World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Turks and Caicos Islands

Turks and Caicos Islands
Overseas territory of the United Kingdom

Flag Coat of arms
Motto: "Beautiful By Nature"
Anthem: God Save the Queen
National song: This Land of Ours 
Capital Cockburn Town
Largest city Providenciales
Official languages English
Ethnic groups
Demonym Turks and Caicos Islander
Sovereign state  United Kingdom
Government British overseas territory
 -  Monarch Elizabeth II
 -  Governor Peter Beckingham
 -  Premier Rufus Ewing
 -  UK government minister[1] Mark Simmonds MP
Legislature House of Assembly
 -  Total 616.3 km2 (185th)
238 sq mi
 -  Water (%) negligible
 -  2012 census 31,458
 -  Density 51/km2
132.1/sq mi
Currency United States dollar (USD)
Time zone R-Romeo (UTC-5) EST
 -  Summer (DST) Q-Quebec (UTC-4) EDT (UTC)
Date format dd mm yyyy (AD)
Drives on the Right- and left-hand traffic
Calling code IDD‑Area code +1‑649
ISO 3166 code TC
Internet TLD .tc

UK Postcode: TKCA 1ZZ

The Turks and Caicos Islands ( and / / ), or TCI for short, are a British Overseas Territory consisting of the larger Caicos Islands and smaller Turks Islands, two groups of tropical islands in the Lucayan Archipelago, part of the larger Antilles island grouping. They are known primarily for tourism and as an offshore financial centre. The resident population is about 31,500,[1] of whom 23,769 live on Providenciales in the Caicos Islands. The total population on the islands including foreigners is 49,000.

The Turks and Caicos Islands lie southeast of Mayaguana in the Bahamas island chain and north of the island of Hispaniola. Cockburn Town, the capital since 1766, is situated on Grand Turk Island about 1,042 kilometres (647 mi) east-southeast of Miami, United States. The islands have a total land area of 430 square kilometres (170 sq mi).[2] They are geographically contiguous with the Bahamas, but are politically separate.

The first recorded European sighting of the islands now known as the Turks and Caicos occurred in 1512.[6] In the subsequent centuries, the islands were claimed by several European powers with the British Empire eventually gaining control. For many years the islands were governed indirectly through Bermuda, the Bahamas, and Jamaica. When the Bahamas gained independence in 1973, the islands received their own governor and have remained a separate autonomous British Overseas Territory since. In August 2009, the United Kingdom suspended the Turks and Caicos Islands' self-government after allegations of ministerial corruption.[7] Home rule was restored in the islands after the November 2012 elections.


  • History 1
    • Settlement 1.1
    • Political reorganisation 1.2
  • Geography 2
    • Turks Islands 2.1
    • Mouchoir Bank 2.2
    • Caicos Islands 2.3
  • Climate 3
  • Politics 4
  • Constitutional suspension (1986–1988) 5
  • Constitution 2006 6
    • Independence proposal 6.1
    • Administrative divisions 6.2
    • Proposed union with Canada 6.3
    • Corruption scandal and suspension of self-government 6.4
      • Background 6.4.1
      • Suspension and reactions 6.4.2
  • Judiciary 7
  • Population 8
    • Demographics 8.1
    • Vital statistics 8.2
    • Population breakdown 8.3
    • Language 8.4
    • Religion 8.5
    • Culture 8.6
    • Citizenship 8.7
  • Education system 9
  • Health system 10
  • Economy 11
    • Tourism 11.1
    • Resorts 11.2
  • Biodiversity 12
  • Transportation 13
  • Postal system 14
  • Media 15
  • Spaceflight 16
  • Sports 17
    • Turks and Caicos Islanders 17.1
  • See also 18
  • Notes 19
  • References 20
  • Bibliography 21
  • External links 22


The Turks and Caicos Islands are named after the Turk's-cap cactus (Melocactus communis), and the Lucayan term caya hico, meaning string of islands. The first inhabitants of the islands were Arawakan-speaking Taíno people, who crossed over from Hispaniola sometime from AD 500 to 800. Together with Taino who migrated from Cuba to the southern Bahamas around the same time, these people developed as the Lucayan. Around 1200 the Turks and Caicos Islands were resettled by Classical Taínos from Hispaniola.

