Robinson Crusoe is a novel by Daniel Defoe. It was first published in 1719, and is sometimes considered to be the first novel in English. The book, although based on the true story a Scotsman, Alexander Selkirk, is a fictional autobiography of the title character, a castaway who spends 28 years on a remote tropical island near Venezuela, encountering Native Americans, captives, and mutineers before being rescued. This device, presenting an account of supposedly factual events, is known as a "false document" and gives a realistic frame story. The story was likely influenced by the real life Alexander Selkirk, a Scottish castaway who lived four years on the Pacific island called "Más a Tierra" (in 1966 its name was changed to Robinson Crusoe Island), Chile. However, the details of Crusoe's island were probably based on the Caribbean island of Tobago, since that island lies a short distance north of the Venezuelan coast near the mouth of the Orinoco river, and in sight of the island of Trinidad. It is also likely that Defoe was inspired by the Latin or English translations of Ibn Tufail's Hayy ibn Yaqdhan, an earlier novel also set on a desert island. Another source for Defoe's novel may have been Robert Knox's account of his abduction by the King of Ceylon in 1659 in "An Historical Account of the Island Ceylon," Glasgow: James MacLehose and Sons (Publishers to the University), 1911.
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