Île à Vache was originally claimed by the Spanish Empire as part of Hispaniola the first landing site of Christopher Columbus in 1492, and for the next two centuries it was known by its Spanish name, Isla Vaca.
Port Morgan is named for the pirate captain Henry Morgan for whom the little island served as a frequent base of operations. Morgan planned and staged many of his largest raids from Isla Vaca and in 1676 he narrowly survived a costly shipwreck on its shore: Morgan’s ship Jamaica Merchant sank with a full complement of cannon which the pirate had been bringing to bolster his presence at Port Royal
In 1697 the island of Hispaniola was formally divided between Spain and France in the Treaty of Ryswick which ended the Nine Years War. France assumed control of the western half of the island, Haiti, and Isla Vaca took on its current name, Île à Vache.
In 1863, during the American Civil War .the island’s owner Bernard Kock offered to resettle freed black slaves from the United States. Despite support from President Abraham Lincoln, funding never materialized, and the first attempt to set up the colony failed in a matter of months.
Today the island populations of 10000 people live in small villages without any electrical power or any motorized vehicle and survive by fishing and growing fruit and vegetable. I did not see any overweight person. All fishing is done by traditional methods from dug out canoes and small sailing boats. Education standards are very low.