Most historians date William Shakespeare's Othello as being written in 1603, although there is some speculation that it could have been as early as 1601. The first known mention of Othello was in 1604 in a
... Revels Office account, which records that on "Hallamas Day, being the first of Nouembar ... the Kings Maiesties plaiers" performed "A Play in the Banketinghouse att Whit Hall Called The Moor of Venis." The work is attributed to "Shaxberd."
First published in 1622, it was based on an Italian short story, "Un Capitano Moro" ("A Moorish Captain") by Cinthio (1565). Othello was one of The Bard's last tragedies; only Antony and Cleopatra, Coriolanus and the tragicomedy Cymbeline were probably written afterward. (The dates of Shakespeare's plays are uncertain; King Lear and Macbeth were also written around this time.) Shakespeare soon entered his final writing phase, turning to tragicomedy, romance and collaborations during his last years.