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|1481 by topic|
|Arts and science|
|Architecture - Art|
|Political entities - State leaders - Colonial governors - Religious leaders|
|Birth and death categories|
|Births - Deaths|
|Establishments and disestablishments categories|
|Establishments - Disestablishments|
|Art and literature|
|1481 in poetry|
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- May 3 – Mehmed II, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, dies and is succeeded by his son, Bayezid II.
- May 21 – Christian I, King of Denmark and Norway, dies and is succeeded by his son John (1481–1513).
- June 21 – The papal bull Aeterni regis grants all land south of the Canary Islands to Portugal.
- August 29 – John II of Portugal starts to rule in his own right.
- September 10 – Alphonso II of Naples recaptures the city of Otranto.
- December 26 – Battle of Westbroek: Holland defeats the troops of Utrecht.
- The Constitució de l'Observança is approved by the Catalan Courts, establishing the submission of royal power to the laws of the Principality of Catalonia.
- With the death of Duke Charles IV of Anjou, Anjou reverts to the French crown under Louis XI of France.
- Symeon I succeeds Maximus III as Patriarch of Constantinople.
- Ludovico Sforza emerges as Regent of Milan (until 1499).
- Axayacatl, Aztec ruler of Tenochtitlan, dies and is succeeded by his brother Tízoc.
- Fribourg and Solothurn become Cantons of Switzerland.
- Fire destroys the roof and the spires of the Notre-Dame de Reims Cathedral.
- The Aztec Calendar Stone or Sun Stone is carved.
- January 15 – Ashikaga Yoshizumi, Japanese shogun (d. 1511)
- March 2 – Franz von Sickingen, German knight (d. 1523)
- March 7 – Baldassare Peruzzi, Italian architect and painter (d. 1536)
- May 3 – Juana de la Cruz Vázquez Gutiérrez, Spanish abbess of the Franciscan Third Order Regular (d. 1534)
- May 14 – Ruprecht of the Palatinate, German bishop (d. 1504)
- July 1 – King Christian II of Denmark, Scandinavian monarch under the Kalmar Union (d. 1559)
- August 21 – Jorge de Lencastre, Duke of Coimbra (d. 1550)
- August 28 – Francisco de Sá de Miranda, Portuguese poet (d. 1558)
- November 11 – Christoph von Scheurl, German writer (d. 1542)
- December 18 – Sophie of Mecklenburg, Duchess of Mecklenburg, Duchess of Saxony (d. 1503)
- December 27 – Casimir, Margrave of Brandenburg-Bayreuth, Margrave of Bayreuth (d. 1527)
- date unknown – Yan Song, Chinese prime minister (d. 1568)
- probable – Antonio de Guevara, Spanish chronicler and moralist (d. 1545)
- date unknown – Imperia La Divina, Roman courtesan (d. 1512)
- January 6 – Akhmat Khan, khan of the Great Horde
- April 30 – Ichijō Kaneyoshi, Japanese court noble (b. 1402)
- May 3 – Mehmed II, Ottoman Sultan (b. 1432)
- May – Karamanlı Mehmet Pasha, Ottoman (Turkish) grand vizier
- May 21 – King Christian I of Denmark and Norway (b. 1426)
- August 23 – Thomas de Littleton, English judge and legal author (b. c. 1407)
- August 28 – King Afonso V of Portugal (b. 1432)
- September 3 – Amalie of Brandenburg, Countess Palatine and Duchess of Zweibruecken and Veldenz (b. 1461)
- September 5 – John I, Duke of Cleves (b. 1419)
- November 19 – Anne de Mowbray, 8th Countess of Norfolk (b. 1472)
- date unknown