Miguel de Cervantes Biography, Life, Interesting Facts


Miguel de Cervantes

Birthday :

September 29, 1547

Died On :

April 22, 1616

Also Known For :


Birth Place :

Alcalá de Henares, Community of Madrid, Spain

Zodiac Sign :


Miguel de Cervantes was a Spanish author best known for his novel about a man who believed he was a knight.

Childhood And Early Life

Miguel de Cervantes was born on September 29, 1547, in Alcala de Henares, Spain.  His father was a barber, but also the local surgeon.  His mother entered her marriage by being sold by her poor father who lost his fortune. 

They had an unhappy marriage.  Miguel de Cervantes had six brothers and sisters.  They moved around a lot for their father's work and dealt with poverty.  



Miguel de Cervantes learned how to read from a relative.  Miguel de Cervantes studied at both the University of Alcala and the University of Salamanca.  For a time, he also lived in Rome, Italy.  Miguel de Cervantes was fascinated by the Renaissance movement, in which the art, poetry, and architecture were sometimes featured in his writing.



His first poem was published in 1569 as a tribute to the wife of King Philip II, Elizabeth of Valois.  It was collected for a memorial.  Cervantes served in the Spanish Navy in 1570 at the post in Naples. Miguel de Cervantes also served in the army.  He took part in the Battle of Lepanto in 1571 so that he could do his part for his king as well as his God.  He suffered from fever and was wounded. 

Miguel de Cervantes served again after his six-month convalescence in the hospital.  In 1575, his ship Sol was intercepted between Naples and Barcelona.  Miguel de Cervantes and the other passengers were enslaved in Algiers for five years.  His family paid the ransom, and he returned to them in 1580.

Miguel de Cervantes attempted to gain income for his writing.  His first literary work was La Galatea, but it was not well received.  Miguel de Cervantes also tried his hand as a playwright, but that too was not profitable for him.  To earn money for his family, Miguel de Cervantes was a commissary for the Spanish Armada. 

Miguel de Cervantes went out to rural communities to collect grain.  However, Miguel de Cervantes was arrested twice for mismanagement.  Jail gave Cervantes the time and inspiration for his work.  This was the time he worked on his most noted piece of literature, Don Quixote. 

Miguel de Cervantes wanted readers to see a realistic outlook using clear language that was accessible to everyone.    Miguel de Cervantes did not get rich off of the book. However, it was the first best-selling book in the world.

Miguel de Cervantes continued writing and publishing his novels until his death.  


Personal Life And Legacy

Early in his life, Miguel de Cervantes fell in love with a barmaid despite his father's disapproval.  Their plans to run away together were unsuccessful due to his father's intervention.  Miguel de Cervantes was never to see her again. 

Miguel de Cervantes did, however, have an affair which resulted in a daughter, Isabel de Saavedra.  She was a member of the convent near his home and where he wished to be buried.  Miguel de Cervantes married Catalina de Salazar y Palacios in 1584.  They did not have any children.


Later Life

Miguel de Cervantes died on April 22, 1616 in Madrid, Spain.



The writing of Miguel de Cervantes and his contribution to literature was the beginning of classic modern literature.  Cervantes's experience in the military, as well as his extensive travels, were often featured in his stories and poetry. His famous work Don Quixote has been considered one of the great books of the Western World by Encyclopedia Britannica.  Its modern style had an effect on Spanish language as well. 

The language has been referred to as the language of Cervantes for his contribution.  Don Quixote has been retold through some mediums including the opera The Man of La Mancha and the art of fellow Spaniard Pablo Picasso. Miguel de Cervantes was called The Prince of Wits for his use of humor and satire that readers could relate to.  


While serving in the Navy, Miguel de Cervantes was injured so badly that he could no longer use his left arm.  Miguel de Cervantes continued to serve in the military and write throughout the rest of his life.

Summary Of Major Works

•    La Galatea (1585)
•    Don Quixote (1605, 1615)
•    Exemplary Novels (1613)
•    Viaje del Parnaso poetry (1614)
•    The Labors of Persiles and Segismunda

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