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This article is about the year 1540. For the disc drive, see Commodore 1540. For the Catlin Gabel School's FIRST Robotics team, see The Catlin Gabel School#Activities. For The United Nations Security Council Resolution, see United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540.
|Centuries:||15th century – 16th century – 17th century|
|Decades:||1510s 1520s 1530s – 1540s – 1550s 1560s 1570s|
|Years:||1537 1538 1539 – 1540 – 1541 1542 1543|
|1540 by topic|
|Arts and science|
|Lists of leaders|
|Birth and death categories|
|Establishments and disestablishments categories|
|Ab urbe condita||2293|
|English Regnal year||31 Hen. 8 – 32 Hen. 8|
|Chinese calendar||己亥年 (Earth Pig)
4236 or 4176
— to —
庚子年 (Metal Rat)
4237 or 4177
|- Vikram Samvat||1596–1597|
|- Shaka Samvat||1462–1463|
|- Kali Yuga||4641–4642|
|Japanese calendar||Tenbun 9
|Minguo calendar||372 before ROC
|Thai solar calendar||2082–2083|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to 1540.|
- January – Dunstable Priory falls prey to Henry VIII of England's Dissolution of the Monasteries.
- January 6 – King Henry VIII of England marries Anne of Cleves, his fourth Queen consort.
- February 14 – Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, enters Ghent without resistance and executes rebels.
- March – Waltham Abbey is the final priory to fall prey to the Dissolution of the Monasteries.
- May 17 - Sher Shah Suri defeats and deposes Mughal Emperor Humayan at the Battle of Kannauj, establishing the Sur Empire.
- May 22 - Pope Paul III summons the Council of Trent.[dubious ] Its purpose is to achieve the reformation of the church, the definition of dogma and the reunion of Christendom.
- July 7 – Coronado captures Hawikuh, at this time known as part of Cíbola, but fails to find the legendary gold.
- July 9 – King Henry VIII of England divorces Anne of Cleves, his fourth Queen consort.
- July 28 – One of the most important political figures of the reign of Henry VIII of England, Thomas Cromwell, is executed on order from the king on charges of treason. Henry marries his fifth wife, Catherine Howard, on the same day.
- Early September – Gibraltar is sacked by the fleet of Barbary pirate Ali Hamet, a Sardinian renegade in the service of the Ottoman Empire, and many of the leading citizens taken as captives to Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera in Morocco. This leads to construction of the defensive Charles V Wall, at this time known as the Muralla de San Benito.
- September 3 – Gelawdewos succeeds his father Lebna Dengel as Emperor of Ethiopia.
- September 27 – The Society of Jesus (Jesuits) is approved by Pope Paul III, in his bull Regimini militantis Ecclesiae.
- October 1 – Battle of Alborán: A Habsburg Spanish fleet under the command of Bernardino de Mendoza destroys an Ottoman fleet commanded by Ali Hamet off Alborán Island in the Mediterranean.
- October 18 – An expedition led by Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto destroys the fortified village of Mabila in modern-day Alabama, killing paramount chief Tuskaloosa.
- Antwerp is besieged for three days by Maarten van Rossum.
- Georg Joachim Rheticus publishes De libris revolutionum Copernici narratio prima in Danzig, an abstract of Copernicus' as yet unpublished De revolutionibus orbium coelestium and the first printed publication of Copernican heliocentrism.
- Europe is hit by a heat wave and drought lasting for about 7 months. Rivers such as the Rhine and Seine dry up and many people die from dysentery and other illnesses caused by lack of safe drinking water. However, this year's vintage from Würzburger Stein and other vineyards is particularly notable.
- Martin Luther expels the theologian Caspar Schwenckfeld from Silesia.
- Paracelsus visits Villach.
- approximate date – The musket is introduced into Japan from Europe.
