June 16 – Mary, Queen of Scots, recognizes Philip II of Spain as her heir.
July 6 – The Treaty of Berwick is signed between Queen Elizabeth I of England and King James VI of Scotland.
September 20–21 – Execution of the Babington Plotters: The 14 men convicted of the Babington Plot, which intended to murder Queen Elizabeth and replace her with Mary Stuart, were executed over two days in St Giles Field, London. They were all hung, drawn and quartered. The executions of the first seven traitors on 20 September was carried out in a particularly cruel way.
September 22 – Battle of Zutphen: Spanish troops defeat the Dutch rebels and their English allies.
November 19 – Henry Barrowe, English Separatist Puritan, is imprisoned.
December 17 – The reign of Emperor Ōgimachi of Japan ends and Emperor Go-Yōzei ascends to the throne of Japan.
Toyotomi Hideyoshi becomes grand minister of Japan.
William Harrison becomes canon of Windsor.
Simon Stevin, a Flemish mathematician, demonstrates that two objects of different weight fall with the same speed.
St. Augustine, Florida, and Santo Domingo in the modern day Dominican Republic are plundered and burned by English sea captain Sir Francis Drake.
Jacobus Gallus composes his motet O magnum mysterium.
The first English ship Vanguard is launched in England.
English explorer Thomas Cavendish begins his circumnavigation of the globe.
The cities of Voronezh, Samara, and Tyumen in Russia are founded.
January 1 – Pau Claris i Casademunt, Catalan ecclesiastic (d. 1641)
January 20 – Johann Schein, German composer of the early Baroque era (d. 1630)
January 29 – Louis Frederick, Duke of Württemberg-Montbéliard (1617–1631) (d. 1631)
February 8 – Jacob Praetorius, German Baroque composer and organist (d. 1651)
February 15 – Jacques de Bela, French writer (d. 1667)
February 20 – Hachisuka Yoshishige, Japanese daimyo of the Edo period (d. 1620)
February 24 – Matthias Faber (d. 1653)
February 26 – Niccolò Cabeo (d. 1650)
March 12 – Jean Dolbeau, French missionary (d. 1652)
March 28 – Domenico Massenzio, Italian baroque composer (d. 1650)
March 29 – Ludwig Crocius, German Calvinist minister (d. 1653)
April 2 – Pietro Della Valle, Italian who traveled throughout Asia (d. 1652)
April 4 – Richard Saltonstall, English diplomat (d. 1661)
April 5 – Christopher Levett, English explorer (d. 1630)
April 9 – Julius Henry, Duke of Saxe-Lauenburg, German duke (d. 1665)
April 17 – John Ford, English dramatist and poet (d. 1640)
April 20 – Saint Rose of Lima, Spanish colonist in Lima (d. 1617)
April 23 – Martin Rinkart, German clergyman and hymnist (d. 1649)
April 24 – Henry Hastings, 5th Earl of Huntingdon, English noble (d. 1643)
May 2 – Étienne de Courcelles, French scholar (d. 1659)
May 7 – Francesco IV Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua and Montferrat (d. 1612)
May 9 – Tsugaru Nobuhira, Japanese Daimyo (d. 1631)
May 11 – Angelo Giori, Catholic cardinal (d. 1662)
May 23 – Paul Siefert, German composer and organist (d. 1666)
June 24 – George John II, Count Palatine of Lützelstein-Guttenberg, German noble (d. 1654)
July 1 – Claudio Saracini, Italian composer (d. 1630)
July 5 – Thomas Hooker, prominent Puritan colonial leader (d. 1647)
July 6 – Thomas Trevor, English politician and judge (d. 1656)
July 7 – Thomas Howard, 21st Earl of Arundel, English courtier (d. 1646)
July 26 – Diego de Colmenares, Historian (d. 1651)
August 14 – William Hutchinson, founder of Rhode Island (d. 1642)
August 17 – Johann Valentin Andrea, German theologian (d. 1654)
September 15 – Antoon Sanders, priest, historian (d. 1664)
September 29 – William Lytton, Member of Parliament (d. 1660)
October 7 – Isaac Massa, Dutch diplomat (d. 1643)
October 9 – Leopold V, Archduke of Austria, regent of Tyrol (d. 1632)
October 12 – Muhammad Parviz, Mughal Empire emperor (d. 1626)
October 20 – Luke Foxe, English explorer (d. 1635)
October 28 – Francis West, Deputy Governor of the Colony and Dominion of Virginia (d. 1634)
November 20 – Polykarp Leyser II, German theologian (d. 1633)
November 22 – Walter Erle, English politician (d. 1665)
November 23 – Juan Bautista de Lezana, Spanish theologian (d. 1659)
November 27 – Sir John Wray, 2nd Baronet, English politician (d. 1655)
November 28 – Sir Thomas Bowyer, 1st Baronet, English politician (d. 1650)
December 6 – Niccolò Zucchi, Italian astronomer and physicist (d. 1670)
December 14 – Georg Calixtus, German Lutheran theologian who looked to reconcile all Christendom (d. 1656)
December 31 – Duchess Magdalene Sibylle of Prussia, Electress of Saxony (d. 1659)
date unknown – John Mason, English explorer (d. 1635)
Giles Fletcher, English poet (d. 1623)
David HaLevi Segal, Polish rabbi (d. 1667)
January 25 – Lucas Cranach the Younger, German painter (b. 1515)
March 20 – Richard Maitland, Scottish statesman and historian (b. 1496)
March 24 – Margaret Clitherow, English Catholic saint and martyr (b. 1556)
April 8 – Martin Chemnitz, Lutheran reformer (b. 1522)
May 5 – Henry Sidney, Lord Deputy of Ireland (b. 1529)
May 9 – Luis de Morales, Spanish religious painter (b. 1510)
June 28 – Primož Trubar, Carniolan Protestant reformer (b. 1508)
July 12 – Edward Sutton, 4th Baron Dudley (b. 1525)
September 18 – Ottavio Farnese, Duke of Parma (b. 1521)
Sir Anthony Babington, English Catholic conspirator (executed) (b. 1561)
Chidiock Tichborne, English conspirator and poet (executed) (b. 1558)
September 21 – Antoine Perrenot de Granvelle, French church leader (b. 1517)
October 17 – Sir Philip Sidney, English poet, courtier, and soldier (mortally wounded in battle) (b. 1554)
December 12 – Stefan Batory, King of Poland (b. 1533)
Prince Masahito, Japanese Prince (b. 1552)
1586 (MDLXXXVI) was a common year starting on Wednesday (dominical letter E) of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Saturday (dominical letter B) of the Julian calendar, the 1586th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 586th year of the 2nd millennium, the 86th year of the 16th century, and the 7th year of the 1580s decade. As of the start of 1586, the Gregorian calendar was 10 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.
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