Watching the finale episodes of the ABC's Lost, you may think Jack, Sawyer, Hurley, and Kate have it bad--but throughout history, there have been a number of instances when everyday folks really have been stranded for months or even years on uninhabited islands, forced to survive using only their wits and whatever resources they could find.
Fernão Lopez on Island of Saint Helena
Like Portuguese soldier Fernão Lopez, who was mutilated and disfigured as punishment for leading a local rebellion while serving in India, and reportedly opted to be abandoned on the remote Island of Saint Helena rather than be taken back to Portugal in disgrace. Left with just a meager supply of bread and meat, Lopez survived on the small island for 10 years, gardening and raising livestock left by passing boats. Eventually, he ventured back to Europe on one of the boats that frequented the island while returning from the orient--and was considered something of a saint for his many years of solitude. But Lopez wouldn't stay away from his island home long. He asked to be returned to his simple, solitary life on Saint Helena, where he spent the last 20 years of his life. Many years later, Napoleon Bonaparte, in forced exile, would also die on the same island.
The Island of Saint Helena. Photo via Wikipedia