In February 1709, the British ship "Duke" approached the island of Mas-a-Tierra, which was considered uninhabited. The attention of the crew was attracted by the smoke from the fire. Several sailors sent out on reconnaissance soon returned with a man dressed in animal skins. He introduced himself to the captain of the ship as Alexander Selkirk, a British citizen who had lived alone on the island for 4 years and 4 months.
It was Selkirk who became the prototype for Robinson Crusoe, the hero of Daniel Defoe's novel. Although the real hermit looked little like Robinson.
Alexander Selkirk did not become a victim of a shipwreck, the reason for his appearance on the island was a bad character. In 1704, the pirate ship "Sank Por", on which Selkirk was a boatswain, replenished the supply of drinking water on the island of Mas a Tierra. Here another scandal broke out between Selkirk and Captain William Dampier. The boatswain said that the ship needs urgent repairs, and he does not intend to risk his life.
Dhampir ordered to leave the rebel on the island. However, the boatswain's doubts about the condition of the ship were not in vain: the ship departed from Mas-a-Tierra, and nothing more is known about its fate.
Remaining on the island, Alexander did not despair, he knew that many ships were approaching the island for fresh water, and a good boatswain was always needed. He could not even imagine that his loneliness would drag on for 52 months. Although the ships, indeed, more than once approached the island, Selkirk had to hide from them: they were Spanish galleys. The two great maritime powers, England and Spain, were in a state of enmity, and the English pirate did not want to be aboard an enemy ship at all.
It took years to see the English flag on the ship's mast. Selkirk has become a legend in England. Soon, he again went to the pirates, although it was no longer the evil boatswain from the ship "Sank Port". During his solitude on the island, he first read the Bible he took from the ship.
Alexander Selkirk died in 1721 at the age of 45 on one of the pirate ships, and, according to the old maritime tradition, was buried at sea, off the coast of West Africa.
In 1966, the island of Mas a Tierra, located 650 kilometers off the coast of Chile, was renamed the Robinson Crusoe Island. The Chilean authorities decided to give the island the name of a book hero, and not a real person who spent several years here. And the neighboring island, located 160 kilometers away, was named after Alexander Selkirk. Selkirk is unlikely to have ever been on it, though.