Several sources for the story of Defoe’s novel have been identified by scholars. However, the principal source is a hook called A Cruising Voyage Round the World written by a sea-captain by the mane of Woodes Rogers. This book contains an account of the actual experiences of a ‘Scottish sailor by the name of Alexander Selkirk who spent four years all alone on an uninhabited island called Juan Fernandez. Alexander Selkirk had been put ashore on the island of the Juan Fernandez by the captain of the ship called the Cinque Ports which he had boarded as a sailor. It was because Selkirk had entered into a heated argument with his captain and had virtually quarreled with him that he was put ashore with all his belongings. Selkirk spent a little more than four years on this island, leading a solitary life.
Eventually, a ship under the command of Captain Woodes Rogers dropped anchor off this island and rescued Selkirk from his solitary existence. Captain Rogers took Selkirk to England aboard his ship. As was but natural, Selkirk related to Captain Rogers all his experiences on the island. He also told his story to another sea-captain whose name was Edward Cooke. Captain Rogers then wrote a book, already named above, in which he narrated Selkirk’s story. Now, there is such a close resemblance between the experiences of Selkirk as narrated by Captain Rogers and the experiences of Crusoe as narrated by Defoe that it is impossible to escape the conclusion that Defoe based his novel on the account given by Captain Rogers in his book. We may therefore confidently affirm that Captain Rogers’s account constitutes the nucleus which inspired Defoe to write his immortal novel known as Robinson Crusoe. At the same time, we must also recognize the fact that Defoe had read many other works in which writers had narrated their experiences of travelling to distant lands. Defoe must definitely have drawn some of his material from these accounts of travel and exploration. These accounts must have provided him with the geographical background and other details which helped him in the writing of his novel.