• John Gutenberg invents movable-type printing press


  • First European slave market, Lagos, Portugal


  • Portuguese establish first trading post in Africa


  • Lorenzo de’ Medici born, January 1



  • Portuguese bring African slaves to Cape Verde Islands
  • Inca Empire flourishes in Peru


  • The Vatican Library founded
  • Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa orders Jews in the Netherlands to wear identification badges


  • Leonardo da Vinci born, April 15


  • Constantinople falls to the Turks


  • Gutenberg Bible printed


  • Pope sees comet; calls for prayer against “The Devil, the Turk, and the Comet”


  • King James II of Scotland bans football (soccer) and golf for distracting young men from combat training


  • Jacob Fugger, Imperial banker, born, March 6


  • Frederick the Wise born, January 17


  • Johann Staupitz born


  • Erasmus born


  • John the Steadfast born, June 30


  • Lucas Cranach the Elder born in Kronach, Oberfranken


  • Copernicus born, February 19



  • Michelangelo born, March 6


  • Spanish Inquisition against Jews, Muslims, and heretics begins


  • Raphael, artist, born, April 16
  • Martin Luther born in Eisleben, November 10; baptized November 11
  • Nicholas Amsdorf born, December 3


  • Ulrich Zwingli born, January 1
  • Papal bull condemns witchcraft; inquisitors sent to Germany


  • John Bugenhagen born at Wellin, Pomerania, June 24
  • Gregory Brück born at Belzig
  • Botticelli paints The Birth of Venus


  • John Eck born, November 13


  • Diaz sails around the Cape of Good Hope


  • Columbus reaches the Americas
  • First lead pencils used
  • Corn discovered by Columbus
  • First known reference to tobacco
  • Ferdinand and Isabella expel 100,000 Jews from Spain


  • Justas Jonas born in Nordhausen, June 5
  • Pope divides discoveries in the New World between Spain and Portugal


  • Charles VIII of France invades Italy
  • Sulayman the Magnificent born, November 6
  • Earliest report of Scots making whiskey


  • Da Vinci begins painting Last Supper; completed 1497
  • William Tyndale born in Slymbridge, England


  • Michelangelo begins sculpting Pieta
  • Santo Domingo founded in New World
  • Pope Alexander VI gives his son as hostage to Charles VIII of France


  • Philip Melanchthon born, February 16
  • Copernicus makes first recorded European astronomical observations, March 9
  • Dürer publishes Apocalypse woodcuts
  • Hans Holbein the Younger, artist, born in Augsburg
  • Savonarola hanged in Florence, May 23
  • John Cabot discovers Newfoundland


  • Vasco de Gama reaches India
  • Toothbrush invented


  • Katharina von Bora born in Lippendorf, January 29
  • John Brentz born in Weil, Württemberg, June 24
  • Louis XII of France seizes Milan



  • Charles V born in Ghent, February 24
  • Pope Alexander VI proclaims Jubilee Year; calls for crusade against Turks
  • Aldus Manutius, Italian printer who founded the Venice Academy for the study of Greek classics and invented Italic type, born
  • World population estimated at 400 million, 100 million in Europe and Russia


  • Luther enters University of Erfurt (receives Master of Arts in philosophy, 1505)


  • Michelangelo begins sculpting David
  • Frederick the Wise, Elector of Saxony, founds University of Wittenberg
  • First portable timepiece created in Nürnberg


  • John Frederick the Magnanimous born at Torgau, June 30
  • Da Vinci begins painting the Mona Lisa


  • Philip of Hesse born in Marburg, November 13


  • Luther in thunderstorm, July 2; enters monastery, July 17


  • Pope Julius II lays cornerstone of St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome
  • Luther takes final vows as Augustinian Monk, autumn


  • Luther ordained priest at Erfurt Cathedral, April 3
  • Luther celebrates first Mass, May 2; begins study of theology


  • Michelangelo begins painting Sistine Chapel; completed 1512
  • Luther appointed substitute lecturer in moral philosophy at University of Wittenberg


  • John Calvin born in Noyon, France, July 10
  • Luther obtains Bachelor of Theology degree, March 9; returns to Erfurt
  • Henry VIII becomes king of England
  • Pope Julius II excommunicates the city of Venice



