Miguel de cervantes saavedra

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Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
Cervantes was born in Alcala de Henares, a town 20 miles from Madrid, on September 29, 1547. He was named Miguel for Saint Michael, whose patron day is September 29.Being the son of a barber-surgeon, he traveled around a lot, moving wherever his father's services were needed. His family was large; he was only the fourth son out of what was to become seven childrenin total. Not much is known about his educational background. It is supposed that he studied under the Jesuits as a child and in his late teens and very early twenties, under the tutelage of theprincipal of a municipal school in Madrid named Juan Lopez de Hoyos. Unlike most writers of his time, he apparently did not go to university.

In 1570, he left Spain for Italy, a move usually done by theSpaniards of his time to further their careers. Once there he joined the Spanish infantry in Naples. Around this time, the relations between the Ottoman Empire and the countries in the Mediterraneanwere very much strained. This was due to the fact that the Ottoman Empire was quickly expanding its power over these countries. In 1571, a Turkish fleet invaded Cyprus, an island country near Greece.This move made the confrontation between the Turks and the Spanish infantries located in nearby Italy inevitable. Cervantes valiantly fought in the Gulf of Lepanto, an area near Greece. He was badlywounded in his left hand and thus earned the nickname "Manco de Lepanto" (Maimed of Lepanto). After that, he continued fighting in the Mediterranean.
Something incredible happened when he tried tocome back home to Spain in 1575. His ship was captured by pirates and he was taken as a slave to Algiers, a country in northern Africa. It is believed that his life as a slave from 1575 to 1580 becamethe source of inspiration for some episodes in Don Quixote. In 1580, his family, with the help of the friars of a Trinitarian monastery, was finally able to raise the ransom money necessary to free...