Humanities › Literature A Timeline of William Shakespeare's Life Major Life Events That Shaped The Bard's Literary Career Share Flipboard Email Print Literature Shakespeare Shakespeare's Life and World Studying Tragedies Comedies Sonnets Best Sellers Classic Literature Plays & Drama Poetry Quotations Short Stories Children's Books By Lee Jamieson Theater Expert M.A., Theater Studies, Warwick University B.A., Drama and English, DeMontfort University Lee Jamieson, M.A., is a theater scholar and educator. He previously served as a theater studies lecturer at Stratford-upon Avon College in the United Kingdom. our editorial process Lee Jamieson Updated July 03, 2019 This timeline of the legendary William Shakespeare reveals that his plays and sonnets cannot be separated. Although he was undoubtedly a genius, he was also a product of his time. Follow along and piece together both the historical and personal events that shaped the world's most influential dramatist and poet. 1564: Shakespeare Born Christopher Furlong / Getty Images The life of William Shakespeare begins in April 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon, England when he was born into a prosperous family (his father was a glove maker). Learn more about Shakespeare’s birth and early childhood, and discover the house in which he was born. 1571-1578: Schooling Shakespeare Writing. Thanks to the social standing of William Shakespeare's father, he managed to gain a place at King Edward IV Grammar School in Stratford-upon-Avon. He was schooled there between the ages of 7 and 14, where he would have been introduced to the classic texts that later informed his playwriting. 1582: Married Anne Hathaway Anne Hathaway's cottage in Stratford-upon-Avon. Culture Club / Getty Images A shotgun marriage to ensure that their first child was not born out of wedlock sees the young William Shakespeare married to Anne Hathaway, daughter of a wealthy local farmer. The couple had three children together. 1585-1592: The Shakespeare Lost Years duncan1890 / Getty Images The life of William Shakespeare disappears from the history books for several years. This period, now known as the Lost Years, has been the subject of much speculation. Whatever happened to William in this period formed the foundations for his subsequent career and by 1592 he had established himself in London and was making a living from the stage. 1594: 'Romeo and Juliet' David David Gallery / Getty Images With "Romeo and Juliet", Shakespeare really makes his name as a London playwright. The play was as popular then as it is today and was regularly played at The Theatre, the predecessor to the Globe Theatre. All of Shakespeare’s early work was produced here. 1598: Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre Erected Print Collector/Getty Images / Getty Images In 1598, the timbers and materials for Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre were stolen and floated across the River Thames after a dispute over the lease of The Theatre became impossible to resolve. From the stolen materials of The Theatre, the now famous Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre was erected. 1600: 'Hamlet' vasiliki / Getty Images "Hamlet" is often described as “the greatest play ever written” -- remarkable when you think it’s first public production was in 1600! "Hamlet" may have been written while Shakespeare was coming to terms with the devastating news that his only son, Hamnet, had died at the young age of 11. 1603: Elizabeth I Dies George Gower / Getty Images Shakespeare was known to Elizabeth I and had his plays had been performed to her on many occasions. She ruled during England’s so-called, “Golden Age”, a period in which artists and writers flourished. Her reign was politically unstable because she adopted Protestantism -- generating conflict with the Pope, Spain and her own Catholic citizens. Shakespeare, with his Catholic roots, drew upon this in his plays. 1605: The Gunpowder Plot The Gunpowder Plot. Public Domain There is evidence to suggest that Shakespeare was a “secret” Catholic, so he may have been disappointed that the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 failed. It was a Catholic attempt to derail King James I and Protestant England -- and there is evidence that the plot was hatched in Clopton, now a suburb of Stratford-upon-Avon. 1616: Shakespeare Dies After retiring to Stratford-upon-Avon in around 1610, Shakespeare died on his 52nd birthday. By the end of his life, Shakespeare had certainly done well for himself and owned New Place, the largest house in Stratford. Although we have no record of the cause of death, there are a few theories. 1616: Shakespeare Buried Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon, the site of Shakespeare's grave. Tristan Fewings / Getty Images You can still visit Shakespeare’s grave today -- and read the curse written upon his tomb.