Was Robinson Crusoe a real person?

Daniel Defoe's novel Robinson crusoe, published in 1719, was based on the true story of a Scottish sailor Alexander Selkirk. After a quarrel at sea, he was left, at his own request, on the island of Juan Fernandez, Chile. He was rescued four years later.

Crusoe is the novel’s narrator. He describes how, as a headstrong young man, he ignored his family’s advice and left his comfortable middle-class home in England to go to sea. His first experience on a ship nearly kills him, but he perseveres, and a voyage to Guinea “made me both a Sailor and a Merchant,” Crusoe explains. Now several hundred pounds richer, he sails again for Africa but is captured by pirates and sold into slavery. He escapes and ends up in Brazil, where he acquires a plantation and prospers. Ambitious for more wealth, Crusoe makes a deal with merchants and other plantation owners to sail to Guinea, buy slaves, and return with them to Brazil. But he encounters a storm in the Caribbean, and his ship is nearly destroyed. Crusoe is the only survivor, washed up onto a desolate shore. He salvages what he can from the wreck and establishes a life on the island that consists of spiritual reflection and practical measures to survive. He carefully documents in a journal everything he does and experiences.

After many years, Crusoe discovers a human footprint, and he eventually encounters a group of native peoples—the “Savages,” as he calls them—who bring captives to the island so as to kill and eat them. One of the group’s captives escapes, and Crusoe shoots those who pursue him, effectively freeing the captive. 

Defoe probably based part of Robinson Crusoe on the real-life experiences of Alexander Selkirk, a Scottish sailor who at his own request was put ashore on an uninhabited island in 1704 after a quarrel with his captain and stayed there until 1709. But Defoe took his novel far beyond Selkirk’s story by blending the traditions of Puritan spiritual autobiography with an insistent scrutiny of the nature of human beings as social creatures. He also deployed components of travel literature and adventure stories, both of which boosted the novel’s popularity. From this mixture emerged Defoe’s major accomplishment in Robinson Crusoe: the invention of a modern myth. The novel is both a gripping tale and a sober wide-ranging reflection on ambition, self-reliance, civilization, and power.

Credit : Britannica 

Picture Credit : Google

Did Robin Hood really live in Sherwood Forest?

This legendary hero was said to have lived in Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire during the reign or Richard I who was King from 1189-1199.

During this time, Richard the Lionheart was away from England on crusades in the holy land and neglected his duties as King. He left his brother Prince John in charge of the country who, together with the Sheriff of Nottingham, declared Robin Hood an outlaw.

According to legend, Robin then became the leader of an outlaw band dressed in Lincoln green and armed with longbow, who robbed the rich to help the poor.

From the 14th century onward, tales and ballads of this popular hero began to appear, but no one has really been able to prove that Robin Hood existed.

Picture Credit : Google

Was Julius Caesar a Roman Emperor?

Julius Caesar (102-44BC) was a Roman statesman and a general who conquered Gaul (now France and Belgium), and invaded Britain in 55BC.

He became the sole ruler and dictator of the Roman Empire, but was never the emperor.

He was stabbed to death in the Senate House by enemies who believed that he had too much power.

Caesar changed the course of the history of the Greco-Roman world decisively and irreversibly. The Greco-Roman society has been extinct for so long that most of the names of its great men mean little to the average, educated modern person. But Caesar’s name, like Alexander’s, is still on people’s lips throughout the Christian and Islamic worlds. Even people who know nothing of Caesar as a historic personality are familiar with his family name as a title signifying a ruler who is in some sense uniquely supreme or paramount—the meaning of Kaiser in German, tsar in the Slavonic languages, and qaysar in the languages of the Islamic world.

Caesar’s gens (clan) name, Julius (Iulius), is also familiar in the Christian world, for in Caesar’s lifetime the Roman month Quintilis, in which he was born, was renamed “July” in his honour. This name has survived, as has Caesar’s reform of the calendar. The old Roman calendar was inaccurate and manipulated for political purposes. Caesar’s calendar, the Julian calendar, is still partially in force in the Eastern Orthodox Christian countries, and the Gregorian calendar, now in use in the West, is the Julian, slightly corrected by Pope Gregory XIII.

Credit :  Britannica 

Picture Credit : Google

Why did the Pied Piper take the children of Hamelin?

In 1284 the town of Hamelin in Germany was plagued by rats.

One day an odd looking piper appeared offering to rid the town of rats, and the Mayor gladly agreed to pay him. As he played his pipe the rats followed the stranger towards the river, where they fell in and drowned.

When the Piper asked for his fee, the Mayor refused. As the piper played once more, all the children of the town followed him, dancing towards Koppelberg mountain. An enormous cavern opened up, the children ran inside and were never seen again!

The Pied Piper of Hamelin plays out in the Germanic town of Hamelin (now called Hameln) in 1284. The town had been suffering from a severe rat infestation when a man arrived carrying a musical pipe and wearing 'pied' or multicoloured clothing. He promised the mayor to rid the town of its rats in exchange for a fee.

The music he played on his pipe attracted all the town's rats towards him, after which, he led the entranced animals to the Weser River nearby, where they all dove in and drowned.

However, the mayor refused to pay the piper and he went away planning revenge. On June 26, the day of St John and also of St Paul, the piper returned, dressed as a hunter and wearing a red hat. He was playing a different tune.

This time, all the town's children followed him hypnotised. The piper led them to a mountain cave, and the children were never heard from again. The story notes that the mayor's grown up daughter was among the children who were lost.

Credit : India Today 

Picture Credit : Google

How did Mark Twain get his name?

The American writer's real name was Samuel L. Clemens. For a time he worked on a Mississippi steamboat as a river pilot. The boatmen shouted 'mark twain' (second mark) as they measured the shallow water to a depth of two fathoms (3.6m or 12ft).

Best known of his humorous books are The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry finn.

After a brief two weeks as a Confederate enlistee, he joined his brother Orion in Nevada Territory where Orion served as secretary to the governor. He tried mining but failed and instead took up as a journalist for the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise. This is when he began to use the pen name of Mark Twain. The original user of the pseudonym died in 1869.

In Life on the Mississippi, Mark Twain says: "I was a fresh new journalist, and needed a nom de guerre; so I confiscated the ancient mariner's discarded one, and have done my best to make it remain what it was in his hands—a sign and symbol and warrant that whatever is found in its company may be gambled on as being the petrified truth; how I have succeeded, it would not be modest in me to say."

Further, in his autobiography, Clemens noted that he wrote several satires of the original pilot's postings that were published and caused embarrassment. As a result, Isaiah Sellers stopped publishing his reports. Clemens was penitent for this later in life.

Credit : Thought Co.

Picture Credit : Google