Page 176. " they no eat mans but when make the war fight "
Cannibal in Ivory, 1650
Public DomainCannibal in Ivory, 1650 - Credit: Leonhard Kern
This behaviour had been observed in Defoe’s time amongst various tribes in Brazil: cannibalism was often practised as a ritual sacrifice rather than a means of nourishment.
Page 179. " very like the tree we call Fustic, or between that and the Nicaragua Wood "

Fustic (Chlorophora tinctoria) is a tropical hardwood tree found in South America, which produces a yellow dye.

Nicaragua Wood is a tropical hardwood tree which produces a red dye.

Page 185. " He answer'd in Latin "

Latin was spoken widely throughout Europe because it was the primary language of the Catholic Church.  As a result, it could be use to communicate where there was no other shared language.

Page 192. " from the Rio de la Plata to the Havana "
Map of the Rio de la Plata
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeMap of the Rio de la Plata - Credit: Roke

The Rio de la Plata is a river and estuary that forms part of the border between Argentina and Uruguay.  Both the capitals of Buenos Aires and Montevideo lie on the Plata.

Havana is the capital city of Cuba, in the Caribbean.


Castillo del Morro, Cuba
Creative Commons AttributionCastillo del Morro, Cuba - Credit: Krasivaja at en.wikipedia



Page 192. " and be carry’d into the Inquisition "
The Inquisition was introduced by Pope Gregory IX in the 1230s to suppress heresy. Victims were held captive, interrogated and often tortured before being put to death, if they opposed the Catholic Church.

In Defoe's time, the Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition, better known as the "Spanish Inquisition" was at its height.  It was not formally abolished until 1834.

Page 194. " when they came to want bread in the wilderness "
Manna from Heaven, 1728
Public DomainManna from Heaven, 1728 - Credit: Gerard Hoet


And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread by the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.

Exodus 16:3


Page 195. " I believe, had we been at Alicant "
Public DomainAlicante - Credit: Alfred Guesdon

 Alicante is a historic port on the southern coast of Spain, famous for its wine.


Google Map
Page 199. " a soft ousy sand, almost like a quick-sand "

Quicksand is a mixture of sand and water which is referred to as ‘quick’ in the sense of living.

When someone steps on it they will sink and may become trapped. 

How to get out of quicksand