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January 23 - The Shaanxi Earthquake, the deadliest earthquake in history, occured with its epicenter in Shaanxi province, China: 830,000 people may have been killed.



First use of the term All-Hallows-Even, eventually shortened to Halloween.

Marian Persecutions continue

Agnes Potten and Joan Trunchfield (both d. Ipswich, Suffolk, 19 February 1556) were two English women of Ipswich who were imprisoned and burnt at the stake in Ipswich during the Marian persecutions: both are commemorated among the Ipswich Martyrs. Their arrest followed immediately after the burning of Robert Samuel.

An incomplete list:

  1. Agnes Potten, burnt February 19 Ipswich Cornhill
  2. Joan Trunchfield, burnt February 19 Ipswich Cornhill
  3. Thomas Cranmer, burnt 21 March outside Balliol College, Oxford
  4. Thomas Hood of Lewes, burnt about June 20, Lewes
  5. Thomas Miles of Hellingly, burnt about June 20, Lewes
  6. John Tudson of Ipswich, burnt at London
  7. Thomas Spicer of Beccles, burnt there 21 May
  8. John Deny of Beccles, burnt there 21 May
  9. Edmund Poole of Beccles, burnt there 21 May
  10. Joan Waste, burnt at Derby, 1 August

Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury during the reigns of the English kings Henry VIII and Edward VI, is credited with writing and compiling the first two Books of Common Prayer which established the basic structure of Anglican liturgy for centuries and influenced the English language through its phrases and quotations. Cranmer was an important figure in the English Reformation. He was one of the first Anglican martyrs; burned March 21st for heresy.

He was first charged and convicted of treason for his part in supporting Lady Jane Grey as Queen, but Mary spared his life. Mary had resolved to have Cranmer tried for heresy. He remained in prison until she brought these charges in February 1556. But because the negotiations for reunion with Rome were not yet complete, Cranmer remained Archbishop during this time.

Richard Chancellor, who had been working with the Tsar of Russia trying to find a trade route with Europe, departed for England, taking with him the first Russian ambassador to his country, Osep Nepeja. They left Archangel in autumn; the fleet was Willoughby's ships (relaunched), the Philip and Mary and the Edward Bonadventure. In October/November the fleet tried to winter in Trondheim. The Bona Esperanza sank, the Bona Confidentia appeared to enter the fjord but was never heard of again, and the Philip and Mary successfully wintered in Trondheim.


The Treaty of Vaucelles was signed on February 5, between Philip II of Spain and Henry II of France. Based on the terms of the treaty, the territory of Franche-Comté was relinquished to Philip. However, the treaty was broken shortly afterwards.


Bloody Mary established the Fort of Maryborough, in what is now Portlaoise, County Laois, Ireland


Pomponio Algerio (Nola, 1531- Rome, 1556) was a civil law student at the University of Padua whose radical theological beliefs attracted the attention of the Roman Inquisition. At his trial he wore his academic hat and gown to remind the tribunal that, as a student, he has the right to freely express his ideas. From the transcript of Pomponio Algerio at his trial:

"I say that the Church deviates from the truth in so far as it says that a man could not do anything in any way good on his own, since nothing praiseworthy can proceed from our corrupt infected nature except to the extent that the lord God gives us his grace... the Roman Catholic Church is a particular Church and no Christian should restrict himself to any particular Church. This Church deviates in many things from truth."

After refusing to conform to Church doctrine, he was sentenced to prison and asked to reconsider his beliefs. After a year behind bars he still refuses to reconsider. Because Venetian authorities would not consent to an execution, Pope Paul IV sent officials to extradite Pomponio to Rome. On August 21st 1555, a monk from the brotherhood of St John the Beheaded visited Pomponio in his cell urging him to repent. If he repents he will be strangled before burning. The 24 year old student refused.

One year later, on August 22nd 1556 he was executed by civil authorities in the Piazza Navona. Maintaining his composure while he was boiled in oil, he stayed alive for 15 minutes before dying.


