Spanish poet and statesman, b. at Cordova, 10 March, 1791; d. at Madrid, 22 June, 1865. He was the second son of Juan Martín de Saavedra, Duque de Rivas, and succeeded to the title upon the death without issue of his elder brother in 1834. At eleven he entered the Seminario de Nobles at Madrid but left at sixteen to join the army. From 1808 to 1813 he took an active part in the Spanish War of Independence. From 1813 to 1820 he lived quietly in Seville, devoting his time to literary pursuits, and from 1820 to 1823 he distinguished himself as a member of the Cortes. He sided with the revolutionary party, and as a result, when Ferdinand VII came into power, he was forced to flee, escaping with difficulty to Gibraltar. From there he proceeded to London, and later to Malta where he remained five years during which he continued his literary activities, and then went to live in France. Upon the death of Ferdinand VII, he was able to return to Spain (1834). In 1836, he became minister of the interior in the cabinet headed by Isturiz, and in 1844 he was sent as ambassador to Naples where he remained until 1850. Besides being a poet of great merit, Saavedra had considerable skill as a painter, and during his exile in France, earned a living for himself and family by conducting a school for painting and by selling his pictures. But it is as a poet that he is best known. He published his first volume of "Poesias" in 1813 and in 1814, two tragedies, "Aliatur" and "El Duque de Aquitania". Only the first was presented. The works which place him in the front rank of Spanish poets are "El moro expósito", a narrative poem breathing a spirit of patriotism (1834), and the tragedy "Don Alvaro" (1835), presented with great success in Madrid and considered his best work. A complete edition of his works was published (5 vols., Madrid, 1854), under the title "Obras Completas", and in 1885 a complete edition with illustrations appeared ar Barcelona in two volumes.
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