Soon after the Spanish arrived in the islands in 1512,[6] they began capturing the Taíno of the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Lucayan as slaves (technically, as workers in the encomienda system)[8] to replace the largely depleted native population of Hispaniola. The southern Bahama Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands were completely depopulated by about 1513, and remained so until the 17th century.[9][10][11][12][13]

The first documented European to sight the islands was Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de León, who did so in 1512.[6] During the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, the islands passed from Spanish, to French, to British control, but none of the three powers ever established any settlements.


Bermudian salt collectors settled the Turks Islands around 1680. For several decades around the turn of the 18th century, the islands became popular pirate hideouts. In 1765–1783 the islands were under French occupation, and again after the French captured the archipelago in 1783.

After the American War of Independence (1775–1783), many Loyalists fled to British Caribbean colonies; in 1783 they were the first settlers on the Caicos Islands. They developed cotton as an important cash crop, but it was superseded by the development of the salt industry.

In 1799, both the Turks and the Caicos island groups were annexed by Britain as part of the Bahamas. The processing of sea salt was developed as a highly important export product from the West Indies, with the labour done by African slaves. Salt continued to be a major export product into the nineteenth century.

In 1807 Britain prohibited the slave trade and, in 1833, abolished slavery in its colonies. British ships sometimes intercepted slave traders in the Caribbean, and some ships were wrecked off the coast of these islands. In 1837, the Esperanza, a Portuguese slaver, was wrecked off East Caicos, one of the larger islands. While the crew and 220 captive Africans survived the shipwreck, 18 Africans died before the survivors were taken to Nassau. Africans from this ship may have been among the 189 liberated Africans whom the British colonists settled in the Turks and Caicos from 1833 to 1840.[14]

In 1841 the Trouvadore, an illegal Spanish slave ship, was wrecked off the coast of East Caicos. All the 20-man crew and 192 captive Africans survived the sinking. Officials freed the Africans and arranged for 168 persons to be apprenticed to island proprietors on Grand Turk Island for one year. They increased the small population of the colony by seven percent.[14] Numerous descendants have come from those free Africans. The remaining 24 were resettled in Nassau. The Spanish crew were also taken there, to be turned over to the custody of the Cuban consul and taken to Cuba for prosecution.[15] An 1878 letter documents the "Trouvadore Africans" and their descendants as constituting an essential part of the "labouring population" on the islands.[14]

In 2004 marine archaeologists affiliated with the Turks and Caicos National Museum discovered a wreck, called the "Black Rock Ship", that subsequent research has suggested may be that of the Trouvadore. In November 2008 a cooperative marine archaeology expedition, funded by the United States NOAA, confirmed that the wreck has artefacts whose style and date of manufacture link them to the Trouvadore.[15][16][17]

Political reorganisation

In 1848, Britain designated the Turks and Caicos as a separate colony under a David Lloyd George. The islands remained a dependency of Jamaica until 1959.

On 4 July 1959, the islands were again designated as a separate colony, the last commissioner being restyled administrator. The governor of Jamaica also continued as the governor of the islands. When Jamaica was granted independence from Britain in August 1962, the Turks & Caicos Islands became a Crown colony. From 1965, the governor of the Bahamas also was governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands and oversaw affairs for the islands.

When the Bahamas gained independence in 1973, the Turks and Caicos received their own governor (the last administrator was restyled). In 1974, Canadian New Democratic Party MP Max Saltsman tried to use his Private Member's Bill for legislation to annexe the islands to Canada, but it did not pass in the Canadian House of Commons.[18]

Since August 1976, the islands have had their own government headed by a chief minister, the first of whom was James Alexander George Smith McCartney.

The islands' political troubles in the early 21st century resulted in a rewritten constitution promulgated in 2006. The UK took over direction of the government in 2009.[19][20]

In 2013 and 2014, interest in annexing Turks and Caicos to Canada was renewed as Edmonton East MP Peter Goldring met with the country's premier Rufus Ewing in a reception at Toronto’s Westin Harbour Castle hotel.[21][22]


Map of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The two island groups are in the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of the Bahamas, north of Hispaniola, and about 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) from Miami in the United States, at . The territory is geographically contiguous to the Bahamas, both comprising the Lucayan Archipelago, but is politically a separate entity. The Caicos Islands are separated by the Caicos Passage from the closest Bahamian islands, Mayaguana and Great Inagua.

The eight main islands and more than 299 smaller islands have a total land area of 616.3 square kilometres (238.0 sq mi),[2] consisting primarily of low, flat limestone with extensive marshes and mangrove swamps and 332 square kilometres (128 sq mi) of beach front. The weather is usually sunny and relatively dry, but suffers frequent hurricanes. The islands have limited natural fresh water resources; private cisterns collect rainwater for drinking. The primary natural resources are spiny lobster, conch and other shellfish.

