Chronology of Cervantes
||Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, fourth child of the surgeon Rodrigo de
Cervantes and of Leonor de Cortinas, is born in Alcalá de Henares.
He may have been born September twenty-ninth, the day of Saint Michael,
hence his name Miguel. But so far, the only thing that has been found is
his baptismal certificate, according to which he was baptized October 9,
1547, in the Church of Saint Mary the Great.
||Protestants defeated in the battle of Mühlberg. Jerónimo
Fernández, Don Belianís de Grecia (1547-49). Birth
of Mateo Alemán and Juan Rufo.
||Interregnum of Charles V. Juan de Segura, Proceso de cartas de amores.
||Pedro de Luján, Coloquios matrimoniales. Death of Cristóbal
de Virués, Juan de la Cueva, and Vicente Espinel.
||In search of a better life, the family moves to Valladolid, where the
court is located at the time. They set themselves up in the Sancti Spiritus
district, but Cervantes's father is imprisoned on account of his debts,
and all their possessions are confiscated.
||Back to the beginning
||Defeat at Innsbruck. Núñez de Reinoso, Historia de
los amores de Clareo y Florisea.
||Unsuccessful in Valladolid, the family returns to Alcalá de
Henares and, the father at least--we don't know if his wife and children
accompanied him--sets out on a veritable pilgrimage which takes him first
of all to Córdoba. There, Cervantes may have attended the Jesuit
school Saint Catherine, where from the age of six he would have received
his first instruction and soaked up the picaresque atmosphere that he would
later recreate in his writings
||Back to the beginning
||Philip, son of Charles V, marries Mary Tudor.
Philip II, king of Naples.
Lazarillo de Tormes.
||Peace of Augsburg. Diego Ortúñez de Calahorra, El caballero
del Febo. Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, Naufragios.
||Charles V abdicates. Philip II crowned in Valladolid. Melchor de Ortega,
Felixmarte de Hircania. Fray Luis de Granada, Guía de pecadores.
||Battle of San Quintin.
||Charles V and Mary Tudor die. Diet of Frankfurt. Elizabeth I ascends
the throne of England.
||Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis
||Philip II marries Elizabeth of Valois. Jorge de Montemayor, La diana.
Lupercio Leonardo de Argensola is born
||Juan de Arguijo is born.
||The court moves to Madrid, the new capital. Historia del Abencerraje
y de la hermosa Jarifa. Luis de Góngora is born.
||El Brocense, Latinae institutiones. Bartolomé Leonardo
de Argensola, Lope de Vega, and José de Valdivieso are born.
||The cornerstone of El Escorial is laid. The Council of Trent ends.
P. de Luján, El caballero de la Cruz (II).
||Towards the end of 1564, Cervantes's father shows up in Seville, where
he manages some rental property. Again, we do not know whether his family
was with him or not, but new debts force him to leave the city after about
Miguel may have attended the Jesuit school, where he would have been
taught by Father Acebedo and been a classmate of Mateo Vázquez,
future secretary to Philip II.
|Turks defeated at Oran. Gaspar Gil Polo, La Diana enamorada.
Antonio de Torquemada, Don Olivante de Laura. Shakespeare is born.
||Luisa de Cervantes enters the Alcalá convent.
||Turks defeated at Malta. Revolt in the Netherlands. Jerónimo
de Contreras, Selva de aventuras. Juan de Timoneda, El Patrañuelo.
Lope de Rueda dies.
||In the autumn, Rodrigo Cervantes is living with his family in Madrid,
where he has business dealings with, among others, Alonso Getino de Guzmán,
an organizer of public entertainment in the
||The Breda Agreement. The Duke of Alba becomes governor of the Netherlands.
Luis de Zapata, Carlo famoso.
||capital and thanks to whom Cervantes makes his poetic debut with a
sonnet ("Serenísima reina en quien se halla") written
on the occasion of the birth of Princess Catalina Micaela, the second daughter
of Philip II and Elizabeth of Valois.
||Cervantes studies with Juan López de Hoyos, who became rector
of the "Estudio de la Villa" on January 12, 1568. López
de Hoyos, referring to Cervantes as "beloved pupil," commissions
him to write four poems to be included in the Relación oficial de
las exequias (published the following year) on the death of Elizabeth of
Valois. About this time our young author and fledgling poet must have frequented
and been a friend of poets such as Pedro Laýnez and Gálvez
||Death of Prince Charles and of Elizabeth of Valois. Rebellion of the
"moriscos" in Granada.
