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Encyclopedia > Alexander Selkirk

Alexander Selkirk, born Alexander Selcraig, (167613 December 1721) was a Scottish sailor who spent four years as a castaway on an uninhabited island; it is probable that his travails provided the inspiration for Defoe's Robinson Crusoe. Events January 29 - Feodor III becomes Tsar of Russia First measurement of the speed of light, by Ole Rømer Bacons Rebellion Russo-Turkish Wars commence. ... December 13 is the 347th day of the year (348th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... // Events Pope Innocent XIII becomes pope Johann Sebastian Bach composes the Brandenburg Concertos April 4 - Robert Walpole becomes the first prime minister of Britain September 10 - Treaty of Nystad is signed, bringing an end to the Great Northern War November 2 - Peter I is proclaimed Emperor of All the Russias... Motto: (Latin) No one provokes me with impunity(English) Wha daur meddle wi me? (Scots)[1] Anthem: Multiple unofficial anthems Capital Edinburgh Largest city Glasgow Official languages English, Gaelic, Scots[2] Government  - Queen Queen Elizabeth II  - Prime Minister Tony Blair MP  - First Minister Jack McConnell MSP Unification    - by Kenneth I... U.S. merchant seamen try to revive a shipwrecked Filipino fisherman rescued in the South China Sea. ... Daniel Defoe Daniel Defoe (1660 [?] â€“ April 1731) was an English writer, journalist and spy, who gained enduring fame for his novel Robinson Crusoe. ... Robinson Crusoe is a novel by Daniel Defoe, first published in 1719 and sometimes regarded as the first novel in English. ...


Biography

Early life

The son of a shoemaker and tanner in Lower Largo, Fife, Scotland, he was born in 1676. In his youth he displayed a quarrelsome and unruly disposition, and having been summoned on 27 August 1695 before the kirk-session for his "undecent carriage" (indecent behaviour) in church, "did not compear [appear], having gone away to þe sea: this business is continued till his return" (quotation in original spelling). Tanning is the process of conversion of putrescible skin into non putrescible leather. ... Lower Largo, Fife, Scotland Lower Largo is a village in Fife, Scotland situated on Largo Bay on the north side of the Firth of Forth. ... Fife (Fìobh in Gaelic) is a council area of Scotland, situated between the Firth of Tay and the Firth of Forth, with landward boundaries to Perth and Kinross and Clackmannanshire. ... Motto: (Latin) No one provokes me with impunity(English) Wha daur meddle wi me? (Scots)[1] Anthem: Multiple unofficial anthems Capital Edinburgh Largest city Glasgow Official languages English, Gaelic, Scots[2] Government  - Queen Queen Elizabeth II  - Prime Minister Tony Blair MP  - First Minister Jack McConnell MSP Unification    - by Kenneth I... August 27 is the 239th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (240th in leap years), with 126 days remaining. ... Events January 27 - Change of emperor of the Ottoman Empire from Ahmed II to Mustafa II (1695-1703) July 17 - The Bank of Scotland is founded by an Act of Parliament of the old Scottish Parliament. ... Presbyterian governance of a church is typified by the rule of assemblies of presbyters, or elders. ... For the Wikipedia quotation templates, see Category:Quotation templates. ... Proper spelling is the writing of a word or words with all necessary letters and diacritics present in an accepted, conventional order. ...


