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1598 (MDXCVIII) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Sunday of the Julian calendar. As of the start of 1598, the Gregorian calendar was 10 days ahead of the Julian calendar.
- August 14 – Battle of the Yellow Ford in Ireland: Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone, gains victory over an English expeditionary force under Henry Bagenal, in the Nine Years' War against English rule.
- September 13 – Philip III of Spain starts to rule, on the death of his father.
- September 25 – Battle of Stångebro at Linköping in Sweden: The Catholic King Sigismund of Sweden and Poland is defeated in his attempt to resume control of Sweden by the Protestant forces of his uncle, Charles. Sigismund is deposed shortly thereafter.
- Autumn – Second Dutch Expedition to Indonesia: After being separated from the main Dutch fleet of Admiral Wybrand Van Warwyck, three ships under Jacob Corneliszoon van Neck land on the island which they name Mauritius, after Maurice, Prince of Orange, and sight the dodo.
- December 16 (November 19 (lunar calendar)) – Battle of Noryang: An allied Korean and Chinese fleet under Korean Admiral Yi Sun-sin and Chinese Admiral Chen Lin defeats the Japanese navy, ending the Japanese invasions of Korea (1592-98).
- December 21 – Battle of Curalaba: The revolting Mapuche, led by cacique Pelantaro, inflict a major defeat on Spanish troops in southern Chile; all Spanish cities south of the Bío Bío River eventually fall victim to the Destruction of the Seven Cities by the Mapuches, and all conquest of Mapuche territories by Europeans practically ceases, until the later 19th century Occupation of Araucanía.
- Carnival – Jacopo Peri's Dafne, the earliest known modern opera, is premièred at the Palazzo Corsini, Florence.
- Pentecost – Calvinist congregations in Zürich introduce music into their services.
- Philosopher Tommaso Campanella organizes an uprising in Calabria against the rule of the Spanish viceroy; he is captured, tortured and sentenced to 27 years in jail.
- The Parliament of England passes the Vagabonds Act, that allows transportation of convicts to colonies.
- Illustrations of Ottoman Turkish and European riflemen, with detailed illustrations of their firearms, appear in Zhao Shizhen's book Shenqipu in this year, during the Ming Dynasty of China.
- The Spanish establish themselves in El Piñal, a trading port on the coast of China in the Pearl River Delta.
- The Spanish Kingdom of Nuevo México is officially established as part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. The Kingdom eventually become a territory of Mexico, later the New Mexico Territory in the United States, and then the U.S. State of New Mexico
- July 6 – Kirsten Munk, Danish noble, spouse of King Christian IV of Denmark (d. 1658)
- July 29 – Henricus Regius, Dutch philosopher (d. 1679)
- July 31 – Alessandro Algardi, Italian high-Baroque sculptor active in Rome (d. 1654)
- August 7 – Georg Stiernhielm, Swedish civil servant (d. 1672)
- September 11 – Imre Thurzó, Hungarian noble (d. 1621)
- September 23 – Eleonora Gonzaga, Holy Roman Empress, married to Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor (d. 1655)
- September 24 – Giovanni Francesco Busenello, Italian librettist (d. 1659)
- September 27 – Robert Blake, English admiral (d. 1657)
- October 14 – Nicolas de Neufville de Villeroy, Marshal of France (d. 1685)
- October 17 – Jørgen Knudsen Urne, Danish noble (d. 1642)
- October 19 – Isaac Commelin, Dutch historian (d. 1676)
- October 27 – Lars Stigzelius, Swedish Lutheran archbishop (d. 1676)
- November 3 – Christian I, Count Palatine of Birkenfeld-Bischweiler (1600-1654) (d. 1654)
- November 4 – Ernst Adalbert von Harrach, Austrian Catholic cardinal (d. 1667)
- November 7 – Francisco de Zurbarán, Spanish painter (d. 1664)
- November 28 – Hans Nansen, Danish statesman (d. 1667)
- December 7 – Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Italian sculptor (d. 1680)
- December 20 – Ottavio Farnese, Italian noble (d. 1643)
- December 22 – Henri de La Trémoille, French general and noble (d. 1674)
- December 24 – Margaret Stuart, Scottish princess (d. 1600)
- Bonaventura Cavalieri, Italian mathematician (d. 1647)
- Marmaduke Langdale, Royalist in the English Civil War (d. 1661)
- Baldassarre Longhena, Venetian architect (d. 1682)
- Jean Nicolet, French explorer (d. 1642)
- Jean-Armand du Peyrer, Comte de Tréville and French officer (d. 1672)
- William Strode, English parliamentarian (d. 1645)
- Åke Henriksson Tott, Swedish soldier and politician (d. 1640)
- Mary Bankes, Royalist in the English Civil War, defender of Corfe Castle (d. 1661)
- Francis Leigh, 1st Earl of Chichester, English politician (d. 1653)
- Guðríður Símonardóttir, Icelandic woman known as a victim of the Turkish abductions (d. 1682)
- January 8 – John George, Elector of Brandenburg, Margrave and Elector of Brandenburg and Duke of Prussia (b. 1525)
- January 9 – Jasper Heywood, English Jesuit classicist and translator (b. 1553)
- January 16 – Tsar Feodor I of Russia (b. 1557)
- February 10 – Anne of Austria, Queen of Poland (b. 1573)
- March 4 or March 5 – Lucas Maius, Lutheran Reformation pastor, theologian and playwright (b. 1522)
- March 28 – Michele Bonelli, Italian Catholic cardinal (b. 1541)
- April 8 – Ludwig Helmbold, German classical singer (b. 1532)
- April 10 – Jacopo Mazzoni, Italian philosopher (b. 1548)
- April 19
- May 3 – Anna Guarini, Italian singer (b. 1563)
- May 18 – Philipp of Bavaria, German Catholic cardinal (b. 1576)
- June – Emery Molyneux, English maker of globes and instruments (date of birth unknown)
- June 28 – Abraham Ortelius, Flemish cartographer and geographer (b. 1527)
- June 25 – Giacomo Gaggini, Italian artist (b. 1517)
- August 4 – William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, English statesman (b. 1520)
- August 9 – Andreas Angelus, German pastor, teacher, chronicler of the Mark of Brandenburg (b. 1561)
- September 13 – Philip II of Spain (b. 1527)
- September 18 – Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Japanese warlord (b. 1537)
- October 11 – Joachim Camerarius the Younger, German scientist (b. 1534)
- November 12 – Johannes Schenck von Grafenberg, German physician (b. 1530)
- December 6 – Paolo Paruta, Italian historian (b. 1540)
- December 15 – Philips of Marnix, Lord of Saint-Aldegonde, Dutch writer and statesman (b. 1538)
- December 16 – Yi Sun-sin, Korean naval leader (b. 1545)
- December 31 – Heinrich Rantzau, German humanist writer, astrologer, and astrological writer (b. 1526)
- date unknown