The 1510s decade ran from January 1, 1510, to December 31, 1519.
- January – Catherine of Aragon gives birth to her first child, a stillborn daughter.
- January 23 – An 18-year-old Henry VIII of England jousts anonymously at Richmond, Surrey and draws applause, before revealing his identity.
- February 27–November 25 – Portuguese conquest of Goa: Afonso de Albuquerque of Portugal conquers Goa.
- May 12 – The Prince of Anhua rebellion begins when Zhu Zhifan, Prince of Anhua, kills all the officials invited to a banquet, and declares his intent on ousting the powerful Ming dynasty eunuch Liu Jin, during the reign of the Zhengde Emperor in China.
- May 30 – Rebel leader Zhu Zhifan is defeated and captured by commander Qiu Yue, ending the Prince of Anhua rebellion.
- July – The Holy League, formed to defend the Italian States, attacks French-occupied Genoa.
- August 10 – The Royal Dano-Norwegian Navy is founded.
- December 2 – Battle of Marv: Shah Ismail I defeats the Uzbek forces of Shaybani Khan, in Khorasan.
- The Grand Prince of Moscow Vasili III conquers Pskov.
- Sir Thomas More becomes undersheriff of the City of London.
- Paolo Cortese publishes De Cardinalatu, a manual for cardinals, including advice on palatial architecture – which inspires Thomas Wolsey in his construction work at Hampton Court Palace.
- Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa moves to Italy.
- Sunflowers are brought to Europe.
- April 9
- July – Henry VIII of England's flagship, the Mary Rose, is launched at Portsmouth.
- August 15 – Capture of Malacca: Afonso de Albuquerque of Portugal conquers Malacca, the capital of the Sultanate of Malacca, giving Portugal control over the Strait of Malacca, through which all sea-going trade between China and India is concentrated. The Sultanate then establishes rule from Johor, starting decades of skirmishes against the Portuguese to regain the fallen city. While taking the city, the Portuguese slaughter a large community of Chinese merchants living there. Malacca is the first city in Southeast Asia to be taken by a Western nation, gaining home rule only in 1957, when it becomes part of Malaysia.
- October 12 – James IV of Scotland's great ship, the Michael, is launched at Newhaven, Edinburgh; she is the largest ship afloat at this date.
- November – The Treaty of Westminster creates an alliance between Henry VIII of England and Ferdinand II of Aragon against France.
- November 20 – The vessel Frol de la Mar, transporting Afonso de Albuquerque and the valuable treasure of the conquest of Malacca, sinks en route to Goa.
- Diego Velázquez and Hernán Cortés conquer Cuba; Velázquez is appointed Governor.
- Duarte Barbosa arrives in India for the second time. He works as clerk in the factory of Cananor, and as the liaison with the Indian rajah.
- Ferdinand II of Aragon observes that "one black can do the work of four Indians".
- Juan de Agramonte, a sailor from Spain, is thought possibly to have travelled to Newfoundland.
- Taíno, an indigenous uprising, occurs in southwestern Puerto Rico near Guánica.
- The first black slaves arrive in Colombia.
- The Spanish conquest of Yucatán begins.
- Erasmus publishes his most famous work, The Praise of Folly, as Moriae encomium / Laus stultitiae.
- Middle of January – After Regent of Sweden Svante Nilsson dies on January 2, Eric Trolle is elected new Regent of Sweden. He is, however, ousted after only six months.
- February 18 – War of the League of Cambrai: The French carry out the Sack of Brescia.
- April 11 – War of the League of Cambrai – Battle of Ravenna: French forces under Gaston of Foix, Duke of Nemours defeat the Spanish under Raymond of Cardona, but Gaston is killed in the pursuit.
- May 3 – The Fifth Council of the Lateran begins.
- May 12 – Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk, leads an English expedition into France and burns the port city of Brest.
- May 26 – Selim I succeeds Bayezid II, as Sultan of the Ottoman Empire.
- July 23 – Sten Sture the Younger is elected new Regent of Sweden, thus deposing Eric Trolle from the post.
- August 10 – War of the League of Cambrai – Battle of Saint-Mathieu: The English navy defeats the French-Breton fleet. Both navies use ships firing cannon through ports, and each loses its principal ship — Regent and Marie-la-Cordelière — through a large explosion aboard the latter.
- Summer – War of the League of Cambrai: Ferdinand II of Aragon sends Don Fadrique de Toledo, to complete the Spanish conquest of Iberian Navarre.
