1540Centuries: 15th century - 16th century - 17th century
- January 6 - King Henry VIII of England marries Anne of Cleves, his fourth Queen consort.
- July 9 - King Henry VIII of England divorces Anne of Cleves, his fourth Queen consort.
- July 28 - One of the most important political figures of the reign of Henry VIII of England, Thomas Cromwell, is executed on order from the king on charges of treason. Henry marries his fifth wife, Catherine Howard, on the same day.
- Spain, Foundation of Society of Jesus, Catholicism
- French translation of John Calvin's L'Institution chrétienne (originally in Latin)