Sunday, 9 May 2010

Alexander Selkirk

When we go on about living on an uninhabited island, we should spare a thought for Alexander Selkirk, from Lower Largo, in Fife, who knew what living on an uninhabited island was really all about..

Above is the westernmost of the islands of the Juan Fernadez Archipelago, off Chile. For four and a half years, between 1705 and 1709 Selkirk - privateer, scoundrel, bigamist but born survivor, the Bear Grylls of the eighteenth century - managed to get by here using just his wits and those few possessions he took ashore from the Cinque Portes, the vessel on which he had arrived.

Of course, Selkirk's story inspired Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, and in 1966 the island, originally named Mas a Tierra, was officially renamed Robinson Crusoe Island, thereby gaining in notoriety what it may have lost in poetry.
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