- October 19 – Martin Luther becomes a doctor of theology (Doctor in Biblia).
- October 21 – Martin Luther joins the theological faculty of the University of Wittenberg.
- November 1 – The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, painted by Michelangelo Buonarroti, is exhibited to the public for the first time.
- December 27 – The Spanish Crown issues the Laws of Burgos, governing the conduct of settlers with regard to native Indians in the New World.
- António de Abreu discovers Timor Island, and reaches the Banda Islands, Ambon Island and Seram.
- Francisco Serrão reaches the Moluccas.
- Juan Ponce de León discovers the Turks and Caicos Islands.
- Pedro Mascarenhas discovers Diego Garcia, and reaches Mauritius in the Mascarene Islands.
- Moldavia becomes a vassal of the Turkish Empire, on the same conditions as Wallachia: the voivode will be designated by the Turks, but will be Eastern Orthodox Christians. Also, the Turks are not allowed to build mosques, to be buried, to own land or to settle in the country.
- The Florentine Republic is dismantled, and the Medici Family comes back into power.
- The word masque is first used to denote a poetic drama.
- Wolverhampton Grammar School is founded by Sir Stephen Jenyns, in England.
- Paracelsus moves to Ferrara.
- Possible date – Nicolaus Copernicus begins to write Commentariolus, an abstract of what will eventually become his heliocentric astronomy De revolutionibus orbium coelestium; he sends it to other scientists interested in the matter by 1514.
- March 9 – Pope Leo X succeeds Pope Julius II, as the 217th pope.
- March 27 – Juan Ponce de León becomes the first European definitely known to sight Florida, mistaking it for another island.
- April 2 – Juan Ponce de León and his expedition become the first Europeans known to visit Florida, landing somewhere on the east coast.
- May – Portuguese explorer Jorge Álvares lands on Lintin Island, in the Pearl River estuary.
- June 6 – Italian Wars – Battle of Novara: Swiss troops defeat the French under Louis II de la Trémoille, forcing the French to abandon Milan. Duke Massimiliano Sforza is restored.
- July 22 – Christian II becomes King of Denmark and Norway.
- August 16 – Battle of Dubica (part of the Hundred Years' Croatian–Ottoman War): Croatian troops under Petar Berislavić, Ban (Viceroy) of Croatia, defeat an Ottoman army under Sanjak-bey Junuz-aga
- August 16 – Battle of the Spurs (or Battle of Guinegate, part of the War of the League of Cambrai): English and allied troops under Henry VIII defeat French cavalry under Marshal La Palice.
- August 22 – Thérouanne is captured by Henry VIII of England.
- September – The dispute between Johann Reuchlin and Johannes Pfefferkorn relative to the Talmud and other Jewish books, is referred to Pope Leo X.
- September 9 – Battle of Flodden: King James IV of Scotland is defeated and killed by an English army under Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey. James's son, the Duke of Rothesay, becomes James V, King of Scots.
- September 25 – Vasco Núñez de Balboa, "silent upon a peak in Darién", first sees what will become known as the Pacific Ocean.
- October 7 – Battle of La Motta (War of the League of Cambrai): Spanish troops under Ramón de Cardona and Fernando d'Avalos decisively defeat those of the Republic of Venice under Bartolomeo d'Alviano on Venetian territory.
- Appenzell becomes a member of the Swiss Confederacy.
- Niccolò Machiavelli is banished from Florence by the House of Medici, and writes The Prince.
- Leo Africanus visits Timbuktu, second city of the Songhai Empire.
- Paracelsus begins studying at Ferrara University.
- January 10 – A great fire breaks out, in the Rialto of Venice.
- March 12 – A huge exotic embassy sent by King Manuel I of Portugal to Pope Leo X arrives in Rome, including Hanno, an Indian elephant.
- March – Louis XII of France makes peace with Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor.
- May 2 – The Poor Conrad peasant revolt against Ulrich, Duke of Württemberg begins in Beutelsbach.
- May 15 – The earliest printed edition of Saxo Grammaticus' 12th century Scandinavian history Gesta Danorum, edited by Christiern Pedersen from an original found near Lund, is published as Danorum Regum heroumque Historiae, by Jodocus Badius in Paris.
- June 13 – Henry Grace à Dieu, at over 1,000 tons the largest warship in the world at this time, built at the new Woolwich Dockyard in England, is dedicated.
