Miguel de Cervantes
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, one of the greatest writers in the Spanish language, a poet, playwright, and novelist, was born in Alcalá de Henares in 1547. He was educated by Jesuits in Seville, wounded at the Lepanto battle in 1571, where he lost his left arm and later was imprisoned by the Turks for five years. On his way back to Spain he was captured by pirates and was held captive in Algiers for another five years. He was destitute when he returned to Spain, resided in Toledo, and was married in 1584. A year later, in 1585, he published his first novel Galatea. Three years later he was established in Seville, working as a roving commissary for the Spanish Armada and afterward as a tax collector. In Seville, he also spent several months in prison because of debts. In 1605 he published the first part of Don Quixote, widely considered as the greatest novel in the Spanish language. The second part of this novel was published only in 1615. In 1613 Cervantes published Exemplary Novels, a collection of 12 short stories. He died in Madrid on April 23, 1616, the same day as the death of English playwright William Shakespeare. A year after his death The Labors of Persiles and Sigismunda was published. He considered this work to be his masterpiece.