Alexander Selkirk | 10 Very Real Castaway Stories

Alexander Selkirk

The man who inspired Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe was a prescient Scottish sailor, or rather, buccaneer, that ended up being marooned thanks to his vociferous protests. He was sailing on the Cinque Ports, a ship commanded by Captain Stradling in 1704, having parted ways with the famous privateer William Dampier, when they stopped at the uninhabited islands of Juan Fernandez, off the coast of Chile, to restore supplies. Selkirk expressed his concerns about the Cinque Port’s seaworthiness and rashly stated that he would rather be left behind than sail on that vessel. The Captain granted his wish and marooned him with provisions, including a musket, gunpowder, carpenter's tools, a knife, a Bible, and clothing. He survived four years and four months before being rescued by none other than William Dampier. Strangely enough, another person had been marooned 20 years earlier on the same island and managed to survive 3 years.

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