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About this text

  • Title: As You Like It: Chronology
  • Author: David Bevington
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-369-4

    Copyright David Bevington. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: David Bevington
    Peer Reviewed


    A Brief Chronology of Shakespeare's Life and Work

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

    1509-47Reign of Henry VIII
    1534Act of Supremacy, declaring Henry VIII head of the Church of England
    1547-53Reign of Edward VI
    1553-58Reign of Mary I. Return to Catholicism
    1558-1603Reign of Elizabeth I
    1563Adoption of the Thirty-Nine Articles
    1564William Shakespeare born April 23
    1569Northern Catholic rebellion suppressed
    1576James Burbage builds The Theatre
    1578John Lyly, Euphues
    1579Edmund Spenser, The Shepheardes Calendar
    1582Shakespeare's marriage to Anne Hathaway, November
    1583Birth of Susanna, May 26
    1583-84Plots against Elizabeth on behalf of Mary Queen of Scots
    1584John Lyly, Galatea
    1585Births of Shakespeare's son Hamnet and his twin sister Judith, February 2.
    Earl of Leicester sent to aid the Dutch against the Spanish
    1587Execution of Mary Queen of Scots February 8
    1588At some point, Shakespeare moves to London; family remains in Stratford
    War with Spain. The Spanish Armada fleet destroyed in July
    1588-94Shakespeare writes the early comedies and histories and the early tragedy Titus Andronicus
    1590Thomas Lodge, Rosalynde; Philip Sidney, Arcadia; Spenser, Faerie Queene, Books 1-3
    1592Shakespeare attacked in print by Robert Greene
    1593Venus and Adonis
    1593-1603The Sonnets
    1594Shakespeare joins the Lord Chamberlain's Men; The Rape of Lucrece
    1594-5A Midsummer Night's Dream, Richard II, Romeo and Juliet
    1596-8The Merchant of Venice, Henry IV Parts I and II
    1597Earl of Essex sent to Ireland to put down a rebellion led by the Earl of Tyrone; George Chapman, An Humorous Day's Mirth
    1598Jonson, Every Man in His Humour
    1598-9Much Ado About Nothing, The Merry Wives of Windsor
    1599Shakespeare's company moves to the Globe. As You Like It, Henry V, Julius Caesar
    Prohibition and public burning of satires
    1600-02Twelfth Night, Troilus and Cressida, Hamlet, All's Well That Ends Well
    1601Shakespeare's father dies
    Essex's abortive rebellion and his execution; T. Dekker, Satiromastix;
    Jonson, Poetaster; the "Poet's War"
    1603Shakespeare's company the Chamberlain's Men becomes the King's Men
    Death of Elizabeth I; coronation of James I, March 24
    1603-4Measure for Measure, Othello
    1604James's confrontation of the Puritans at the Hampton Court Conference. Peace with Spain.
    1605The Gunpowder Plot foiled November 5
    1605-6King Lear
    1606-7Macbeth, Timon of Athens, Antony and Cleopatra, Pericles
    1609-11Cymbeline, The Winter's Tale, The Tempest
    1613-14Henry VIII, The Two Noble Kinsmen
    Shakespeare in retirement, living in Stratford. Globe burns
    1616Death of Shakespeare, April 23