Places: Tortuga, the First Home of the Buccaneers


The First Pirate Capital

Ile de la Tortue, or Tortuga, located off North of Hispaniola, present-day Haiti, was the first home of the Buccaneers.

Tortuga was set-up by runaway bondsmen, castaways, escaped criminals, political and religious refugees. It became an international port of piracy. They earned the Buccaneer name from their method of curing meat on a wooden frame called a boucan, which is a French adaption of a Caribbean Indian word.

The Spanish were the official owners of Tortuga, though, and they resented the presence of the Buccaneers on Spanish soil. The Spanish tried to drive them out, but the Buccaneers soon figured out that they could have strength in numbers. They then banded together and started attacking Spanich ships, at first, by canoe. They soon built an impressive fleet of ships with guns, and they fortified Tortuga.

The Spanish then stepped up their attacks against the Buccaneers, but by this time they were openly being invited to Port Royal by the British governmant. Many Buccaneers migrated to Port Royal due to the new persecution.