Cervantes was born in Alcala de Henares in Spain. About
1568 he joined the army and fought against the Turks. He
was captured by pirates and sold as a slave to Algiers, where
he spent the next five years. Incidents from his captivity
would later become episodes in his masterpiece 'Don Quichotte'.
After obtaining his freedom, he returned to Spain where he began to write. He met many kinds of people as he travelled around Spain, and he gained an understanding of human nature that enabled him to contemplate the conflict between hope and disillusionment, and dreams and reality - a conflict reflected in Don Quichotte and other works.
Cervantes didn't publish anything for eight years but during the last three years of his life he published several stories. In the introduction of his last work 'Persiles and Sigismunda' he foresaw his death and offered his farewell to life.