- The Duke of Alva arrives in the Netherlands with Spanish forces to suppress unrest there. He replaces Margaret of Parma as Governor of the Netherlands. Prince William of Orange is outlawed, and Count Lamoral of Egmont imprisoned.
- July 24 - Queen Mary I of Scotland abdicates the throne, succeeded by her son King James VI of Scotland.
- July 29 - James VI was crowned at Stirling.
- September 29 - Beginning of the Second War of Religion in France when the Prince of Condé and Gaspard de Coligny fail in an attempt to capture King Charles IX and his mother at Meaux. The Huguenots do capture several cities (including Orleans), and march on Paris.
- November 10 - Battle of Saint-Denis - Montmorency, with 16,000 Royalists falls on Condé's 3,500 Huguenots. The Huguenots suprisingly hold on for some hours before being driven off. Montmorency is killed in the battle.
- King Frederick II of Denmark and Norway founds Fredrikstad in Norway.
- November 10 - Anne de Montmorency, Constable of France