Tortuga, also known as Tortuga Port, named by the Spanish after the turtle it resembled, was an island in the Caribbean, located north of Hispaniola. Of all the pirate islands in the Caribbean, none was the equal of Tortuga. Dangerous, boisterous, drunken, and bawdy, Tortuga was pirate heaven.
Around the Golden Age of Piracy, the isle of Tortuga became a major center of piracy in the 17th century. A dank and dirty port, where the tides seem to have swept together the sum of pirates, privateers, prostitutes, thieves, and drunkards. The island itself became the ramshackle haven for pirates, rogues, scoundrels, outlaws and sailors in the Caribbean. With its cantered, rotting docks, weatherbeaten buildings, and odd assortment of livestock running free, it was far less civilized than Port Royal. Tortuga appeared to be generally a lawless place, one of the only places a pirate considered to be free with no governing law, despite the expansion of the East India Trading Company. One of the most popular places on Tortuga was the Faithful Bride tavern.
- "Welcome to Tortuga!"
- ―Jack Sparrow
Spanish planters began to cultivate Tortuga in 1598, with tobacco as their main crop, although there was not much fertile land to grow it on. They also tried planting sugar but it proved too costly a venture.
In 1625 French and English colonist, who were early buccaneers, arrived on the island. First they lived on island of Hispaniola. They were constantly wandering from one location to another, until they finally found the Tortuga to be the safest place.
The French and English colonists started setting up plantations and populated the island in a short time. They were temporary expelled as a potential treat to Spaniards when Don Fabrique de Toledo attacked Tortuga in 1629. The encouraged army came back to Hispaniola, determined to root out every colonist, until not a single one remained. However, Spanish did not predict that scattered colonists would organize and return to the island and defeat small remains of Spanish force.
From 1630, the island of Tortuga was divided into French and English colonies. It provided a good base for buccaneers' attacks, as well as some other activities like slave trades. Tortuga saw two more successful Spanish raids in 1635 and 1638, and both times the buccaneers managed to regain goods.
In 1639, in order to finally establish decent defense, as the governor of nearby Saint Christopher sent help in the form of Jean Le Vasseur who was promoted to the new governor of Tortuga. He built the stone fortress "Fort de Rocher" on a highest rise of the island. It was enforced with 40 guns and overlooked any vessels in or near the port.
Until 1665 Tortuga was temporarily captured by the Spanish one more time, and than the island became a part of Saint Dominique colony. The new governor, Bertrand D'ogeron had difficulties to convince the buccaneers to accept him. However, he managed to develop Tortuga even more by organizing people and strengthening its defense.
In following period, some of the greatest buccaneers such as Henry Morgan and Francois L'Ollonais launched attacks from Tortuga and became part of island history. From 1670, the most buccaneers found a new trade like log cutting and trading wood from the island, and many others continued their piracy on the ships of foreign nations. In 1684 a peace treaty was signed between France and Spain. Spain officially gave up Tortuga, as a part of Saint Dominique to France in 1697.
In 1701, a war erupted between France, Spain, Great Britain and Holland. Many pirates from Tortuga were employed by the French Royal Navy as privateers. When the war ended in 1713, many former privateers once again turned to piracy.
Although piracy was officially abolished on Tortuga by the Treaty of Utrecht, thanks to the local governor Tortuga remained a safe heaven for pirates, smugglers, and all sorts of outlaws. A dank and dirty port, Tortuga became a place where the tides seem to have swept together the sum of pirates, privateers, prostitutes, thieves, and drunkards. With its cantered, rotting docks, weatherbeaten buildings, and odd assortment of livestock running free (donkeys, chickens, etc.), Tortuga was far less civilized than Port Royal.
In the early 1720s, a young sailor Jack Sparrow arrived in Tortuga, searching for his stolen sack. But instead of his own sack, he took the sack of the infamous pirate captain Torrents, which started a series of Sparrow's adventures around the Caribbean. More than ten years later, Sparrow came to Tortuga again, this time as captain of the Wicked Wench, a ship which was raised from the sea floor by Davy Jones, the lord of the sea. Sparrow assembled a pirate crew in Tortuga, renamed his ship the Black Pearl, and sailed into new adventures.
