Miguel de Cervantes Top 10 Facts 📝

It is Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, not Shakespeare, who enjoys the exaltation as being the author of a book considered as the first modern book. If this doesn’t say much, at least it tells one that Cervantes, during his prime, was a force to be reckoned with.

Miguel de Cervantes

(1547-1616), Spanish Writer

Cervantes was an accomplished writer who excelled at many things although a lot of people find him being popular only for his book ‘Don Quixote‘, there is so much more to the Spanish writer than meets the eye. Here are some scintillating facts, ten of them, about our Cervantes you probably didn’t know already.

Cervantes’ Family Was From Upper class, But Quite Large

Born in the locality of Alcala de Henares, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra was the fourth child of the total seven sired by a surgeon Rogrido Cervantes, his father, in 1547. His mother, Leonor de Cortinas, was an educated woman who could read and write; during this time, women who had those were considered remarkably special and important.

Cervantes had other siblings including a brother Andres, who sadly died shortly after birth; a sister, Andrea; another sister, Luisa, who pursued a calling with the nunnery. Because his parents were part of the cultured class, Cervantes and his siblings had a comfortable upbringing.

He Served Under The Military

Under the appellation “Mancho de Lepanto“, Cervantes and his brother, Rodrigo, joined the military at Napoles under the guidance of commander Don Miguel de Moncada. Later, during the war of Lepanto around the early 1570s, they moved to La Marquesa and at the cause of the war, he suffered a very terrible injury which caused partial paralysis to his left arm.

He laid low, recovered, and continued his service with the military till the mid-1570s when he and his brother were held captive by the Moors on their way back to Spain. He was later released on random after spending five years in captivity.

Cervantes Had A Rough Life

Although his father was a renowned surgeon who made good money for his profession, and his mother a respected elite woman, Cervantes endured a trying childhood due to a series of financial issues his parents got muddled into.

Aside from his troubled childhood, Cervantes served in the army, sustained a damaged arm, was held captive for five years; and went to prison more than once in his lifetime. One time, Cervantes worked as a tax collector with the Catholic congregation but was excommunicated more than once for issues resulting from his portfolio.

His Family Got Into Financial Problem

Cervantes came into the family much when the Glory days were over, with all that remained to be a history of the good, comfortable times. For his family, things became very rough because of the number of economic issues surrounding them.

Although his father was a workaholic, even that wasn’t enough to take care of all the bills in the house for them. The financial problem was so intense that even when he was abducted and a ransom has to be made for his release, his mother went to borrow money to be used for ransom.

Shakespeare Made A Story Off Cervantes’ ‘Don Quixote’s’ Character Cadenio

Even though Shakespeare was an icon of his own, he couldn’t help but admire, and later swindled, a piece of creation from Miguel de Cervantes, who was his contemporary. This led to the former marshaling a pieced titled The History of Cadenio, which originally is a character created by Cervantes and incorporated in ‘Don Quixote‘.

Cervantes Influenced A Host of Other Great Writers

Aside from garnering admiration from Shakespeare himself, Miguel de Cervantes became a huge influence to several other writers who found the depth of his art captivating and enchanting. Putting Shakespeare’s dig aside, other literary big dogs who were in one way or the other inspired by Cervantes include Herman Melville in his own masterpiece called “Magnum Opus.

Cervantes’ True Identity Is Still Unknown

Although his reputation preceded him – going far and wide across geographies, the actual embodiment or physical appearance of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra is still relatively unknown to everyone. The only thing that is close enough to uncover his real face and body form is the portrait drawn by renowned painter and poet, Juan de Jauregui, still, doubts exist as to the authenticity of the appearance.

His Remains were Stolen: No One Knows His Exact Resting Place

After his death from diabetes at the age of 68, Cervantes’ remains were prepared to be buried in the cemetery of the Barefoot Trinitarians congregation as per his request, but his corpse was stolen along with the casket. And for more than four hundred years, it is still a mystery as to where the bones of the literary giant rest.

Miguel de Cervantes Inspired World Book Day Celebration

The literary icon had passed away in Madrid on April 22, 1616, but was buried the next day which is today the same date as World Book Day. The World Book Day works to remember all great writers through the ages such as the likes of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra.

Miguel de Cervantes Was Under Captivity For Five Years

While he was with the army and on the recommendation for a possible promotion, decided to go on a trip to Sol and maybe accept the promotion, Cervantes was encamped by a group of Moorish Muslims who were enemies to his nation. He was subsequently taken away along with others and spent five years only to be rescued much later by the ransom paid up by his mother who had to collect them as loans to free up his son.


How old was Cervantes when he died?

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra died on 22 April 1616, at the age of 68 after suffering from complications resulting from type 2 diabetes which he had. He lived a considerably long life given the popular life expectancy ratio at the times that he lived.

Did Cervantes and Shakespeare die on the same day?

Cervantes died on April 23rd which was exactly the same date that William Shakespeare died, however, because Spain at the time were using the Gregorian calendar, both deaths can’t be considered as happening on the same day.

Did Cervantes and Shakespeare ever meet?

While Cervantes was the biggest name in Spain’s literary industry, Shakespeare was the same in England’s, but the two didn’t quite meet in person. However, Cervantes’ English counterpart is said to have introduced him to the British broadway.

How long did Cervantes stay under captivity?

Cervantes spent five years in total under captivity by the Moorish fighters after he and his younger brother Rodrigo were intercepted and abducted on their passage to Italy.

Victor Onuorah
About Victor Onuorah
Victor is as much a prolific writer as he is an avid reader. With a degree in Journalism, he goes around scouring literary storehouses and archives; picking up, dusting the dirt off, and leaving clean even the most crooked pieces of literature all with the skill of analysis.
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