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Survivors: three stories of women who were not broken by dire circumstances

'20.01.2021'

Source: Culturology

Surviving the wild, alone, is usually associated with men. First, until very recently, they traveled more often, which means that they had more adventures in places far from home. Secondly, many cannot believe that a woman is able to survive without male help. Several stories of "Robinsons" and voluntary hermits show that women can do anything, writes Culturology.

Photo: Shutterstock

I kept making a fire every morning

In the sixteenth century, Europeans feverishly settled and conquered the already inhabited lands of the American continents. The organization of the settlement of the coast of the future country of Canada by the French was carried out by a nobleman named Jacques Cartier de la Roque. With him was a relative much younger, Marguerite de la Roque. It is believed that Jacques Cartier was in love with her, although it is more likely that his matrimonial plans were based on a desire to access the young woman's finances. In any case, Marguerite, he discovered one day, had an inclination not for him, but for another, much younger man.

The revealed fact Jacques Cartier considered offensive to himself, and cast a shadow on the family's reputation, and landed Marguerite on a desert island. If she died there - and this should have happened almost certainly - Jacques Cartier would be the heir to her fortune. Together with Marguerite, her elderly nanny was also dropped off, as an alleged accomplice. No supplies were left for the women.

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The women interrupted for several months, somehow hiding from the bad weather, collecting bird eggs and mollusks. But the man they saw after months of hermitage could not save them. It was the beloved and probably secret husband of Marguerite, who managed to get to the shore in some small and unreliable floating craft, taking with him arquebus for hunting with gunpowder and a small amount of food.

Life for three (and later for four, since Marguerite got pregnant and gave birth) did not get much better. Every morning the "Robinsons" made a fire to be discovered, but it was all in vain. One by one died daughter Marguerite, her husband and her nanny. In the end, Marguerite was left alone and lived without any help or protection for another two and a half years. Every morning she made a fire, as her husband had taught her. Once the fire on the shore was noticed by random fishermen. Marguerite returned to civilization.

In Europe, she became a real celebrity. But not so much because of her story, but because Queen Margaret of Navarre, one of the most famous writers of the Middle Ages, wrote about her. Later, the story of Marguerite de la Roque was retold by several other popular writers.

When you have no tools but teeth

The name with which this woman lived most of her life is unknown to anyone. But her story in the nineteenth century made a lot of noise. She was the last representative of her tribe, but that was not why she was alone on the island without other people.

The Juana Maria tribe lived on an island near California. The Europeans called it the island of St. Nicholas, and the inhabitants, respectively, nicoléno. In 1814, a group of Aleut hunters hired by the Russian-American Company killed most of Nicoléno during the conflict. The life of those who remained became more and more like survival, and in 1835 the Catholic mission of the city of Santa Barbara organized a rescue operation. Ships were sent to Nicoléno in order to take the unfortunate to the mainland.

Due to bad weather, the evacuation of the islanders took place in a terrible hurry and confusion. As a result, only on the Californian coast, they recounted and found that one girl was missing. For the girl, it was decided to equip a separate expedition, but in the meantime the islanders began to feed, baptize and socialize. Alas, they all soon died from European diseases. The last of the rescued, who managed to survive the chickenpox and only go blind, died in an accident - he fell off the path on the steep bank.

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Due to a number of events, in particular, the wreck of the only suitable ship, the expedition for the girl was postponed and postponed, but she was remembered. In the forties of the nineteenth century, the hunter George Nidever managed to get to the island with his team. The first visit did nothing, as did the second. Niedever's third expedition, in 1853, was successful.

First, rescuers noticed pieces of seal fat spread out on hot stones - someone had left them to dry. Then - the traces of human feet. Finally, they followed their tracks to a large, round, makeshift hut on the shore. The hut was molded by a not too skillful person from various improvised means. On human voices, a woman came out of her. Her face lit up with happiness at the sight of the rescuers.

The woman looked generally healthy. She was full-bodied, saw normally, and moved easily. But she wore only a loincloth made of bird feathers from her clothes, and the teeth, which she had used all these years as almost the main working tool, were worn out almost to the gums. She did not know a single European language, but she understood in general whom she saw in front of her, and with visible pleasure she boarded the ship.

In Santa Barbara, Niedever's wife took care of the Robinson. No one understood her language - she was the last bearer of it, but this did not stop the Europeans from quickly baptizing the woman, giving her the name Juana Maria. Alas, she died a few months later. Either her gastrointestinal tract could not cope with the food that she shared with the Nidevers, or she caught some kind of European infection ... The Nidevers buried Juana Maria in their family cemetery.

Scary diary became evidence in court

1942, Soviet Tajikistan. An expedition was organized to the Pamir Mountains: about three months ago, a plane fell, and it is necessary to remove a valuable engine from it. Thanks to the surviving pilot and passengers, we know where to look for the plane. The expedition includes the head of the nearest airport, Comrade Gureev. On this plane, a family was supposed to fly to him: his wife Anna and two sons, one-year-old Valera and ten-year-old Sasha. The pilot reported in Dushanbe that they had died. Perhaps Gureev wanted to bury their remains at the same time.

On the way, the expedition came across a corpse in a crevice. According to the form and documents, it was an employee of the NKVD, who, moreover, flew on the same plane as the deceased Gureyev family. Cases were scattered around him. One got the impression that he was walking with other passengers, but fell into a crevice and was left - for example, under a promise to send help. And when he realized that they had forgotten about him, he began to shoot at random - suddenly someone hears and approaches ... The mood of the members of the expedition became painful.

