History of the Turks and Caicos

June 15, 2011 |

The two Caribbean island chains that make up the Turks and Caicos Islands are just under 100 kilometers from Miami and the US mainland. The Caicos Passage separates this Commonwealth country from the Bahamas island chain.

The Arawak people and then the Carib were the first indigenous inhabitants of the Turks and Caicos, and reached the islands as part of a general migration from the South American mainland northeast across the Caribbean, about 8000 years ago. These people lived on the islands in hunter-gathering societies, and also utilized the many limestone caves as religious sites, and refuges from hurricanes.

The first Europeans reached the Turks and Caicos in 1512, and it’s often said that Christopher Columbus set foot here first. However, there is no record of his sighting of the islands, and Columbus would eventually reach Hispaniola, now the Domincan Republic.

The British Empire finally gained control after the islands were claimed by several European powers. The British governed these islands in the Caribbean indirectly through Bermuda, the Bahamas, and Jamaica, and the Turks and Caicos eventually received a governor was in 1973. Real estate and resort development aimed at meeting the demands of the territory’s thriving tourist sector has remained the mainstay of the economy.

Most of the population of 36,000 lives on Providenciales in the Caicos Islands. Cockburn Town, the capital of the Turks and Caicos, is on Grand Turk Island. It is the departure point for real estate and resort development.

– Charles Edwards frequently writes about Turks and Caicos resort topics.

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