  • First African slaves brought to the New World (Haiti)
  • Luther sent to Rome on mission for Augustinian order
  • Wheelock firearm introduced in Nürnberg, Germany


  • Luther sent to Wittenberg University to serve as professor, takes over chair of Staupitz at Wittenberg


  • Luther awarded Doctor of Theology degree, October 18–19
  • Fifth Lateran Council begins; ends in 1517


  • Ponce de Leon reaches Florida
  • Portuguese explorers reach China
  • Balboa reaches Pacific Ocean
  • Pope Leo X begins pontificate, March 11
  • Luther’s “tower experience,” spring
  • Luther begins lectures on Psalms


  • Albert of Brandenburg, cardinal, Archbishop of Mainz, and elector, begins his reign


  • Luther begins lectures on Romans
  • Index of Prohibited Books adopted at Fifth Lateran Council
  • Coffee from Arabia appears in Europe


  • Erasmus publishes Novum Instrumentum, first Greek New Testament
  • Luther begins first lecture series on Galatians
  • Reinheitsgebot law enacted in Bavaria to assure pure beer
  • Music printed on engraved plates used for first time in Italy


  • Pope Leo X declares indulgence for rebuilding of St. Peter’s
  • Luther nails Ninety-Five Theses to Castle Church door in Wittenberg, October 31
  • Hernandez de Cordoba reaches Yucatán
  • Hernando Cortes reaches Aztec capital Tenochtitlan (Mexico City)


  • Philip Melanchthon comes to Wittenberg University
  • Heidelberg Disputation, April
  • Process against Luther begins in Rome
  • Luther appears before Cardinal Cajetan in Augsburg, October–November
  • Luther appeals to General Council, refuses to recant
  • Frederick the Wise refuses to surrender Luther, December
  • Forks first used at a banquet in Vienna


  • Leonardo da Vinci dies, May 2
  • Ulrich Zwingli begins preaching on New Testament
  • Charles V elected Holy Roman Emperor, June 28
  • Leipzig Debate between Luther and Eck, July



  • Matthias Flacius born, March 3
  • Raphael, artist, dies, April 6
  • Leo X issues papal bull Exsurge Domine, giving Luther sixty days to recant or be excommunicated, June 15
  • Lucas Cranach the Elder creates first portrait of Martin Luther, an engraving
  • Luther burns the papal bull and a copy of Canon Law, December 10
  • Montezuma II, last Aztec ruler, dies
  • Chocolate brought from Mexico to Spain


  • Luther excommunicated by papal bull Decet Romanum Pontificem, January 3
  • Hans Holbein the Younger paints The Dead Christ
  • Luther appears before Diet of Worms and refuses to recant, April 17–18
  • Charles V issues Edict of Worms, declaring Luther a public outlaw and criminal and making it illegal to have Luther’s books, May 25
  • Sulayman conquers Belgrade, August
  • Frederick the Wise hides Luther at the Wartburg Castle for eleven months
  • Luther translates New Testament into German, from December to March 1522
  • Philip Melanchthon publishes first Lutheran dogmatic text, Loci Theologici
  • Anabaptist Thomas Münzer begins preaching against infant Baptism
  • Hernando Cortes conquers Mexico


  • Luther returns from Wartburg, March 6
  • Luther preaches the Invocavit Sermons against excesses of the Zwickau prophets
  • Ban on Luther lifted
  • Magellan’s ship, the Victoria, completes circumnavigation of globe, September 6
  • Luther’s translation of the New Testament published, September 21
  • Martin Chemnitz born at Treuenbrietzen, November 9
  • Luther writes Personal Prayer Book, predecessor of Small Catechism
  • Charles V establishes Inquisition in Spanish Netherlands; over 2,000 killed
  • Ulrich Zwingli begins Reformation in Zurich
  • Bible printed in Spain in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and Arabic


  • Escaped nuns from Nimbschen, including Katharina von Bora, arrive in Wittenberg, April 7
  • Heinrich Voes and John Esch, first Lutheran martyrs, burned at stake in Antwerp, July 1
  • Luther’s translation of the Pentateuch published, summer
  • Luther writes his first hymn
  • Luther writes The Baptismal Booklet