||The following year finds Cervantes unexpectedly in Rome as valet to
Monsignor Acquaviva, with whom he would remain only a year or so. The only
logical explanation for this brusque change of scene has to do with a royal
dispatch of September 1569, ordering the arrest of a young student of the
same name as our author for having wounded the master builder Antonio de
Sigura in a duel. Whether we like it or not, this hypothesis will stand
until the existence of another Miguel de Cervantes is documented.
||The Turks occupy Cyprus. Philip II marries Anne of Austria. The Holy
League is formed. Antonio de Torquemada, Jardín de flores curiosas.
||Diego de Urbina's troops board the galley Marquesa to carry their support
to the Venetian contingent. Cervantes is stricken with malaria but, in
spite of high fevers, fights heroically from the bow of the ship, in the
"greatest moment that past centuries have seen and which those to
come have no hope of seeing,"
||Battle of Lepanto. War of the Alpujarras ends.
||Cervantes described the battle of Lepanto. This is where he received
two harquebus wounds in the chest, and a third would leave his left hand
useless and immortalize him as the "one-armed man of Lepanto."
He recuperates in Mesina.
||In spite of having lost the use of his left hand, he joins the company
of Don Manuel Ponce de León, part of Don Lope de Figueroa's regiment,
and takes part as a highly paid soldier in various military campaigns during
the following years, the most important being Navarino and La Goleta. He
remains, for the time being, at the winter quarters in Sicily, Sardinia,
||Pius V dies. Corfu and Mondón campaigns.
||Don Juan of Austria captures Tunis. Mateo Vázquez named secretary
to Philip II.
||Melchor de Santa Cruz, Floresta española. El Brocense
writes on Garcilaso.
||Now a highly paid soldier, Cervantes receives letters of recommendation
from Don Juan and the Duke of Sessa and decides to return to Spain. In
early September he leaves Naples with a four- galley fleet bound for Barcelona.
A storm disperses the ships, and El Sol (The Sun), carrying both Cervantes
and his brother, is captured off the Catalan coast by Berber corsairs under
the command of Arnaut Mamí. The captives are taken to Algiers and
Miguel de Cervantes falls into the hands of Dalí Mamí, alias
The Cripple, who, conside- ring the letters of recommendation, sets Cervantes's
ransom at 500 gold ducats, an amount hardly within the power of his family
||Philip II's second bankruptcy. Juan Huarte de San Juan, Examen de
||First escape attempt: Cervantes flees with other Christians towards
Oran, but they are deserted by the Muslim who was guiding them and are
forced to return to Algiers.
||Spaniards sack Antwerp. Don Juan of Austria named Regent of the Netherlands.
||Second attempt: Cervantes and fourteen other captives hide in a grotto
of the gardens belonging to the warden, Hassan. They remain there five
months waiting for Cervantes's recently ransomed brother Rodrigo to come
back for them. A renegade known as El Dorador betrays them and they are
trapped in the grotto. Cervantes assumes total responsibility, is shackled
and sent to the king's dungeon.
||Hassan Baha king of Algiers.
||Third attempt: Cervantes sends a Muslim with letters addressed to Don
Martín de Córdoba, commander of Oran, asking him to send
a spy to rescue them from Algiers. The Muslim is arrested and Hassan sentences
Cervantes to 2000 thwacks. All we know for sure is that the punishment
was never carried out.
||Juan de Escobedo assassinated. Antonio Pérez prosecuted. Don
Juan of Austria dies. Death of Sebastian of Portugal in the battle of Alcazarquivir.
The future Philip III is born.
||Fourth attempt: Cervantes attempts to arm a frigate to reach Spain
with about sixty passengers. Another betrayal, this time also by a renegade
Caybán, thwarts the plan. Cervantes again takes the blame and turns
himself in to Hassan, who spares his life but locks him up in his bathhouse.
||Fall of Antonio Pérez. Opening of the first theaters in Madrid.
Back to the beginning.
||On September 19, 1580, Cervantes is about to sail for Constantinople
with Hassan Baha's fleet when the Trinitarians Fray Juan Gil and Fray Antón
de la Bella pay the writer's ransom and he is set free. On October 27,
he reaches the Spanish
||Philip II king of Portugal. Pedro de Padilla, Tesoro de varias poesías.
