- January 23 - The assassination of regent James Stewart, Earl of Moray throws Scotland into civil war
- February 25 - Pope Pius V excommunicates Queen Elizabeth I of England.
- May 20 - Abraham Ortelius issues the first modern atlas.
- August 8 - The Peace of Saint-Germain ends the Third War of Religion in France. Again, the Huguenots are promised religious freedom and political autonomy.
- Académie Française founded
- China, the Voyage in Occident, (Novel)