Daybook · On History · On Places & Travel

Daybook: The Real Robinson Crusoe

Okay, this is really cool. An archaeological dig on the Puerto Rican island of Aguas Buenas finds evidence of a camp used by Alexander Selkirk, a Scottish sailor who had a fight with his commanding officer, and ended up spending five years surviving on the island.  According to Science Daily:

The [archaeological] finds provide an insight into exactly how Selkirk might have
lived on the island. Postholes suggest he built two shelters near to a
freshwater stream, and had access to a viewpoint over the harbour from
where he would be able to watch for approaching ships and ascertain
whether they were friend or foe. Accounts written shortly after his
rescue describe him shooting goats with a gun rescued from the ship,
and eventually learning to outrun them, eating their meat and using
their skins as clothing. He also passed time reading the Bible and
singing psalms, and seems to have enjoyed a more peaceful and devout
existence than at any other time in his life.

It's unclear whether  Selkirk and Daniel Defoe met, however Defoe (who was a journalist) would have certainly heard accounts of Selkirk's adventure.

I just love it when the lines between fact and fiction get blurry!