PotC Wiki
PotC Wiki

Caribbean Sea

Points of interest

Faithful Bride
Twelve Daggers
Tortuga piggery
Rat's Nest
Thieves' Den
Misty Mire
King's Arm
Salty Cove
Bowdash Mansion

Notable inhabitants

Arabella Smith
El Grande
Andrew Bowdash
James Sterling
Jack Sparrow
Joshamee Gibbs
Governor of Tortuga
Horatio Fowler
Davy Doubloon
Ray Fishlander
Geoffrey Bridgebreaker


Colonists of various nationalities


Kingdom of Spain
Kingdom of France

First appearance

The Curse of the Black Pearl

Latest appearance

At World's End

"More importantly, it is indeed a sad life that has never breathed deep the sweet, proliferous bouquet that is Tortuga, savvy? What do you think?"
"It'll linger."
"I'll tell you, mate, if every town in the world were like this one, no man would ever feel unwanted.
Jack Sparrow and Will Turner[src]

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.


17th century[]

"Welcome to Tortuga!"
Jack Sparrow[src]

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.

Pirates and wenches in Tortuga.

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.

18th century[]

"You know Tortuga."
"I do. Port Royal has its charms, but it can't hold a candle to Tortuga.
Esmeralda and Jack Sparrow[src]

James Sterling in Tortuga.

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.

One stormy night 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.[1] A few 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.[2]

Jack Sparrow and Will Turner in Tortuga.

More than a decade later, 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.[3] He also met up with two wenches, Giselle and Scarlett, whose acquaintance 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.[4]

A year after the battle of the Isla de Muerta, Jack Sparrow and Gibbs would return to Tortuga to recruit more crewmen as souls to settle Sparrow's debt with Davy Jones.[5]

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.[6] 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.[7]


"And how do you intend to harvest these 99 souls in three days?"
"Fortunately he was mum as the condition in which these souls need be."
"Ah! Tortuga."
Joshamee Gibbs and Jack Sparrow[src]

Of all the pirate islands in the Caribbean, none was the equal of Tortuga. Dangerous, boisterous, drunken, and bawdy, Tortuga is pirate heaven.[8] Named by the Spanish after the turtle it resembled, the island lies to the north of Hispaniola.[9] 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 scenes[]

The Pirates of the Caribbean wiki has a collection of images and media related to Tortuga.



External links[]

Notes and references[]

Locations in Pirates of the Caribbean
Barbary CoastCalabarKermaSlave CoastTripoli

The Americas
BostonFloridaLouisianaMexicoNew OrleansNorth Carolina
PanamaPeruSavannahVirginiaYucatán Peninsula

BombayChinaHong KongIndiaNipponShanghaiSingapore

The Bahamas
AndrosNassauNew AvalonNew Providence

The Caribbean
AntiguaBlack rock islandCubaDevil's TriangleHangman's BayHispaniola
Ile d'Etable de PorcIsla De La AvariciaIsla CrucesIsla de MuertaIsla de Pelegostos
MartiniquePadres Del FuegoPort RoyalPoseidon's Tomb
Puerto RicoSaint MartinShipwreck IslandTortugaUnnamed Island

CádizFranceGibraltarGreat BritainHolland

Other locations
Davy Jones' LockerFarthest GateIce PassageIsla Sirena