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June 1 - Ieyasu dies and Hidetada assumes all Shōgunal powers.

The ban on Christianity is reaffirmed. All foreign trade, except Chinese, is restricted to Nagasaki and Hirado.

§Kingdom of Bhutan

Ngawang Namgyal arrived in Bhutan, having escaped Tibet.


An attempted invasion in 1616, led by Japanese Murayama Toan, failed when the fleet was dispersed by a typhoon and the only ship to reach the island was repelled.


October 25th, Dirk Hartog made the second recorded landfall by a European on Australian soil, at an island off the Western Australian coast.


§Czech Republic

Collegium Musicum was founded in Prague.


Pocahontas arrived in England. In 1616, Pocahontas, baptized as "Rebecca," and married to John Rolfe, left for England. Before she could return to Virginia, she fell ill.

April 23 - William Shakespeare died at the age of 52. An acquaintance wrote that he fell ill after a night of heavy drinking with fellow playwright Ben Jonson. Despite his swift demise, Shakespeare supposedly had the wherewithal to pen the epitaph over his tomb, which is located inside a Stratford church. Intended to thwart the numerous grave robbers who plundered England’s cemeteries at the time, the verse reads: “Good friend, for Jesus’ sake forbeare, To dig the dust enclosed here. Blessed be the man that spares these stones, And cursed be he that moves my bones.” It must have done the trick, since Shakespeare’s remains have yet to be disturbed.

Sir Walter Raleigh released from the Tower of London.


May 3 - The Treaty of Loudun is signed, ending a series of rebellions in France. The Swiss Guard is appointed part of the household guard of King Louis XIII of France.


The third book of the triad of books forming the foundation of the Rosicrucians is published anonymously, The Chemical Wedding of Chrstian Rosenkreuz. The Anti-Catholic, pro-reformation ideology inspired many throughout Europe.

A first wave of witch trials occurred in the city of Würzburg.


February 24 - A commission of Roman Catholic theologians, the "Qualifiers", reported that the idea that the Sun is stationary is "foolish and absurd in philosophy, and formally heretical since it explicitly contradicted in many places the sense of Holy Scripture..."

March 11 - Galileo Galilei met Pope Paul V in person, to discuss his position.

September 15 - The first non-aristocratic, free public school in Europe is opened in Frascati, Italy.

War occurs between Venice and Austria.

Nicolaus Copernicus' De revolutionibus is placed on the Index of Forbidden Books by the Roman Catholic Church.


Haarlem Many prominent Haarlem citizens decided to leave their wealth to the city to build courts and to accommodate the poor old men and women. The old men were given housing in the old men's home built on Groot Heiligland, which became an orphanage and later the Frans Hals museum in 1913.


A second witch craze broke out in Vizcaya. Again an Edict of Silence was issued by the Inquisition. But the king overturned the Edict and 300 accused witches were burned alive.

§South Pacific


On the Island of Java, Surabaya attempted to attack Mataram in retaliation, but lacking allies the Surabaya army was crushed by Sultan Agung's forces in Siwalan, Pajang (near Surakarta). The coastal city of Lasem, near Rembang, was conquered later in the year.


First recorded eruption of the Mayon Volcano occurs.


  • William Shakespeare English playwright
  • Miguel de Cervantes

"On April 23, 1616, two literary giants, William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes, accomplished the feat of dying on the same date but different days. Mainly for the reason of their shared date of death, the United Na­tions named April 23 the International Day of the Book.

"Shakespeare, seven years the younger, went first, on Tuesday. Miguel de Cervantes, despite a life of hardship, held on another week and a half, until Saturday. This was possible because Spain had adopted the Gregorian calendar proposed in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII. Britain, however, recoil­ing at any whiff of papism, did not adopt the new calendar until 1752, and it lagged, in 1616, ten days behind. Although Shakespeare's death date is traditionally given as April 23, according to the new calendar he would have died on May 3."


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