- January 18 – Catherine, Duchess of Braganza, Claimant ot the Portuguese throne in 1580 (d. 1614)
- January 24 – Edmund Campion, English Jesuit and Roman Catholic martyr (d. 1581)
- January 28 – Ludolph van Ceulen, German mathematician (d. 1610)
- February 12 – Won Gyun, Korean general and admiral during the Joseon Dynasty (d. 1597)
- February 23 – Hedwig of Brandenburg, Duchess of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (d. 1602)
- February 25 – Henry Howard, 1st Earl of Northampton, English aristocrat and courtier (d. 1614)
- March 1 – Enrique de Guzmán, 2nd Count of Olivares, Spanish noble (d. 1607)
- March 17 – Bernhard VII, Prince of Anhalt-Zerbst, German prince of the House of Ascania (d. 1570)
- April 3 – Maria de' Medici, Italian noble (d. 1557)
- April 8 – Toyotomi Hidenaga, Warlord (d. 1591)
- May 9 – Maharana Pratap, Indian warrior king, 1500s (d. 1597)
- May 14 – Paolo Paruta, Italian historian (d. 1598)
- May 22 – James, Duke of Rothesay, Scottish prince (d. 1541)
- May 24 – Paschal Baylon, Spanish friar (d. 1592)
- May 31 – Henry Cheyne, 1st Baron Cheyne, English politician and Baron (d. 1587)
- June 3 – Charles II, Archduke of Austria, regent of Inner Austria (d. 1590)
- June 9 – Shima Sakon, Samurai (d. 1600)
- June 11 – Barnabe Googe, English poet (d. 1594)
- June 29 – Ana de Mendoza, Princess of Eboli, Spanish countess (d. 1592)
- June 30 – Countess Palatine Elisabeth of Simmern-Sponheim, Duchess of Saxony (d. 1594)
- July 11 – Adolf of Nassau, Count of Nassau (d. 1568)
- July 16 – Alfonso Carafa, Italian cardinal (d. 1565)
- July 18 – John Sigismund Zápolya, King of Hungary (d. 1571)
- July 19 – Ludowika Margaretha of Zweibrücken-Bitsch, spouse of Count Philip V of Hanau-Lichtenberg (d. 1569)
- August 4 – Sisto Fabri, Italian theologian (d. 1594)
- August 5 – Joseph Justus Scaliger, French Protestant scholar (d. 1609)
- August 25 – Lady Catherine Grey, Potential successor to the English throne (d. 1568)
- August 26 – King Magnus of Livonia (d. 1583)
- September 5 – Magnus, Duke of Holstein, Prince of Denmark (d. 1583)
- September 9 – John VII, Count of Oldenburg (d. 1603)
- October 1 – Johann Jakob Grynaeus, Swiss Protestant clergyman (d. 1617)
- November 12 – Anna of Veldenz, Margrave of Baden (d. 1586)
- November 16 – Princess Cecilia of Sweden (d. 1627)
- December 8 – Giovanni Vincenzo Gonzaga, Roman Catholic cardinal (d. 1591)
- December 21 – Thomas Schweicker, German artist (d. 1602)
- December 28 – Charles I, Duke of Mecklenburg (d. 1610)
- December 31 – Silvio Antoniano, Catholic cardinal (d. 1603)
- December 21 – Man Singh I, Mughal noble (d. 1614)
- date unknown
- Andrea Andreani, Italian wood engraver (d. 1623)
- Francis Drake, English sea captain, privateer, navigator, slaver, pirate and politician (d. 1596)
- Christopher Hatton, English politician (d. 1591)
- George Hastings, 4th Earl of Huntingdon, English nobleman (d. 1604)
- Pierre Jeannin, French statesman (d. 1622)
- Hugh O'Neill, 2nd Earl of Tyrone, Irish rebel (d. 1616)
- François Viète, French mathematician (d. 1603)
- Amago Yoshihisa, Japanese samurai and warlord (d. 1610)
- Bartholomäus Scultetus, mayor of Görlitz (d. 1614).
- January 27 – Angela Merici, Italian religious leader and saint (b. 1474)
- March 30 – Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg, German statesman and archbishop of Salzburg (b. 1469)
- May 6 – Juan Luís Vives, Spanish scholar (b. 1492)
- May 22 – Francesco Guicciardini, Italian statesman and historian (b. 1483)
- July 28 – Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex, English statesman (executed) (b. c.1485)
- July 30
- August 23 – Guillaume Budé, French scholar (b. 1467)
- August 24 – Girolamo Francesco Maria Mazzola (Parmigianino), Italian artist (b. 1503)
- August 28 – Federico II Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua (b. 1500)
- September 2 – Lebna Dengel, Emperor of Ethiopia (in battle) (b. 1501)
- October 5 – Helius Eobanus Hessus, German Latin poet (b. 1488)
- date unknown – Francisco de Ulloa, Spanish explorer
- Drinkwater, John (1786). A history of the late siege of Gibraltar: With a description and account of that garrison, from the earliest periods. Printed by T. Spilsbury. p. 8. Retrieved 2012-10-27.
- "Weather chronicler relates of medieval disasters". goDutch.com. 2003-10-07. Retrieved 2012-11-08.
- Johnson, Hugh (1989). Vintage: The Story of Wine. Simon and Schuster. pp. 284, 390. ISBN 0-671-68702-6.