Tortuga is a Caribbean island off the northwest coast of Hispaniola. The first Europeans to land on Tortuga were the Spaniards in 1493. During the first voyage of Christopher Columbus into the New World. Its name in both Spanish and French means "Turtle Island" or "Tortoise Island"because its humped shape resembled a turtle. In the 17th century, it was a major center of Caribbean piracy. Though tortuga was already known by the Taíno natives, it was never used as a permanent settlement until European pirates made into a launching ground for piracy activities.
By 1640, the buccaneers of Tortuga were calling themselves the Brethren of the Coast. The pirate population was mostly made up of French and Englishmen, along with a small number of Dutchmen. In 1645, in an attempt to bring harmony and control over the island, the acting French governor imported roughly 1,650 prostitutes, hoping to regularize the unruly pirates' lives. By the year 1670, as the buccaneer era was in decline, many of the pirates, seeking a new source of trade, turned to log cutting and trading wood from the island. At this time, however, a Welsh pirate named Henry Morgan started to promote himself and invite the pirates on the island of Tortuga to set sail under him. They were hired by the French as a striking force that allowed France to have a much stronger hold on the Caribbean region. Consequently, the pirates were never really controlled, and kept Tortuga as a neutral hideout for pirate booty.
During the 1630’s, the Spanish tried to rid Hispaniola of buccaneers, and many buccaneers turned to piracy. Just a few miles away, Tortuga had become a well-fortified haven for fugitives of all nations, and numbers grew steadily. Eighty percent of all European shipping passed through the Windward and Leeward Passages, so Tortuga was well located to serve as a pirate base. During the 1680’s, the English Royal Navy made an effort to suppress piracy, which weakened the buccaneer world. While pirates continued to haunt Tortuga, by 1688 it had ceased to be the favored anchorage of the Caribbean.
In 1680, new Acts of Parliament forbade sailing under foreign flags (in opposition to former practice). This was a major legal blow to Caribbean pirates. Settlements were finally made in the Treaty of Ratisbon of 1684, signed by the European powers, that put an end to piracy. Most of the pirates after this time were hired out into the Royal services to suppress their former buccaneer allies.
Getting to the Cache
This cache is located on the opposite side of the park from the Loantake Way parking area. You can walk (.25) along Loantake Way passing the old Gibbons horse Farm to access the paved park trail. Otherwise, follow the blue trail from the parking area, this will intersect with the red trail, and cross Loantake Way further down from the parking area. This is a slightly longer hike, 10-15 minutes)
Please do not park at the Green Village Post office at the south end of the park during business hours, Monday - Saturday, located on Green Village road. This is a very small lot with signs posted for "Post office only", you will be ticketed. Sunday is fine.
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