By Webteam - 2nd February 2018 6:01am
Alexander Selkirk (1676 — 13 December 1721) was a Scottish privateer and Royal Navy officer who spent more than four years as a castaway (1704-1709) after being marooned by his captain on an uninhabited island in the South Pacific Ocean. He survived that ordeal, but succumbed to tropical illness a dozen years later while serving aboard HMS Weymouth off West Africa.
Selkirk was an unruly youth, and joined buccaneering voyages to the South Pacific during the War of the Spanish Succession. One such expedition was on Cinque Ports, commanded by William Dampier. The ship called in for provisions at the Juan Fernández Islands, and Selkirk judged correctly that the craft was unseaworthy and asked to be left there.
When he was eventually rescued, Selkirk had become adept at hunting and making use of the resources that he found on the island. His story of survival was widely publicised after their return to England, becoming a source of inspiration for writer Daniel Defoe's fictional character Robinson Crusoe.
At first, Selkirk remained along the shoreline of Juan Fernández. During this time he ate spiny lobsters and scanned the ocean daily for rescue, suffering all the while from loneliness, misery and remorse. Hordes of raucous sea lions, gathered on the beach for the mating season, eventually drove him to the island's interior.Once inland, his way of life took a turn for the better. More foods were available there: feral goats--introduced by earlier sailors--provided him with meat and milk, while wild turnips, cabbage leaves and dried pepper berries offered him variety and spice. Rats would attack him at night, but he was able to sleep soundly and in safety by domesticating and living near feral cats.
Selkirk's long-awaited deliverance came on 2 February 1709 by way of Duke, a privateering ship piloted by William Dampier, and its sailing companion Duchess. Thomas Dover led the landing party that met Selkirk. After four years and four months without human company, Selkirk was almost incoherent with joy. The Duke's captain and leader of the expedition mischievously referred to him as the governor of the island. The agile castaway caught two or three goats a day and helped restore the health of the captain's men, who were suffering from scurvy.
Today's question is who was the captain and expedition leader who rescued Selkirk?
Captain Woodes Rogers
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