Treasure Island opens at the Admiral Benbow inn, where Jim Hawkins lives with his father and mother. The inn is where Jim encounters "the Captain" Billy Bones, who introduces him to the adventurous world of pirates and treasure. Before Billy Bones's arrival, Jim's life is rather ordinary. But Jim's home life changes when Billy arrives and his father dies. From that point onwards, Jim is thrust into a world of adventure and danger.
Jim's first stop in his adventure is the city of Bristol, where Squire Trelawney and Doctor Livesey live. The rest of the novel is set in Bristol, the ship Hispaniola, and the titular Treasure Island, which is located somewhere in the Caribbean.
The novel takes place in the mid-18th century, during the Golden Age of Piracy. Spanning the late 1600s and early 1700s, the Golden Age of Piracy refers to the period in history when piracy—that is, robbery on the high seas—was at its peak. European ships, transporting goods between the New World to Europe, became targets for pirates. Victorian authors like Robert Louis Stevenson were fascinated by pirate stories and used them as a source of inspiration for their stories. Treasure Island is full of references to pirates and pirate life. The Jolly Roger pirate flag in the book was an actual signal used by pirates. The infamous Blackbeard, who Squire Trelawney compares to Captain Flint, was a real pirate who sailed around the West Indies in the late 1600s, and the Hawkins family inn, Admiral Benbow, gets its name from John Benbow, an English admiral who became a hero after fighting against France in the late 1700s.