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|Ab urbe condita||2294|
|Balinese saka calendar||1462–1463|
|English Regnal year||32 Hen. 8 – 33 Hen. 8|
|Chinese calendar||庚子年 (Metal Rat)|
4237 or 4177
— to —
辛丑年 (Metal Ox)
4238 or 4178
|- Vikram Samvat||1597–1598|
|- Shaka Samvat||1462–1463|
|- Kali Yuga||4641–4642|
|Japanese calendar||Tenbun 10|
|Minguo calendar||371 before ROC|
|Thai solar calendar||2083–2084|
1667 or 1286 or 514
— to —
1668 or 1287 or 515
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to 1541.|
- February 12 – Pedro de Valdivia founds Santiago del Nuevo Extremo, which will become the capital of Chile.
- April 7 – Francis Xavier leaves Lisbon, on a mission to the Portuguese East Indies.
- April 24 – Battle of Sahart: The Emperor of Ethiopia defeats by the forces of Imam Ahmad Gragn.
- May 8 – Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto reaches the Mississippi River, naming it the Rio de Espiritu Santo ("River of the Holy Spirit").
- May 23 – Jacques Cartier departs from Saint-Malo, France on his third voyage.
- June 18 – By the Crown of Ireland Act, the Parliament of Ireland declares King Henry VIII of England and his heirs to be Kings of Ireland, replacing the Lordship of Ireland with the Kingdom of Ireland.
- July 9 – Estêvão da Gama departs Massawa, leaving behind 400 matchlock men and 150 slaves under his brother Cristóvão da Gama, with orders to assist the Emperor of Ethiopia to defeat Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi, who has invaded his Empire.
- August 29 – The Janissaries of Suleiman the Magnificent take Buda by ruse, hiding themselves as visitors.
- September 9–11 – Spanish noblewoman Beatriz de la Cueva serves as governor of the colony of Guatemala, before she is killed in a mudslide from Volcán de Agua, which ruins the capital city, Ciudad Vieja.
- September 13 – After three years of exile, John Calvin returns to Geneva to reform the church under a body of doctrine that comes to be known as Calvinism.
- October – An Algerian military campaign by Charles V of Spain (Habsburg) is unsuccessful.
- December 10 – Thomas Culpeper and Francis Dereham are executed for having affairs with Catherine Howard, Queen of England and wife of Henry VIII.
- The Portuguese defeat the Muslims near Lake Tana.
- Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent seals off The Golden Gate in Jerusalem.
- Iceland adopts the Lutheran faith.
- Gerardus Mercator makes his first globe.
- The first official translation of the entire Bible into Swedish is made.
- John Calvin translates his Institutio Christianae religionis into French, as L'Institution chrétienne.
- Elia Levita's chivalric romance, the Bovo-Bukh, is first printed, the earliest published secular work in Yiddish.
- January 24 – Magdalena Moons, Dutch heroine (d. 1613)
- January 26 – Florent Chrestien, French writer (d. 1596)
- February 21 – Philipp V, Count of Hanau-Lichtenberg (d. 1599)
- March 25 – Francesco I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany (d. 1587)
- April 8 – Michele Mercati, Italian physician and gardener (d. 1593)
- April 12 – Ipatii Potii, Metropolitan of Kiev (d. 1613)
- September 7
- September 16 – Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex, English nobleman (d. 1576)
- September 17 – Roberto de' Nobili, Italian Catholic cardinal (d. 1559)
- September 21 – Anna of Nassau-Dillenburg, Countess consort of Nassau-Weilburg (d. 1616)
- November 9 – Menso Alting, Dutch preacher and reformer (d. 1612)
- November 25 – Michele Bonelli, Italian Catholic cardinal (d. 1598)
- December 12 – Johann Bauhin, Swiss botanist (d. 1613)
- date unknown
- Pierre Charron, French philosopher (d. 1603)
- El Greco, or Domênikos Theotokópoulos (Greek: Δομήνικος Θεοτοκόπουλος), Cretian painter, sculptor and architect (d. 1614)
- Hatano Hideharu, Japanese samurai (d. 1579)
- Mizuno Tadashige, Japanese nobleman (d. 1600)
- Guðbrandur Þorláksson, Icelandic mathematician (d. 1627)
- Hattori Hanzō, Japanese ninja who served under Tokugawa Ieyasu (d. 1596)
- January 2 – Wang Gen, Chinese philosopher (b. 1483)
- January 5 – Philip of the Palatinate, Bishop of Freising and Naumburg (b. 1480)
- April – Jerzy Radziwiłł, Polish nobleman (born 1480)
- April 21 – James, Duke of Rothesay, Scottish prince (b. 1540)
- April 24 – Celio Calcagnini, Italian astronomer (b. 1479)
- April 29 – Johann Gramann, German theologian (b. 1487)
- May 27 – Margaret Pole, 8th Countess of Salisbury (executed) (b. 1473)
- June 26 – Francisco Pizarro, Spanish conquistador (b. c. 1475)
- July 4 – Pedro de Alvarado, Spanish conquistador (b. 1495)
- August – Juan de Valdés, Spanish religious writer (b. 1500)
- August 1 – Simon Grynaeus, German scholar and theologian (b. 1493)
- August 18 – Henry IV, Duke of Saxony (1539–1541) (b. 1473)
- September 24 – Paracelsus, Swiss alchemist and physician (b. 1493)
- September – Beatriz de la Cueva, Governor of Guatemala (b. 1510)
- October 18 – Margaret Tudor, queen of James IV of Scotland (b. 1489)
- November – Wolfgang Fabricius Capito, German reformer (b. 1478)
- November 30 – Amago Tsunehisa, Japanese warlord
- December 10 – Thomas Culpeper, English courtier (executed)
- December 24 – Andreas Karlstadt, Christian theologian and reformer (b. 1486)
- date unknown