1326 Founding of universities at Oxford and Cambridge

1348 Boccaccio’s Decameron

1349 Bubonic Plague kills one-third of England’s population

1387 Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales

c.1440 Johannes Gutenberg invents printing press

1472 Dante’s Divine Comedy first printed

1492 Christopher Columbus lands at Cuba

1497 Vasco da Gama sails around Cape of Good Hope


1501–4 Michelangelo’s David sculpture

1503 Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa

1512 Copernicus’s Commentarioulus published, theorizing that Earth and other planets revolve around sun

1518 License to import 4,000 African slaves to Spanish American colonies granted to Lorens de Gominzot

1519 Ferdinand Magellan’s trip around the world

1519 Conquest of Mexico by Cortez

1522 Luther’s translation of the New Testament


1531 Henry VIII recognized as Supreme Head of the Church of England

1533 Henry VIII secretly marries Anne Boleyn, and is excommunicated by Pope

1539 Hernando de Soto explores Florida

1540 G.L. de Cardenas “discovers” Grand Canyon

1541 Hernando de Soto “discovers” the Mississippi


1558 Coronation of Queen Elizabeth I

1562 John Hawkins begins slave trade between Guinea and West Indies

1564 Birth of William Shakespeare and Galileo

1565 Pencils first manufactured in England

1570 Pope Pius V excommunicates Queen Elizabeth

1573 Francis Drake sees the Pacific Ocean


1576 Mayor of London forbids theatrical performances in the City 
Burbage erects first public theater in England (the “Theater” in Shoreditch)

1577 Drake’s trip around the world

1580 Essays of Montaigne published

1582 Marriage license issued for William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway
Daughter Susanna Shakespeare christened

1585 Christening of son Hamnet and twin Judith

1587 Mary Queen of Scots executed

1588 Destruction of the Spanish Armada

1592 Shakespeare listed with the Lord Chamberlain’s Men

1593–4 Plague closes London playhouses for 20 months

1595 Coat of arms granted to Shakespeare’s father, John

1596 Death of son Hamnet, age 11
Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene

1597 Shakespeare, one of London’s most successful playwrights, buys New Place, one of the grandest houses in Stratford-upon-Avon

1599 Globe Theatre opens, as home to the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, with Shakespeare as part-owner


1602 Oxford University’s Bodleian Library opens

1603 Death of Queen Elizabeth, coronation of James I; Lord Chamberlain’s Men become the King’s Men upon endorsement of James I

1603–11 Plague closes London playhouses for at least 68 months (nearly 6 years)

1605 Cervantes’ Don Quixote Part 1 published

1607 Marriage of Susanna Shakespeare to Dr. John Hall; Founding of Jamestown, Virginia, first English settlement on American mainland

1608 A true relation of such Occurances and Accidents of Note as hath passed in Virginia by John Smith; Galileo constructs astronomical telescope

1609 Blackfriars Theatre, London’s first commercial indoor theater, becomes winter home of the King’s Men

1611 The Authorized “King James Version” of the Bible published

1613 Globe Theatre destroyed by fire

1614 Globe Theatre rebuilt

1615 Galileo faces the Inquisition for the first time

1616 Judith Shakespeare marries Thomas Quinney
Death of William Shakespeare, age 52

1618 Copernican system condemned by Roman Catholic Church

1619 First African slaves arrive in Virginia

1623 The First Folio, the first compiled text of Shakespeare’s complete works published


1625 James I dies, succeeded by Charles I

1632 Ai due massimi sistemi of Galileo

1633 Galileo recants before the Inquisition

1636 Harvard College founded at Cambridge, Massachusetts

1642 Civil War in England begins

1642 Parlimentarians (Puritans) close theaters throughout England until the Restoration of Charles II, 18 years later

1649 Charles I beheaded

1649 Commonwealth declared



Shakespeare's Plays

c. 1592–1595


Love's Labor's Lost
The Comedy of Errors
The Two Gentlemen of Verona
A Midsummer Night's Dream
The Taming of the Shrew


1,2,3 Henry VI
Richard III
King John


Titus Andronicus
Romeo and Juliet


probably written in this period

c. 1595–1600


The Merchant of Venice
Much Ado About Nothing
The Merry Wives of Windsor
As You Like It
Twelfth Night


Richard II
1,2 Henry IV
Henry V


Julius Caesar

c. 1601–1609


Troilus and Cressida
All's Well That Ends Well
Measure for Measure


King Lear
Antony and Cleopatra
Timon of Athens

c. 1609–1613


Henry VIII


The Winter's Tale
The Tempest

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