  • Peasants’ War begins, led in part by Thomas Münzer
  • Luther’s translation of Psalter published
  • Luther resumes lecturing in Wittenberg
  • Luther stops wearing monk’s clothing, October
  • Achtliederbuch (A Book of Eight Hymns), first Lutheran hymnal, published by John Walter and Luther
  • John Staupitz dies, December 28



  • George Blaurock is rebaptized by Conrad Grebel; marks formal beginning of Anabaptist movement
  • Frederick the Wise dies, May 5
  • John the Steadfast, brother of Frederick, becomes Elector of Saxony
  • Luther marries Katharina von Bora, June 13
  • Luther’s German Mass first used, December 25
  • Luther’s Personal Prayer Book revised and reissued
  • William Tyndale visits Luther in Wittenberg; influenced by Luther’s translation, Tyndale’s English translation of the New Testament is printed in Worms; over 18,000 copies eventually smuggled into England
  • First Lutheran ordination takes place in Wittenberg
  • Luther works on new church order for Saxony


  • Albrecht Dürer paints The Four Apostles
  • Diet of Speyer grants German princes right to establish religion in their territory
  • Church visitation begins to assess needs of congregations
  • Hans Luther born, June 7
  • Sulayman captures all of Hungary, Battle of Mohács, August 29


  • Plague strikes Wittenberg; the Luthers turn their home into a hospital
  • Luther writes “A Mighty Fortress”
  • Mutinous troops of Charles V sack Rome, May
  • Elizabeth Luther born, December 10


  • Patrick Hamilton, Lutheran martyr, executed, February 29
  • Jacob Andreae born in Waiblingen, March 25
  • Albrecht Dürer dies, April 6
  • Elizabeth Luther dies, August 3
  • Melanchthon prepares Visitation Articles for inspection of Lutheran pastors and congregations in Saxony; Luther participates in one visitation in October
  • Luther writes his Confession concerning Christ’s Supper


  • Second Diet of Speyer, April, results in the issue of the Protestio, hence giving rise to the label “Protestant,” which the Romanists applied to all who agreed with Luther
  • Luther publishes Large Catechism, April, and Small Catechism, May
  • Magdalena Luther born, May 4
  • Luther, Melanchthon, and Zwingli meet for Marburg Colloquy; unable to agree on Lord’s Supper, October 2–4
  • Turks unsuccessfully lay siege to Vienna
  • Schwabach Articles written by Luther and others, presented October 16
  • Marburg Articles written by Luther
  • Sulayman and his Turkish armies lay siege to Vienna



  • Torgau Articles prepared by Luther, Melanchthon, Bugenhagen, and Jonas
  • John Eck writes the Four Hundred and Four Articles
  • Luther stays at Coburg Castle, April–October
  • Augsburg Confession presented to Charles V at Diet of Augsburg, June 25
  • Roman Confutation presented, August 3


  • David Chytraeus born in Ingelfingen, February 26
  • Formation of Smalcaldic League, February 27
  • Augsburg Confession and Apology published, April–May
  • Second edition of Apology (the Octavo edition) published, September
  • Ulrich Zwingli dies on Swiss battlefield at Kappel am Albis, October 11
  • Martin Luther (son of Martin and Katharina) born, November 9
  • Comet appears, eventually known as “Halley’s Comet”


  • John the Steadfast dies, August 15; his son, John Frederick the Magnanimous becomes Elector with John Ernest
  • Religious Peace of Nürnberg signed
  • Sulayman repulsed at Vienna; goes no further
  • Luther publishes An Admonition to Prayer against the Turks


  • Paul Luther born, January 28
  • Ivan IV (“the Terrible”) becomes Russian czar at age 3
  • English King Henry VIII excommunicated, July 11


  • Hans Lufft publishes first edition of Luther’s complete German Bible; by 1574, Lufft had printed over 100,000 copies of the Luther Bible
  • Ignatius of Loyola founds Society of Jesus (Jesuits), August 15
  • First complete edition of Luther’s Bible commentaries published
  • Henry VIII declares himself to be head of the Church of England
  • Margarethe Luther born, December 17



