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February 1st is Robinson Crusoe Day

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If you're looking for something to do then open up a book because it's Robinson Crusoe Day!  Or you could always get deserted on an island... if you like.  Let's get right into celebrating Robinson Crusoe Day!


Yes there is actually a reason for this holiday and it's because Alexander Selkirk was rescued from a deserted island in this day on 1709. Wait... what? Why does that matter? Well, the Robinson Crusoe story was actually based a bit on Selkirk's life. Let's take a look at the similarities.  Alexander Selkirk was a Scottish sailor who was left on the uninhabited, Juan Fernandez Island in 1704 after a dispute over the ship he was on. He didn't think the ship would make it much longer and he was right, because it sunk a month later. What did he get for his prediction? Stranded on an island for four years!  He found plenty of food, made huts for himself and even had to hide from enemy ships that stopped on the island. He was stuck on the island until this day in 1709 when a ship called Duke happened upon the island.
What about the Robinson Crusoe story? Well, Crusoe's ship was destroyed in a storm and he was stranded on an island near the Orinoco river in 1659. Everyone on the ship died except him, a dog and two cats.  He found a lot of food, had to hide from native cannibals that visited the island and even helps freed prisoners and named one "Friday". Crusoe manages to get off the island 27 years later when he strikes a deal with a captain of an English ship and helps him regain control of it from the mutineers.  So, it's not exactly the same story; they added to it a lot... but the inspiration was definitely there! They actually changed the name of Juan Fernandez Island to Robinson Crusoe Island in 1966.


So how can you celebrate today?  Well, you can head to your local library or book store and pick up a copy of one of the Robinson Crusoe stories. Spend a good part of today getting familiar with the story and maybe even read it to your kids if you have children.  Let your mind wander and really picture what you'd do if you were stuck on an island.
Or you could read about Selkirk's life to see why and how the real story sparked an idea in Daniel Defoe's mind. The true story may not be as flashy, but it's still an interesting story.  And if you really don't want to sit down with a book today you can watch one of the film adaptations of the Robinson Crusoe story. There are a number of different versions for you to choose from and there are even a couple TV shows too.  It's sometimes easier to absorb and picture the story whenever you don't have to create all the scenes and settings in your mind.  I hope you enjoy escaping realism and jumping into Robinson Crusoe's world today!

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