The Real Robinsons: Who They Are and How They Survived

When we hear the word “Robinson,” the first thing that comes to mind is Robinson Crusoe, the protagonist of Daniel Defoe’s novel. But in fact, history knows many people who were isolated on uninhabited islands and managed to survive. One of the most famous cases is that of the Scottish sailor Alexander Selkirk, who became the prototype of Robinson Crusoe.

Alexander Selkirk was a navigator on a British expedition that sailed to the shores of South America in 1703. He was an extremely uncooperative man and in just one year he managed to quarrel with the entire crew, including the captain. In May 1704, after another conflict, Selkirk demanded that he be disembarked from the ship. The captain left the brawler on the uninhabited island of Mas-a-Tierra in the Pacific Ocean (today Robinson Crusoe Island) with a musket, a blanket, an axe, a knife, and a telescope.

The island of Mas-a-Tierra could not boast a tropical climate. Its flat part was occupied by meadows, and the mountains were covered with forests. Selkirk built a hut from tree trunks and leaves and learned to make fire by rubbing. He was fortunate in the fact that there were once people living on the island, leaving behind goats and cats. It is true that they had time to become feral, but Selkirk managed to tame them. The goats provided milk, meat, and hides, and the cats guarded his supplies from the rats that abounded on the island. There were also wild turnips and many edible berries. And sea turtles, whose meat Alexander enjoyed eating, were also plentiful.

At the end of four years and four months, when Selkirk had lost all hope of salvation, two English ships approached the island. Captain William Dampier, ashore, was very surprised to see a bearded man dressed in goat fur, who had almost forgotten human speech. True, neither Alexander’s psyche, nor moreover his physical condition was affected at all. Selkirk was accepted on board, but he did not return home until after a long voyage in 1712. And at once he became a real celebrity. The most popular publications devoted their front pages to him, he was recognized in the streets, and free drinks were offered in pubs.

But Alexander Selkirk is not the only Robinson of the real world. Here are a few more stories of people who managed to survive in extreme conditions.

1. Julian Alvarez

Julian Alvarez is a Mexican fisherman who found himself on a deserted island in the Pacific Ocean in 2005. He went to sea with his friend, but their boat crashed. His friend died, and Julian ended up on a small island with several goats. He lived on the island for nine months, eating fish and goat’s milk. He was eventually rescued thanks to a helicopter that spotted him.

2. Doug Roberts

Doug Roberts is an American traveler who went on an expedition to Antarctica in 1999. However, his plane crashed and he ended up on a deserted island in the South Atlantic. He lived on the island for 4 months, eating fish and birds. He was rescued by a ship that spotted him.

3. Maurice Richardson

Maurice Richardson is an Australian traveler who went on an expedition to the Tonga Islands in the Pacific Ocean in 1998. However, his boat was wrecked and he found himself on a deserted island. He lived on the island for 4 months, eating fish and fruit. He was rescued by a ship that spotted him.

All these stories show that a person can survive in extreme conditions if he has willpower and knowledge of how to survive in the wild. But, of course, it is best to avoid such situations and to be well prepared for any expeditions.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x