Fernando de Herrera, Anotaciones a las obras de Garcilaso. Birth
of Francisco de Quevedo.
||coast and disembarks in Denia (Valencia); his captivity has lasted
five years and one month. Towards the end of the year he goes to Madrid
to initiate a series of suits in demand of compensation for his military
||Cervantes only procures an obscure assignment in Oran which he carries
out in the middle of 1581, after which he goes to Lisbon to report to Philip
||The Netherlands become independent. Birth of Salas Barbarillo and Ruiz
||At the start of the year we find Cervantes again living in Madrid and
still aspiring unsuccessfully to obtain a post. Meanwhile, he is perfectly
at home in the literary circles of the court, maintains cordial relations
with the best-known poets, and works on La Galatea, in which many
of these poets appear. At the same time, he follows closely the development
of the theater, with the birth of the "corrales," and absorbs
the works of authors such as Argensola, Cueva, and Virués. His oldest
preserved works, El trato de Argel and La Numancia, might be from
this period. Unable to obtain a government post, Cervantes seems to be
clearly launched on a literary career, but things will change very soon.
||Fernando de Herrera, Poesías Luis Gálvez de Montalvo,
El pastor de Fílida. Birth of the Earl of Villamediana.
Back to the beginning.
||Juan de la Cueva, Comedias y tragedias. Fray Luis de Granada,
Introducción al símbolo de la fe. Fray Luis de León,
La perfecta casada y De los nombres de Cristo.
||Cervantes has relations with Ana de Villafranca, or Ana Franca de Rojas,
who would give him his only offspring (notwithstanding the Promontorio
alluded to in Viaje al Parnaso): Isabel de Saavedra. He immediately travels
to Esquivias to
||Philip II moves to El Escorial. Juan Rufo, La Austriada. Birth
of Tirso de Molina and Saavedra Fajardo.
||meet with Juana Gaitán, the widow of his friend Pedro Laýnez,
and tries to get his works published. In Esquivias he meets Catalina de
Palacios, whose nineteen- year-old daughter he, at thirty-seven, marries
on December twelfth. He sets up house with his new wife but soon starts
a constant pilgrimage between Esquivias and Madrid.
||The fifth of March he signs a contract with Gaspar de Porres, who will
pay him forty ducats for two lost plays: El trato de Constantinopla
and La confusa (the lost works from his earliest theater-writing
period must be from about this time). A few days later, the Primera
parte de la Galatea, divided into six books and addressed to Ascanio
Colona, is printed in Alcalá de Henares by Juan Gracián under
the editorship of Blas de Robles. His father dies this same year. His travels
increase steadily. There are frequent trips to Toledo and at year's end
we find him in Seville, just before he returns to Esquivias at Christmas
||San Juan de la Cruz, Cántico espiritual. Saint Teresa,
Camino de perfección.
||Towards the middle of the year he goes back to Seville but returns
right away to receive Catalina's dowry (a little more than 400 ducats).
He writes some sonnets to celebrate miscellaneous occasions.
||Barahona de Soto, Las lágrimas de Angélica.
||In early May we find Cervantes in Seville, where, with the help of
the governor of the "Real Audiencia de Sevilla," Diego de Valdivia,
he finally obtains the post of Royal Commissioner of Supplies for the Invencible
Armada, under the supervision of Antonio de Guevara, Chief Commissioner
for the supplying of the royal fleet. He thus begins a restless period
as a wandering businessman which would last around fifteen years but would
procure him only
||Preparations begin for the Invencible Armada. Lope de Vega is banished
from Madrid. Cristóbal de Virués, El Monserrate. B.
González de Bobadilla, Las ninfas y pastores de Henares.
||problems, lawsuits, and time in jail. Starting in Écija, where
the Vicar General of Seville excommunicates him for having requisitioned
the Church's stored grain, he covers the province of Córdoba, including
La Rambla, Castro del Río-- where he is again excommuni-cated, this
time by the Vicar General of Córdoba-- Espejo, Cabra, etc.
||For two more years he continues requisitioning oil and wheat in Écija
and surrounding areas. He is absolved of the accusations of embezzlement
brought against him by the viceroy Luis de Portocarrera. Cervantes's mother-in-law
Catalina de Palacios dies in early May.
||Defeat of the Invencible Armada. El Greco, "The Burial of Count
Orgaz". Saint Teresa, Libro de la vida and Las Moradas.
||The beginning of the year finds Cervantes in Carmona with a commission
from Guevara's successor Miguel de Oviedo to requisition oil in that region.
In May Cervantes, tired of all the running about, in a petition to the
president of the Consejo de Indias, solicits one of the then vacant
"post[s] in the Indies": auditor of the kingdom of Granada, governor
of Soconusco, auditor for the Cartagena fleet, or peace officer. The response
was another disappointing "no": "Find something here to
your liking." The interpolated Novela del Cautivo from the
first Quijote (XXXIX-XLI) is from this period.
||Revolt in Aragon.
