Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
(Alcalá de Henares, Spain, 1547-Madrid, 1616) Spanish writer. Fourth son of a poor doctor, Rodrigo de Cervantes and Leonor de Cortinas, his childhood was marked by the pressing economic problems of his family, who in 1551 moved toValladolid, the then seat of the court, in search of better fortune.
There, young Michael began his studies, probably in a Jesuit college. When in 1561 the court returned to Madrid, Cervantes family did the same, always waiting for a lucrative fee. Family instability and random fluctuations of his father (whowas imprisoned for debt Valladolid) determined that their intellectual, though extensive, was rather impromptu. Still, it seems likely that frequented the universities of Alcala de Henares and Salamanca, as their texts are copiousdescriptions of rogue student of the time.
In 1569 he left Spain, probably because of some problem with the law, and settled in Rome, where he entered the military, in the company of Don Diego deUrbina, with which he participated in the Battle of Lepanto (1571). This naval battle against the Turks was wounded by a harquebus in the left hand, which wasstagnant. When, after several years of garrison life in Sardinia, Lombardy, Naples and Sicily (where he acquired a great knowledge of Italian literature), returnedback to Spain, the ship he was traveling was boarded by Turkish pirates (1575), which they captured and sold into slavery, along with his brother Rodrigo, in Algiers. There he remained until, in 1580, an emissary of his family managed to pay the ransom demanded by his captors