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The 16th Century

Can you guess these notable people, places, and things from the 16th century?
Quiz by Quizmaster
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Last updated: January 16, 2023
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First submittedMarch 31, 2014
Times taken46,122
Average score80.0%
Rating4.68
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Year
Description
Answer
late 1500s
Sir Walter Raleigh popularizes this New World product
Tobacco
1562–98
Catholics and Huguenots fight several religious wars in this country
France
1588
This country launches a doomed armada against England
Spain
1582
This modern calendar replaces the Julian calendar
Gregorian Calendar
1580
This English sea captain circumnavigates the globe
Francis Drake
1564
This dramatist is born in Stratford-upon-Avon
William Shakespeare
1558
This "Virgin Queen" is crowned in England
Elizabeth I
1557
Portugal establishes this trading colony in China
Macau
1547
This "terrible" leader becomes Tsar of all the Russias
Ivan the Terrible
1543
This scientist publishes his theory that the Earth revolves around the sun
Nicolaus Copernicus
1520
Hernán Cortés conquers this Native American empire
Aztec Empire
1519
Charles V becomes leader of this Germanic empire
Holy Roman Empire
1519
This explorer launches the first expedition to circumnavigate the globe
(although he would die on the way)
Ferdinand Magellan
1517
This monk nails "Ninety-Five Theses" to a church door in
Wittenberg, Germany
Martin Luther
1517
Ottoman sultan Selim I claims this title, asserting leadership over
the entirety of the Muslim world
Caliph
1513
This Florentine diplomat writes his political treatise, "The Prince"
Niccolò Machiavelli
1508–1512
This artist paints the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel
Michelangelo
1506
Construction begins on this massive Roman basilica
St. Peter's
1501–
Ismail I reunites this country and makes Shia the official state religion
Iran
1500
Pedro Álvares Cabral claims this country for Portugal
Brazil
60 Comments
+2
Level 74
Apr 3, 2014
Love the history quizzes. Thank you.
+2
Level 48
May 19, 2014
Whooo! 100%!
+4
Level 45
Jun 24, 2014
I thought Anne Boleyn was executed because she didn't have a son, and King Henry VIII wanted to get another wife who could have one.
+13
Level 44
Jul 9, 2014
Yeah, but he needed something better than that, it would be bad taste if the official reason were so crass.
+1
Level 82
Jul 9, 2014
Easy. As I'm taking this quiz I am on the island where Magellan met his end at the hands of Lapu Lapu.
+1
Level 33
Jul 10, 2014
Great history quiz. Love 'em.
+3
Level 41
Jul 11, 2014
Thank you! A very nice quiz. However, I do think that Buonarroti should be accepted as a correct answer for Michelangelo, as it was his surname (: Does Fernao de Magalhaes work for Magellan? (I didn't check).
+4
Level 75
Jul 23, 2014
Magalhaes should work for Magellan.
+1
Level 69
Mar 29, 2015
100%, 3:29 left, first try. I've always said that the 16th century was the most boring.
+3
Level 52
Apr 21, 2015
Please accept Kopernik
+1
Level ∞
Feb 22, 2017
Okay
+1
Level 65
Feb 22, 2017
Would be nice if you mentioned that Copernicus was Polish! We take great pride in that! Great quiz.
+8
Level 78
Feb 22, 2017
Do you also take great pride in that he was a German speaker from a German family that never identified himself with the Polish heritage, culture, or language? Because that would be nice to mention too. I we were into valuing people's nationalities instead of their universal contributions. Which I don't think we should.
+6
Level 65
Feb 23, 2017
Well, if you want to get technical, most of his documents were written in Latin, which was the official language of the Catholic Church and Poland's royal court. His father was from Krakow, and his mother was from Torun, and he lived all of his life within the Kingdom of Poland, even if that includes culturally Prussian lands. He was Polish, and he never denied this nationality. My mother speaks Polish far better than she speaks English, but she has been an American citizen for almost 30 years now. Does that make her not American?

Besides, many of the other historical figures on this quiz are described using their nationality, even if it is up for debate. The real question is, do you have to be that much of a genuine jerk when I harmlessly asked for a nice gesture for my culture? I did not disparage any other cultures, so why do you feel compelled to respond so vitriolically?

