“Was there a real Robinson Crusoe? Daniel Defoe based The Life and Strange Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1719-20) on the real-life story of Alexander Selkirk (1676-1721), a Scottish sailor who survived for more than four years on the desert island of Juan Fernandez off the Chilean coast. He became a celebrity after his rescue and homecoming in 1709.”
Excerpted from: Corey, Melinda, and George Ochoa. Literature: The New York Public Library Book of Answers. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993.