Henry IV, Part 1 is a play by William Shakespeare. It was likely written no later than 1597. Shakespeare probably read Holinshed's Chronicles for background. The play was first printed in quarto in 1598 by Andrew Wise. The play was Shakespeare's most popular printed text. It is the second of Shakespeare's three plays about the reigns of Richard II, Henry IV (two plays), and Henry V. It has always been a popular play with audiences and with critics. Sir John Falstaff is one of Shakespeare's greatest and most popular characters.