At an early period he was engaged in buccaneer expeditions to the South Seas, and in 1703 joined in with the expedition of famed privateer and explorer William Dampier. While Dampier was captain of the St. George, Selkirk served on the galleon Cinque Ports, the St. George's companion, as sailing master. The following year in October, after the ships had separated because of a fight between Woodes Rogers and Dampier, the Cinque Ports was stopped over at the uninhabited archipelago of Juan Fernández for a mid-expedition restock of supplies and fresh water. At this point, Selkirk had grave concerns about the seaworthiness of his vessel (the Cinque Ports later sank, losing most hands) and tried to convince some of his crewmates to desert with him and remain on the island, banking on an impending visit by another ship. No one agreed, and Rogers, tired of Selkirk's troublemaking, decided that he could have his wish and stay on the island—alone. Selkirk almost immediately began to regret his position. He chased and called after his boat to no avail; Selkirk spent a solitary residence of four years and four months on Juan Fernández. He took with him a musket, gunpowder, carpenter's tools, a knife, a Bible and his clothing. This article refers to the type of pirate. ... South Sea may mean: The South China Sea The Pacific Ocean south of Panama The Korean name of the East China Sea Often used in the plural, South Seas, to designate all of the above. ... Events February 2 - Earthquake in Aquila, Italy February 4 - In Japan, the 47 samurai commit seppuku (ritual suicide) February 14 - Earthquake in Norcia, Italy April 21 - Company of Quenching of Fire (ie. ... A privateer was a private ship (or its captain) authorized by a countrys government by letters of marque to attack foreign shipping. ... Exploration is the act of searching or traveling for the purpose of discovery, e. ... William Dampier (1652 – March, 1715) was an English buccaneer, sea captain, author and scientific observer. ... A Spanish galleon A galleon was a large, multi-decked sailing ship used primarily by the nations of Europe from the 16th to 18th centuries. ... Master Mariner is the official title of someone qualified to command a ship; the qualification is colloquially called a Masters Ticket. The term was introduced in the mid 19th century, and is usually held by the chief officer/first mate as well as the captain). ... Cinque Ports is the name of an English Government galleon (96 tons, 16 guns, 63 men) whose sailing master was Alexander Selkirk and captain was Thomas Stradling. ... The Mergui Archipelago An archipelago is a landform which consists of a chain or cluster of islands. ... The town of San Juan Bautista in Cumberland Bay, Robinson Crusoe Island Map of Isla Más Afuera / Selkirk Map of Isla Más a Tierra / Crusoe Orthographic projection centred over Juan Fernandez The Juan Fernández Islands is a sparsely inhabited island group in the South Pacific Ocean, situated... The town of San Juan Bautista in Cumberland Bay, Robinson Crusoe Island Map of Isla Más Afuera / Selkirk Map of Isla Más a Tierra / Crusoe Orthographic projection centred over Juan Fernandez The Juan Fernández Islands is a sparsely inhabited island group in the South Pacific Ocean, situated... Muskets and bayonets aboard the frigate Grand Turk. ... Smokeless powder Gunpowder, whether black powder or smokeless powder, is a substance that burns very rapidly, releasing gases that act as a propellant in firearms. ... Carpenters in an Indian village. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... This Gutenberg Bible is displayed by the United States Library of Congress. ...


Castaway life

Selkirk initially stayed on the beach, because he was afraid of sea creatures and was very paranoid about most aspects in his life. He feared strange inland sounds, which he assumed to be dangerous beasts. During this period, he camped in a small cave, consumed shellfish for nutrition, surveyed the ocean each day for a possible rescue, and suffered from deep loneliness, depression and regret. Eventual hordes of noisy sea lions, collecting on the beach for their mating season, drove him into the island's interior. Cooked mussels Shellfish is a term used to describe shelled molluscs and crustaceans used as food. ... Genera Eumetopias Zalophus Otaria Neophoca Phocarctos Hundreds of California Sea Lions sunbathing on Pier 39 in San Francisco. ...


There, his life became significantly better. A bevy of new food sources became available: wild goats, introduced by earlier sailors, provided meat and milk; uncultivated turnips, cabbage, and pepper berries offered diversity and spice. Rats, also not native, were an initial problem—they made a habit of gnawing on Selkirk during the night. However, by domesticating and living near equally feral cats, he was able to sleep soundly. (After his rescue, Selkirk lived with cats in Largo.) Binomial name Capra aegagrus Erxleben, 1777 Subspecies Capra aegagrus aegagrus Capra aegagrus blythi Capra aegagrus chialtanensis Capra aegagrus cretica Capra aegagrus hircus Capra aegagrus turcmenica The wild goat (Capra aegagrus) is a common type of goat species, with a distribution ranging from Europe and Asia Minor to central Asia and... Mortal Kombat character, see Meat (Mortal Kombat). ... A glass of cows milk A goat kid feeding on its mothers milk Milk is the nutrient fluid secreted by the mammary glands of female mammals (including monotremes). ... Binomial name Brassica rapa L. Subsp. ... Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults. ... Binomial name Piper nigrum L. Black pepper (Piper nigrum) is a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae, cultivated for its fruit, which is usually dried and used as a spice and seasoning. ... Species 50 species; see text *Several subfamilies of Muroids include animals called rats. ... Trinomial name Felis catus Linnaeus, 1758 The cat (or domestic cat, house cat) is a small carnivorous mammal. ...


Selkirk made extraordinary use of the equipment he took from the ship and that which he later made from island materials. He built two huts out of native Pimento trees and employed his musket and knife to hunt and clean goats. However, when his gunpowder dwindled, he had to resort to chasing his prey on foot. This resulted in a major injury when he tumbled off a cliff and was rendered unconscious for about 24 hours. (His prey had unwittingly intervened, sparing him a broken back.)[1] He also read from the Bible frequently, finding it beneficial to his emotional state and grasp of English. A hut is a small and crude shelter used for dwelling. ... Binomial name Pimenta dioica Allspice, also called Jamaica pepper, Myrtle pepper, Pimento, or Newspice, is a spice which is the dried unripe fruit of the Pimenta dioica plant. ... This Gutenberg Bible is displayed by the United States Library of Congress. ...


