Cervantes was a Spanish novelist and playwright who, in 1605, published what some consider to be the best work of fiction ever written, Don Quixote. It is a classic of literature and considered to be the first modern novel published in Europe. Cervantes served in the Spanish navy and was badly wounded in the Battle of Lepanto where he was shot twice in the chest and once in the arm which caused him to lose the use of his left arm. He spent six months in a hospital before returning to the navy. On September 26, 1575, his ship was attacked by Algerian pirates and he was taken Algiers where he was forced into slavery for 5 years before being ransomed by his parents. Upon his return to Spain, he became a purchasing agent for Spanish Armada and a tax collector. However there were irregularities in his accounts resulting in his bankruptcy and imprisonment. A few years after his release, he published Don Quixote which was an instant success in both Europe and the New World.