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On This Day… The Real Robinson Crusoe!

Written by: George Chittenden : 01 Jul 2019

It was on this day, 2nd February, back in 1709 when the real-life Robinson Crusoe, was rescued after spending more than four years as a castaway on an uninhabited island in the South Pacific Ocean. His name was Alexander Selkirk, a Scottish privateer, and despite popular belief he wasn’t marooned.

In actual fact he chose to remain on that island after his ship, Cinque Ports, stopped for provisions there. Selkirk considered the ship to be unseaworthy as its hull was leaking and asked to be left there. It was a move the castaway quickly regretted, however the ship did eventually sink approximately 250 miles off the coast of what is now Colombia, so it wasn’t such a bad move.

His story of survival became world famous after his return to England, thanks to writer Daniel Defoe. Personally, I find that one of the most fascinating elements of this story is the identity of the man who saved him. Believe it or not it was the one and only Captain Woodes Rogers, famous privateer and the first Royal Governor of the Bahamas!

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