Welcome, good people, welcome to scenic Hidalgo Island. From historical sites through lively nightspots to relaxing sandy coves, we’re sure you’ll find everything you’re looking for during your stay. If you have any questions at all, be sure and ask a friendly resident of our fair island—we’ll be sure and identify ourselves as soon as you arrive on our welcoming shores! (Aye, they're right friendly enough, as long as your pouch is filled with gold, and ye’ll recognize them by their outstretched palms! Stick with me, Jim me lad, and I’ll steer ye a clear course.)

The island of Hidalgo was first permanently settled by Europeans when the young Don Simon Hidalgo de la Cruz brought the remains of his estate and chattels over from Maracaibo in 1669, after the raid of L’Ollonois. As you can see from a brief glance, most of the buildings here in Port Hidalgo, the largest town of the island, reflect this Spanish heritage. (Them Spaniards throw a lick o’ white paint up, and think they live in bloody castles. Never you mind what he says, it’s just another pest-hole of the Spanish Main, though summat better than most, I’ll give ‘em that.)

The central harbor, while small, is quite deep and ideal for sheltering ships during the occasional tropical storm. It has also proven to be well situated as a supply point on several of the South American trade routes. Through its suitability as a port (and his connections back in the Spanish court), Don Hidalgo convinced the Spanish Crown to build a fort that commands the harbor. As you can see, these fortifications are still in use and in good repair; the few attacks made by foreign powers or hostile raiders have always been successfully repulsed. (An’ there’s a fact to remember, Jim—any ship enterin’ the harbor is restin’ pretty under those guns, an easy target for any lubber of a guardsman. A good thing it is our sort is welcome-like hereabouts, aye it is.)

Don Simon and his heirs governed the island well, until the War of the Grand Alliance began in1689, when Spain sent in fresh troops with which to protect the island. The troops were sent to defend the island from Spain’s enemies, but the question soon became who would defend the island from the troops, as they systematically began to plunder the island of its wealth and sell its natives into slavery. (Them’s would be the Arawak injuns, mixed in with slaves out of Afrik what ol’ Hidalgo with his funny ideas freed when he first set to on the island. Right enough folk unless they’re crossed, and my word to you, young Jim, is don’t cross ‘em.)

Don Simon protested their actions, and was thrown into prison and later executed for his efforts. This rough treatment of their beloved ruler set the natives against their erstwhile "defenders", and they caused so much turmoil on the island during the closing years of the war that Spain gladly ceded it to the British under the terms of the treaty of Ryswick in 1698. While many of Spanish blood chose to relocate to other Spanish holdings, a goodly number chose to remain behind under British rule. (The way I heard it, them Arawaks had help against them Spaniards, which is why they weren’t killed off to the last man Jack o’ them. Help from beyond the grave, that is… They say that old Hidalgo couldn’t rest easy with his people up on the block bein’ sold, so he came back to help ‘em out some. An’ it’s happened more than once over the years, or so they say…Like I says, Jim, don’t cross them natives.)

To your left, you will note the sturdy docks and voluminous warehouses of our waterfront district. Goods of all types pass through Port Hidalgo. Further to the left, you will note the Cask and Keg, Port Hidalgo’s finest tavern—and well it might be, as it shares space with the island’s customs offices. All goods arriving at or departing from the island must first be recorded here, so you are as like as not to meet ship captains, merchants, and traders in the common room. (Aye, and some o’ them might even be honest, though I’d wager against it.) Public opinion holds that more business gets done in the front rooms than in the back office, but this would only seem to be reasonable! There are, to be sure, other taverns and houses of diverse entertainments in town, but the well heeled and discriminating visitor is encouraged to avoid these, as they tend to attract patrons of a less-than-genteel disposition. (Har, and there ye have it, Jim, right proper places for a man too long at sea to use his hard-won gold!)

Port Hidalgo holds several other attractions for the discerning visitor. The old fort is always open to courteous visitors, and Governor Havelock himself—if business and his notoriously fickle health permit—is always pleased to greet those who visit his island. (Them’s as are ready to grease his outstretched hand, that is. Old Georges was one o’ us before he bought hisself a name and settled down. Aye, it was during the war and he bore his letter o’ marque, but did that ever stop an able man from takin’ a ready prize that just happened to be flyin' a friendly flag?)

Our church, the first building commissioned upon Don Simon’s arrival on the island, is open at all hours to both the Catholic faithful and the penitent alike. You are free to travel abroad upon the island as you wish, but Port Hidalgo is the only safe port and fully civilized area on the island. Farmers and herdsmen labor in those regions of the fertile highlands that have been cleared, but the remaining wilderness, while enchanting, is populated by various indigenous creatures and best avoided by all but skilled woodsman. (In clearer speech, a bunch o’ goat herders and dirt-poor farmers a grubbin' in the trees, without a penny to their name. Not even worth a look-see, to us what’s taken a King’s ransom, eh?)

Again, we hope that you enjoy your stay here on our island, and that you give use good report to others on your journeys. Alas, I see that one of our renowned storms is looming close, and threatens to soon make a river out of all the outdoors. Perhaps we shall meet again this evening, at the Cask and Keg? (First thing that bag o’ wind’s said yet that’s made any sense. Off we go, Jim, and for my sound advice I’ll allow ye to buy me the first round.)