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 is a fictional autobiography of the title character, an English 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.
Crusoe leaves England, setting sail from the Queen's Dock in Hull on a sea voyage in September 1651, against the wishes of his parents, who want him to stay home and become a businessman. After a tumultuous journey that sees his ship wrecked by a vicious storm, his lust for the sea remains so strong that he sets out to sea again. This journey too ends in disaster as the ship is taken over by Salé pirates, and Crusoe becomes the slave of a Moor. He manages to escape with a boat and a boy named Xury; later, Crusoe is befriended by the Captain of a Portuguese ship off the western coast of Africa. The ship is en route to Brazil. There, with the help of the captain, Crusoe becomes owner of a plantation.