Miguel De Cervantes Saavedra, writer of the world famous novel Don Quixote, was born in Spain in 1547.
He was the son of a practical doctor, and although they were “hidalgos,” a title of lesser nobility, they were relatively poor. Cervantes’ life can be described as somewhat chaotic. Coincidentally, the time period when he was alive was also considered chaotic in Europe, and particularly in Spain. Europe as a whole was going through the Renaissance, bringing about change in every aspect of life. In Spain, Charles V, was king. He divided his kingdom and gave Spain to his son Philip. Philip later married Mary of Tudor, and so he was briefly ruler of both Spain and England.
Philip was committed to restoring a Catholic and orthodox Europe. He rarely left the country and spoke only Spanish. Spain had been united through the marriage of Isabella and Ferdinand, and soon that country would once again have to unite, but in war. Sixteenth century Spain could be considered a victim of its own wealth. Their prosperity was not based on actual economic growth, and millitary expenses were leaving Spain in a worse position than before their unification. Many parts of Spain were establishing a picaresque atmosphere; Alcala, which is where Cervantes was from, was such a place, and could be where he got the inspiration to recreate picaresque scenes in further writings.
At the same time, Spain was also going through the “Golden Age.” Well into the seventeenth century, music, art, literature, theater, dress, and manners from Spain’s Golden Age were admired and imitated. Spain set a standard by which the rest of Europe measured its culture. Spain was also known for its great military power, also known as the Spanish Armada. The Spanish Armada, also called the Invincible Armada, was a fleet intended to invade England and to put an end to the conflicts with England over colonies and possessions of the Spanish Crown.
Philip hoped to send his ships i…