The Tragic Life Story of Juana Maria, The Woman Who Lived ALONE in An Island for 18 Years
If you've read Scott O'Dell's classic Island of the Blue Dolphins you were probably captivated by the main character - a young woman who lives completely alone on an island in the Pacific Ocean. She remains behind while her entire tribe has left the island.
If you didn't know it already, O'Dell based his story off a real event and a real life: that of the Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island who would eventually be called as Juana Maria of San Nicolas Island.
Juana Maria was born sometime in the early 19th century (no one knows for certain when), and she has spent a significant portion of her life completely without human contact. Though she'd be rescued from her solitude in 1853, her future would be brief.
There are a few, very sparse facts about Juana Maria that historians agree upon that can be stitch together. Taken as a whole, the pieces reveal a tragic, heartbreaking story of a woman who, even after being found, still remained lost in so many ways. Like the Trail of Tears that Native Americans had to go through, Juana Maria's story is one that traces the lines of 19th-century Native American tragedy.