-Robinson Crusoe, the narrator of the story, tells us that he was born in 1632 in the city of York, England. His father, a German immigrant, married a woman whose name was Robinson, and his real name was Robinson Kreutznaer, but due to the natural corruption of languages, the family now writes their name "Crusoe." He was the third son; his oldest brother was killed in a war, and the next son simply disappeared.
When Robinson Crusoe first had an urge to go to sea, his father lectured him upon the importance of staying home and being content with his "middle station" in life. His father maintained that the "middle station had the fewest disasters and was not exposed to so many vicissitudes as the higher or lower part of mankind." After his father expressly forbade him to go to sea, and, furthermore, promised to do good things for him if he stayed home, for another whole year, Robinson Crusoe stayed at home, but he constantly thought of adventures upon the high sea. He tried to enlist the aid of his mother, pointing out that he was now eighteen years old and if he did not like the sea, he could work diligently and make up for the time he might lose while at sea. She refused to help him, even though she did report his strong feelings to her husband.
When Robinson was nineteen, on the first of September, in 1651, he joined a friend on a ship bound for London, without consulting either his father or mother. Almost immediately, "the wind began to blow, and the sea to rise in a most frightful manner." Robinson Crusoe, who had never been to sea before, saw this as a sign that he was justly "overtaken by the judgement of Heaven" for his wicked leaving of his father's house without letting anyone know. He was so frightened that he made the promise: "If it would please God here to spare my life in this one voyage, if ever I got once my foot upon dry land again, I would go directly home to my father, and never set it into a ship again while I lived."