- June – Battle of Hornshole in the Scottish Borders: Young men from Hawick defeat a raiding party from England.
- August 7 – King Henry VIII of England concludes an independent peace treaty with France in the War of the League of Cambrai, negotiated by Thomas Wolsey.
- August 23 – Battle of Chaldiran: Selim I crushes the Persian army of Shah Ismail I.
- September 8 – Battle of Orsha: In one of the biggest battles of the century, Jagiellonian dynasty forces comprising Belarusians of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and Poles defeat the army of the Grand Duchy of Moscow.
- September 15 – Thomas Wolsey is appointed Archbishop of York in England.
- October 9 – Louis XII of France marries Mary Tudor (sister of King Henry VIII of England) at Abbeville, as part of the English peace with France.
- Albrecht Dürer makes his famous engraving Melencolia I.
- Paolo Ricci (Camillo Renato) moves to Augsburg.
- Nicolaus Copernicus's Commentariolus, outlining his theory of heliocentrism, is written by this date.
- January 25 – Francis I of France is crowned (r. until 1547).
- May 13 – Mary Tudor, Queen of France, and Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk, are officially married at Greenwich (near London).
- c. June – A major landslide and flood occur near Bellinzona, Switzerland.
- July 2 – Manchester Grammar School is endowed by Hugh Oldham, the first free grammar school in England.
- July 22 – At the First Congress of Vienna, a double wedding takes place to cement agreements. Louis, only son of King Vladislaus II of Hungary, marries Mary of Austria, granddaughter of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor; and Mary's brother, Archduke Ferdinand, marries Vladislaus' daughter, Anna.
- August 25 – Conquistador Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar founds Havana, Cuba.
- September 13–14 – Battle of Marignano: The army of Francis I of France defeats the Swiss, thanks to the timely arrival of a Venetian army. Francis restores French control of Milan.
- November 15 – Thomas Wolsey is invested as a Cardinal.
- December 24 – Thomas Wolsey is named Lord Chancellor of England.
- Cardinal Wolsey orders construction to begin on what is to become Henry VIII's future summer residence Hampton Court Palace.
- Ottoman sultan Selim I kills Dulkadirid ruler Alaüddevle, challenging the Mameluk sultan of Egypt al-Ghawri.
- The Yadigarid Uzbeks found the Khanate of Khiva.
- Bartolomé de las Casas urges Ferdinand II of Aragon to end Amerindian slavery, and recommends experimental free towns.
- Dürer's Rhinoceros is cut.
- Henry Cornelius Agrippa returns to Northern Italy.
- January – Juan Díaz de Solís discovers the Río de la Plata (in future Argentina).
- January 23 – With the death of Ferdinand II of Aragon, his grandson, Charles of Ghent, becomes King of Spain.
- March 1 – Desiderius Erasmus publishes a new Greek translation of the New Testament, Novum Instrumentum omne, in Basel.
- April 23 – The Reinheitsgebot is instituted in Ingolstadt, Bavaria, regulating the purity of beer permissible for sale.
- July – Selim I of the Ottoman Empire declares war on the Mamluk Sultanate of Cairo and invades Syria.
- August 13 – The Treaty of Noyon is signed. Francis I of France recognizes Charles I of Spain's claim to Naples, and Charles recognizes Francis's claim to Milan.
- August 18 – King Francis I of France and Pope Leo X sign the Concordat of Bologna, agreeing on the relationship between church and state in France.
- August 24– Battle of Marj Dabiq (Ottoman–Mamluk War (1516–17)): The Otoman Sultan Selim I defeats the mamluk forces commanded by the sultan Al-Ashraf Qansuh Al-Ghuri.
- October 28 – Battle of Yaunis Khan (Ottoman–Mamluk War (1516–17)): Ottoman forces under the Grand Vizier Sinan Pasha defeat the Mamluks near Gaza.
- December 4 – Treaty of Brussels: Peace is declared between the Kingdom of France and the Holy Roman Empire.
- c. December – Thomas More's most famous work, Utopia, completed this year, is published in Leuven (in Latin).
- Italian explorer Rafael Perestrello, a cousin of Christopher Columbus, commands an expedition from Portuguese Malacca to land on the shores of mainland southern China, and trade with Chinese merchants at Guangzhou, during the Ming Dynasty.
- Portuguese soldier Fernão Lopes becomes the first known permanent inhabitant of Saint Helena.
- The Venetian Ghetto is instituted, the first ghetto anywhere in the world.
