- January 31 - Battle of Gemblours. Spanish forces under Don John of Austria and Alexander Farnese defeat the Dutch. Don John begins to recover control of the French-speaking Southern Netherlands
- August 4 - Battle of Al Kasr al Kebir - Moroccans defeat Portuguese. King Sebastian I of Portugal is defeated and killed in North Africa, leaving his elderly uncle, Cardinal Henry, as his heir. This initiates a succession crisis in Portugal.
- October 1 - Alexander Farnese, Prince of Parma, succeeds Don John as Spanish Governor-General of the Netherlands.
- Tibet, Sonam Gyrso, receives from prince Atlan Khan the title of "Talaļ" and becomes the third Dalai Lama Buddhism
- Battle of Wenden. The Russians are defeated by the Swedes, who proceed to take Polotsk.
- April 1 - William Harvey, physician, discovered blood circulation
- April 14 - King Philip III of Spain
- September 9 - Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor