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According to Valera himself, he was born in 1412 and lived to a ripe old age, probably dying late in 1488. His father, Alonso Chirino de Guadalajara, was the chief royal physician to Juan II of Castile and author of at least two medical treatises, one of which was printed in Seville in 1506. In 1427 Valera joined the royal court at the age of fifteen and served as one of the donceles of Juan II, and then Prince Enrique (the future Enrique IV). He was present at the Christian victory of La Higueruela just outside the Naṣrid capital of Granada in 1431, and was made a knight at the conquest of Huelma.