Washington Irving was an American author, essayist, biographer and historian of the early 19th century. He began his literary career at the age of nineteen by writing newspaper articles under the pseudonym Jonathan Oldstyle. In 1809, he published The History of New York under his most well known public persona, Diedrich Knickerbocker. Irving is best known for his short stories The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle, both of which appear in his book The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent., which he published in 1819. Irving’s historical works include a five volume biography of George Washington (after whom he was named) as well as biographies of Oliver Goldsmith, Muhammad, and several histories of 15th-century Spain dealing with subjects such as Christopher Columbus, the
Moors, and the Alhambra. Irving felt a strong connection to Spain and was appointed by President John Tyler to serve as the first Spanish speaking U.S. minister to Spain from 1842 to 1846.