Tortuga (or Tortuga Island) (French: Île de la Tortue, Kreyol: Latòti; Spanish: Isla Tortuga, English: Turtle Island) is a Caribbean island that forms part of Haiti, about 14 km (9 miles) by ferry off the northwest coast of Hispaniola. It constitutes the commune of Île de la Tortue in the Port-de-Paix Arrondissement of Haiti's Nord-Ouest Department. It is separated from the mainland by Canal de la Tortue. As of the 2015 census, the population was 38,868. Part of the town is designated Ville de la Tortue, or Aux Palmistes. The region of Pointe Tête-de-Chien on Tortuga is the northernmost settlement in Haiti.
From its former name Aux Palmistes, La Tortue was founded in 1925 with the implantation of Catholicism in the region. At that time, this municipality did not have the adequate means to allow the Tortugese to survive. Unfortunately, the situation has not changed much. The lack of economic and financial infrastructures means that this municipality remains very poorly endowed.
Tortuga was originally settled by a few Spanish colonists. In 1625 French and English settlers arrived on the island of Tortuga after initially planning to settle on the island of Hispaniola. The French and English settlers were attacked in 1629 by the Spanish commanded by Don Fabrique de Toledo. The Spanish were successful and fortified the island, expelling the French and English men. As most of the Spanish army left for Hispaniola to root out French colonists there, the French returned to take the fort and expanded on the Spanish-built fortifications. In 1630, the French built Fort de Rocher in a natural harbour. From 1630 onward, the island of Tortuga was divided into French and English colonies allowing buccaneers, more commonly known as pirates, to use the island more frequently as their main base of operations. In 1633, the first slaves were imported from Africa to aid in the plantations. The new slave trend did not stick, and by 1635, the use of slaves had ended. The slaves were said to be out of control on the island, and at the same time there had been continual disagreements and fighting between French and English colonies. In that same year 1635, the Spanish returned and quickly conquered the English and French colonies, only to leave again, due to the island being too small to be of major importance. This abandoment of Tortuga allowed the return of both French and English pirates. Again in 1638, the Spanish returned to take the island and rid it of all French and newly settled Dutch. They occupied the island, but to their surprise were beaten back by the French and Dutch colonists who expelled the Spanish.
By 1640, the bucaneers 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, most of the pirates, seeking a new source of trade, turned to log cutting and trading wood from the island. At this same time, an English pirate started to promote himself and invite the pirates on the island of Tortuga to set sail under him. They were hired out 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. 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. Within a few years, the age of buccaneers had ended.
Tortue includes two communal sections: Pointe des Oiseaux and Mare-Rouge. The name of the turtle comes from the configuration of the municipality that looked like a turtle. The inhabitants of the town are called Tortugais. With regard to its configuration, the dominant relief of the town is either the plateau or the mountains. Its climate varies from normal to warm depending on the area where you are. The municipality of Tortuga has an area of 196.17 km2, its population was estimated at 31,579 inhabitants in 1998 and projections place the 2004 population to more than 35 000. In the same year (1998) its density was 160.98 inhabitants.
|VLT||Ville de La Tortue||Urban||2,390|
|PDO||1ère Section Pointe-des-Oiseaux||Rural||16,810||Agathe, Aux Palmistes, Aux Plaines, Avril, Basse Terre, Bien Compté, Carrefour, Cayenne, Celan, Cerca, Citron, Colonie, Découvert, Du Rossey, En bas Mare, Fort Refuge, Grande Sable, Grande Savane, Jacof, La Visite, Mapou, Mare Gauthier, Moreau, Paille Mais, Palan, Pierre Noel, Pointe-aux-Oiseaux, Port Vincent, Terre Glissée, Tête Rochelle, Ti Fabre|
|MRO||2ème Section Mare Rouge||Rural||19,668||Bassin Cheval, Boucan Guèpe, Clair Messine, Clarisse, Corosse Séché, Creace, Dame Marie, Dupuis, Embas Morne, Fond Goriose, Grand Mane, Gringotte, Gros Raisinier, Hemboucot, Herbes Marines, Herbes Rasoirs, La Vallée, L'Hopital, Mancenillier, Mare Rouge, Mare Terrien, Mentrie, Monder, Nan Grisgris, Nan Migoine, Petit Mane, Petit Paradis, Pierre Tules, Place Nègre, Pointe Ouest, Roches Eustaches, Roselière, Saline, Savoyard, Servily, Source Fannan, Terre Cassée, Ti Bois Neuf, Trésor, Trou Sardines, Trou Vasseux, Voûte l'Église|
With regard to economic and financial infrastructures, they are very limited in number. There is a hotel, a few restaurants, a credit union and four marketing cooperatives.
The Ministry of National Education of Youth and Sports is not represented in the municipality of Tortue. There are two kindergarten schools, and a group of primary schools, public, private, and congregational. At the secondary level, there are only 3 schools: one public and two private.
The municipality of Tortue does not have representation from the Ministry of Public Health and Population. There is a hospital and four dispensaries. In addition, a team of healthcare workers, including a trainee doctor, nurse, and, numerous auxiliaries, provide the health service at the different health centers of the municipality.
As for water availability, eleven sources have been inventoried. Five of these sources, served the population of several localities. Apart from the springs, there are public fountains with at least a dozen taps. At the time of the survey, no area of the municipality of Tortue was electrified.
With regard to the administrative infrastructures, the municipality of Tortue has a court of peace and a police station. There is no prison in this commune, only a police custody room.
Nearly 42 temples of all beliefs have been enumerated in the commune of la Tortue. The number of Pentecotist temples is higher than the number of temples of the other denominations counted in the commune (16 in total).
As for the political parties and organizations, they are distributed: two grassroots organizations, six women's groups, two non-commercial cooperatives, three NGOs and two international organizations.
The municipality of Tortue has neither newspaper nor television station, but has a radio station called Universal, located in the 1st communal section.
As for Leisure, Tortue has several theaters located in different places, and sports such as football (soccer), volleyball, tennis, swimming and basketball, which are practiced on land that is in poor condition. The gaguères numbering eight complete the main places of entertainment in the municipality of Tortuga.