+15
Level 78
Feb 27, 2017
LinkinParkUnded: I apologize for sounding (being?) too vitriolic. I have nothing against Polish culture. On the contrary, I have always admired nations that have had to struggle through history placed between imperialistic powers. It's just that I'm strongly opposed to this "obsession" to classify everyone according to their nationality, specially when the situation is muddy due to the historical issues. Borders come and go, and many people have mixed nationalities. So, specially in not clear-case situations, I'd prefer to avoid classifying people by present day states.
+12
Level 68
Oct 3, 2020
Take pride in the fact that his contributions are so great that we don't even need his nationality as a clue!
+9
Level 68
Feb 22, 2017
1500 counts as the last year of the 15th century, not the first of the 16th century.
+1
Level 48
Oct 28, 2018
make that 16th, the 14-hundreds were the 15th century... whatever the first two digits of a century are, its called by the next.. ie 2018 is the 21st century
+3
Level 89
Oct 5, 2019
Does no one remember Y2K?
+3
Level 68
Feb 22, 2017
Once again, glad my MA in history with an emphasis on Tudor England comes in useful somewhere. :)
+6
Level 68
Feb 23, 2017
I think this quiz could be slightly improved by putting the events in chronological order. It would give a better sense of the arc of events and help with context. In most cases, it would not make any difference for the individual events, but it is nice to come away with an understanding of the order of things.
+1
Level 70
May 29, 2017
Machiavelli was veery important
+4
Level 68
Oct 7, 2019
Technically, 1500 is 15th century. Additionally, they claimed Brazil to Portuguese crown only after 1530
+2
Level 66
Oct 7, 2019
Yvan alone should be accepted.
+1
Level 72
Oct 9, 2019
Ivan alone works.
+4
Level 75
Oct 8, 2019
I never read about Luther nailing the theses to the door without remembering a teacher who wrote about funny quiz answers his students turned in. One of them wrote that Martin Luther nailed 95 theocrats to the door because they forced him to eat a diet of worms. :)
+1
Level 78
Oct 2, 2020
That is an excellent answer :). My grandma was told by her Catholic priest that Luther was a devil when she was a child, and she believed Luther was a literal devil with horns and a red tail until her 60s. "Age doesn't keep me from learning new things", as she uses to say.
+2
Level 72
Oct 9, 2019
Why does "Anne" alone not work? Asking for a friend.
+6
Level 81
Oct 2, 2020
Every single question is somehow connected to Europe. I am also from Europe, but this is ridiculous...
+2
Level 78
Oct 2, 2020
Why are there so many people who complain about US-, UK-, Euro- etc. centrism, but so few who come up with questions that could be added?
+5
Level 78
Oct 2, 2020
+4
Level ∞
Oct 2, 2020
Nice @camus. I'll probably use a couple of those next time I update the quiz.
+1
Level 64
Oct 2, 2020
Thank you for making that!
+5
Level ∞
Jan 16, 2023
... and I added two of them. Thanks again.
+1
Level 81
Jan 17, 2023
Thanks for the update. Highly appreciated!
+1
Level 78
Apr 23, 2023
Cool :)
+3
Level 68
Oct 3, 2020
Great quiz! Just a suggestion: I did end up getting the right answer, but could you make clear that Raleigh popularized tobacco *in England*? In France, we usually credit Jean Nicot (the namesake for nicotine) with the introduction and popularization of tobacco, in the 1560s (seemingly even earlier that Raleigh did in Britain), although, after reading up on it, Nicot got his seeds from Flemish merchants in Lisbon, so he clearly wasn't the first in the Old World either.
+1
Level 57
Jul 30, 2021
Interestingly the first person to circumnavigate the globe may well have been Malaysian - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enrique_of_Malacca
+2
Level 72
Aug 24, 2021
Good quiz - minor bit of nitpicking, 'religious' is spelt incorrectly.
+3
Level 82
Dec 27, 2021
Would be nice to include at least one question that isn't about either something that happened in Europe or something done by Europeans. Other places have history too.
+7
Level 85
Jan 16, 2023
When a quiz like this is reset, I always am left wondering what changed. After all, we're not getting fresh news stories from the 16th century! (Or are we?)
+3
Level 83
Jan 16, 2023
See a few comments higher. It's still news to some people that history didn't happen only in Europe.
+2
Level 68
Jan 16, 2023
That is where most significant history happened during the time, though.
+5
Level 83
Jan 17, 2023
Significant in what measure? 'Significant' is relative.
+1
Level 63
Jan 17, 2023
I agree on significance being relative. I mean is it more significant that someone painted a ceiling or that a whole empire was conquered?
+1
Level 60
Apr 23, 2023
Historians make new discoveries all the time!
+8
Level 73
Jan 16, 2023
Maybe accept Persia and Khalifa?
+1
Level 69
Jan 16, 2023
Suggestion of question :

This country launches a doomed counter-armada against Spain and failed even more.

+3
Level 69
Jan 16, 2023
Why the second person to circumnavigates is a question ? Nobody care about the second ...
+1
Level 77
Jan 16, 2023
Well, in fairness, Magellan was dead for part of his journey.
+3
Level 69
Jan 16, 2023
And ? 18 peoples survived.
+4
Level 77
Jan 16, 2023
And how many quiz takers would be able to name a single one of those 18?
+1
Level 69
Jan 17, 2023
Isn't it a good place to put a question about Elcano ? Or remove it and put a question about Africa or another overlooked place ?
+2
Level 78
Jan 17, 2023
Accept Persia for Iran??
+1
Level ∞
Jan 17, 2023
Yes, that will work. Sorry about that.
+1
Level 90
Jan 17, 2023
Weren't Coppernicus works published after his death? So he didn't technically publish anything?
+1
Level 53
Feb 8, 2023
It was published just before his death if I'm not mistaken.
+5
Level 78
Feb 20, 2023
As mentioned in previous comments, the year 1500 is considered part of the 15th century, not the 16th, so the last question should be removed.
+1
Level 68
Apr 23, 2023
Spelled Copernicus wrong :-(
+1
Level 50
Apr 23, 2023
Anyone else taking this quiz while studying for their ap world exam?