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|Centuries:||15th century – 16th century – 17th century|
|Decades:||1520s 1530s 1540s – 1550s – 1560s 1570s 1580s|
|Years:||1548 1549 1550 – 1551 – 1552 1553 1554|
|1551 by topic|
|Arts and science|
|Lists of leaders|
|Birth and death categories|
|Establishments and disestablishments categories|
|Ab urbe condita||2304|
|English Regnal year||4 Edw. 6 – 5 Edw. 6|
— to —辛亥年十二月初五日
|- Vikram Samvat||1607–1608|
|- Shaka Samvat||1473–1474|
|- Kali Yuga||4652–4653|
|- Ǹrí Ìgbò||551–552|
|Japanese calendar||Tenbun 20
|Juche calendar||N/A (before 1912)|
|Julian calendar||1551 MDLI|
|Minguo calendar||361 before ROC
|Thai solar calendar||2094|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: 1551|
- January–February – Macarius, Metropolitan of Moscow, and Tsar Ivan IV of Russia preside over the Stoglav (Hundred-Chapter) church council.
- January 11 – Ketumati, Burma is conquered by Bayinnaung.
- April 11 English premier John Dudley appointed duke of Northumberland.
- May 12 – The National University of San Marcos is founded in Lima (Peru), being the first officially established university in the Americas.
- July – Ottomans and Barbary pirates invade the Mediterranean Island of Gozo, enslaving all inhabitants (est. at 5,000 to 6,000), and transporting them to Tarhuna Wa Msalata.
- September 21 – The Royal and Pontifical University of Mexico is founded in Mexico City (Mexico), being the second officially established university in the Americas.
Date unknown 
- Russia: Reforming Synod of the Metropolitan Makary: A calendar of the saints and an ecclesiastical law code (Stoglav) are introduced.
- The fifth outbreak of sweating sickness occurs in England. John Caius of Shrewsbury writes the first full contemporary account of the symptoms of the disease.
- Persian forces raid and destroy the cave monastery of Vardzia in Georgia (country).
- The Ottomans capture Tripoli.
- In Slovakia, Guta (currently Kolárovo) receives town status.
- Juan de Betanzos begins to write "Narrative of the Incas".
- In Henan province, China, during the Ming Dynasty, a severe frost in the spring destroys the winter wheat crop. Torrential rains in mid summer cause massive flooding of farmland and villages (by some accounts submerged in a meter of water). In the fall a large tornado demolishes houses and flattens much of the buckwheat in the fields. Famine victims either flee, starve, or resort to cannibalism. This follows a series of natural disasters in Henan in the years 1528, 1531, 1539, and 1545.
- Portugal founds a sugar colony at Bahia.
- New edition of the Genevan psalter, Pseaumes octantetrois de David, with Louis Bourgeois as supervising composer, including first publication of the hymn tune known as the "Old 100th".
- March 21 – Maria Anna of Bavaria (Archduchess of Austria) (d. 1608)
- May 2 – William Camden, English historian (d. 1623)
- May 17 – Martin Delrio, Flemish theologian and occultist (d. 1608)
- September 19 – King Henry III of France (d. 1589)
- date unknown
- February 28 – Martin Bucer, German Protestant reformer (b. 1491)
- April 6 – Joachim Vadian, Swiss humanist (b. 1484)
- April 21 – Oda Nobuhide, Japanese warlord (b. 1510)
- May 8 – Barbara Radziwill, queen of Sigismund II of Poland (b. 1523)
- May 18 – Domenico di Pace Beccafumi, Italian painter (b. 1486)
- July – Adriaen Isenbrant, Flemish painter (b. 1490)
- July 13 – John Wallop, English soldier and diplomat (b. 1490)
- August 8 – Fray Tomás de Berlanga, Bishop of Panama (b. 1487)
- August 26 – Margareta Leijonhufvud, queen of Gustav I of Sweden (b. 1516)
- September 30 – Ōuchi Yoshitaka, Japanese warlord (b. 1507)
- date unknown
- Shihaab Ad Deen Ahmed bin Hamzah Ar Rumli Ashafai' "957AH"