La Tortuga Island
|Native name: Isla La Tortuga|
La Tortuga Island, Venezuela
|Federal dependencies of Venezuela|
La Tortuga Island (in Spanish: Isla La Tortuga ; "La Tortuga" means "the turtle") is an uninhabited island dependent on the government of Venezuela. It is part of a chain of islands that include the Tortuguillas, the Palaquines, and others. Has an area of 156 km²
It was discovered in 1499 by Alonso de Ojeda. On his second trip, together with Amerigo Vespucci, the island was named isla La Tortuga by Amerigo Vespucci because of the enormous presence of turtles on the island.
The island was seasonally populated by the Dutch who came there to exploit the salt evaporation ponds on the east of the island as of the 1550s. They constructed a fort on the island to guard their salt works and repel against the Spanish who were eager to keep the Dutch off the island. They were definitively expelled in 1631 when the Spanish governor of Cumaná destroyed their facilities and flooded the salt pans.
Since then the island has not had a permanent population and its location and morphology have remained untouched, which makes the island one of the last somewhat virgin places of Venezuela although there is tourism on the island.
- Federal Dependencies of Venezuela
- List of marine molluscs of Venezuela
- List of Poriferans of Venezuela
- Cariaco Basin
On August 14, 1992 the Venezuelan government forced some of the Mariusans, a group of indigenous people, to be quarantined to the island. The Mariusans had suffered from Cholera in the Delta region of the Orinoco River. Many fled the Delta and headed to the city of Barrancas, in order to receive proper medical assistance. The Barrancas officials forced the refugees to be quarantined in the Eloy Palacios High School. After fourteen days in quarantine the Guardia Nacional arrived to bring the refugees to La Tortuga Island. There were residents already on the island, which is regularly a stopover when travelling from Mariusa to Barrancas. On the island there was forest that had been cleared for agriculture and cattle. At the time of the refugees arrival there were some government constructed wooden houses.(5)
Please notice that there is a mistake to include this paragraf on the Tortuga Island description, since it refers to an Island located at the Orinoco river delta which has nothing to do with the Tortuga Island located at the sea, in front of the Venezuelan coast. I suggest to delete this part from the above mentioned place and to locate it on the reference to the Orinoco delta Tortuga island.
- Vila, Marco Aurelio. 1967: Aspectos geográficos de las Dependencias Federales. Corporación Venezolana de Fomento. Caracas. 115p.
- Cervigon, Fernando. 1995: Las Dependencias Federales. Academia Nacional de la Historia. Caracas. 193p.
- Hernández Caballero, Serafín (Editor). 1998: Gran Enciclopedia de Venezuela. Editorial Globe, C.A. Caracas. 10 volúmenes. ISBN 980-6427-00-9 ISBN 980-6427-10-6
Official Website about the Island - http://tortuga-island.com/en
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