Back to the beginning.
||The new Chief Commissioner Pedro de Isunza renews Cervantes's commission.
Cervantes continues his requisitions throughout Jaén, Úbeda,
Baeza, Estepa, Montilla, etc. His assistant Nicolás Benito is accused
of wrongdoing; Cervantes avoids censure thanks to the intervention of Isunza.
||Antonio Pérez escapes. Death of Mateo Alemán. Bernardo
de Vega, El pastor de Iberia.
||The confrontations generated by his troublesome job land him in the
Castro del Río jail: he is arrested by order of the chief magistrate
of Écija for the illegal sale of wheat. Again, he is soon released
through the good offices of Isunza. On September fifth Cervantes contracts
with Rodrigo Osorio to compose six plays for the sum of 300 ducats.
||The conclusion of his job as commissioner of supplies coincides with
the death of his mother in October. There remains one last assignment from
Miguel de Oviedo after which the vast enterprise initiated by Guevara will
come to an end in 1594. However, new troubles still await Cervantes. Around
this time (1590-93) Cervantes composes miscellaneous poems (odes to the
Invencible Armada, a ballad on La morada de los celos, etc.)
And he may have begun sketching some of his short novels: El cautivo,
Rinconete y Cortadillo, El celoso extremeño, etc.
||Agustín de Cetina entrusts the ex- commissioner with collecting
back taxes in the kingdom of Granada. So Cervantes goes back to tax collecting,
depositing the money in Simón Freire's bank. When Freire's bank
fails, he ends up in jail again.
||Ginés Pérez de Hita, Guerras civiles de Granada.
||Howard and Essex sack Cádiz. Alonso López Pinciano, Philosophia
antigua poética. Juan Rufo, Los seiscientos apotegmas.
||Cervantes, unable to make good the amount of money lost, on September
6 is ordered by an overzealous judge, Gaspar de Vallejo, to be imprisoned
||Philip II's third bankruptcy.
||where he will remain several months. It may be there that he sketched
the plot of the Quijote and may even have begun its composition.
||Ana Franca dies and the following year her daughter Isabel, under the
name of Isabel de Cervantes, goes to work for Magdalena de Cervantes. Cervantes
composes the sonnet "Al túmulo de Felipe II".
||Peace of Vervins with France. Isabel and Alberto are Regents of the
Netherlands. Death of Philip II. Accession of Philip III. Duke of Lerma
heads the government. Birth of Zurbarán. Theaters closed by government
decree. Lope de Vega, La Arcadia and Dragontea.
||Plague epidemic in Spain. Philip III marries Margaret of Austria. Birth
of Velázquez. Mateo Alemán, Guzmán de Alfarache
I. Lope de Vega, El Isidro.
||During the summer Cervantes leaves Seville around the same time that
his brother Rodrigo dies in the battle of the Dunes. We can be sure of
little more than that. Cervantes may have been totally immersed in the
Quijote until 1604. He probably traveled to Seville and to Esquivias.
Some assume, with little to go on, that he may have gone to jail again
||Theaters reopen. Birth of Calderón de la Barca. Romancero
||The court is moved to Valladolid. Juan de Mariana, Historia de España.
Birth of Baltasar Gracián.
Back to the beginning.
||New money problems with the Treasury.
||Lope de Vega, La hermosura de Angélica and Rimas humanas.
Mateo Luján, Segunda parte del Guzmán de Alfarache.
||The Cervantes family settles in Valladolid, the new location of the
court. They reside in the Rastro de los Carneros
||Death of Elizabeth I of England. Agustín de Rojas, El viaje
entretenido. Francisco de Quevedo composes El
||Capture of Ostend. Gregorio González, El Guitón Honofre.
Mateo Alemán, Guzmán de Alfarache II. Lope de Vega,
Primera parte de Comedias and El peregrino en su patria.
||At the beginning of the year, El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de
la Mancha, dedicated to the Duke of Béjar, is published in Madrid
by Juan de la Cuesta, under the editorial supervision of Francisco de Robles.
It is an immediate and resounding success.
Bootleg editions are issued in Lisbon, Valencia, and Zaragoza. Three
months later Cuesta starts working on the second edition. Numerous orders
are shipped to America. But celebration is short-lived. At the end of June,
Gaspar de Ezpeleta is mortally wounded in front of Cervantes's house, and
he is, along with part of his family, jailed again, however briefly, this
time by order of the mayor, Villarroel, who was undoubtedly influenced
by the bad reputation of the Cervantes women.
|Birth of Prince Philip, future Philip IV. Lord Howard, ambassador.
