Famous Europeans 1400-1500

Religious Figures

Jan Hus

1372 - July 6, 1415

Jan Hus, often referred to in English as John Hus or John Huss, was a Czech priest, philosopher, reformer, and master at Charles University in Prague.

Pope Alexander VI

January 1, 1431 - August 18, 1503

Alexander VI (Latin: Alexander PP. VI, Italian: Alessandro VI, or Alexander Sextus), born Roderic Llançol i de Borja (Castilian Spanish: Rodrigo Lanzol; 1 January 1431, Xàtiva, Kingdom of Valencia – 18 August 1503, Rome, Papal States) was Pope from 1492 until his death in 1503. He is one of the most controversial of the Renaissance popes, and his Italianized Catalan surname Borgia became a byword for libertinism and nepotism, which are traditionally considered as characterizing his papacy. However, his reputation is mostly drawn from his enemies, the Italian prelates and barons whose power he subverted. Two of Alexander's successors, Sixtus V and Urban VIII, described him as one of the most outstanding popes since St. Peter.[3] His reputation rests more on his considerable skills as a diplomat, politician, and civil administrator rather than as a pastor, although regarding the latter he was no less effective than any of the other renaissance pontiffs.

Girolamo Savonarola

September 21, 1452 - May 23, 1498

Girolamo Savonarola was an Italian Dominican friar and preacher active in Renaissance Florence, and known for his prophecies of civic glory and calls for Christian renewal.

Pope Leo X

December 11, 1475 - December 1, 1521

Pope Leo X, born Giovanni di Lorenzo de' Medici, was Pope of the Catholic Church from 1513 to his death in 1521.

Martin Luther

November 10, 1483 - February 18, 1546

Martin Luther was a German monk, Catholic priest, professor of theology and seminal figure of a reform movement in 16th century Christianity, subsequently known as the Protestant Reformation.

Huldrych Zwingli

January 1, 1484 - October 11, 1531

Huldrych (or Ulrich/Ulricht[a]) Zwinglib was a leader of the Reformation in Switzerland. Born during a time of emerging Swiss patriotism and increasing criticism of the Swiss mercenary system, he attended the University of Vienna and the University of Basel, a scholarly centre of humanism. He continued his studies while he served as a pastor in Glarus and later in Einsiedeln, where he was influenced by the writings of Erasmus.

Jehan Cauvin

July 10, 1509 - May 27, 1564

John Calvin was an influential French theologian and pastor during the Protestant Reformation. He was a principal figure in the development of the system of Christian theology later called Calvinism.

Military Figures

Jeanne d'Arc

January 6, 1412 - May 30, 1431

Joan of Arc, nicknamed "The Maid of Orléans", is a folk heroine of France and a Roman Catholic saint. She was born a peasant girl in what is now eastern France.

Ezio Auditore

24 June 1459 - 30 November 1524

Francisco Pizarro

1471 - June 26, 1541

Francisco Pizarro González was a Spanish conquistador who conquered the Inca Empire. Gonzalez was born in Trujillo, Spain, the illegitimate son of Gonzalo Pizarro, an infantry colonel, and Francisca González, a woman of poor means.

Cesare Borgia

September 13, 1475 - March 12, 1507

Cesare Borgia, Duke of Valentinois, was an Italian condottiero, nobleman, politician, and cardinal. He was the son of Pope Alexander VI and his long-term mistress Vannozza dei Cattanei.

Hernán Cortés

1485 - December 2, 1547

Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro, 1st Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca (Spanish pronunciation: [erˈnaŋ korˈtes de monˈroj i piˈθaro]; 1485 – December 2, 1547) was a Spanish Conquistador who led an expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire and brought large portions of mainland Mexico under the rule of the King of Castile in the early 16th century. Cortés was part of the generation of Spanish colonizers that began the first phase of the Spanish colonization of the Americas.

Political Figures

Afonso V of Portugal

January 15, 1432 - August 28, 1481

Afonso V KG, called the African, was King of Portugal and the Algarves. His sobriquet refers to his conquests in Northern Africa.

Lorenzo de' Medici

January 1, 1449 - April 9, 1492

Lorenzo de' Medici was an Italian statesman and de facto ruler of the Florentine Republic during the Italian Renaissance.

Isabella I of Castile

April 22, 1451 - November 26, 1504

Isabella I, also known as Isabella the Catholic, was queen of Castile and León. She and her husband, Ferdinand II of Aragon, brought stability to the kingdoms that became the basis for the unification of Spain.

