January 15 – Henry II of France and Maurice of Saxony sign the Treaty of Chambord.
February 12 – Pedro de Valdivia founds the Chilean city of Valdivia as "Santa María la Blanca de Valdivia".
February 24 – The privileges of the Hanseatic League are abolished in England.
March – The Act of Uniformity imposes the Protestant Book of Common Prayer in England.
March 26 – Guru Amar Das becomes the Third Sikh Guru.
April – War breaks out between Henry II of France and Emperor Charles V. Henry invades Lorraine and captures Toul, Metz, and Verdun.
April 16 – Pedro de Valdivia founds the city of La Imperial, Chile.
May – Maurice of Saxony captures Augsburg and almost seizes Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor at Innsbruck, leading to suspension of the Council of Trent.
July – In Hungary, Drégely Castle is attacked by the Ottoman Empire. Captain Szondy and c.140 soldiers in the castle die after 4 days of fighting against 8000 Turkish raiders.
John Frederick, Elector of Saxony and Philipp I of Hesse, taken prisoner by Charles V in 1546, are released.
The Peace of Passau revokes the Augsburg Interim of 1548 and promises religious freedom to the Protestant princes.
September – In Hungary, captain István Dobó commands the breaking of the Siege of Eger, led by Kara Ahmed Pasha of the Ottoman Empire.
October 2 – The Khanate of Kazan falls to troops of Ivan IV of Russia.
In the Persian Gulf, the Ottoman Empire Red Sea Fleet attacks the Portuguese stronghold of Hormuz but fails to capture it.
Spain's Bartolomé de Las Casas publishes his attack on colonial practices in the New World, A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies.
In Italy, Bartolomeo Eustachi completes his Tabulae anatomicae, presenting his discoveries on the structure of the inner ear and heart, although, for fear of the Inquisition, it will not be published until 1714.
King Edward VI of England founds 35 grammar schools by royal charter, including Shrewsbury; Leeds Grammar School is also established.
The Debatable Lands on the border of England and Scotland are divided between the two kingdoms by a commission in an unsuccessful attempt to halt lawlessness there. This gives both Scotland and England their modern borders.
January 14 – Alberico Gentili, Italian jurist (d. 1608)
January 22 – Walter Raleigh, English explorer (d. 1618)
February 1 – Edward Coke, English colonial entrepreneur and jurist (d. 1634)
February 8 – Agrippa d'Aubigné, French poet and soldier (d. 1630)
February 19 – Melchior Klesl, Austrian statesman and cardinal (d. 1630)
February 20 – Sengoku Hidehisa, Daimyo (d. 1614)
February 25 – Magdalene of Lippe, Countess of Lippe by birth, and by marriage Landgravine of Hesse-Darmstadt (d. 1587)
February 28 – Joost Bürgi, Swiss clockmaker and mathematician (d. 1632)
March 1 – Anna of Cleves, Duchess of Jülich-Cleves-Berg by birth and by marriage Countess Palatine of Neuburg (d. 1632)
March 18 – Polykarp Leyser the Elder, German theologian (d. 1610)
March 20 – Christoph, Count of Hohenzollern-Haigerloch (d. 1592)
April 20 – Frederick IV of Liegnitz, German noble (d. 1596)
May 8 – Petrus Ryff, Swiss scientist (d. 1629)
May 12 – Edmund Bowyer, English politician (d. 1627)
June 2 – Raja Wodeyar I, King of Mysore (d. 1617)
June 17 – John George of Ohlau, Duke of Oława and Wołów (1586-1592) (d. 1592)
June 18 – Gabriello Chiabrera, Italian poet (d. 1637)
June 29 – Elizabeth Spencer, Baroness Hunsdon, English Baroness (d. 1618)
July 18 – Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor (d. 1612)
Anthony Browne (d. 1592)
Mary Wriothesley, Countess of Southampton, Lady of English peer and others (d. 1607)
August 14 – Paolo Sarpi, Italian writer (d. 1623)
August 21 – Muhammad Qadiri, Founder of the Naushahia branch of the Qadri order (d. 1654)
August 24 – Lavinia Fontana, Italian painter (d. 1614)
September 12 – André Schott, Jesuit priest, academic, linguist, translator, editor (d. 1629)
September 20 – Lorenz Scholz von Rosenau, German botanist (d. 1599)
September 21 – Barbara Longhi, Italian painter (d. 1638)
September 22 – Tsar Vasili IV of Russia (d. 1612)
October 6 – Matteo Ricci, Italian Jesuit missionary to China (d. 1610)
October 11 – Tsarevich Dmitry Ivanovich of Russia, Grand Prince of Moscow (d. 1553)
Elisabeth of Saxony, Countess Palatine of Simmern (d. 1590)
Francis Cherry, English diplomat (d. 1605)
October 23 – Odet de Turnèbe, French dramatist (d. 1581)
October 28 – Simón de Rojas, Spanish saint (d. 1624)
November 20 – Gilbert Talbot, 7th Earl of Shrewsbury, English politician and Earl (d. 1616)
December 26 – Seonjo of Joseon, King of Joseon (d. 1608)
December 27 – William Cavendish, 1st Earl of Devonshire, English politician and Earl (d. 1626)
December 29 – Henri I de Bourbon, prince de Condé (d. 1588)
December 30 – Simon Forman, English occultist and astrologer (d. 1611)
Hans von Aachen, German mannerist painter (d. 1615)
Thomas Aufield, English Catholic martyr (d. 1585)
Jean Bertaut, French poet (d. 1611)
Miguel de Benavides, Spanish clergyman and sinologist (d. 1605)
Richard Hakluyt, English author, editor and translator (b. c. 1552 or 1553; d. 1616)
Philemon Holland, English translator (d. 1637)
Francisco Goméz de Sandoval y Rojas, Duke of Lerma, Spanish politician (d. 1625)
Prince Masahito, Japanese Prince (d. 1586)
Lady Saigō, Japanese concubine (d. 1589)
Dom Justo Takayama, Japanese daimyo (d. 1615)
Jean Hotman, Marquis de Villers-St-Paul, French diplomat (d. 1636)
Jack Ward, English pirate (d. 1622)
Cvijeta Zuzorić, Croatian poet (d. 1648)
January 10 – Johann Cochlaeus, German humanist and controversialist (b. 1479)
January 22 – Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset, English politician (b. 1509)
February 26 – Heinrich Faber, German composer (b. 1500)
April 18 – John Leland, English historian (b. 1502)
May 26 – Sebastian Münster, German cartographer and cosmographer (b. 1488)
June 10 – Alexander Barclay, British poet (b. 1476)
July 9 – György Szondy Hungarian soldier.
August 15 – Hermann of Wied, German Catholic archbishop (b. 1477)
October 14 – Oswald Myconius, Swiss Protestant reformer (b. 1488)
October 17 – Andreas Osiander, German Protestant theologian (b. 1498)
December 2 – Francis Xavier, Spanish Jesuit missionary (b. 1506)
December 20 – Katharina von Bora, wife of Martin Luther (b. 1499)
Year 1552 (MDLII) was a leap year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar.