1709 – Alexander Selkirk is rescued after being shipwrecked on a desert island, inspiring Daniel Defoe’s adventure book Robinson Crusoe.
Alexander Selkirk (1676 – 13 December 1721) was a Scottish privateer and Royal Navy officer who spent four years and four months as a castaway (1704–1709) after being marooned by his captain on an uninhabited island in the South Pacific Ocean.
Selkirk was an unruly youth, and joined buccaneering voyages to the South Pacific during the War of the Spanish Succession.
One such expedition was on Cinque Ports, captained by Thomas Stradling under the overall command of William Dampier.
Stradling’s ship stopped to resupply at the uninhabited Juan Fernández Islands, and Selkirk judged correctly that the craft was unseaworthy and asked to be left there.
Selkirk’s long-awaited deliverance came on 2 February 1709 by way of Duke, a privateering ship piloted by William Dampier, and its sailing companion Duchess.
His story of survival was widely publicised after his return to England, becoming a source of inspiration for writer Daniel Defoe’s fictional character Robinson Crusoe.
Extra Note: Selkirk, the Real Robinson Crusoe is a stop motion film by Walter Tournier based on Selkirk’s life. It premièred simultaneously in Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay on 2 February 2012, distributed by The Walt Disney Company. It was the first full-length animated feature to be produced in Uruguay.
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