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Sixteenth Century History

1500 World population 400 million.

1501 First flush toilets.

1502 Coiled springs invented.

1503 Leonardo da Vinci begins painting the Mona Lisa. Michelangelo sculpts the David (finished in 1504). First handkerchief used in Europe.

1506 The building of St Peter’s Basilica started in Rome under Pope Julius II. The idea of a church for the popes was conceived by Nicholas V during his reign (1447-1455.) Walls were erected, but construction stopped when Nicholas died. Building would be completed in 1626.

1509 Michelangelo paints the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

1510 Leonardo da Vinci designs horizontal water wheel, an early version of the modern water turbine. Pocket watch invented by Peter Henlein, who also invents the spring-powered clock.

1512 English build double-decker warships.

1513 Balboa becomes the first European to encounter the Pacific ocean.

1514 Polish astronomer Nicolas Copernicus suggests that the earth moves around the sun.

1515 Coffee from Arabia appears in Europe.

1516 Music printed for the first time, in Italy. Erasmus produces a Greek/Latin parallel New Testament.

1517 Martin Luther begins the Reformation by posting 95 theses denouncing church abuses on church doors in Wittenberg.

1518 Anthony Blatner built the first fire engine in Germany.

1519 Ferdinand Magellan sets sail from Spain to sail around the world. Ulrich Zwingli begins Reformation in Switzerland. Charles I of Spain becomes Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.

1520 Martin Luther excommunicated by Pope Leo X. Magellan reaches the Pacific, is killed by Philippine natives in 1521.

1521 First Running of the Bulls held in Pamplona, Spain.

1522 Martin Luther translates New Testament into German.

1524 David Reuveni, a Jew, appears in Venice, claiming that his brother was the king of the lost tribe of Reuven and that he had come to make a pact with the Christians against the Moslems. His appearance caused great excitement among Jew and non-Jew. One of his followers, Shlomo Molcho, reverted to Judaism and announced himself as the Messiah. Both were sent to the stake, Molcho in 1532, Reuveni in 1535.

1525 William Tyndale prints the first English edition of the New Testament.

1527 Castiglione publishes The Courtier.

1529 The hymn Away in a Manger published.

1530 Carpenters use a vice to hold wood steady. German Mineralogist Georg Agricola discovers bismuth.

1534 On 15 August, in Paris, France, Ignatius Loyola and 6 of his fellow university students, including Francis Xavier, made vows of chastity, obedience, poverty and pledged to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, thus founding the Society of Jesus, an all-male Roman Catholic religious order commonly known as the Jesuits.

1535 Reformation in England as Henry VIII makes himself head of English Church after being excommunicated by Pope. Myles Coverdale prints first complete English Bible, the 80 books of the Old Testament, New Testament and the Apocrypha.

1536 Paracelsus publishes The Great Surgery Book. Michelangelo completes Last Judgement. Henry VIII executes Anne Boleyn, his second wife. John Calvin establishes Presbyterian form of Protestantism in Switzerland, writes Institutes of the Christian Religion.

1537 John “Thomas Matthew” Rogers prints the second complete Bible in English, the Matthews Bible.

1539 The “Great Bible” printed, the first English Bible to authorized for public use.

1540 Potato brought to Europe from South America. Ether, an early anesthetic, was made from alcohol and sulfuric acid.

1541 Henry VIII proclaimed King of Ireland.

1543 Copernicus publishes De Revolutionibus Orbium Caoelestium (The Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres), the theory that earth revolves around the sun, and dies shortly thereafter. First Protestant burned at the stake in Spain.

1545 First botanical garden established, in Italy.

1547 Ivan the Terrible (Ivan IV) crowned Czar of Russia.

1548 First theater with a roof opens in Paris.

1550 Berretta family of Italy begin making guns.

1552 Books on Geography and Astronomy burned in England because people thought they contained magic.

1553 Mary Tudor becomes Queen of England, the first reigning queen of England.

1554 Benvenuto Cellini completes the bronze Perseus.

1555 Nostradamus publishes Centuries, a book of predictions.

1556 The worst earthquake in history in China’s Shansi Province kill 830,000 people. Tobacco imported to Europe from America by French ambassador to Lisbon, Jean Nicot (after whom nicotine is named). [A decade later, Sir Walter Raleigh took tobacco to England and became largely responsible for popularizing smoking among Europeans.]

1558 Queen Elizabeth I ascends thones of England, establishes Anglican Church. Plantation of Ireland commences.

1560 The Geneva Bible, first English Bible with numbered verses to each chapter, printed. First instruction manual for playing chess appeared.

1561 Persecution of the French Huguenots.

1562 The horse-drawn coach from Holland first used in England. Andrea Amati made one of the first violins; Stradivari was one of his pupils.

1565 The pencil invented in England.

1568 The Bishops Bible published, of which the King James was a revision. Bottled beer invented in London.

1569 Gerardus Mercater publishes his Mercator projection world map.

1572 Tycho Brahe observes a supernova in Cassiopeia constellation. Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre: religious wars between Catholics and Huguenots, as French Protestants were called.

1573 Christopher Saxton publishes the first atlas with maps of 37 countries.

1577 Jost Burgi invents the first clock with a minute hand. Antony van Leeuwenhoek proposed the undulatory theory of light and the law of double refraction.

1578 William Bourne, a British mathematician, draw plans for a submarine.

1580 Francis Drake completes circumnavigation of earth.

1582 Gregorian calendar adopted.

1583 Galileo demonstrates that successive beats of a pendulum always take place in the same length of time, regardless of the distance through which the “pendulum do swing”.

1586 Kabuki theater begins in Japan.

1587 Mary Queen of Scots executed.

1589 William Lee invents the first knitting machine, the stocking frame.

1590 Microscope invented by Dutch spectacle maker Zacharias Janssen. Shakespeare begin his career. Galileo experiments with falling objects.

1593 Galileo invents a water thermometer.

1596 Johannes Kepler publishes Mysterium cosmographicum.

1597 Florentine composer Jacopo Peri’s ‘Dafne’ is considered the first opera, music set to the work of poet Ottavio Rinuccini.

1598 Tycho Brahe describes his experiments in astronomy. Boris Godunov becomes Czar of Russia.

1599 Globe Theatre built in London on the south bank of the River Thames.

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