Miguel de Cervantes

© Juan de Jauregui

 

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Spain's greatest literary figure, was born in Alcalá de Henares, a small town near Madrid, in 1547. He served as a soldier in the Spanish army, fighting in the Battle of Lepanto, where he received serious wounds and lost the use of his left hand. He was captured by Barbary pirates on a return journey to Spain from Italy in 1575 and spent five years imprisoned in Algiers. After his release, he worked as a government official and wrote plays, poetry, and fiction. The first part of Don Quixote of La Mancha was published in 1605, to immediate success, and the second part in 1615. He died in Madrid on April 23, 1616.

 

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