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16th century: Map

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As a means of recording the passage of time, the 16th century lasted from 1501 to 1600.

During the 16th century, Spainmarker and Portugalmarker explored and conquered the world seas. Latin America became a Spanish colony, while Portugal became the master of the Indian Ocean.

In Europe, the Protestant Reformation gave a major blow to the authority of the Papacy and the Roman Catholic Church. European politics became dominated by religious conflicts, with the groundwork for the epochal Thirty Years' War being laid towards the end of the century.

In the Middle East, the Ottoman Empire continued to expand, with the Sultan taking the title of Caliph, while dealing with a resurgent Persia. Iran and Iraq were caught by major popularity of the once-obscure Shiite sect of Islam under the rule of the Safavid dynasty of warrior-mystics, providing grounds for a Persia independent of the majority-Sunni Muslim world.

China evacuated the coastal areas, because of Japanese piracy. Japan was suffering under a severe civil war at the time.

Mughal Emperor Akbar the Great tried to reconcile the major religions by founding a new religion, Din-i-Ilahi. Akbar was convinced that no religion has the absolute truth.

Events

Undated



1500–1509



1510s



1520s



1530s



1540s



1550s



1560s



1570s



1580s



1590s



Significant people



Exploration



Visual artists



Musicians and Composers



Literature



Science and Philosophy



Inventions, discoveries, introductions

Related article: List of 16th century inventions.


See also



References

Decades and years


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