Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

The proof of the pudding is the eating.

– Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra



born in Alcalá de Henares, Spain,  September 19, 1547

died: April 23, 1616
gender: male
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra was a Spanish novelist, poet, and playwright. His magnum opus Don Quixote is often considered the first modern novel.

It is assumed that Miguel de Cervantes was born in Alcalá de Henares. His father was Rodrigo de Cervantes, a surgeon of cordoban descent. Little is known of his mother Leonor de Cortinas, except that she was a native of Arganda del Rey.

In 1569, Cervantes moved to Italy, where he served as a valet to Giulio Acquaviva, a wealthy priest who was elevated to cardinal the next year. By then, Cervantes had enlisted as a soldier in a Spanish Navy infantry regiment and continued his military life until 1575, when he was captured by Algerian corsairs. He was then released on ransom from his captors by his parents and the Trinitarians, a Catholic religious order. He subsequently returned to his family in Madrid.

In Esquivias (Province of Toledo), on 12 December 1584, he married the much younger Catalina de Salazar y Palacios (Toledo, Esquivias –, 31 October 1626), daughter of Fernando de Salazar y Vozmediano and Catalina de Palacios. Her uncle Alonso de Quesada y Salazar is said to have inspired the character of Don Quixote. During the next 20 years Cervantes led a nomadic existence, working as a purchasing agent for the Spanish Armada and as a tax collector. He suffered a bankruptcy and was imprisoned at least twice (1597 and 1602) for irregularities in his accounts. Between 1596 and 1600, he lived primarily in Seville. In 1606, Cervantes settled in Madrid, where he remained for the rest of his life.

Cervantes died in Madrid on April 23, 1616.

7 thoughts on “Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

  1. September 29, 1547: Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra was 58 when his novel, Don Quixote, was published. He was born near Madrid, 466 years ago today.

  2. What an amazing biography. No wonder the stories of Don Quixote are so colorful.

  3. That book is excellent. When I was in Spain, we visited his place and there is a giant iron work where is he in his high horse. Ela, won’t be able to chin wag with you for a while. I’m out for a long walk and hopefully there will be WiFi along the way. Take care of your sweet self. Pax Tecum. Seeker.

  4. I have a beautiful copy of ‘Don Quixote’ illustrated by Gustave Dore and published by Cassel and Company when the most expensive publication appearing on the list at the back of the volume was ‘£12 and 12 shillings for four volumes of “Picturesque America” complete with steel plate engravings’ – rather than photographs. So although it bears no publication date, it must date from sometime in the late nineteenth or early twentieth centuries. Another of those beautiful relics from a time when a thing of beauty was meant to be a joy forever.

  5. I have yet to read it. Will get round to it though. Don Quixote I mean. Bought a few on euro classics courtesy of El Pais but sadly didn´t include cervantes.

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