January 16 - Abdication of Emperor Charles V in favor of his son. His brother Ferdinand, already in possession of the Austrian lands and Roman King , becomes Holy Roman Emperor elect. Charles abdicated his various titles, giving his Spanish empire (Spain, the Netherlands, Naples, Milan and Spain's possessions in the Americas) to his son, Philip II of Spain. Upon ascending to the throne, Charles' son Philip was compelled to declare bankruptcy. uly 1556, the young monarch discovered that all the Spanish revenues had been pledged to repay loans and interest.

Charles, despite his harsh actions, had been seen as a ruler empathetic to the needs of the Netherlands. Philip, on the other hand, was raised in Spain and spoke neither Dutch nor French. During Philip's reign, tensions flared in the Netherlands over heavy taxation, suppression of Protestantism, and centralization efforts. The growing conflict would reach a boiling point and would lead ultimately to the Dutch war of independence.

November - Collapse of the Truce of Vaucelles. War resumes between Henry II of France and Philip II of Spain


§Mughal Empire

January 26 - Akbar Jalaluddin Mohammed succeeded Humayun Nasiruddin Mohammed as the Mughal emperor upon his death. He had taken control of Delhi in 1555, but died within six months of his return, from a fall down the steps of his library.

February 14 - Akbar was enthroned as the Emperor. At the time of his accession to the throne, the Mughal rule was confined to Kabul, Kandahar, parts of Delhi and Punjab. Akbar was then campaigning in Kabul with his guardian, Bairam Khan.

Humayun's untimely death in 1556 left the task of conquest and imperial consolidation to his thirteen-year-old son, Jalal-ud-Din Akbar (r.1556–1605). Following a decisive military victory at the Second Battle of Panipat in 1556, the regent Bairam Khan pursued a vigorous policy of expansion on Akbar's behalf.

Hemu then moved towards Delhi and stationed his forces outside the city at Tughlaqabad.

October 6 - Hemu's army encountered Mughal resistance. After a fierce fight Akbar's forces were ousted, and Tardi Beg, the commander of the Mughal forces,escaped, allowing Hemu to capture Delhi. Around 3,000 Mughals were killed.

October 7 - Hemu was crowned at Purana Qila and established Hindu rule in North India, after 350 years of foreign rule, and was bestowed the title of Samrat Hem Chandra Vikramaditya. According to Abul Fazl in Akbarnama, Hemu was preparing for an attack on Kabul and made several changes in his Army.

November 5 - Second Battle of Panipat - Fifty miles north of Delhi, a Mogul Army defeats Hindu forces of General Hemu to ensure Akbar the throne of India.

After winning the war, a genocide was carried by Akbar's forces of the Hindu community of Hemu. Thousands of Hindus were killed and minaretts were built with the skulls of dead. Pictures of such minaretts, out of Mughal Paintings, are displayed in Panipat Wars Museum located in Panipat. Akbar took Agra and Delhi without much resistance. But soon after he took possession of his capital, he had to return to Punjab when intelligence informed him of Sikandar Shah Suri’s (Adil Shah Suri’s brother) advancing campaign in Punjab. He was however defeated and taken captive after the siege of Fort Mankot by Mughal forces and exiled to Bengal. The victory of Akbar at the Battle of Panipat in 1556 was the real restoration of the Mughal Power in India. It took Akbar 8 years to capture the territory which was occupied by Hemu Vikramaditya up to Bengal. It marked the fulfillment of the destiny of Mughals in India as rulers.


Ivan the Terrible conquered Astrakhan, opening the Volga River to Russian traffic and trade. He had a new fortress built on a steep hill overlooking the Volga.



King John III of Sweden became ruler of Finland as Hertig Johan.

§South America


Under father Afonso Brás, new buildings of the school and church were finished in the small settlement of what is now Sao Paulo using taipa de pilão (rammed earth), a more solid technique. These buildings would be the centre of spiritual and educational life in the settlement in the next couple of centuries.


Welser banking families of Augsburg lost colonial control of Venezuela.


July 31 - Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order of Roman Catholic missionaries and educators, dies in Rome.


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