In the 1740s, Tortuga would still be the pirate heaven of the Caribbean, during which time Jack Sparrow assembled another crew, with the help of Joshamee Gibbs, for a voyage to Isla de Muerta. He also met up with two wenches, Giselle and Scarlett, whose aquaintance he had met previously and who were none best pleased to see him, giving him a slap each.
During the War of Jolly Roger, Roger's undead skeletons, led by general Hex, managed to occupy Tortuga Graveyard. Using their voodoo powers, they raised many dead inhabitants of Tortuga in an attempt to increase Roger's army. However, that was just a prelude to the full scale invasion led by Roger himself, which was repelled by buccaneers.
Shortly after the battle of Calypso's maelstrom, the Black Pearl made port in Tortuga. Hector Barbossa led a mutiny and commandeered the ship from its rightful owner, Jack Sparrow. Several years later, after Barbossa gained complete captaincy over Blackbeard's infamous flagship, the Queen Anne's Revenge, he ordered the Revenge's crew to set sail for Tortuga.
Of all the pirate islands in the Caribbean, none was the equal of Tortuga. Dangerous, boisterous, drunken, and bawdy, Tortuga is pirate heaven. Named by the Spanish after the turtle it resembled, the island lies to the north of Hispaniola. Tortuga served as the ramshackle haven for pirates, rogues, scoundrels, outlaws and sailors in the Caribbean. When someone like Captain Jack Sparrow goes off looking for a crew, they steer a course to this pirate port.
Behind the scenesEdit
- Scenes in Tortuga were filmed primarily in St. Vincent in the productions of The Curse of the Black Pearl as well as the back-to-back productions of Dead Man's Chest and At World's End.
- Tortuga, as represented in the Pirates of the Caribbean films, drew inspiration from scenes on Puerto Dorado in the original Disneyland ride. Elements from the ride include:
- Pirates shooting guns.
- The "Redhead" (Scarlett).
- A man drinking rum by the tap.
- The woman letting a man look up her skirt.
- A man (Scalawag) sleeping with the pigs.
- While not appearing in the film itself, the scene with the mayor being dunked in the well appeared in one of the deleted scenes, which later made it into Dead Man's Chest.
- Tortuga appears in the video game Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned. But, since that game was canceled, it is unknown if the island's appearance in the game is canon or not.
- Jack Sparrow: The Coming Storm
- Jack Sparrow: The Siren Song (Mentioned only)
- Jack Sparrow: The Pirate Chase (Mentioned only)
- Jack Sparrow: The Age of Bronze (Mentioned only)
- Jack Sparrow: Silver (Mentioned only)
- Jack Sparrow: Dance of the Hours (Mentioned only)
- Jack Sparrow: Sins of the Father (Mentioned only)
- Jack Sparrow: Bold New Horizons (Mentioned only)
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned
- The Price of Freedom
- Legends of the Brethren Court: The Caribbean
- Legends of the Brethren Court: Wild Waters (Mentioned only)
- Legends of the Brethren Court: Day of the Shadow (Mentioned only)
- Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (First appearance)
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Six Sea Shanties
- Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Jack Sparrow
- Revenge of the Pirates!
- In Jack We Trust!
- Going Overboard! (Mentioned only)
- Pirates of the Caribbean Online
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
- Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
- Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (Mentioned only)
- LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game (Non-canonical appearance)
- Pirates of the Caribbean (film series)
- Pirates of the Caribbean: The Visual Guide
- Pirates of the Caribbean: The Complete Visual Guide
- The Captain Jack Sparrow Handbook
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ Pirates of the Caribbean: Jack Sparrow
- ↑ The Price of Freedom
- ↑ Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
- ↑ Pirates of the Caribbean Online
- ↑ Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
- ↑ Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
- ↑ Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
- ↑ Pirates of the Caribbean: The Visual Guide, p38.
- ↑ The Captain Jack Sparrow Handbook, p17.