Born as the son of a shoemaker, Alexander Selkirk had a history of getting into trouble. Eventually, he ran away to the sea and quickly rose ranks. He worked on the ships as a legal pirate, more commonly known as a privateer.
On one voyage, Selkirk argued with his captain and asked to be set off on a nearby isolated island. The captain agreed and left Selkirk there alone. Selkirk lived alone on the island for over four years, until a friendly boat entered the bay area of the island.
Turns out that Selkirk was the lucky one on that voyage. Not long after leaving Selkirk on that island, the boat sank, drowning all but 7 men and the captain. These men spent some time in a Peruvian jail.
Once Selkirk returned to England he continued working as a privateer and made his fortune. He loved the sea and returned to it anyways, dying at sea in 1721.
Still, his story lives on. Most people have heard parts of the story but did not know it. When Selkirk returned, people printed the story of this man who survived over four years alone on an island. One fiction writer, Daniel Defoe, took the story and turned it into the fiction novel Robinson Crusoe. Alexander Selkirk lived and died, but people will remember him through this fiction novel.