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Finally, we got to the plane. A woman was sitting next to him. She was scary - exhausted, unwashed for a long time ... "Anna, where is Sasha?" - Gureyev asked in confusion, recognizing his wife. The woman pointed to the child's skull next to her - it was near him that she sat, as she would sit next to a child. "And you probably got married?" She asked her husband. And I guessed. It has been a month since Gureyev was married.

The woman was taken to the city, along with a precious aircraft engine and a diary that she kept in a logbook. This diary later became the main evidence in court. Gureeva was also tried for cannibalism, both the pilot and the passengers. The recovered events looked creepy.

At first, when the plane crashed and it turned out that everyone survived, although they are high in the mountains in a deserted place, the pilot acted adequately. Stocks of food and matches were collected. Everything is divided into portions, which are served once a day. The matches were needed to get melt water - the snow did not quench their thirst. The passengers with the pilot hoped that they were expected at the airfield and, realizing that an accident had occurred, they would send a search squad along the course of the plane. When the meal ran out, it became clear that they had been forgotten.

The men went to look for some settlement themselves. Anna was told to stay with the children and wait for help. By that time, little Valera had died of the cold and difficult alpine conditions, but even without him Sasha and Anna, the men decided, would detain the detachment. Mother and son were left waiting for help. For several days they peered into the snow and the mountains around, brushed off the snow so that the plane could be seen. Hunger made me sick. Finally, Anna decided on cannibalism. She told her son to close his eyes as she fed him. She wrote about this in her diary.

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The terrible food lasted for two weeks. Hunger came again. Anna tried to distract Sasha - she drew with him, played dominoes ... Finally, seeing that the boy was already in a deranged state, she poured half a glass of her own blood on him, piercing her vein with a needle. The boy drank and ... He failed. Either it was too late, or the amount of blood for the hungry child's body was dangerous. He became delirious, asked to be remembered with raisins and, in the end, died. When the expedition found Anna, nothing was left of Sasha, and his mother was terribly exhausted.

Anna Gureeva was recognized as mentally ill at the time of the crime and was sent to a psychiatric clinic for treatment. In fact, she had to be treated, of course, only from the frustration due to the horrors she had experienced. She left the clinic, started a new family, lived a long life. She died in the early nineties. All surviving passengers received different camps. The pilot, as a person on execution, was sentenced to a penal battalion and went to the front.

Selfie every day

Another woman who survived in the snow is much more eagerly remembered - Ada Blackjack, a native of Alaska, raised by missionaries. Her life has never been particularly easy. The missionaries had no goal of securing a future career for her, so she was only taught literacy and home economics. At sixteen, she married a hunter named Blackjack and gave birth to three children one after the other. Two died in her arms, and the third was very weak. This boy had tuberculosis. To all the troubles, my husband disappeared without a trace during the hunt. There was nothing to eat.

Ada had to send the boy to an orphanage, promising him to return as soon as she got the money. Earnings turned up quickly. The expedition heading to Wrangel Island was looking for a seamstress who spoke English well among the local residents. Yes, to be honest, Ada spoke only English well! She hastened to hire Mr Stefansson, the head of the expedition.

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The organizer from Stefansson, to be honest, was nothing. He thought more about adventures and discoveries that would make him famous. He himself did not intend to risk his life in the ice, and simply hired four young (from nineteen years old) men who would do all the work. He promised the seamstress a salary of $ 50 a month. A serious amount that would be very useful to start a new life for a mother and son.

In the summer everything went well, but in the fall no one took the five members of the expedition from the island. As it turned out later, the ship was sent for them too late - it simply could not go through the ice. The supplies were running out. One of the participants, Knight, fell seriously ill with scurvy. And this is not counting frosts, dangers from polar bears ... One fine day, three healthy men of the expedition announced that they would go on the ice to Siberia. The year was 1923, in Siberia it was already possible to get help and even organize a rescue expedition. They left, never to return. Ada Blackjack and the ailing Lorne Knight were left alone.

Although Ada looked after Knight as a nurse, he constantly insulted her, threw her tantrums. She listened to everything with a stone face, and then wrote in her diary - they say, how does he not understand what it is like for one woman to do the work of four men, and even take out the waste after him ... But she was merciful to the dying man - and he was dying, and in the end ends died. The woman, who had never known life in the ice, all those grips thanks to which her ancestors survived, was left completely alone on an uninhabited polar island.

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She could not bury Knight. She just zipped up his sleeping bag and fenced off his bed with drawers as best she could - in the hope that it would prevent the animals from disturbing the body. During the time that she spent first as the only healthy person on the island, then the only one there in general, she learned to set traps for birds and animals, shoot a gun, managed to build a watchtower over her tent - in order to notice polar bears in time.

She also learned to photograph and made many of her smiling portraits. These portraits could be the last thing that will remain of her and that will go to her son. There was still no other entertainment on the island.

Finally, through the ice in the spring, the ship managed to pass. Ada, the only survivor, was taken along with the expedition's property and materials. The brief press coverage gave her nothing. Stefansson only paid for a fraction of the time he spent on the island - he didn't hire Ada to sit there until spring, did he? Still, Blackjack was able to take her son from the orphanage. They lived poorly with him. The son, even growing up, was too weak to earn money. He died before he was sixty. Ada Blackjack died at eighty-five.

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