February – English merchants of the East India Company complain that the great troubles and wars in Japan since their arrival have put them to much pains and charges. Two great cities, Osaka and Sakaii, have been burned to the ground, each one almost as big as London, and not one house left standing, and it is reported above 300,000 men have lost their lives, “yet the old Emperor Ogusho Same hath prevailed and Fidaia Same either been slain or fled secretly away, that no news is to be heard of him.” Jesuits, priests, and friars are banished by the emperor and their churches and monasteries pulled down; they put the fault on the arrival of the English; it is said if Fidaia Same had prevailed against the emperor, he promised them entrance again, when without doubt all the English would have been driven out of Japan.
February 24 – A commission of Roman Catholic theologians, the "Qualifiers," reports that the idea that the Sun is stationary is "foolish and absurd in philosophy, and formally heretical since it explicitly contradicts in many places the sense of Holy Scripture...".
February 28 – In the aftermath of the 1613–1614 anti-Jewish pogrom called the Fettmilch Uprising in Frankfurt, Germany, mob leader Vincenz Fettmilch is beheaded, but the Jews, who had been expelled from the city on August 23, 1614, following the plundering of the Judengasse, can only return as a result of direct intervention by Holy Roman EmperorMatthias. After long negotiations, the Jews are left without any compensation for their plundered belongings.
May 25 – King James I of England's former favourite, the Earl of Somerset, and his wife Frances, are convicted of the murder of Thomas Overbury in 1613. They are spared death, and are sentenced to imprisonment in the Tower of London (until 1622). Although the King has ordered the investigation of the poet's murder and allowed his former court favorite to be arrested and tried, his court, now under the influence of George Villiers, gains the reputation of being corrupt and vile. The sale of peerages (beginning in July) and the royal visit of James's brother-in-law, Christian IV of Denmark, a notorious drunkard, add further scandal.
June 12 – Pocahontas (now Rebecca) arrives in England, with her husband, John Rolfe, their infant son, Thomas Rolfe, her half-sister Matachanna (alias Cleopatra) and brother-in-law Tomocomo, the shaman also known as Uttamatomakkin (having set out in May). Ten PowhatanIndians are brought by Sir Thomas Dale, the colonial governor, at the request of the Virginia Company, as a fund-raising device. Dale, having been recalled under criticism, writes A True Relation of the State of Virginia, Left by Sir Thomas Dale, Knight, in May last, 1616, in a successful effort to redeem his leadership. Neither Pocahontas or Dale see Virginia again.
With small profits to show, the Virginia Company decides to distribute land in Virginia to shareholders according to the number of shares owned. Each stockholder can set up a "particular" plantation and pay associated expenses, receiving 100 acres (0.40 km2) of land for each share and 50 acres (200,000 m2) for each person transported (the "headrights" system).
December 22 – An Indian youth (called one of "the first fruits of India") is baptized with the name "Peter" in London at the St. Dionis Backchurch, in a ceremony attended by the Lord Mayor, the Privy Council, city aldermen, and officials of the Honourable East India Company. Peter thus becomes the first convert to the Anglican Church in India. He returns to India as a missionary, schooled in English and Latin.
A fatal disease of cattle, probably rinderpest, spreads through the Italian provinces of Padua, Udine, Treviso, and Vicenza, introduced most likely from Dalmatia or Hungary. Great numbers of cattle die in Italy, as they had in previous years (1559, 1562, 1566, 1590, 1598) in other European regions when harvest failure also drives people to the brink of starvation (for example, 1595–97 in Germany). The consumption of beef and veal is prohibited, and Pope Paul V issues an edict prohibiting the slaughter of draught oxen that were suitable for plowing. Calves are also not slaughtered for a some time afterwards, so that Italy's cattle herds can be replenished.
At the behest of Sir Ferdinando Gorges, Dr. Richard Vines, a physician, passes the winter of 1616–17 at Biddeford, Maine, at the mouth of the Saco River, that he calls Winter Harbor. This is the site of the earliest permanent settlement in Maine, of which there is a conclusive record. Maine will become an important refuge for religious dissenters persecuted by the Puritans.
The first African slaves are brought to Bermuda, an English colony, by Captain George Bargrave to dive for pearls, because of their reputed skill in this activity. Harvesting pearls off the coast proves unsuccessful, and the slaves are put to work planting and harvesting the initial large crops of tobacco and sugarcane. At the same time, some English refuse to purchase Brazilian sugar because it is produced by slave labour.
Italian natural philosopherGiulio Cesare Vanini publishes a radically heterodox book in France, after his English interlude De admirandis naturae reginae deaeque mortalium arcanis, for which he is condemned and forced to flee Paris. For his opinion that the world is eternal and governed by immanent laws, as expressed in this book, he is executed in 1619.
Italian naturalist Fabio Colonna states that "tongue stones" (glossopetrae) are shark teeth, in his treatise De glossopetris dissertatio.
An important English dictionary is published by Dr. John Bullokar with the title An English Expositor: teaching the interpretation of the hardest words used in our language, with sundry explications, descriptions and discourses.
Moralist writer John Deacon publishes a quarto entitled Tobacco Tortured in the Filthy Fumes of Tobacco Refined (supporting the views of James I of England). Deacon writes the same year that syphilis is a "Turkished", "Spanished", or "Frenchized" disease that the English contract by "trafficking with the contagious courruptions."
Fortunio Liceti publishes De Monstruorum Natura in Italy, which marks the beginning of studies into malformations of the embryo.
Fort San Diego, in Acapulco Bay, Mexico, is completed by the Spanish as a defence against their erstwhile vassals, the Dutch.
Anti-Christian persecutions break out in Nanking, China, and Nagasaki, Japan. The Jesuit-lead Christian community in Japan at this time is over 3,000,000 strong.
Master seafarer Henry Mainwaring, Oxford graduate and lawyer turned successful Newfoundland pirate, returns to England, is pardoned after rescuing a Newfoundland trading fleet near Gibraltar, and begins to write a revealing treatise on piracy.
Croatian mathematician Faustus Verantius publishes his book Machinae novae, a book of mechanical and technological inventions, some of which are applicable to the solutions of hydrological problems, and others concern the construction of clepsydras, sundials, mills, presses bridges and boats for widely different uses.
John Speed publishes an ion of his Atlas of Britain, with descriptive text in Latin.
The States of Holland set up a commission to advise them on the problem of Jewish residency and worship. One of the members of the commission is Hugo Grotius, a highly regarded jurist and one of the most important political thinkers of his day.
Marie Venier (called Laporte) is the first female actress to appear on the stage in Paris.
^Robbins, Russell Hope (1959). The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology. New York: Bonanza Books.
^Logan, Terence P.; Smith, Denzell S., eds. (1975). The Popular School: A Survey and Bibliography of Recent Studies in English Renaissance Drama. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. p. 69.
^Sluiter, Engel (1949). "The Fortification of Acapulco, 1615–1616". The Hispanic American Historical Review. 29 (1): 69–80. doi:10.2307/2508294. Today the fort houses the Acapulco Historical Museum.
^His notebooks, not fully published until the 20th century, reveal a coherent mechanical philosophy of nature with incipient atomism, a force of inertia, and mathematical interpretations of natural philosophy are present. van Berkel, K. (1983). Isaac Beeckman (1588–1637) en de mechanisering van het wereldbeeld. Amsterdam.
^Searles, Colbert (1925). "Allusions to the Contemporary Theater of 1616 by Francois Rosset". Modern Language Notes. 40 (8): 481–483.