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Further Adventures of Robinson Crusoe
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Crusoe is one of the world's most popular adventure novels.
Daniel Defoe based his classic tale of shipwreck and survival on
an uninhabited island is based on a true story. The real
Robinson Crusoe was a Scotsman named Alexander Selkirk (or
in 1676, when Selkirk was 19 years old he was cited for indecent
conduct in church, but before he could be reprimanded, he ran
off to sea. That was in 1695. By 1703 he was the sailing master
of a galley. The following year he joined a pirate expedition to
the Pacific Ocean that was led by Capt. William Dampier.
Selkirk's ship had Thomas Stradling as it's captain.
spending some time in the Pacific and numerous raids on the
Spanish towns and shipping, they were preparing to return to
England with their booty. Their ship had suffered considerable
damage in battle and Selkirk felt they needed to repair her
before setting off around the Horn. The captain disagreed. After
a heated argument and in a fit of anger, Selkirk refused to go
any farther and demanded he be set ashore on the Island
of Juan Fernandez, which was about 400 miles off the coast
of Chile. This, the captain was glad to do.
ashore, Selkirk realized the enormity of what he had done. He
thought others in the crew would join him, but none did. He
changed his mind and tried to convince the captain to take him
back. The captain refused and Selkirk found he had marooned
himself alone on an uninhabited island. Actually this was the
smart thing to do since the ship later sank killing most of
those aboard, but at the time he didn't know this.
about two years on the island he finally saw a ship and ran down
to the shore to greet it. He realized almost too late that it
was a Spanish ship and the Spaniards opened fire on him as he
ran for cover. They were unable to find him and eventually left.
He was much more cautious after that.
was able to domesticate some goats and cats he found on the
island and these were his only companions though out his stay of
almost 4 1/2 years. He
was finally found in February 1709 by William Dampier, who
was then pilot on a privateering expedition headed by Captain
appointed Selkirk as ship's mate and later gave him command of
captured ship. For the next two years they conducted raids on
the coast of Peru and Chile. They even captured a Spanish
galleon. Selkirk was very well-off when they returned to London
in 1711, as his share of the booty came to £800--a
sizable fortune in those days. Selkirk soon met essayist Richard
Steele, who wrote up Selkirk's story and published it as
"The Englishman" in 1711.
eventually returned to his home in Scotland, where he became
quite a celebrity. Though he did get married, he never quite
recovered from his stay on the island. Spending much of his time
alone, he didn't feel comfortable living indoors and built a
sort of cave or bower behind his father's house that he stayed
in. He also trained two cats to perform little feats, like he
did on the island. Eventually he returned to sea and he died of
fever off the coast of Africa in 1721 at the age of 45.
some biographers say Defoe never met Selkirk, others say the two
met at the house of Mrs. Demaris Daniel in Bristol, where
Selkirk told Defoe firsthand of his adventures and even gave
Defoe his personal papers. Either way, there's little doubt
Crusoe is largely inspired by Selkirk. He may have also been in
Robert Louis Stephenson's mind when he wrote of the marooned
pirate Ben Gunn in Treasure
the novel, Defoe extended Selkirk's 4 1/2 years on the island to
Robinson Crusoe's 28 years. He also moved the island from off
the coast of Chile far out in the Pacific Ocean to just off the
coast of Venezuela. In relation to our main interest--which is
pirates and piracy--before Crusoe is shipwrecked on the island
he is captured by Moorish pirates from Sallee on the coast of
Africa, but soon escapes. And while his rescuers are not exactly
pirates, they are in the midst of a mutiny that Crusoe helps put
down and brings them back to the straight and narrow.
though Robinson Crusoe is a fictional character, like Sherlock
Holmes he has crossed over from fiction to fact in the minds of
some people. There are even people on the Island of Tobago who
claim to be descended from Robinson Crusoe.