"Even in the goodliest and stateliest palaces of our realm, still this same whoreson saucy stink.”
--English nobleman John Harington, fiercely advocating his new invention, the flush toilet, in his tract "Plan Plots of a Privy of Perfection."
In the year AD 1596...
- The so-called "Long War" between the Ottoman Empire and the Hapsburg Empire continues. A massive Ottoman army under the personal command of Ottoman sultan Mehmet III finally arrives in Hungary, having marched forth from Istanbul two years before. A combined Hapsburg-Transylvanian army marches out to meet it, but is defeated by the Ottomans at the Battle of Mezokeresztes.
- England and Spain teeter on the brink of all-out war. The Spanish fleet appears to be preparing for yet another attempt to invade England, so an English fleet under the command of the Earl of Essex and Lord Howard of Effingham strikes first and sacks the important naval port of Cadiz. The Spanish fleet finally does get underway for Ireland in the fall, but will be forced to turn back due to storms.
- Meanwhile, the Spanish are still disgruntled about the coronation of French king Henry IV, so they blockade the French port of Calais and force it to surrender.
- In the War of the Clubs, so-called because they were said to be armed only with clubs, Finnish peasants led by Jaakko Ilkka rise up in rebellion against tyrannical Swedish rule.
- In the Union of Brest the Ukranian Church breaks off from the Russian Orthodox Church and "rejoins" the Catholic Church, primarily to escape the domination of the newly created Patriarch of Moscow.
- Dutch navigator William Barentz embarks on his third and doomed final attempt to find the legendary "Northeast Passage" around the northern part of Russia to Asia. But in an unfortunate turn of events, the ship gets trapped in the ice past Novaya Zemlya, and faces the grim prospect of attempting to wait out the Arctic winter until the ice melts in spring.
- King Sigismund III of Poland moves his capital from Kraków to Warsaw.
- In a revised edition of his 1587 atlas of the world, Flemish cartographer Abraham Ortelius becomes the first to propose the theory that the continents were not always in their present positions, a phenomenon now known continental drift.
- After a harrowing journey around Africa and across the Indian ocean, trader Cornelis de Houtman becomes the first Dutchman to reach Java, inaugurating the Dutch spice trade in Indonesia.
- Sir John Harington invents the "Ajax," one of the earliest flush toilets. He installs one for his godmother, Queen Elizabeth I, but she refuses to use it because it is too noisy.
- William Shakespeare writes his play King John and begins writing The Merchant of Venice.
- While participating in a furious pamphleteering war, English author Thomas Nashe pens the earliest known appearances of the English words "conundrum" and "balderdash".
These people were born in 1596:
These people died in 1596:
1595 - 1596 - 1597
How they were made