Born in 1503 in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence in southern France, Michel de Nostredame became an apothecary and drafted his first almanac in 1550, in which he predicted future events in relatively obscure, rhyming couplets. Around this time, he took the name Nostradamus, an incorrect Latin translation of his surname.
He later published The Prophecies, which ensured his fame and reputation. Nostradamus also left writings around Paris, containing vague prophecies as to the locations of three rings that unlocked a vault containing the armor of the Master Assassin Thomas de Carneillon. In 1555, he was summoned to the royal court by Queen Catherine de' Medici. He supposedly predicted the death of King Henry II, correctly foretelling that the King's skull would be pierced by his master-at-arms. In 1564, Catherine de' Medici appointed him Physician-in-Ordinary to her son, the young King Charles IX. Nostradamus died in Salon-de-Provence in 1566.
- Some of Nostradamus' predictions are believed to reference historical events, including the Great Fire of London, the French Revolution, the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte, World War II, the atomic bomb attacks on Japan, and the assassination of John F. Kennedy.