Year 1491 MCDXCI was a common year starting on Saturday link will display the full calendar of the Julian calendar
- May 3 – The ruler of the Kingdom of Kongo, Nkuwu Nzinga, is baptised by Portuguese missionaries, adopting the baptismal name of João I
- November – The pretender Perkin Warbeck begins a campaign to take the English throne with a landing in Ireland
- November 7 – Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor and King Vladislaus II of Bohemia and Hungary sign the Peace of Pressburg, giving formal end to the Austrian–Hungarian War
- November 16 – An auto-da-fé held in Brasero de la Dehesa outside Ávila concludes the case of the Holy Child of La Guardia with the execution of several Jewish and converso suspects
- November 25 – Reconquista: The Granada War is effectively brought to an end and the Siege of Granada extended for 2 months with the signing of the Treaty of Granada between the Catholic Monarchs of Spain and the Moorish Emirate of Granada
- December 6 – King Charles VIII of France marries Anne of Brittany, forcing her to break her marriage with Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, thus incorporating Brittany into the kingdom of France
- December 21 – Truce of Coldstream secures a 5-year peace between Scotland and England
- Bread and Cheese Revolt breaks out in North Holland
- A major fire breaks out in Dresden
- In the Russian territory of Komi now the Komi Republic, annexed by Russia in 1478, copper and silver ores are discovered, and the territory gains importance as a mining and metallurgical center
- Nicolaus Copernicus enters the University of Kraków
- January 30 – Francesco Sforza, Italian noble d 1512
- March 25 – Marie d'Albret, Countess of Rethel, French nobility d 1549
- May 10 – Suzanne, Duchess of Bourbon d 1521
- June 28 – Henry VIII of England d 1547
- August 3 – Maria of Jülich-Berg, Spouse of John III, Duke of Cleves d 1543
- August 10 – Queen Janggyeong, Korean royal consort d 1515
- August 25 – Innocenzo Cybo, Catholic cardinal d 1550
- October 6 – Francis de Bourbon, Count of St Pol, French noble d 1545
- October 26 – Zhengde Emperor, of China d 1521
- November 8 – Teofilo Folengo, Italian poet d 1544
- November 11 – Martin Bucer, German Protestant reformer d 1551
- December 13 – Martín de Azpilcueta, Spanish theologian and economist d 1586
- December 24 – Ignatius of Loyola, Spanish founder of the Society of Jesus, a Roman Catholic religious order d 1556
- December 26 – Friedrich Myconius, German Lutheran theologian d 1546
- December 31 – Jacques Cartier, French explorer d 1557
- date unknown
- Lapu-Lapu, Filipino king d 1542
- Azai Sukemasa, Japanese samurai and warlord d 1546
- date unknown – Isabella Losa, Spanish scholar d 1564
- George Blaurock, Swiss founder of Anabaptism d 1529
- Antonio Pigafetta, Italian explorer d 1534
- March 6: Richard Woodville, 3rd Earl Rivers
- July 13: Afonso, Prince of Portugal b 1475
- October 5: Jean Balue, French cardinal and statesman b c 1421
- October 12: Fritz Herlen, German artist b 1449
- December 28: Bertoldo di Giovanni, sculptor b c 1435
- date unknown: John de la Pole, 2nd Duke of Suffolk b 1442
- ^ a b Palmer, Alan; Veronica 1992 The Chronology of British History London: Century Ltd pp 135–138 ISBN 0-7126-5616-2
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