In the year AD 1587...
- The construction of the Spanish Armada is nearly complete, and plans are underway to launch it at England before the end of the year. However, Sir Francis Drake launches a daring preemptive strike, sailing a fleet into Cadiz, occupying the town for three days, destroying 31 enemy ships and a huge quantity of stores meant for the Armada, and even capturing 6 ships for England. The raid delays the launching of the Armada by a whole year, giving England more precious time to prepare her defense.
- The War of the Three Henrys continues in France between moderate French king Henry III, the ultra-Roman Catholic Henri I de Lorraine, 3rd duc de Guise, and the Huguenot leader Henry of Bourbon, king of Navarre. Henry of Navarre, with English financial aid, scores a victory at the Battle of Coutras, defeating and killing Henry III's favorite, the Anne, duc de Joyeuse. Meanwhile, the duc de Guise defeats the Protestant Germans, who had marched into France to join the Huguenots, at Vimory and Auneau, and then marches in triumph to Paris despite the direct orders of Henry III, who, finding himself powerless, withdraws to Chartres.
- Japanese hegemon Toyotomi Hideyoshi consolidates his power, completing the conquest of Kyushu and expelling all Christian missionaries from Japan on pain of death.
- Sir Walter Raleigh dispatches a second attempt to establish a colony at Roanoke Island in what is now North Carolina. Members of this group would later mysteriously disappear, becoming known as the "Lost Colony."
- Burmese king Nanda Bayin launches yet another invasion of Thailand, but is once again unable to defeat Thai king Naresuen.
- Sultan Mahmud of Bakhar voluntarily surrenders the Upper Sindh to Mughal emperor Akbar to avoid a bloody conquest.
- The Zimba, a nomadic warlike tribe from Southeast Africa, sack the wealthy city-state of Kilwa in what is now Tanzania, killing more 3,000 people - over 40 percent of the city's population.
- Portuguese forces capture the Sri Lankan city of Galle.
- Cambridge University considers refusing to award Christopher Marlowe his Masters Degree due to excessive absences until a letter from the Queen's Privy Council requests that they excuse him because he has been busy "on matters touching the benefit of his country" - apparently a reference to his services as a spy. Meanwhile, Marlowe's first play, Tamburlaine, appears on stage for the first time.
- Pope Sixtus V formally establishes the position of Devil's Advocate (Advocatus Diaboli), the church official who critically examines the life of and purported miracles attributed to an individual under consideration for beatification or canonization.
- The mighty Junagarh Fort is constructed in Rajasthan by Akbar's trusted general Rai Singh.
- The English words atheism, filibuster, nomad, and half-ass make their earliest known appearances.
- The first brussels sprout is recorded.
These people were born in 1587:
These people died in 1587:
1586 - 1587 - 1588