  • Luther begins his last major lecture series, on Genesis


  • Luther, Melanchthon, and Englishmen Edward Fox and Robert Barnes agree to complete Wittenberg Concord; rejected by Zwinglians
  • John Calvin publishes first edition of Institutes of the Christian Religion
  • Martyrdom of William Tyndale in Belgium, October 6
  • Norway becomes Lutheran
  • Menno Simons assumes leadership of Anabaptists
  • Henry VIII allows English Bible in England
  • John Frederick commissions Luther to prepare articles for the meeting of the Smalcaldic League, December 1


  • Melanchthon writes Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope for the Smalcaldic League


  • Luther’s Smalcald Articles published


  • First volume of Luther’s collected works appears, completed 1558
  • Saxony and electoral Brandenburg formally become Lutheran
  • Catholic Counter-Reformation begins in earnest



  • Melanchthon’s Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope published
  • Melanchthon publishes his revised Augsburg Confession, the Variata
  • Martyrdom of Robert Barnes, Lutheran Confessor, in England, July 30
  • Wittenberg holds first celebration of anniversary of the Gutenberg press
  • Society of Jesus (Jesuits) confirmed by pope, September


  • De Soto reaches the Mississippi River, May 8
  • Council of Regensburg attempts unity between Rome and Lutherans on justification; the compromise of justification is rejected by John Frederick and others
  • Nicholas von Amsdorf consecrated as Bishop of Naumburg-Zeitz by Luther
  • Calvin initiates the Reformation in Geneva, which he establishes as a “City of God”


  • John Frederick the Magnanimous becomes sole ruler of Saxony
  • Magdalena Luther dies, September 20
  • Portuguese traders first Westerners to reach Japan


  • John Eck dies, February 13
  • Copernicus’s On the Revolution of Heavenly Bodies, describing a sun-centered universe, published
  • Copernicus dies, May 24
  • Territory of Braunschweig becomes Calvinist
  • Spanish Catholics begin to burn Protestants at the stake


  • Another diet at Speyer appears to grant major concessions to the Lutherans
  • First church built to be Lutheran, Torgau Castle Chapel, dedicated by Luther, October 5
  • Sweden declares Lutheranism to be state religion



  • Council of Trent’s first sessions, 1545–47
  • Fifth edition of Luther’s Bible, the last under his supervision, is published
  • First complete edition of Luther’s writings in Latin is published


  • Luther preaches his last sermon, February 14
  • Luther dies at Eisleben, February 18
  • Luther is buried at Castle Church in Wittenberg, February 22
  • Electoral Palatinate becomes Lutheran


  • Smalcaldic League defeated by Charles V at Battle of Mühlberg, April 24
  • John Frederick the Magnanimous taken captive in battle and exiled to Weimar
  • Wittenberg surrendered to save itself and the lives of John Frederick’s wife and sons
  • Luther’s Small Catechism is first book printed in Lithuania


  • Augsburg Interim published, May 15
  • John Frederick the Magnanimous founds Jena College
  • Adiaphoristic controversy begins
  • Leipzig Interim presented by Maurice, December


  • Francis Xavier introduces Christianity in Japan
  • Matthias Flacius moves to Magdeburg, November 9



  • Calvin writes the Consensus Tigurinus to merge Zwingli and Calvinist views of the Lord’s Supper
  • Charles V commands the death penalty for all heresy in the Holy Roman Empire


  • Council of Trent holds more sessions, 1551–52


  • Maurice turns against Charles V, April 5, who then is forced to grant limited legal rights to Lutherans in signing the peace treaty of Passau, August 2
  • John Frederick the Magnanimous released from captivity (September 1), moves electoral capital to Weimar
  • Katharina von Bora dies in Torgau, December 20
  • Joachim Westphal publishes treatise fully exposing Calvinist error on Lord’s Supper


  • Maurice is killed trying to enforce the peace treaty of Passau, July 9
  • Augustus I becomes Elector of all of Saxony
  • Lucas Cranach the Elder dies in Weimar, October 16
  • Mary Tudor begins her reign, attempts to return England to Catholicism


  • John Frederick the Magnanimous dies, March 3



    • Peace of Augsburg allows Lutherans equal rights in Holy Roman Empire
    • Justas Jonas dies in Eisfeld, October 5
    • Pope Paul IV begins pontificate, makes stamping out Protestantism high priority
    • Pfeffinger publishes treatise on human cooperation in salvation, occasions Synergist controversy


