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Miguel de Cervantes is commonly known as the greatest writer in the Spanish language and is credited with being Europe's first novelist. His life was both adventurous and tragic. When only 17 years old, he traveled to Rome and joined the Italian navy to fight in the Battle of Lepanto against the Ottomans. Miguel was badly wounded in that battle and lost control of his left arm completely. He then joined the Spanish army and even received medals of honor for his service. It was in one of his expeditions for the Spanish army that he was captured by pirates and sold into slavery in Algeria.
He lived as a slave for five years until his relatives found him and paid for his freedom with the help of the Trinitarian Church. There are also accounts mentioning that he bought his freedom with the inheritance that his father left him. Now a poor and disabled man while taking a job as a tax collector, Miguel tried his hand in writing and published his first play, like Eletia, which was not received well. It is believed that he wrote 20 plays of which only two have survived, but it wasn't until 1605 when he published the first part of Don Quixote that he tasted success and went from obscurity to instant fame.
With Don Quixote's success, Cervantes finally achieved some degree of financial security and became a household name in Europe. Ten years later, and just one year before his death, he published the long anticipated sequel to Don Quixote. .