"The x day of July...ther ded in London mony marchants and grett ryche men and women, and yonge men and old, of the new swett."

- From the diary of English merchant Henry Machyn,
recording the arrival of the English Sweating Sickness in London, July 1551.

"Both victor and vanquished
are but drops of dew -
but bolts of lightning –
thus should we view the world."

- Death poem of Japanese warlord Ōuchi Yoshitaka,
composed just prior to his death by seppuku, September 30, 1551.

In the year AD 1551...

  • The fifth and final outbreak of the mysterious English Sweating Sickness breaks out in Shrewsbury and spreads across England, killing tens of thousands before vanishing forever, never to return. The disease takes the heaviest toll on young men and those living in rural areas, but kills people from all classes. After heavy sweating and delirium, victims either recover fully or drop dead within 24 hours.
  • The last of the numerous Italian Wars breaks out between France and Spain for control of Italy, beginning with the brief War of Parma, which sees France and Parma repel an attempt by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and the Papal States to recapture Parma.
  • Meanwhile, the Ottoman Empire wages war against Malta.
    • In July, Ottoman forces attempt to conquer Malta, but are repelled.
    • Thereafter, the Ottomans invade the Maltese island of Gozo, capturing and enslaving around 6,000 Christians, which is almost the entire population of the island. Despite active efforts at recolonization by the Maltese, it will take 150 years to fully repopulate.
    • Finally, Ottoman forces, with the aid of Barbary pirates, lay siege to Tripoli, then held by the Knights of Malta. After a six-day bombardment, the Knights surrender the city to the Ottomans.
  • In the Taineiji incident, the senior vassal of the mighty Ōuchi clan, Sue Harukata, launches a successful coup d'etat against his lord and master, Ōuchi Yoshitaka, forcing him to commit suicide. Thereafter, Harukata is the true master of the Ōuchi, ruling through the puppet daimyo Ōuchi Yoshinaga. Harukata and his supporters had been angered by Yoshitaka's plan to relocate the Emperor of Japan to the Ōuchi capital at Yamaguchi in western Japan, which would have greatly reduced his power and prestige.
  • The National University of San Marcos is founded in Lima in what is now Peru, becoming the first university established in the Americas.
  • The words fabulous, gallimaufry, moustache, and smug appear in the English language for the first time.

These people were born in 1551:

These people died in 1551:

1550 - 1551 - 1552

16th century

How they were made

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