The two distinct island groups are separated by the Turks Passage.

Turks Islands

The Turks Islands are separated from the Caicos Islands by Turks Island Passage, which is more than 2,200 m or 7,200 ft deep,[23] The islands form a chain that stretches north–south. The 2012 Census population was 4,939 on the two main islands, the only inhabited islands of the group:

  • [24] population 4,831)
  • [24] population 108)

Together with nearby islands, all on Turks Bank, those two main islands form the two of the six administrative [25]

Mouchoir Bank

25 kilometres (16 mi) east of the Turks Islands and separated from them by Mouchoir Passage is the Mouchoir Bank. Although it has no emergent cays or islets, some parts are very shallow and the water breaks on them. Mouchoir Bank is part of the Turks and Caicos Islands and falls within its Exclusive Economic Zone. It measures 960 square kilometres (370 sq mi) in area.[26] Two banks further east, Silver Bank and Navidad Bank, are geographically a continuation, but belong politically to the Dominican Republic.

Caicos Islands

The largest island in the Caicos archipelago is the sparsely-inhabited Middle Caicos, which measures 144 square kilometres (56 sq mi) in area, but has a population of only 168 at the 2012 Census. The most populated island is Providenciales, with 23,769 inhabitants in 2012, and an area of 122 square kilometres (47 sq mi). North Caicos (116 square kilometres (45 sq mi) in area) had 1,312 inhabitants. South Caicos (21 square kilometres (8.1 sq mi) in area) had 1,139 inhabitants, and Parrot Cay (6 square kilometres (2.3 sq mi) in area) had 131 inhabitants. East Caicos (which is administered as part of South Caicos District) is uninhabited, while the only permanent inhabitants of West Caicos (administered as part of Providenciales District) are resort staff.


The Turks and Caicos Islands feature a relatively dry and sunny marine tropical climate[27] with relatively consistent temperatures throughout the course of the year. Summertime temperatures rarely exceed 33 °C (91 °F) and winter nighttime temperatures rarely fall below 18 °C (64 °F).

Climate data for Turks and Caicos Islands : Grand Turk
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 27
Average low °C (°F) 23
Precipitation mm (inches) 36.1
Source: [1] [2]


A street in Cockburn Town, the capital of the Turks and Caicos Islands

The Turks and Caicos Islands are a British Overseas Territory. As a British territory, its sovereign is Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, represented by a governor appointed by the monarch, on the advice of the Foreign Office. The United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization includes the territory on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories.

With the election of the territory's first Chief Minister, J.A.G.S. McCartney, the islands adopted a constitution on 30 August 1976, which is Constitution Day, the national holiday.

Constitutional suspension (1986–1988)

The constitution was suspended in 1986, but restored and revised 5 March 1988. In the interim two Advisory Councils took over with members from the Progressive National Party (PNP), People's Democratic Movement (PDM) and National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which was a splinter group from the PNP:[28]

  • 1st Council (1986-1987)

Constitution 2006

A new constitution came into force on 9 August 2006, but was in parts suspended and amended in 2009. The territory's legal system is based on English common law, with a small number of laws adopted from Jamaica and the Bahamas. Suffrage is universal for those over 18 years of age. English is the official language. Grand Turk is the administrative and political capital of the Turks and Caicos Islands and Cockburn Town has been the seat of government since 1766.

Under the suspended 2006 constitution, the head of government was the premier, filled by the leader of the elected party. The cabinet consisted of three ex officio members and five appointed by the governor from among the members of the House of Assembly. The unicameral House of Assembly consisted of 21 seats, of which 15 were popularly elected; members serve four-year terms. Elections in the Turks and Caicos Islands were held on 24 April 2003 and again on 9 February 2007. The Progressive National Party, led by Galmo Williams, held thirteen seats, and the People's Democratic Movement, led by Floyd Seymour, held two seats.

Under the new constitution that came into effect in October 2012, legislative power is held by a unicameral House of Assembly consisting of 19 seats, 15 elected and 4 appointed by the governor; of elected members, five are elected at large and 10 from single member districts for four-year terms. After the 2012 elections, Rufus Ewing of the Progressive National Party won a narrow majority of the elected seats and was appointed premier.[29]

The Turks and Caicos Islands participates in the Caribbean Development Bank, is an associate in CARICOM, and maintains an Interpol sub-bureau. Defence is the responsibility of the United Kingdom.

