The legend begins in England on 25 April 1719, with the publishing of the successful novel written by Daniel Defoe (1660-1731): "The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, a Seafarer from York, as Recounted by Himself". Robinson Crusoe, the hero of the story, was born in York in 1632, son of a German father and an English mother. His father, all his life, in true English bourgeois fashion, wanted his son to become an attorney, but much to his regret his son only seemed attracted by adventures and the sea.
On 1 September 1651, at age 19, without his father’s consent or any prior notice, Robinson Crusoe embarks upon a number of seafaring adventures, where he learns to become a sailor and a merchant. On one of his voyages he is attacked by pirates, taken prisoner and sold as a slave to the captain of the ship. After many odyssey he is able to escape and is picked up by an English ship on its way to Brazil, where he lands in 1655.
He spends the next three years growing sugar and tobacco, an activity that earns him great financial wealth. As his richness grew, so did his ideas of grandiose adventures. Thus, on 1 September 1659 he sets sail to Guinea in search of illegal slaves. The real adventure begins when the vessel, loaded with 14 crewmembers and provisions, is shipwrecked on a desert island off the coast of Venezuela, after being driven far off course by a storm. On 30 September 1659, at the age of 27, Robinson Crusoe is marooned and the only survivor on the Island of Despair.
He lives almost 23 years in complete solitude on this island until the appearance of a savage who was running away from enemy tribes and cannibals. He names this man Friday, for the day on which he rescues him. Robinson Crusoe manages to survive because of the provisions and tools he was able to salvage from the ship, as well as the exuberance and fertility of the island. As time goes by he manages to learn various skills, which allows him to improve his standard of life. He becomes a hunter, a builder, a carpenter and a farmer, raising ducks and goats.
He builds storehouses, animal pens, a house by the beach and a farmhouse – all accomplished through his determined efforts and creativity, using his work as a means to fight loneliness. As a way of rounding out his existence, he discovers God and a religious vein, something that had never been part of him before. After 28 years, 2 months and 19 days he manages to leave the island after being rescued by a Spanish ship, returning to England on 11 July 1687, at the age of 55.