      • Charles V abdicates throne, retires to monastery in Spain


      • Gregory Brück dies at Jena, February 15
      • Colloquy of Worms (to unite Lutherans and Catholics) fails


        • Elizabeth I becomes queen of England, restores Reformation via Calvinism
        • College of Jena becomes the University of Jena; becomes stronghold of authentic Lutheranism, supplanting Wittenberg
        • John Bugenhagen dies in Wittenberg, April 20
        • Charles V dies in Spain, September 21


        • Spanish explorer Tristán de Luna enters Pensacola Bay, Florida, August 14
        • John Knox brings Calvinism to Scotland



  • Philip Melanchthon dies, April 19


  • Naumburg Conference attempts to unite Lutherans; effort fails when it rejects second edition of Augsburg Confession and Apology
  • Chemnitz publishes The Lord’s Supper and Judgment on Certain Controversies


  • Council of Trent ends, settling Roman doctrine and establishing Roman Catholic Church
  • Council of Trent orders clothes to be painted on nude figures on Michelangelo’s Last Judgment panel in Sistine chapel
  • Heidelberg Catechism approved, widely adopted by Reformed churches


  • Galileo born, February 15
  • Michelangelo dies, February 18
  • Martin Luther (son of Martin and Katharina) dies, March 2
  • William Shakespeare born, April 23
  • John Calvin dies in Geneva, May 27
  • Bullinger’s Second Helvetic Confession is adopted by many Reformed churches
  • Andreas Vesalius’s death sentence for dissecting human bodies commuted in exchange for his pilgrimage to the Holy Land


  • Nicholas Amsdorf dies in Eisenach, May 14
  • Martin Chemnitz begins writing Examination of the Council of Trent (completed 1573)


  • Philip of Hesse dies in Kassel, March 31


  • Martin Chemnitz and Jacob Andreae begin work on uniting Lutheran territories and cities



  • Pope Pius V excommunicates Queen Elizabeth
  • John Brenz dies in Stuttgart, September 11
  • Margarethe Luther Kuhnheim dies


  • The Thirty-Nine Articles establishes a more Calvinist form of Reformation in England


  • St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre of Protestant Huguenots in France, August 24–September 17


  • Jacob Andreae publishes Six Christian Sermons
  • Roman Confutation of the Augsburg Confession finally published


  • Crypto-Calvinists fully exposed in Wittenberg
  • Lutheranism restored by Augustus I
  • Swabian Concord published


  • Matthias Flacius dies, March 11
  • Hans Luther dies, October 27


  • Torgau Conference called by Elector Augustus I to begin Lutheran unity efforts
  • Formula of Concord’s “Epitome” (the “Torgau Book”) completed by Jacob Andreae


  • Formula of Concord’s “Solid Declaration” completed at Bergen Abbey, Magdeburg
  • Francis Drake begins circumnavigating globe


  • Chemnitz publishes Two Natures in Christ



  • Book of Concord published on the fiftieth anniversary of presentation of Augsburg Confession, June 25


  • Gregorian calendar implemented by Pope Gregory XIII
  • Conference at Quedlinburg, in which the authoritative Latin edition of the Book of Concord is approved, begins, December–January 1583


  • Latin Book of Concord published in Leipzig


  • Martin Chemnitz dies in Braunschweig, April 8
  • Colony of Roanoke established in Virginia


  • English defeat Spanish Armada



  • Jacob Andreae dies in Tübingen, January 7


  • Saxon Visitation Articles published; Calvinism rooted out in Saxony
  • Galileo invents the thermometer


  • Diet of Uppsala in Sweden upholds Lutheran doctrine
  • Paul Luther dies, March 8


  • Zacharias Janssen develops compound microscope
  • René Descartes, a key leader of the Enlightenment, born, March 31


  • Formula of Concord subscribed in Strasbourg
  • French King Henry IV grants religious freedom to Protestants via Edict of Nantes, April 13



  • Giordano Bruno burned at the stake for support of Copernican astronomy, February 17
  • David Chytraeus dies in Rostock, June 25
  • First performance of Hamlet at Globe Theater


  • Thirty Years’ War begins