Alexander SelkirkCastaway / Sailor
Born: c. 1676
Died: 12 December 1721 (yellow fever [?])
Birthplace: Lower Largo, Fife, Scotland
Best known as: The model for Robinson Crusoe
A true-life castaway, Scotsman Alexander Selkirk was the inspiration for Daniel Defoe's 1719 novel Robinson Crusoe. While sailing with English privateers in 1704, Selkirk quarrelled with his captain and asked to be put ashore on an uninhabited island off of South America. He took with him a musket, a hatchet, and a few utensils. There he survived alone for four years and four months before being rescued by another English ship. He sailed for two years before returning home, where his story made him a celebrity.
The island where Selkirk left his ship is now called Robinson Crusoe Island; it was formerly known as Más a Tierra or Aguas Buenas.
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