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Cervantes is born to a barber-surgeon in Madrid.

September 19, 1547

Studies at a pre graduate arts school.

1568

Has four of his poems published by a teacher in Madrid.

1569

Moves to Italy.

1569

Here, he serves as steward of the Cardinal-elect Giulio Acquaviva.

Enlists with Spanish forces stationed in Italy.

1571 - 1574

Under General Don John of Austria, Cervantes fights in the naval battle of Lepanto. He is shot twice in the chest and once in his left hand. He is left crippled for life, but receives many honors.

Cervantes is captured for ransom by Algerian pirates.

1575 - 1580

Remained in North Africa for five years with fellow captors, waiting for his family to pay his ransom. Cervantes organized four separate escape attempts, each failing. Returns as a national hero, but jobless and with a family destitute after paying his large ransom.

Writes.

1580 - 1586

Cervantes writes many unsuccessful plays and poems during this time.

Becomes a commissary agent for the Spanish Armada.

1587 - 1597

Forced to get a job with a constant salary to support his family. Is charged many times for malfeasance and put in jail on three different occasions. Wrote some dramas and poems at this time, which remained, for the most part, unsuccessful. During his last jail term, he conceives Don Quixote.

Publishes El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha.

1605

Cervantes publishes the second part of Don Quixote,

1614

A knockoff of Cervantes's Don Quixote is published under the pseudonym Alonso Fernandez de Avellaneda. Cervantes hurries to finish his own sequel, which denounces Fernandez's work as fake.

Cervantes dies

April 1616