Independence proposal

The winning party of Turks and Caicos' first general election in 1976, the People's Democratic Movement (PDM) under "Jags" McCartney, sought to establish a framework and accompanying infrastructure in the pursuit of an eventual policy of full independence for the islands. However, with the early death of McCartney, confidence in the country's leadership waned. In 1980, the PDM agreed with the British government that independence would be granted in 1982 if the PDM was re-elected in the elections of that year. That election was effectively a referendum on the independence issue and was won by the pro-dependency Progressive National Party (PNP), which claimed victory again four years later. With these developments, the independence issue largely faded from the political scene.

However, in the mid-2000s, the issue of independence for the islands was again raised. In April 2006, PNP Premier Michael Misick reaffirmed that his party saw independence from Britain as the "ultimate goal" for the islands, but not at the present time.[30]

In 2008, opponents of Misick accused him of moving toward independence for the islands to dodge a commission of inquiry, which examined reports of corruption by the Misick Administration.[31]

Administrative divisions

The Turks and Caicos Islands are divided into six administrative districts (two in the Turks Islands and four in the Caicos Islands), headed by district commissioners. For the House of Assembly, the Turks and Caicos Islands are divided into 15 electoral districts (four in the Turks Islands and eleven in the Caicos Islands).

Proposed union with Canada

A great number of tourists who visit the Turks and Caicos Islands are Canadian. In 2011 arrivals from Canada were about 42,000 out of a total from all countries of about 354,000.[32] Owing to this, the islands' status as a British colony, and historical trade links, some politicians in Canada and the Turks and Caicos have suggested some form of union between Canada and the British territory.

Corruption scandal and suspension of self-government


In 2008, after members of the British parliament conducting a routine review of the administration received several reports of high-level official corruption in the Turks and Caicos,[33] then-Governor Richard Tauwhare announced the appointment of a Commission of Enquiry into corruption.[34] The same year, Premier Michael Misick himself became the focus of a criminal investigation after a woman identified by news outlets as an American citizen residing in Puerto Rico accused him of sexually assaulting her,[35] although he strongly denies the charge.[36]

On Monday, 16 March 2009, the UK threatened to suspend self-government in the islands and transfer power to the new governor, Gordon Wetherell, over systemic corruption.[37]

On 18 March 2009, on the advice of her UK ministers, Queen Elizabeth II issued an Order in Council giving the Governor the power to suspend those parts of the 2006 Constitution that deal with ministerial government and the House of Assembly, and to exercise the powers of government himself. The order, which would also establish an Advisory Council and Consultative Forum in place of the House of Assembly, would come into force on a date to be announced by the governor, and remain in force for two years unless extended or revoked.[38]

On 23 March 2009, after the enquiry found evidence of "high probability of systemic corruption or other serious dishonesty", Misick resigned as Premier to make way for a new, unified government.[39] Politicians were accused of selling crown land for personal gain and misusing public funds.[40] The following day, Galmo Williams was sworn in as his replacement.[39][41] Misick denied all charges, and referred to the British government's debate on whether to remove the territory's sovereignty as "tantamount to being re-colonised. It is a backwards step completely contrary to the whole movement of history."[40]

Suspension and reactions

On 14 August 2009 after Misick's last appeals failed, the Governor, on the instructions of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, imposed direct rule on the Turks and Caicos Islands by authority of the 18 March 2009 Order in Council issued by the Queen. The islands' administration has been suspended for up to two years, with possible extensions, and power has been transferred to the Governor, with the United Kingdom also stationing a supply vessel in between Turks and Caicos. Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Chris Bryant said of the decision to impose rule, "This is a serious constitutional step which the UK Government has not taken lightly but these measures are essential in order to restore good governance and sound financial management."[42]

The move was met with vehement opposition by the former Turks and Caicos government, with Misick's successor Williams calling it a "coup", and stating that, "Our country is being invaded and re-colonised by the United Kingdom, dismantling a duly elected government and legislature and replacing it with a one-man dictatorship, akin to that of the old Red China, all in the name of good governance."[42] Despite this, the civilian populace was reported to be largely welcoming of the enforced rule.[42] The British government stated that they intended to keep true to their word that the country would regain home rule in two years or less, and Foreign Office Minister Chris Bryant said that elections would be held in 2011, "or sooner".[43] Governor Wetherell stated that he would aim to "make a clean break from the mistakes of the past" and create "a durable path towards good governance, sound financial management and sustainable development". Wetherell continued to say that, "In the meantime we must all learn to foster a quality of public spirit, listen to all those who have the long-term interests of these islands at heart, and safeguard the fundamental assets of the Territory for future generations... Our guiding principles will be those of transparency, accountability and responsibility. I believe that most people in the Turks and Caicos will welcome these changes."[42]