Francisco López de Úbeda, La pícara Justina.
||Again, following the court, Cervantes moves to Madrid, where, at least
as early as 1608, he sets himself up in the Atocha district. He later moves
to Magdalena Street near Francisco Robles's bookstore and Juan Cuesta's
printing shop. His daughter Isabel marries Diego Sanz and the following
year they have a daughter, Isabel Sanz.
||The court moves back to Madrid.
||Cervantes's daughter Isabel marries Luis de Molina after her husband
||Bernardo de Balbuena, Siglo de oro en las selvas de Erifile.
||In April, worried about his salvation, Cervantes joins the congregation
of the Slaves of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Olive Grove. Magdalena,
Catalina, and Andrea have already joined the Third Order of Saint Francis.
Death pursues his family: his sister Andrea dies in October, his granddaughter
Isabel Sanz six months later, and Magdalena after another six months.
||Twelve-year Truce in the Netherlands. Expulsion of the "moriscos"
decreed. Lope de Vega, Arte nuevo de hacer comedias.
||Cervantes attempts to accompany don Pedro Fernández de Castro,
Earl of Lemos, to his viceroyalty in Naples, but Lupercio Leonardo de Argensola,
who was responsible for putting together the retinue, leaves out both Cervantes
||The Earl of Lemos named viceroy of Naples. Larache taken. Henry IV
assassinated in France.
||Margaret of Austria dies. Theaters closed temporarily Fray Diego de
Hojeda, La Cristiada. Sebastián de Covarrubias, Tesoro de la
||Cervantes, accompanied by Constanza, moves to number 18, Huertas Street,
opposite the residences of the Prince of Morocco, don Felipe de África.
Still fond of poetry, the now famous novelist takes part in the fashionable
academies, among them the Academia Selvaje, founded by Francisco
de Silva y Mendoza in his palace on Atocha Street. Meanwhile, the Quijote
is translated into English by Thomas Shelton.
||Diego de Haedo, Topographía e historia general de Argel.
J. de Salas Barbadillo, La hija de Celestina. Lope de Vega, Los
pastores de Belén. C. Suárez de Figueroa, La España
Back to the beginning.
||Cervantes travels to Alcalá, where he becomes a novice in the
Third Order of Saint Francis, and, three years later, will make his final
vows. The Novelas ejemplares, dedicated to the Earl of Lemos and edited
by Francisco de Robles, are published in Madrid by Juan de la Cuesta.
||Luis de Góngora, Primera Soledad and El polifemo.
||Cervantes publishes Viaje del Parnaso. It is dedicated to Rodrigo
de Tapia and printed by the widow of Alonso Martín. César
Oudin translates the Quijote into French.
||A. Fernández de Avellaneda, Segunda parte del Quijote.
Lope de Vega, Rimas sacras.
||With his wife and a servant, Cervantes moves for the last time, to
a house on Francos Street, at the corner of León Street, opposite
a popular hangout for actors. A volume of plays, Ocho comedias y ocho
entremeses nuevos nuncarepresentados dedicated, once again, to the
Earl of Lemos, is printed by the widow of Alonso Martín under the
editorial supervision of Juan de Villarroel. The Segunda parte del ingenioso
caballero don Quijote de la Mancha is printed in Madrid by Juan
de la Cuesta for distribution by the bookseller Francisco de Robles.
||Louis XIII of France marries Anne of Austria, daughter of Philip III.
||Incurably ill of dropsy, in April Cervantes takes his final vows in
the Third Order. On the eighteenth he receives the last rites and on the
nineteenth composes, "with my feet in the stirrup," the last
thing he wrote: the hair-raising dedication of Persiles. On Friday
the twenty-second, a little over a week after Shakespeare, the author of
the Quijote expires and is buried the following day, dressed in
his Franciscan habit, in the Convent of the Barefoot Trinitarians, on Cantarranas
(now Lope de Vega) Street.
||Death of Shakespeare.
||Cervantes's wife Catalina negotiates with Juan de Villarroel the printing
of Los trabajos de Persiles y Sigismunda, historia setentrional,
carried out as before by Juan de la Cuesta and dedicated to the Earl of
||C. Suárez de Figueroa, El pasajero.
Back to the beginning
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Last update: 5/13/97.
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