In what time period did Treasure Island take place?

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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We know for sure that Robert Louis Stevenson's adventure novel, Treasure Island, took place some time during the 18th century, though the author does not specify an exact date. In his narration, Jim Hawkins writes that it was

... in the year of grace 17--...

The date "1745" is mentioned in the log of Billy Bones, and Stevenson includes the dates 1750 and 1754 on his treasure maps. According to one source, the action of the novel probably takes place between the years 1757 and 1762. There are many other historical allusions which put the date of the story some time in the mid-1700s. 

  • Admiral Sir Edward Hawke became a household name in England following his victory at the Battle of Cape Finisterre in 1747.
  • There is the suggestion that England is at war with France, which would put the time period somewhere between 1740-1763 (either the War of the Austrian Succession or the Seven Years' War).
  • Since the Hispaniola visits a friendly port in Spanish America, England must have been at peace with Spain, who entered the Seven Years' War in 1762.
  • Since one of the treasure maps is dated 1754, and Captain Flint supposedly had been dead for about three years, the novel could not have begun before 1757.

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