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Events of 1602
- January 3 – Battle of Kinsale: The battle happened on Thursday, 3 January 1602 according to the Gregorian Calendar used by the Irish and Spanish forces in the battle, although, for the Americans who were still using the old Julian Calendar, the date of the battle was Thursday, 24 December 1601.
- February 14 – William Shakespeare: The first performance of Twelfth Night occurs on Candlemas.
- March 20 – The United East India Company is established by the United Provinces States-General in Amsterdam, with the stated intention of capturing the spice trade from the Portuguese.
- May 15 – Bartolomew Gosnold becomes the first European at Cape Cod.
- June – James Lancaster's East India Company fleet arrives at Achin (now Aceh), Sumatra to deal with the local ruler. Having defeated Portugal's ally, the ruler is happy to do business, and Lancaster seizes a large Portuguese galleon and loots it.
- November 8 – The Bodleian Library at Oxford University is opened to the public.
- December 11 – A surprise attack by forces under the command of the Duke of Savoy and his brother-in-law, Philip III of Spain, is repelled by the citizens of Geneva (This actually took place after midnight, in the early morning of December 12, but commemorations/celebrations on Fête de l'Escalade are usually held on December 11 or the closest weekend).
- Portuguese expelled from Bahrain.
- Ben Jonson writes Poetaster.
- William Shakespeare writes The Merry Wives of Windsor.
- Persia and Spain conclude a defensive alliance and declare war on the Ottoman Empire.
- A private trading company is established in Copenhagen, with a monopoly on the trade with Iceland.
- The iconoclast and Confucian scholar Li Zhi commits suicide while in a Chinese prison during the late Ming Dynasty; he had taught that women were the intellectual equals of men and should be given equal opportunity in education; he was charged with spreading "dangerous ideas".
- Matteo Ricci, an Italian Jesuit stationed in Beijing, Ming Dynasty, China, creates a geographical map of East Asia with Chinese-written labeling and map symbols.
- Famine in Russia