Miguel de Cervantes was a soldier, a prisoner of war, and a writer in the Renaissance period.
Miguel was born near Madrid in 1547. He was the fourth of seven children and was the son of a deaf surgeon, which was a lowly trade at the time. Miguel was taught to read by a relative, and he became interested in reading and writing. His education proved useful in his future career as a writer.
His first published writing was a poem for the deceased Elizabeth of Valois, the wife of King Philip II, in 1569. However, the next year, he had to go to war.
Miguel was involved in the Battle of Lepanto, where he fought bravely against the Ottomans, but suffered two chest wounds and a mutilated hand. In 1580, he decided to return home after fighting for a few years, but the ship he was on was raided, and he ended up in Turkish captivity.
Luckily, Miguel was ransomed and returned home, trying to become a playwright, although failing. Later, he was employed as a commissary, which was a job in which he collected grain supplies from different regions. However, he was fired when some regions didn't pay up.
Miguel decided to go back home and become a writer. His first novel didn't sell well, but his second novel, Don Quixote, became one of the world's bestselling books. Unfortunately, he never got much money from his works, because he died shortly after Don Quixote was published.
He contributed to the Renaissance by writing Don Quixote, which made fun of the feudal system and of knighthood as a practice of the medieval ages.