Ferdinand II of Aragon

March 10, 1452 - January 23, 1516

Ferdinand the Catholic (Aragonese: Ferrando II, Spanish: Fernando II, Catalan: Ferran II; 10 March 1452 – 23 January 1516) was King of Aragon (as Ferdinand II), Sicily, Naples (as Ferdinand III), Majorca, Valencia, Sardinia, and Navarre, Count of Barcelona, jure uxoris King of Castile (1474–1504, as Ferdinand V, in right of his wife, Isabella I) and then regent of that country also from 1508 to his death, in the name of his reportedly mentally unstable daughter Joanna.

Caterina Sforza

1463 - May 28, 1509

Caterina Sforza, Countess of Forlì was an Italian noblewoman, the illegitimate daughter of Galeazzo Maria Sforza, Duke of Milan and Lucrezia Landriani, the wife of the courtier Gian Piero Landriani, a close friend of the Duke.

Giovanni Sforza

1466 - July 27, 1510

Giovanni Sforza d'Aragona was an Italian condottiero, lord of Pesaro and Gradara from 1483 until his death. He is best known as the first husband of Lucrezia Borgia. Their marriage was annulled on claims of his impotence in March 1497.

Niccolò Machiavelli

May 3, 1469 - June 21, 1527

Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli was an Italian historian, politician, diplomat, philosopher, humanist and writer based in Florence during the Renaissance.

Lucrezia Borgia

April 18, 1480 - June 24, 1519

Lucrezia Borgia was the daughter of Pope Alexander VI, and Vannozza dei Cattanei. Her brothers included Cesare Borgia, Giovanni Borgia, and Gioffre Borgia.

Henry VIII of England

June 28, 1491 - January 28, 1547

Henry VIII was king of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was lord, and later king, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France.

Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor

February 24, 1500 - September 21, 1558

Charles V (Spanish: Carlos I; Dutch: Karel V; German: Karl V.; Italian: Carlo V; Czech: Karel V.; French: Charles Quint; 24 February 1500 – 21 September 1558) was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I as Holy Roman Emperor and his son Philip II as King of Spain in 1556.

Exploration Figures

Henry the Navigator

March 4, 1394 - November 13, 1460

Infante Henry, Duke of Viseu, better known as Henry the Navigator, was an important figure in the early days of the Portuguese Empire and the Age of Discoveries in total.

Cristoforo Colombo

1451 - May 20, 1506

Christopher Columbus was an Italian explorer, navigator, and colonizer, born in the Republic of Genoa, in what is today northwestern Italy.

Bartolomeu Dias

1451 - May 29, 1500

Bartolomeu Dias, a nobleman of the Portuguese royal household, was a Portuguese explorer. He sailed around the southernmost tip of Africa in 1488, the first European known to have done so.

Amerigo Vespucci

March 9, 1454 - February 22, 1512

Amerigo Vespucci (Italian pronunciation: [ameˈriɡo vesˈputtʃi]) (March 9, 1454 – February 22, 1512) was an Italian explorer, financier, navigator and cartographer who first demonstrated that Brazil and the West Indies did not represent Asia's eastern outskirts as initially conjectured from Columbus' voyages, but instead constituted an entirely separate landmass hitherto unknown to Afro-Eurasians. Colloquially referred to as the New World, this second super continent came to be termed "America", probably deriving its name from the feminized Latin version of Vespucci's first name.

Vasco da Gama

1460 - December 23, 1524

D. Vasco da Gama, 1st Count of Vidigueira, was a Portuguese explorer, one of the most successful in the Age of Discovery and the commander of the first ships to sail directly from Europe to India.

Pedro Álvares Cabral

1467 - 1520

Pedro Álvares Cabral was a Portuguese nobleman, military commander, navigator and explorer regarded as the discoverer of Brazil. Cabral conducted the first substantial exploration of the northeast coast of South America and claimed it for Portugal.

Ferdinand Magellan

1480 - April 27, 1521

Ferdinand Magellan was a Portuguese explorer. He was born in a still disputed location in northern Portugal, and served King Charles I of Spain in search of a westward route to the "Spice Islands".

Scientific Figures

Johannes Gutenberg

1395 - February 3, 1468

Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg was a German blacksmith, goldsmith, printer, and publisher who introduced printing to Europe.

Leonardo da Vinci

April 15, 1452 - May 2, 1519

Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer.

Nicolaus Copernicus

February 19, 1473 - May 24, 1543

Nicolaus Copernicus was a Renaissance mathematician and astronomer who formulated a heliocentric model of the universe which placed the Sun, rather than the Earth, at the center.