual adviser)

20 July 1591

American

Ben JonsonBen Jonson
(Dramatist, Poet & Actor)

11 June 1572

British

Michel de MontaigneMichel de Montaigne
(Philosopher)

28 February 1533

French

BalboaVasco Núñez de Balboa
(Spanish Explorer)

1475 AD

Spanish

Sawney BeanSawney Bean
(Criminal)

Scottish

Marie de' Medici Marie de' Medici
(Queen consort of France and Navarre)

26 April 1576

French

Claudio MonteverdiClaudio Monteverdi
(Composer)

15 May 1567

Italian

Margaret of France Margaret of Valois
(Queen consort of France)

14 May 1553

French

Guru Ram DasGuru Ram Das
(Fourth Sikh Guru)

09 October 1534

Indian

Andreas VesaliusAndreas Vesalius
(Founding Father of the Modern Human Anatomy)

31 December 1514

Belgian

John of the CrossJohn of the Cross
(Roman Catholic Saint)

24 June 1542

Spanish

Hayreddin BarbarossaHayreddin Barbarossa
(16th Century Naval Commander)

1478 AD

Turkish