The 1480s decade ran from January 1, 1480, to December 31, 1489.
- January 1 – The Jews are expelled from Andalusia.
- February 11 – The General Council of the Inquisition is created in Spain.
- April 9 – Edward V becomes King of England.
- April 29 – Gran Canaria, the main island of the Canary Islands, is conquered by the Kingdom of Castile, a very important step in the expansion of Spain.
- April 30 – Pluto moves inside Neptune's orbit until July 23, 1503, according to modern orbital calculations.
- April – King Edward V of England and his younger brother Richard, Duke of York reside in the Tower of London. Later this year, rumors of their murders start circulating. By December the rumors have reached France. This is the beginning of the mystery concerning the fates of the two Princes in the Tower.
- May 14 – Coronation of Charles VIII of France ("Charles l'Affable").
- June 13 – William Hastings, 1st Baron Hastings, is executed, in the first recorded execution at the Tower of London.
- June 20 – The powerful Fernando II, Duke of Braganza is executed in Portugal, followed by more than 80 other noblemen, for his plot against the royal crown.
- June 25 – Before his coronation, King Edward V of England is deposed by his uncle, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who becomes King as Richard III of England.
- July 6 – Richard III is crowned king of England, at Westminster Abbey.
- July 20 – John of Denmark is crowned King of Norway.
- August 9 – The Sistine Chapel opens in the Apostolic Palace in Rome.
- September 3 – The Princes in the Tower, uncrowned 12-year-old Edward V of England and his 10-year-old brother, Richard, Duke of York, are perhaps murdered this night in the Tower of London.
- October – A rebellion by the Duke of Buckingham is crushed by Richard III of England.
- January 18 – King Henry VII of England and Elizabeth of York are married, uniting the House of Lancaster and the House of York, after the Wars of the Roses.
- February 16 – Archduke Maximilian I of Habsburg is elected King of the Romans at Frankfurt (crowned April 9 at Aachen).
- February 18 – Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu is born in Mayapur in the town of Nadia, West Bengal, India, just after sunset. He is regarded as an incarnation, or avatar, of Lord Krsna, and later comes to inaugurate the sankirtana movement, or the chanting of the Holy Names of the Lord. This chanting, or mantra meditation, is first brought to the United States in 1965, by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami.
- April 21 – The adoption of the Sentència Arbitral de Guadalupe ends the War of the Remences, in the Principality of Catalonia.
- January 29 – Richard Foxe becomes Bishop of Exeter.
- March – Sigismund, Archduke of Austria, largely on the poor advice of his counselors, declares war on Venice, and seizes silver mines in and around the Sugana Valley.
- May 24 – Lambert Simnel is crowned King "Edward VI of England" in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, Ireland. He claims to be Edward Plantagenet, 17th Earl of Warwick, and challenges Henry VII for the throne of England, where he lands on June 5.
- June 16 – Battle of Stoke Field: The rebellion of pretender Lambert Simnel, led by John de la Pole, Earl of Lincoln, and Francis Lovell, 1st Viscount Lovell, is crushed by troops loyal to Henry VII.
- August – Bartolomeu Dias leaves Lisbon, on his voyage to the Cape of Good Hope.
- August 13 – The Siege of Málaga (1487) ends, when the Spanish take the city.
- September 9 – Hongzhi becomes Emperor of China (Ming Dynasty).
- November 30 – Albert IV, Duke of Bavaria promulgates the Reinheitsgebot, specifying three ingredients – water, malt and hops – for the brewing of beer.
- 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.