16th Century

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Alexander VI
Pope Alexander VI was born into the wealthy and corrupt Borgia family of Valencia, Spain, and adopted by his maternal uncle, Alfonso Borgia (later Pope Callistus III). He collected religious... [more]

Bhayats (under India - Princely States)
Until the 19th century what is now India (like Europe) was a patchwork of over 650 princely states, like kingdoms, ranging from the small and relatively unimportant, to the large, immensely... [more]

Bradford, William
Bradford was born into a well-off family in Yorkshire, but his father died in 1591. His mother remarried in 1593 and William was then raised by his grandfather and uncles as a farmer. ... [more]

Caprotti, Gian Giacomo
Caprotti was a student of the immortal Leonardo da Vinci, who was his frequent model and collaborated with him in some of his paintings. But he was probably more than this. Two sources ... [more]

de Porres, Martin
Martín de Porres was born in Lima. There are two versions of his early life. In one, he was the son of an unknown father and a free African-Peruvian mother, adopted when he was eight by ... [more]

Edward VI

Edward was the only son of King Henry VIII, by his third wife, Jane Seymour. His mother died of childbirth fever days after he was born, and his father died in 1547, leaving Edward King of ... [more]

Janissaries
These were members of the elite infantry of the Turkish sultans in the middle ages. For part of their history, starting in the 1380s under Sultan Murad I, until 1638, they were recruited... [more]

Kano Sanraku
Sanraku was the last of the great Momoyama decorative painters of Japan, head of the Kano school of painting in Kyoto from 1614 on, and the adopted son of Eitoku, another great artist. He ... [more]

Kano Sansetsu
Sansetsu was raised by the colony of Kano artists in Kyoto, and later adopted by the master Kano Sanraku , whose daughter he also married. He was leader of the Kano school from 1635 to his... [more]

Kepler, Johannes
Kepler was born in Weil der Stadt, Swabia. His father was a merchant who went as a mercenary soldier to fight in the Spanish Netherlands when he was two. His mother was the daughter of an... [more]

Mantegna, Andrea
Mantegna was adopted as a child about 10 years old by the painter Francesco Squarcione. He was the most famous painter of his day in Padua and was one of the first Italians to use copper... [more]

Melzi, Francesco
Melzi was an Italian aristocrat and was, with Giacomo Caprotti , and possibly also Andrea Boltraffo and Cesare de Sesto, one of Leonardo da Vinci's adopted sons and students. Melzi joined ... [more]

Stradling, John
Stradling was born the son of Francis and Elizabeth Stradling, near Bristol. He was adopted by a wealthy distant relative (they shared a common great-grandfather), Sir Edward Stradling (152... [more]

Tamaiti Whangai
Tamaiti whangai is the New Zealand Maori term for a foster or adopted child. "Tamaiti" (plural "tamariki") means "child" and "whangai" means to feed ... [more]

Transportees
For many years from 1597 the British government exported its criminals, including some children, to its colonies as exiles, as an alternative to imprisonment or hanging. Even children ... [more]
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