Internet Shakespeare Editions

Authors: David Carnegie, Mark Houlahan
Not Peer Reviewed

Twelfth Night: Chronology


(Some dates are approximate, especially those of the plays.)

1509-47 Reign of Henry VIII.
1534 Act of Supremacy, declaring Henry VIII head of the Church of England.
1547-53 Reign of Edward VI.
1553-58 Reign of Mary I; England returns to Catholicism.
1558-1603 Reign of Elizabeth I.
1563 Adoption of the Thirty-Nine Articles, establishing Anglicanism as a middle path between Roman Catholicism and more fundamentalist Protestantism.
1564 William Shakespeare baptized April 26; birthdate unknown, but traditionally celebrated on St George's Day, April 23.
1569 Suppression of Northern Rebellion of Catholic earls.
1576 James Burbage builds The Theatre.
1581 Barnabe Riche, Riche his Farewell to Militarie Profession
1582 Shakespeare’s marriage to Anne Hathaway, late November.
1583 Birth of Susanna, May 26.
1583-84 Plots against Elizabeth on behalf of Mary Queen of Scots.
1584 John Lyly, Galatea.
1585 Births of Shakespeare’s twins, Hamnet and Judith, February 2.
Earl of Leicester sent to aid the Dutch against the Spanish.
1587 Execution of Mary Queen of Scots, February 8.
1588 At some point Shakespeare probably moves to London; family remains in Stratford.
War with Spain; the Spanish Armada destroyed in July.
1588-94 Shakespeare writes his early comedies and histories, and his early tragedy Titus Andronicus.
1590 Philip Sidney, Arcadia; Spenser, Faerie Queene, Books 1-3.
1592 Shakespeare attacked in print by Robert Greene in Greene’s Groatsworth of Wit.
1593 Venus and Adonis.
1593-1603 The Sonnets. Mostly composed late 1580s-early 1600s; published 1609
1594 Shakespeare joins the Lord Chamberlain’s Men; The Rape of Lucrece.
1594 Comedy of Errors performed at Grays Inn, December 28.
1595 William Warner’s translation of Plutarch’s Menaechmi published.
1594-5 A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Richard II, Romeo and Juliet.
1596-8 The Merchant of Venice, Henry IV Parts 1 and 2.
1597 Earl of Essex sent to Ireland to put down a rebellion led by the Earl of Tyrone.
George Chapman, An Humorous Day’s Mirth.
1598 Ben Jonson, Every Man in His Humour.
1598-9 Much Ado About Nothing, The Merry Wives of Windsor.
1599 Shakespeare’s company moves to the Globe; As You Like It, Henry V, Julius Caesar. Robert Armin replaces Will Kempe as the company clown.
1600-02 Twelfth Night, Troilus and Cressida, Hamlet, All’s Well That Ends Well.
1601 Shakespeare’s father dies
Essex’s abortive rebellion and subsequent execution
1602 First recorded performance of Twelfth Night, Middle Temple Hall, February 2.
1603 Death of Elizabeth I; coronation of James I, March 24.
Shakespeare’s company renamed the King’s Men.
1603-4 Measure for Measure, Othello.
1604 James’s confrontation of the Puritans at the Hampton Court Conference.
Peace with Spain.
1605 The Gunpowder Plot foiled, November 5.
1605-6 King Lear.
1606-7 Macbeth, Timon of Athens, Antony and Cleopatra, Pericles.
1608-10 Beaumont and Fletcher, Philaster.
1608 Coriolanus.
1609-11 Cymbeline, The Winter’s Tale, The Tempest
1613-14 (with Fletcher) Henry VIII, The Two Noble Kinsmen, and Cardenio; Globe burns down, soon rebuilt “in far fairer manner than before.” (Edmond Howes’s continuation of Stowe’s Annals (1631), quoted in Chambers, II, 419.)
Shakespeare in retirement, living in Stratford.
1616 Death of Shakespeare, April 23.
1618 Twelfth Night performed at Court, Easter Monday, April 6.
1623 Twelfth Night performed at Court, Candlemas, February 2.