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Alexander Selkirk
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Adventurer
    (1676-December 13, 1721)
    Born in Lower Largo, Scotland, United Kingdom
    Sailor on the privateer the Cinque Ports
    Marooned in the uninhabited Juan Fernandez Islands after complaining about the Cinque Ports' seaworthiness (October, 1704-February, 1709)
    Rescued by the privateer the Duke
    Joined the Royal Navy (1717-21)
    Died of yellow fever
    Buried at seas off the coast of Africa
    His last name was also spelled Silkirk, Selcraig, Selchraige and Sillcrigge.
    He first ran off to sea to avoid appearing in church to answer charges of 'undecent behavior.' (1695)
    He returned home, got into a fight with his father, two of his brothers, and a sister-in-law, and left for sea again (1703).
    After failing to convince any of his crewmates to desert with him, he begged to be allowed back on the Cinque Ports.
    The captain of the Duke described him as 'a man cloth'd in goat skins who looked wilder than the first owners of them.'
    When he died, two different wives appeared in court to claim his estate.
    He was right about the Cinque Ports: a month later, the ship sank off the coast of Peru with the loss of most of its crew.
    He adapted remarkably well to life as a castaway.
    He passed much of the time reading the Bible and singing psalms and was described as leading a 'more peaceful and devout existence' on the island than at any other time in his life.
    He inspired Daniel Defoe to write 'Robinson Crusoe.'
    The government of Chile named one of the Juan Fernandez Islands after him. (But not the one he actually lived on -- that one got named for Robinson Crusoe.)

Credit: C. Fishel


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