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The Original Robinson Crusoe

February 25, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 483

It was in the year 1719 that the author, Daniel Defoe, published the book that we know as Robinson Crusoe, Defoe's actual long winded title was, "The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner: Who lived Eight and Twenty Years, all alone in an uninhabited Island on the Coast of America, near the Mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque; Having been cast on Shore by Shipwreck, wherein all the Men perished but himself. With An Account how he was at last as strangely delivered by Pirates".

Robinson Crusoe is a fictional story telling of the trials and tribulations of a shipwrecked sailor, who sailed from Queens Dock in Hull in August 1651, was shipwrecked, yet returned to the sea again and was then captured by Moors. After spending two years as a Moorish slave he escaped and was rescued by the captain of a Portuguese ship and taken with him to Brazil. Where with a great deal of help from the Captain, he settled and became the owner of a successful plantation.

However after a few years when he decided to go on a slaving trip to Africa he was shipwrecked again, this time on an Island forty mile off the coast of South America, somewhere near the mouth of the Orinoco River. Crusoe along with a dog and two cats were the only survivors, After salvaging tools and materials from the wreck before it finally sank he built himself a hut with a fence around it and settled down to life on the Island. He hunted for food, planted crops from seeds he had got from the ship, raised goats, read the bible and became religious.

Later he rescued a native from being eaten by cannibals and called him Friday after the day of the week. After rescuing Friday's father and a Spaniard, whose crew was shipwrecked on the mainland, from another group of cannibals, Crusoe sent them off in a canoe to bring back the rest of the Spaniards. However, shortly after this an English ship that has been taken by mutineers arrived, with the intention of marooning the captain and the loyal crew. Crusoe and Friday help the captain and his men take back the ship and after leaving the ringleaders on the Island they sailed back to England.

The book was an immediate success, having to be republished within two week of publication and by the end of the year another three editions had to be printed. What is more, by the end of the 19th century there were more than seven hundred different versions printed, many in different languages. To this day Robinson Crusoe is still read by thousands around the world.

Many of those who first read the book thought it to be a true story, and in a way it was, because Defoe used as the inspiration for his tale, the real life account of the Scottish castaway Alexander Selkirk from Fife. Selkirk, who was the ship master of the Cinique Ports, was marooned after an argument with the captain over the poor condition of the ship's hull. (In fact the Cinque Port sank only a month later). The marooning took place on Mas a Tierra, an uninhabited Island in the Juan Fernandez Group, in the Pacific Ocean, four hundred mile off the coast of Chile. During his stay on the Island Selkirk built himself a pair of huts, hunted for food, gathered crops, tamed wild goats and cats, read his bible and returned to religion. After having survived for four years and four months, he was rescued by the Woodes Rogers expedition and sailed back with them to England.

Fred Watson published his first book, a fantasy adventure novel aimed at the 8-12 age groups in November 2006. A grandfather of four, he loves to write for all age groups, has an abiding interest in history and continues on a regular basis to add new stories etc to his website. Footprint Publishing

Source: EzineArticles
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