Our Game is a Handful.

Our Game is a Handful.

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Laguna Matata


Welcome to Laguna Matata, jewel of the misplaced Portuguese New world Colonies. A little Back history: The Treaty of Tordesillas in 1494 divided the "New World" into land, resources, and people claimed between Spain and Portugal. The meridian ran North and south 345 miles west of the Cape Verde Islands, off the coast of northwestern Africa. This conveniently placed most of the Caribbean, New World, and abundant natural wealth square in the hands of the Spanish empire. In 1630 a storm battered Caravel  ran aground on a spit of sand west of Tobago leaving much of her ruin as a warning to passing seafarers. Cargo and crew long since assumed  claimed by the waves, it was a complete mystery to both the Spanish and Portuguese Empires when a battered Naval ensign bearing the crown and shield of Lisbon was found aloft of a village 62 years after the wreck. Surrounded by mangrove trees and at its center a Jesuit mission, Laguna Matata's settlement is a cornucopia of escaped slaves, Portuguese decedents, the Indigenous people who took them in,Spanish renegades, and scoundrels. The mangrove trees are so thick, reasonable trade can only be exchanged by small launches rowing past the shallows to larger ships and few captains brave the natural barriers to sell there. 

    The island's wealth comes from trade in cocoa beans, trekked from South America via mule train through the mountains then across the straits from Caracas by native canoes. Spain's monopoly on the cocoa trade has made smuggling quite profitable as the European empire grow a sweet-tooth for the delicious extracts.     


     In Game terms the Laguna Matada is a haven for the detritus of the Caribbean. Culture, religion, Languages all merge into a colorful struggling village. Only shallow draft ships can get anywhere near the Island and regular merchant trade is unheard of. Trade goods and Luxury goods bring a high price and cocoa is the currency of choice.