1553 1554 1555 - 1556 - 1557 1558 1559
1520s 1530s 1540s - 1550s - 1560s 1570s 1580s
Events of 1556
- January 16 – Emperor Charles V abdicates. His son, Philip II becomes King of Spain, while his brother Ferdinand becomes Holy Roman Emperor.
- January 23 – The Shaanxi Earthquake, the deadliest earthquake in history, occurs with its epicenter in Shaanxi province, China: 830,000 people may have been killed.
- February 14 – Thomas Cranmer is declared a heretic.
- March 21 – In Oxford, Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer is burned at the stake for treason.
- November – The Truce of Vaucelles collapses, and war resumes between Henry II of France and Philip II of Spain.
- November 5 – Second Battle of Panipat: Fifty miles north of Delhi, a Mogul Army defeats Hindu forces of General Hemu, to ensure Akbar the throne of India.
- Lorenzo Priuli becomes Doge of Venice.
- Mary I of England establishes the Fort of Maryborough, in what is now Portlaoise, County Laois, Ireland.
- The kings of Spain take control of the Flanders region, including what is now the French département of Nord.
- The false Martin Guerre appears in the French village of Artigat.
- King John III of Sweden becomes ruler of Finland as Hertig Johan.
- Welser banking families of Augsburg lose colonial control of Venezuela.
- Ivan the Terrible conquers Astrakhan, opening the Volga River to Russian traffic and trade.