The judicial branch of government is headed by a Supreme Court; appeals are heard by the court of appeals and final appeals by the United Kingdom's Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. There are three justices of the Supreme Court. Chief Justice Edwin Goldsbrough has stated his intention to leave the post in March 2014. The other justices are Justice Margaret Ramsay-Hale (who has acted as Chief Justice on occasions when Goldsbrough was out of the country) and Justice Joan Joyner.[44] The islands also have a Court of Appeal with a president and at least two justices of appeal.

Magistrates' Courts are the lower courts and appeals from Magistrates' Courts are sent to the Supreme Court.



Eight of the thirty islands in the territory are inhabited, with a total population in mid-2012 of about 31,500. One-third of the population is under 15 years old, and only 4% are 65 or older. In 2000 the population was growing at a rate of 3.55% per year. The infant mortality rate was 18.66 deaths per 1,000 live births and the life expectancy at birth was 73.28 years (71.15 years for males, 75.51 years for females). The total fertility rate was 3.25 children born per woman. The annual population growth rate is 2.82%.

The preliminary results of the 2012-01-25 Census were released in 12 August 2012; they show a total population of 31,458 inhabitants; 57.5 of adult population is composed of immigrants ("non-belongers"). Compared with the 2001 population (19,886) there's an increase of 58.19% in the number of inhabitants.[46]

The CIA World Factbook describes the islanders' ethnicity as 88% black and 8% white, with the remainder being primarily of mixed or East Indian ancestry.[2]

Vital statistics[47][48]

Average population (x 1000) Live births Deaths Natural change Crude birth rate (per 1000) Crude death rate (per 1000) Natural change (per 1000)
1950 5.0 240 80 160 47.6 15.9 31.7
1951 5.0 239 71 168 48.0 14.2 33.7
1952 5.0 243 79 164 48.8 15.9 33.0
1953 5.0 206 92 114 41.1 18.3 22.7
1954 5.1 238 74 164 46.7 14.5 32.2
1955 5.2 268 96 172 51.6 18.5 33.1
1956 5.3 223 83 140 41.9 15.6 26.3
1957 5.4 231 75 156 42.4 13.8 28.7
1958 5.6 244 84 160 43.9 15.1 28.8
1959 5.7 244 90 154 43.1 15.9 27.2
1960 5.7 252 60 192 44.0 10.5 33.5
1961 5.8 247 65 182 42.9 11.3 31.6
1962 5.8 252 69 183 43.7 12.0 31.8
1963 5.7 238 74 164 41.5 12.9 28.6
1964 5.7 217 61 156 38.0 10.7 27.3
1965 5.7 149 66 83 26.3 11.6 14.6
1966 5.6 199 63 136 35.4 11.2 24.2
1967 5.6 137 27 110 24.5 4.8 19.7
1968 5.6 163 38 125 29.3 6.8 22.5
1969 5.6 162 50 112 29.1 9.0 20.1
1970 5.6 176 47 129 31.3 8.3 22.9
1971 5.8 190 59 131 33.0 10.3 22.8
1972 5.9 171 46 125 28.9 7.8 21.1
1973 6.1 191 46 145 31.1 7.5 23.6
1974 6.3 152 36 116 24.0 5.7 18.3
1975 6.5 159 54 105 24.3 8.2 16.0
1976 6.7 200 43 157 29.7 6.4 23.4
1977 6.9 194 47 147 28.2 6.8 21.3
1978 7.1 170 51 119 24.1 7.2 16.9
1979 7.3 197 28 169 27.1 3.9 23.3
1980 7.5 214 15 199 28.4 2.0 26.4
1981 7.9 189 24 165 24.1 3.1 21.0
1982 8.2 204 33 171 24.7 4.0 20.7
1983 8.7
1984 9.1
1985 9.5
1986 9.9
1987 10.2
1988 10.6
1989 11.0
1990 11.6 240 50 190 20.8 4.3 16.5
1991 12.2 211 59 152 17.3 4.8 12.5
1992 13.0 263 52 211 20.3 4.0 16.3
1993 13.8 197 66 131 14.3 4.8 9.5
1994 14.6 229 62 167 15.7 4.2 11.4
1995 15.3 300 74 226 19.6 4.8 14.7
1996 16.0 324 55 269 20.3 3.4 16.8
1997 16.5 287 55 232 17.4 3.3 14.0
1998 17.1 272 24 248 15.9 1.4 14.5
1999 17.9 292 39 253 16.3 2.2 14.2
2000 18.9 290 67 223 15.4 3.5 11.8
2001 20.2 271 69 202 13.4 3.4 10.0
2002 21.7 153 48 105 7.0 2.2 4.8
2003 23.4 213 61 152 9.1 2.6 6.5
2004 25.0 300 46 254 12.0 1.8 10.1
2005 26.5 318 53 265 12.0 2.0 10.0
2006 27.6 409 73 336 14.8 2.6 12.2
2007 28.6 455 116 339 15.9 4.1 11.8
2008 29.5 453 65 388 15.4 2.2 13.2
2009 30.2
2010 31.0
2011 31.7

