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|Centuries:||15th century – 16th century – 17th century|
|Decades:||1520s 1530s 1540s – 1550s – 1560s 1570s 1580s|
|Years:||1553 1554 1555 – 1556 – 1557 1558 1559|
|1556 by topic|
|Arts and science|
|Lists of leaders|
|Birth and death categories|
|Establishments and disestablishments categories|
|Ab urbe condita||2309|
|English Regnal year||2 Ph. & M. – 3 Ph. & M.|
— to —丙辰年十一月三十日
|- Vikram Samvat||1612–1613|
|- Shaka Samvat||1478–1479|
|- Kali Yuga||4657–4658|
|- Ǹrí Ìgbò||556–557|
|Japanese calendar||Kōji 2
|Juche calendar||N/A (before 1912)|
|Julian calendar||1556 MDLVI|
|Minguo calendar||356 before ROC
|Thai solar calendar||2099|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: 1556|
- January 16 – Charles I, having already abdicated as Holy Roman Emperor, resigns the Kingdom of Spain in favour of his son, Philip II, and retires to a monastery.
- January 23 – The Shaanxi Earthquake, the deadliest earthquake in history, occurs with its epicenter in Shaanxi province, China; 830,000 people may have been killed.
- February 5 – Truce of Vaucelles: Fighting temporarily ends between France and Spain.
- February 14
- February 22 (approx.) – Sophie Jagiellon marries Henry V, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg.
- March 21 – In Oxford, Thomas Cranmer is burned at the stake for treason.
- November – The Truce of Vaucelles collapses, and war resumes between Henry II of France and Philip II of Spain.
- November 5 – Second Battle of Panipat: Fifty miles north of Delhi, a Mogul Army defeats Hindu forces of General Hemu, to ensure Akbar the throne of India.
Date unknown 
- The kings of Spain take control of the Flanders region, including what is now the French département of Nord.
- The Plantations of Ireland are started in King's County (now County Offaly) and Queen's County (now County Laois), the earliest attempt at systematic ethnic cleansing in Ireland, by the Roman Catholic ruler Queen Mary I of England.
- King John III of Sweden becomes ruler of Finland as Hertig Johan.
- Ivan the Terrible conquers Astrakhan, opening the Volga River to Russian traffic and trade.
- Welser banking families of Augsburg lose colonial control of Venezuela.
- Lorenzo Priuli becomes Doge of Venice.
- The false Martin Guerre appears in the French village of Artigat.
- The first printing press in India is introduced by Jesuits at Saint Paul's College, Goa.
- January 8 – Uesugi Kagekatsu, Japanese samurai and warlord (d. 1623)
- February – Henry Briggs, English mathematician (d. 1630)
- February 21 – Sethus Calvisius, German calendar reformer (d. 1615)
- March 7 – Guillaume du Vair, French statesman and philosopher (d. 1621)
- June 6 – Edward la Zouche, 11th Baron Zouche, English politician and diplomat (d. 1625)
- November 15 – Jacques-Davy Duperron, French cardinal (d. 1618)
- date unknown
- March 21 – Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury (burned at the stake) (b. 1489)
- April 18 – Luigi Alamanni, Italian poet and statesman (b. 1495)
- May 28 – Saitō Dōsan, Japanese warlord (b. 1494)
- June 10 – Martin Agricola, German composer (b. 1486)
- July 31 – Ignatius of Loyola, Spanish founder of the Jesuit order (b. 1491)
- August 11 – John Bell, Bishop of Worcester
- September – Patrick Hepburn, 3rd Earl of Bothwell, Scottish traitor (b. 1512)
- October 21 – Pietro Aretino, Italian author (b. 1492)
- November 10 – Richard Chancellor, English Arctic explorer (drowned at sea) (b. c.1521)
- November 14 – Giovanni della Casa, Italian poet (b. 1503)
- date unknown
- "Kings Of Poland 1386-1572". Medieval Lands. Retrieved 2012-01-03.