1547 – Cervantes was born at Alcala de Henares, Spain on September 29, 1547.
1568-1569 – After studying in Madrid, where his teacher was the humanist Juan López de Hoyos, Cervantes went to Rome in the service of Giulio Acquaviva.
1570-1571 – He became a soldier, and fought on board a vessel in the battle of Lepanto in 1571. He was shot through the left hand and never after had the entire use of it. He was shot through the left hand and never after had the entire use of it.
1572 – He recovered sufficiently to participate in the naval engagement against the Muslims of Navarino in October 7, 1572.
1573 – Participated in the capture of Tunis on October 10, 1573.
1580 – The ship was captured by the Turks, and he and his brother, Rodrigo Trigueros, were taken to Algiers as slaves. Cervantes was in possession of a letter of recommendation from the Duke of Alba, whose ship he had served on. The letter was found on his person and the Turks took him for a man of some importance who might bring a hefty ransom. He was held captive for five years, since his family could not afford the overpriced sum, undergoing great suffering, some of which seems to be reflected in the episode of the "Captive" in Don Quixote, and in scenes of the play, El trato de Argel. After four unsuccessful escape attempts, on the 24th of October 1580 he was ransomed by the Trinitarians, and returned to his family in Madrid.
1584 – He married Catalina de Salazar y Palacios, 18 years his junior. He and his wife had no children, although two years before his marriage Cervantes had fathered an illegitimate daughter, Isabel, in an affair with Ana Francisca de Rojas.
1585 – Cervantes published his first major work, La Galatea, a pastoral romance, at the same time that some of his plays, now lost except for El trato de Argel (where he dealt with the life of Christian slaves in Algiers) and El cerco de Numancia, were playing on the stages of Madrid. La Galatea received little contemporary notice, and Cervantes never wrote the continuation for it (which he repeatedly promised). Cervantes next turned his attention to drama, hoping to derive an income from that source, but the plays which he composed failed to achieve their purpose. Aside from his plays, his most ambitious work in verse was Viaje del Parnaso (1614), an allegory which consisted largely of a rather tedious though good-natured review of contemporary poets. Cervantes himself realized that he was deficient in poetic gifts.
1613 – Published a collection of tales, the Exemplary Novels, some of which had been written earlier. On the whole, the Exemplary Novels are worthy of the fame of Cervantes; they bear the same stamp of genius as Don Quixote. The strain, already made familiar in Spain by the Lazarillo de Tormes and his successors, appears in one or another of them, especially in the "Rinconete y Cortadillo", which is the best of all.
1616 – Died in Madrid on April 23, 1616.