The story begins in mid-17th-century York, with a brief account of Robinson Crusoe’s early years. From there it moves to the Moorish port of Sallee, where Crusoe is imprisoned after his capture by pirates, and then to Brazil, where he sets up as a planter after his escape. From his Brazilian plantation, Crusoe sets out on an African voyage that ends in shipwreck; the sole survivor, Crusoe lives his next 28 years on a deserted island.
Situated off the South American coast, Crusoe’s new home is a small hilly island populated only by wild animals and birds. Crusoe is unfamiliar with most of the terrain’s luxuriant vegetation, but he finds sugar cane and tobacco plants, melon and grape vines, and citrus trees. On a journey to the far side of the island, he sees a nearby land mass that he is unable to identify. In stark contrast to the teeming city where Crusoe was born and raised, the island is an unspoiled paradise, an example of untamed nature.