- Leonardo da Vinci accepts Francis I's invitation to France.
- Gillingham School is founded, the oldest in Dorset, England.
- The predecessor of the Royal Mail, known as the Master of the Posts, is established by Henry VIII of England.
- Fuggerei is established in Augsburg (Bavaria), as the world's oldest social housing complex still in use.
- The fall of the Nantan meteorite is possibly observed near the city of Nantan, Nandan County, Guangxi (China).
- January 22 – Battle of Ridaniya: The Turkish forces of Selim I defeat the main Mamluk army in Egypt, under Touman Bey.
- February 3 – Cairo is captured by the Ottoman Empire, and the Mamluk Sultanate falls.
- March 16 – The Fifth Council of the Lateran ends.
- August 15 – Portuguese merchant Fernão Pires de Andrade meets Ming Dynasty Chinese officials through an interpreter, at the Pearl River estuary and lands, at what is now in the jurisdiction of Hong Kong. Although the first European trade expeditions to China took place in 1513 and 1516 by Jorge Álvares and Rafael Perestrello, respectively, Andrade's mission is the first official diplomatic mission of a European power to China, commissioned by a ruler of Europe (Manuel I of Portugal).
- October 31 – Protestant Reformation: Martin Luther publishes his 95 Theses (posting them on the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church).
- Grand Prince Vasili III of Muscovy conquers Ryazan.
- A third outbreak of the sweating sickness in England hits Oxford and Cambridge.
- April 18 – The widowed Sigismund I the Old, King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, marries Milanese noblewoman Bona Sforza in Wawel Cathedral and she is crowned as Queen consort of Poland.
- May 26 – A transit of Venus occurs.
- July – dancing plague of 1518: A case of dancing mania breaks out in Strasbourg, in which many people die from constant dancing.
- August – Construction of the Manchester Grammar School is completed in England.
- October 3 – The Treaty of London temporarily ensures peace in Western Europe.
- A plague of tropical fire ants devastates crops on Hispaniola.
- Erasmus publishes his Colloquies.
- Henricus Grammateus publishes Ayn neu Kunstlich Buech in Vienna, containing the earliest printed use of plus and minus signs for arithmetic.
- The African slave trade begins.
- January 1 – Ulrich Zwingli preaches for the first time, as people's priest of the Great Minister in Zürich.
- March 4 – Hernán Cortés and his conquistadores land in Mexico.
- April 21 (Maundy Thursday) – Hernán Cortés reaches San Juan de Ulúa; next day (Good Friday) he sets foot on the beach of modern-day Veracruz.
- June 28 – Charles I of Spain becomes Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor (rules until 1556).
- July 4 – Martin Luther joins the debate regarding papal authority, against Johann Eck at Leipzig.
- July 10 – The Prince of Ning rebellion begins, after Zhu Chenhao declares the Ming dynasty's Zhengde Emperor a usurper, and leads his army north in an attempt to capture Nanjing.
- August 15 – Panama City is founded.
- August 20 – Ming Dynasty Chinese philosopher and general Wang Yangming, governor of Jiangxi, defeats Zhu Chenhao, ending the Prince of Ning rebellion. Wang has expressed the intention of using fo–lang–ji cannons in suppressing the rebellion, probably the earliest reference in China to the breech-loading Frankish culverin.
- September 20 – Ferdinand Magellan departs from Spain with a fleet of five ships, to sail westbound to the Spice Islands.
- October 12 – Hernán Cortés and his men, accompanied by 3,000 Tlaxcalans, enter Cholula.
- November 8 – Hernán Cortés enters Tenochtitlan, and the court of Aztec ruler Moctezuma.
- The first civil revolt in Anatolia takes place, led by Alevi preacher Celâl.
- The Spanish invade Barbados.
- Spanish conquistadors sailing up the Pacific coast from Panama first observe modern-day Nicaragua, landing at Gulf of Nicoya.
- Havana moves from the southern to the northern part of Cuba.
- A large pandemic spreads from the Greater Antilles into Central America, and perhaps as far as Peru in South America. This widespread epidemic kills off much of the indigenous populations in these areas (the first widely documented epidemic in the New World).
- Central Mexico Amerindians' population reaches 25.3 million.
- The Mexican Indian Wars begin.
- Cacao comes to Europe.
- St. Olaf's Church, Tallinn is completed in Estonia.
- The first recorded fatal accident involving a gun in England is recorded at Welton, East Riding of Yorkshire.
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