Miguel de Cervantes, a Spanish novelist, poet and playwright, was born at Alcalá de Henares near La Mancha in 1547.
He spent many years as a traveller and adventurer but eventually, when quite mature in years, he settled down and started writing - he had to write right handed because he had lost the use of his left hand during a skirmish in Italy!
His best-known work was his novel "Don Quixote de la Mancha", which is considered by many to be the first modern novel even though it was written 400 years ago! At any rate it is certainly one of the greatest works in Western literature - it is one of Encyclopaedia Britannica's "Great Books of the Western World" and is one of the most translated works of all time.
Cervantes wrote many other literary works including plays, poems, novels and short stories. Included among his finest work is "Exemplary Tales" which the literary world regards as er... exemplary!
Considering Cervantes status as the most important figure in Spanish literature it is interesting to note that he died on the same date as William Shakespeare - April 23 1616!
Cervantes lived for several years in Valladolid - his house, 'Casa de Cervantes', is open to the public.