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|Centuries:||15th century – 16th century – 17th century|
|Decades:||1520s 1530s 1540s – 1550s – 1560s 1570s 1580s|
|Years:||1556 1557 1558 – 1559 – 1560 1561 1562|
- January 15 – Elizabeth I of England is crowned in Westminster Abbey.
- March 23 – Emperor Gelawdewos of Ethiopia, defending his lands against the invasion of Nur ibn Mujahid, Sultan of Harar, is killed in battle. His brother Menas succeeds him as king.
- April 3 – Peace of Cateau Cambrésis – France makes peace with England and Spain. France gives up most of its gains in Italy (including Savoy), keeping only Saluzzo, but keeps the three Lorraine bishoprics of Metz, Toul, and Verdun, and the formerly English town of Calais.
- July 10 – Francis II becomes King of France following the death of his father, Henry II in a jousting accident.
- End of the Italian Wars.
- The Decameron expurgated.
- A royal edict in France makes heresy punishable by death.
- Elizabeth I establishes the Church of England, with the Act of Uniformity 1559 and the Act of Supremacy 1559.