Timeline: 1581 to 1590

1581  Seven northern provinces of the Netherlands, including Holland, renounce their allegiance to Philip II. They form the United Provinces of the Netherlands. The Eighty Years' War continues.

1582  Oda Nobunaga is assassinated. A conflict over succession follows, with one of Oda Nobunaga's loyal military leaders, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, winning against Oda Nobunaga's descendants.

1582  In Catholic countries in Europe the Gregorian calendar adds a refinement to the Julian calendar, amounting to a 0.002% correction in the length of the year. The change puts the date for the celebration of Easter to that agreed to at First Council of Nicaea in 325 CE. Protestant countries will begin to adopt the new calendar a century later, Orthodox Greeks in 1923.

1584  On his death-bed, Ivan IV appoints Boris Godunov as one of the guardians of his son and heir, Feodor, age 27. Like many sons of domineering men, Theodor is weak in will and initiative.

1584  King Philip II has offered a reward of 25,000 crowns for the death of Prince William of Orange. He has called William a "pest on the whole of Christianity and the enemy of the human race." William is assassinated. The Dutch consider William the father of their country and are saddened.

1585  Spaniards are besieging Antwerp. There the Dutch use the first time-bombs, with small clocks floated on water.

1586  Italian humanist and philosopher Berdnardino Telesio has published his nine books countering Aristotle. He rejects metaphysics in favor of knowledge based on experience and experiment – science.

1587  Some Japanese have adopted European dress, and Christianity in Japan has been growing. Hiseyoshi and some others dislike this trend. Hideyoshi prohibits Christianity and expells Jesuit missionaries.

1587  Philip II of Spain has been plotting to replace Elizabeth I of England with Mary Stuart, the Queen of Scotland and a Catholic. Mary has been a rallying point for all in England opposed to Elizabeth. Elizabeth solves her problem with Mary by having her beheaded.

1588  Upon hearing of Mary's execution, Pope Sixtus V promises to pay Philip II one million gold ducats if his troops invade England. An English fleet confronts the Spanish armada of more than a hundred ships and 30,000 soldiers, heading for an invasion. Elizabeth's smaller ships scatter Philip's armada. Only about 65 of Philip's ships make it back to port. 

1590  Mechanical inventions are on their way to advancing science. A spectacles maker in the Netherlands, experimenting with several lenses in a tube, discovers that nearby objects appear greatly enlarged. The modern microscope is born.

to 1571-1580 | to 1591-1600

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