When Selkirk's clothing wore out, he fashioned new garments from goatskin using a nail to sew. His father was a tanner, and the lessons he had learned as a child helped him greatly on the island. Selkirk's feet became so toughened and calloused that when his shoes were no longer usable, he found them unnecessary. He forged a new knife out of iron barrel rings left on the beach. A pile of nails. ... Tanner is a surname, and might refer to Alain Tanner, Swiss film-maker Adam Tanner (Tannerus), Austrian Jesuit mathematician and philosopher Beatrice Stella Tanner, the British actress Mrs Patrick Campbell Charles Albert Tanner, Canadian politician Chuck Tanner, American baseball manager D.J. Tanner, fictional character from Full House Danny Tanner... Dermatologically, a callus is an especially toughened area of skin, which has become relatively thick and hard (or callous) as a response to contact (rubbing and pressure). ... A shoe is an item of footwear worn on the foot or feet of a human, dog, cat, horse, or doll. ...


Two vessels arrived and departed before his escape; both were Spanish. As a Scotsman and privateer, he faced a fate worse than death if captured. Thus he hid from both crews. Motto: (Latin) No one provokes me with impunity(English) Wha daur meddle wi me? (Scots)[1] Anthem: Multiple unofficial anthems Capital Edinburgh Largest city Glasgow Official languages English, Gaelic, Scots[2] Government  - Queen Queen Elizabeth II  - Prime Minister Tony Blair MP  - First Minister Jack McConnell MSP Unification    - by Kenneth I... A privateer was a private ship (or its captain) authorized by a countrys government by letters of marque to attack foreign shipping. ...


The long-awaited rescue occurred on 2 February 1709 by way of privateer Duke, a ship piloted by the same William Dampier mentioned earlier. Selkirk was discovered on the island by the Duke's Captain, Woodes Rogers, who called him the Governor of the island. Upon being found, the four-year castaway was completely incoherent with joy. The agile Selkirk caught two or three goats a day, helping restore the health of Rogers's men. Rogers eventually made Selkirk his mate and gave him the independent command of one of his prizes. Rogers's A cruising voyage round the world: first to the South-Sea, thence to the East-Indies, and homewards by the Cape of Good Hope was published in 1712, with an account of Selkirk's ordeal. February 2 is the 33rd day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... // Events January 12 - Two-month freezing period begins in France - The coast of the Atlantic and Seine River freeze, crops fail and at least 24. ... Captain is a nautical term, an organizational title, and a rank in various uniformed organizations. ... An old engraving of Capt. ... // Events Treaty of Aargau signed between Catholic and Protestants. ...


The journalist Richard Steele interviewed Selkirk about his solitary stay and Steele wrote a famous article about Selkirk in "The Englishman".[2] Sir Richard Steele (bap. ...


In 1717 Selkirk had returned to Lower Largo, but only stayed a few months. There he met Sophia Bruce, a sixteen year old dairymaid, and they eloped to London but apparently did not marry. In March, 1717, he had again gone to sea. On a visit to Plymouth, he married a widowed innkeeper. According to the ship's log, he died at 8 p.m. on December 13, 1721 while serving as a lieutenant on board the Royal ship Weymouth, probably succumbing to the yellow fever which had devastated the voyage. He was buried at sea off the west coast of Africa. Dairy farm near Oxford, New York A dairy is a facility for the extraction and processing of animal milk (mostly from cows, sometimes from buffalo, sheep or goats) and other farm animals, for human consumption. ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... Plymouth is a city of 243,795 inhabitants (2001 census) in the south-west of England, or alternatively the West Country, and is situated within the traditional and ceremonial county of Devon at the mouths of the rivers Plym and Tamar and at the head of one of the world... logbook aboard the frigate Grand Turk A Logbook is a book for recording readings from the log (see also maritime log). ... December 13 is the 347th day of the year (348th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... // Events Pope Innocent XIII becomes pope Johann Sebastian Bach composes the Brandenburg Concertos April 4 - Robert Walpole becomes the first prime minister of Britain September 10 - Treaty of Nystad is signed, bringing an end to the Great Northern War November 2 - Peter I is proclaimed Emperor of All the Russias... Lieutenant is a military, naval, paramilitary, fire service or police officer rank. ... Weymouth is a town in Dorset, England, situated on a sheltered bay at the mouth of the River Wey on the English Channel coast. ... A world map showing the continent of Africa Africa is the worlds second-largest and second most-populous continent, after Asia. ...


