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Alexander Selkirk

Alexander Selkirk (or Selcraig), (1676-1723), a sailor who is supposed to be the prototype of Defoe's Robinson Crusoe.

The son of a shoemaker and tanner in Largo, Fife, he was born in 1676. In his youth he displayed a quarrelsome and unruly disposition, and having been summoned on 27th August 1695 before the kirk-session for his indecent behaviour in church, "did not compear, having gone away to the seas". At an early period he was engaged in buccaneer expeditions to the South Seas, and in 1703 joined the galley Cinque Ports as sailing master. The following year he had a dispute with the captain, and at his own request was in October put ashore on the archipelago of Juan Fernandez, where, after a solitary residence of four years and four months, he was taken off by Captain Woods Rogers on February 2, 1709. Rogers was commander of a privateer and made Selkirk his mate and afterwards gave him the independent command of one of his prizes. He returned home in 1712; but in 1717 he eloped with a country girl and again went to sea. He died in 1723 while lieutenant on board the Royal ship Weymouth.

original text from a paper copy of the 9th edition EB.

For the possible influence of his account to the story of Robinson Crusoe, see plenty of information there.



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