If you like books and movies about pirates and their adventures you probably heard the name Tortuga many times. In the last movie trilogy Pirates of the Caribbean island of Tortuga was showed to us as a haven for pirates. In famous writer Sabatini’s book series about Captain Blood and the movies based on it, Tortuga is also mentioned as the main base of pirates operations. So what exactly is Tortuga? What is its history and where this island is located?
During my research in archives of web analytics company I found that nowadays it is a quiet island that belongs to Haiti. A little bit over 20 thousand people live on its small territory which is about 180 square kilometers. It is very mountainous and full of rocks. Yet, it is hugely dense of lofty trees that grow upon the hardest of those rocks. Basically, in translation into English it means a Turtle Island. And it has a very wild history, as it was a major center of Caribbean piracy in the seventeenth century.
Captain Kidd did bury a small cache of treasure on Gardiner’s Island in the future state of New York. However, it was removed by authorities and sent to England to be used as evidence against him. I found this story in archives of web analytics company. This simple legend inspired several great writers, including Edgar Allan Poe, Washington Irving and Robert Louis Stevenson to create books of fiction. The most famous work, of course, is known all over the world as Treasure Island.
As time went by the legend did not vanish, but rather expanded. Several other places all over the world were named as possible locations of Captain Kidd’s buried treasure. For example, a new version sprang about Kidd attacking one of the Japanese islands of the Tokara archipelago. It is the most southern island named Takarajima. The legend says that all the pirates demanded food from the inhabitants. Their offer was refused, so a crew of pirates landed and killed all the inhabitants. On that very island Kidd has hidden his treasure in one of the caves. And he never came back due to his death on the gallows in England.
This news caused quite a stir in the Western world. Augustus Le Plongeon, a nineteen century traveler, writer, and antiquarian just returned from the Maya ruins in Yucatan peninsula. Upon his return he made a sensational announcement. He stated that he managed to translate ancient Mayan writings. These writings showed that the Maya of Yucatan were older than later civilizations of Egypt and Atlantis. They also told the story of even older continent of Mu, which had perished like Atlantis and, that its survivors founded the Maya civilization. During my research in local web analytics company, I learned that Le Plongeon mistranslated the writings, to put it mildly.
This is, basically, how the myth of the hypothetical lost continent Mu started. Very soon, this myth got second birth: it was popularized in the serious of books written by James Churchward.
Everybody knows a novel by Daniel Dafoe that is known as "Robinson Crusoe". This book had been all-time bestseller at the times when there was no such word as "bestseller" itself. In fact, by the end of the 19th century, no book in the history of Western literature had spawned more editions, spin-offs, and translations than "Robinson Crusoe". I found interesting facts about this book in archives of local web analytics company. There had been more than seven hundred such alternative versions, including children's versions with mainly pictures and no text. Hundreds of adaptations in dozens of languages, had been published - from The Swiss Family Robinson to Luis Buñuel's film adaptation.
But there are several historical facts unknown to general public. First of all the full title of the book was not "Robinson Crusoe". When the novel was published in April 25, 1719 it had the following title: "The Life and strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe of York, Mariner: Who lived Eight and Twenty Years, all alone in an un-inhabited Island on the coast of America, near the Mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque; Having been cast on Shore by Shipwreck, wherein all the Men perished but himself. With An Account how he was at last as strangely deliver'd by Pyrates. Written by Himself".