4 April - Francis Drake is knighted.
Francis, Duke of Alencon, comes to England to further the negotioations for Queen Elizabeth's hand in marriage.
1 December - English Jesuit Edmund Campion is executed.
7-11 November - A marriage treaty is signed between Queen Elizabeth I and Alencon.
18 March - An assassination attempt against William of Orange, leader of the Dutch revolt against Spanish rule. He is seriously injured and loses the ability to speak. He afterwards becomes known as William The Silent.
22 August - James VI is captured by the English party whilst out hunting. He is kept in captivity until June 1583.
5 October - The Gregorian Calendar is adopted in Catholic countries. Consequently, the 5 of October becomes the 15th.
Plague in London.
20 December - John Somerville is executed for a plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I.
The Irish rebellion is defeated.
Ivan IV kills his son, Ivan, in a fit of rage.
William of Orange accepts the sovereignty of the northern Netherlands.
18 March - Death of Ivan the terrible (Tsar of Russia).
9 June - Death of Francis, Duke of Alencon.
10 July - Assassination of William of Orange.
10 July - Francis Throgmorton is executed for conspiring a Spanish invasion of England.
The Bond of association is formed, in which loyal subjects of the Queen pledge allegiance to her and promise to avenge her murder should it take place.
Sir Walter Raleigh sails to Virginia.
The Spanish Ambassador, Mendoza, is expelled from England.
29 June - Elizabeth again refuses sovereignty of the Netherlands.
7 June - The first English colony in America is established at Roanoke Island, Virginia.
14 August - Elizabeth issues a declaration that she is taking the Netherlands under her protection.
3 September - Treaty of Nonsuch.
The English expedition to the Netherlands under the leadership of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. War with Spain begins as a result.
1 July - Treaty of Berwick, in which Elizabeth I and James VI form a league of amity.
17 July - The Babington Plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I and put Mary, Queen of Scots, on the throne is discovered by Francis Walsingham.
20 September - Anthony Babington and his fellow conspirators are executed.
22 September - The Battle of Zutphen.
11-14 October - The trial of Mary, Queen of Scots, for her supposed complicity in the Babington Plot.
17 October - Sir Philip Sidney dies of wounds received in the Battle of Zutphen.
25 October - Sentence is pronounced against Mary, Queen of Scots.
12 December - King Stephen of Poland dies and is succeeded by the son of the Swedish King, Sigismund.
1 February - Elizabeth signs the death warrant of Mary, Queen of Scots.
8 February - Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots at Fotheringay Castle.
19 April - English attack Spanish fleet at Cadiz.
18 August - The first English child to be born in North America, Virginia Dare, is born on Roanoke Island.
8 August - Defeat of the Spanish Armada.
4 September - Death of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester.
4 April - Frederick II of Denmark dies, aged 53, and is succeeded by his 10 year old son, Christian IV.
5 January - Death of Catherine de Medici.
13 April - Francis Drake and Sir John Norris lead a campaign to Portugal.
31 July - Henry III of France is murdered.
6 April - Death of Sir Francis Walsingham.