William Shakespeare most likely wrote "Romeo and Juliet" between 1591 and 1596. However, the play was not published until 1597, and its first documented performance was not until 1662.
Some scholars argue that according to the First Quarto, the play must have been written before 1596. The First Quarto refers to performances of "Romeo and Juliet" by "the right Honourable the L. of Hunsdon his servants." After 1596, that acting troupe performed under a different name. Evidence for the play being written in 1591 exists within the play. The Nurse references an earthquake eleven years ago, which may have been Shakespeare's reference to an earthquake in England in 1580.