And, on this day 470 years ago, Miguel de Cervantes, the Spanish author thought to be the father of the modern novel, was born. In prison, he hatched the idea for his masterpiece, Don Quixote, published in 1605. He conceived it to be a parody of the romance genre popular in the day. Cervantes said, “Too much sanity may be madness, and the maddest of all, to see life as it is and not as it should be.” (1547)

More Good News on This Date:

  • New York Giants center-fielder Willie Mays made what is widely considered to be the greatest catch ever made in baseball with his back to home plate, running down a ball hit by a Cleveland Indians player in Game 1 of the World Series—Watch below (1954)
  • Pope John Paul II became the first pope to set foot on Irish soil with his visit to the Republic of Ireland (1979)
  • The space shuttle Discovery blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Fla., marking America’s return to manned space flight, which was grounded after the Challenger disaster (1988)
  • Bruce Springsteen, while traveling on his motorbike from Los Angeles, stopped in at Matt’s Saloon in Prescott, Arizona where he jammed with the house band–playing classics like ‘Don’t Be Cruel’ and ‘Route 66’– and also donated $100,000 to a barmaid’s hospital bill (1989)
  • The Nintendo 64 gaming console was released in North America, and with its speedy advanced 3D graphics and gameplay, 32 million units were sold for $200 worldwide (1996)
  • 62,000 people attended the Global Citizen Festival in Central Park, enjoying concert performances by Neil Young, Foo Fighters, and The Black Keys to promote anti-poverty initiatives with the Global Poverty Project—$167.5 million in new commitments were raised (2012)