William Shakespeare is one of the most revered poets and playwrights of all time.
He is known as the creative genius behind 37 plays, 154 sonnets and several narrative poems. But how much do you really know about the literary great William Shakespeare? In celebration of his 450 birthday, we’ve gathered 20 facts about the Bard.
1. Shakespeare’s exact date of birth isn’t’ known. But historians do know that he was baptized on April 26, 1564, in Stratford-upon-Avon, England, according to Holy Trinity Church records. Most scholars believe that he was born on or close to April 23. So his birthday is typically celebrated on that day, says Biography.
2. He was a member of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men company of theatrical players.
3. He died on April 23, 1616, on or near his 52nd birthday, in Stratford-upon-Avon.
4. His nicknames include the “Bard of Avon” and “Swan of Avon.”
5. Historians have looked to two primary sources for information about his life, his literary works and official church and court documents that involved events in his life.
6. There are hardly any records on either his childhood or his education. But scholars believe he attended the King's New School, in Stratford.
7. In November 1582, 18-year-old Shakespeare wed Anne Hathaway. She was eight years older than he and was three months pregnant at the time they were married, says History.
8. Shakespeare disappears from historical records between 1585 and 1592. It remains a mystery to historians exactly what the writer did during those seven years.
9. Shakespeare is credited for creating several given names, including Miranda, Olivia, Jessica and Cordelia.
10. Based on 17th-century portraits of Shakespeare, it is believed that he wore a single gold hoop earring in his left ear.
11. Shakespeare wrote a total of 154 sonnets.
12. It is believed that his body was buried 17 feet deep into the ground.
13. In his play “Romeo and Juliet,” the word love appears 150 times.
14. Shakespeare’s grave in Stratford-upon-Avon has a curse engraved on it to deter any person that might attempt to take his bones, says About.com.
15. Evidence exists that Shakespeare may have been a secret Catholic.
16. In 1613, Shakespeare retired from the theater and moved back to Stratford-upon-Avon.
17. Shakespeare had seven siblings.
18. He had three children, a son named Hamnet who died in 1596, and two daughters, Susanna and Judith.
19. Shakepare wrote a total of 37 plays during his lifetime.
20. His last play was "The Two Noble Kinsmen." It is thought to have been written in 1613 when he was 49 years old.