The Real Robinson Crusoe

“The adventures of a hot-tempered and impetuous Scottish pirate named Alexander Selkirk inspired one of literature’s greatest adventures, as our author, himself a member of the family, recounts.”

Bruce Selcraig in Smithsonian Magazine:

Crusoe_islandThree centuries ago an impetuous Scottish sailor known as Alexander Selkirk was languishing off the coast of Chile in a battle-scarred, worm-eaten British ship called the Cinque Ports when he began to argue with the captain that the leaky, disease-ridden vessel was a deathtrap. Selkirk, a skilled navigator, and the ship’s sickened crew were privateers—in effect, legalized pirates for the British Crown—who had spent a year at sea off South America robbing Spanish ships and coastal villages. Selkirk had already been on a similar voyage. He knew all the risks. But by October 1704, as the Cinque Ports anchored off a deserted archipelago 418 miles west of Valparaiso, Chile, he had made a life-changing decision.

Selkirk demanded that his 21-year-old captain, Lt. Thomas Stradling, whom he regarded as arrogant, leave him on the largest island, a wish that Stradling was only too happy to oblige.

More here.

Like what you're reading? Don't keep it to yourself!
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Reddit
Reddit
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Email this to someone
email