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. (February 2016)
Year 1488 (MCDLXXXVIII) was a leap year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar.
- January 8 – The Royal Netherlands Navy was formed, by the decree of Maximillian of Austria.
- February 3 – Bartolomeu Dias of Portugal landed in Mossel Bay, after rounding the Cape of Good Hope at the tip of Africa, becoming the first known European to travel this far south, and entering the Indian Ocean.
- February 28 – Choe Bu (1454–1504), the Korean Commissioner of Registers for the island of Cheju, shipwrecked on the south east coast of China in Taizhou, Zhejiang, during the Ming Dynasty. From then until July 12, he and his crew were hosted by Chinese military courier officers to travel along the Grand Canal of China, all the way to Beijing, and then finally back across the Yalu River into Korea. His written commentary on Chinese customs, foreign and domestic trade, and transport in places such as Hangzhou and Suzhou, are valuable records of Ming era culture and commerce.
- June 11 – Battle of Sauchieburn: James IV of Scotland became king.
- July 28 – Battle of Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier: Troops loyal to King Charles VIII of France defeated rebel forces led by the Dukes of Orleans and Brittany in the main engagement of the Mad War.
- September 9 – Anne of Brittany became Duchess of Brittany at the age of 11. Her marriage to King Charles VIII in 1491 effectively ended Breton independence from France.
- January 6 – Helius Eobanus Hessus, German Latin poet (d. 1540)
- January 20
- March 19 – Johannes Magnus, last Catholic Archbishop of Sweden (d. 1544)
- April 16 – Jungjong of Joseon (d. 1544)
- April 21 – Ulrich von Hutten, German religious reformer (d. 1523)
- May 1 – Sidonie of Bavaria, eldest daughter of Duke Albrecht IV of Bavaria-Munich (d. 1505)
- May 5 – Lê Uy M?c, 8th king of the later Lê dynasty of Vietnam (d. 1509)
- May 7 – John III of the Palatinate, Administrator of the Bishopric of Regensburg (d. 1538)
- June – Heinrich Glarean, Swiss music theorist (d. 1563)
- June 29 – Pedro Pacheco de Villena, Spanish Catholic cardinal (d. 1560)
- July 15 – Juan Álvarez de Toledo, Spanish Catholic cardinal (d. 1557)
- October 17 – Ursula of Brandenburg, Duchess consort of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (d. 1510)
- December 1 – Elisabeth of Nassau-Dillenburg, Countess of Wied, German noblewoman (d. 1559)
- December 15 – Ferdinand, Duke of Calabria (d. 1550)
- date unknown