Cervantes' Algerian hideout restored at last
13 June 2006, MADRID — A grotto which served as a hideout for Miguel de Cervantes, the author of Don Quixote, after being held hostage in North Africa, has been restored 500 years later.
13 June 2006
MADRID — A grotto which served as a hideout for Miguel de Cervantes, the author of Don Quixote, after being held hostage in North Africa, has been restored 500 years later.
The cave in Algiers was restored in a joint project by Spain and Algeria.
In September 1575, Cervantes and his brother Rodrigo were taken captive in Algiers when the galley in which they were sailing back to Spain was attacked by a fleet of Algerian corsairs led by Arnauti Mami, a renegade originally from Albania.
The two brothers were handed over to the Greek corsair, Dali Mami, who upon seeing the writers's letters of recommendation signed by Don John of Austria, considered them prize hostages, until he discovered their family had no money.
Rodrigo escaped two years later when members of a Spanish religious order paid his ransom.
He tried to rescue his brother from Algiers at the end of September 1577.
But the expedition failed when the boat was sighted as it approached the beach for the rescue attempt.
Cervantes, who together with another 13 captives had been hiding in the grotto, was held for another five years during which time he tried to escape four times without success.
On September 19 1580 he was freed at last thanks to the payment of 500 escudos, of which 300 were provided by his family.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news