THE BEGINING OF EL QUIXOTE IN THE CUEVA DE MEDRANO JAIL

 

There has always been a legend and long discussions ending in deep disagreements about the identification of “The place in La Mancha” that is mentioned by D. Miguel de Cervantes at the beginning of his masterpiece of Spanish literature, but where experts absolutely agree is in the lack of data about Miguel de Cervantes life between 1600 and 1603, just before El Quixote was first published in 1605. The “official story” says that Cervantes could have been detained while working as a taxes collector, and his frequent tendency to use the wrong pocket to keep them, that was more often his own than the Crown one, although the most probably actual story, that could have been extracted from a XXIst century TV reality show, is a very different one. This one believes that Cervantes, just a poor taxes collector and a writer, was in love with a beautiful young lady, niece of Mr Rodrigo de Pacheco, at that time the authentic factual power of the Villa de Argamasilla, without his agreement. This legend says that Don Rodrigo did not find a better way to get rid of this annoying and poor writer, than to create a false story to accuse Cervantes of a non-existent crime, the use of the wrong pocket for the collected taxes… And so, D. Miguel de Cervantes ended up imprisoned in the Cueva de Medrano, located in the centre of the town of Argamasilla de Alba. The place can still be visited nowadays, and it is where, undoubtedly, Don Quixote de la Mancha started to be written. This explains why the book starts with that unforgettable “In a place in La Mancha, whose name I don’t want to remember… ”. Argamasilla de Alba is undoubtedly the Place in La Mancha that made him suffer an unfair jail sentence and that for that reason he did not want to remember.

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