The Juan Fernández Islands

On 1 January 1966 the island on which Selkirk stayed was officially renamed Robinson Crusoe Island. At the same moment, the most western island of the Juan Fernández Islands was renamed Alejandro Selkirk Island although Selkirk probably never saw that island. Town San Juan Bautista, Robinson Crusoe, Cumberland Bay A fisherman with 2 Lobsters Robinson Crusoe Island, located in the Juan Fernández archipelago, which is situated in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean, 674 kilometres from the South American continent. ... The town of San Juan Bautista in Cumberland Bay, Robinson Crusoe Island Map of Isla Más Afuera / Selkirk Map of Isla Más a Tierra / Crusoe Orthographic projection centred over Juan Fernandez The Juan Fernández Islands is a sparsely inhabited island group in the South Pacific Ocean, situated... Alejandro Selkirk Island is the second largest and most westernly island of the Juan Fernández Islands. ...


Archeological finding of the camp of Selkirk

  • Around 2000 an expedition lead by the Japanese Daisuke Takahashi, searching for Selkirk's camp on the island, found an early 18th (or late 17th) century nautical instrument that almost certainly belonged to Selkirk (about Takahashi's book, see below under "external links" and "further reading and information")

2000 (MM) was a leap year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

Notes

  1. ^ Rodgers, Woodes, Providence display’d, or a very surprising account of one, p. 6.
  2. ^ Article, dated 1 December 1713.

References

  • Selcraig, B. (July 2005). "The Real Robinson Crusoe". Smithsonian, p.82-90.

This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain. The Smithsonian castle, as seen through the garden gate. ... Encyclopædia Britannica, the 11th edition The Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition (1910–1911) is perhaps the most famous edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica. ... The public domain comprises the body of all creative works and other knowledge—writing, artwork, music, science, inventions, and others—in which no person or organization has any proprietary interest. ...


Selkirk in Other Books

  • In Allan Cole and Chris Bunch's Sten science fiction series, Book Two, "The Wolf Worlds", the Scottish character Alex bemoans their predicament after crash landing; 'A slackit way f'r a mon,' Alex mourned to himself. 'Ah dinnae ken Ah'd ever be Alex Selkirk.'
  • Selkirk is mentioned in Sailing Alone Around The World by Joshua Slocum. During his stay on the Juan Fernández Islands, Slocum runs across a marker commemorating Selkirk's stay.
  • In his poem 'Inniskeen Road: July Evening', the poet Patrick Kavanagh likens his loneliness on the road to that of Selkirk:

"Oh, Alexander Selkirk knew the plight / Of being king and government and nation. / A road, a mile of kingdom, I am king / Of banks and stones and every blooming thing". Allan Cole (born 1943) is an American author and television writer, who has written or co-written nearly thirty books. ... Christopher R. (Chris) Bunch (22 December 1943–4 July 2005) was an American science fiction and television writer, who wrote and co-wrote about thirty novels. ... Joshua Slocum (February 20, 1844 – on or shortly after 14 November 1909) was a Canadian-born American seaman and adventurer, a noted writer, and the first man to sail single-handedly around the world. ... Patrick Kavanagh (21 October 1904 - 30 November 1967) was an Irish poet. ...

Further reading and information

  • Diana Souhami, Selkirk's Island: The True and Strange Adventures of the Real Robinson Crusoe, (2001) ISBN 0-15-100526-5
  • Daisuke Takahashi, In Search of Robinson Crusoe, (2002) ISBN 0-8154-1200-2
  • Robert Krauske, "Marooned: The Strange but True Adventures of Alexander Selkirk, The Real Robinson Crusoe", (2005) ISBN 0-618-56843-3

External links

  • Account of a trip to Selkirk's Island
  • "Site of Selkirk's camp identified", from The Times (London), 17 September 2005.
  • "Island gives up secret of real Robinson Crusoe", from the Scotsman

  Results from FactBites:
 
Alexander Selkirk - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (821 words)
Alexander Selkirk, born Alexander Selcraig, (1676–December 13, 1721) was a sailor who spent 4 years as a castaway on an uninhabited island; he is supposed to be the prototype of Defoe's Robinson Crusoe.
Selkirk initially stayed on the beach, fearing strange inland sounds he assumed to be dangerous beasts.
Selkirk made extraordinary use of the equipment he took from the ship and, later, that which he made from island materials.
AllRefer.com - Alexander Selkirk (English Literature, 1500 To 1799, Biography) - Encyclopedia (221 words)
Alexander Selkirk, English Literature, 1500 To 1799, Biographies
Alexander Selkirk[sel´kurk] Pronunciation Key, 1676–1721, Scottish sailor whose adventures suggested to Daniel Defoe the story of Robinson Crusoe (1719).
In 1704, as a sailing master, Selkirk quarreled with the captain of his ship in the Juan FernAndez islands and asked to be put ashore.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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