Population breakdown

Island Capital Area (km²) Population[3]
Caicos Islands
South Caicos Cockburn Harbour 21.2 2,013
West Caicos New Marina 28 10 (Employees of new resort)
Providenciales Downtown Providenciales 122 33,253
Pine Cay South bay village 3.2 30 (Resort Staff)
Parrot Cay Parrot Cay Village 5 90 (Half resort staff, half residential)
North Caicos Bottle Creek 116.4 2,066
Middle Caicos Conch Bar 136 522
Ambergris cays Big Ambergris Cay 10.9 50
Other Caicos Islands East Caicos 146.5 0
Turks Islands
Grand Turk Cockburn Town 17.6 8,051
Salt Cay Balfour Town 7.1 315
Other Turks Islands Cotton Cay 2.4 0
Turks and Caicos Islands Cockburn Town 616.3 49000 [49]


The official language of the islands is English and the population also speaks Turks and Caicos Islands Creole[50] which is similar to Bahamian Creole.[51] Due to its close proximity to Cuba and Hispaniola, large Haitian Creole and Spanish-speaking communities have developed in the territory due to immigration, both legal and illegal, from Creole-speaking Haiti and from Spanish-speaking Cuba and Dominican Republic.[52]


The population of Turks and Caicos (as of 2001) were 35.8% Baptists, 11.7% Members of the Church of God, 11.4% Catholics, 10% Anglicans, 9.3% Methodists, 6% Seventh-Day Adventists, 1.8% Jehovah's Witnesses and 14% other.[2]

Catholics are served by the Mission "Sui Iuris" for Turks and Caicos, which was erected in 1984 with territory taken from the then Diocese of Nassau.


Turks and Caicos National Museum on Grand Turk

The Turks and Caicos Islands are most well known for ripsaw music. The islands are known for their annual Music and Cultural Festival showcasing many local talents and other dynamic performances by many music celebrities from around the Caribbean and United States.

Women continue traditional crafts of using straw to make baskets and hats on the larger Caicos islands. It is possible that this continued tradition is related to the liberated Africans who joined the population directly from Africa in the 1830s and 1841 from shipwrecked slavers; they brought cultural craft skills with them.[17]

The island's most popular sports are fishing, sailing, football (soccer) and cricket (which is the national sport).

Turks and Caicos cuisine is based primarily around seafood, especially conch. Two common dishes, whilst not traditionally 'local', are conch fritters and conch salad.[53]


Because the Turks and Caicos is a British Overseas Territory and not an independent country, they, at one time, could not confer citizenship. Instead, people with close ties to Britain's Overseas Territories all held the same nationality: British Overseas Territories Citizen (BOTC) as defined by the British Nationality Act 1981 and subsequent amendments. BOTC, however, does not confer any right to live in any British Overseas Territory, including the territory from which it is derived. Instead, the rights normally associated with citizenship derive from what is called Belonger status and island natives or descendants from natives are said to be Belongers.

In 2002, the British Overseas Territories Act restored full British citizenship status to all citizens of British Overseas Territories, including the Turks and Caicos. See British Overseas Territories citizen#Access to British citizenship.

Education system

Education is free and mandatory for children aged five to sixteen. Primary education lasts for six years and secondary education lasts for five years. In the 1990s, the island nation launched the Primary In-Service Teacher Education Project (PINSTEP) in an effort to increase the skills of its primary school teachers, nearly one-quarter of whom were unqualified. Turks and Caicos also worked to refurbish its primary schools, reduce textbook costs, and increase equipment and supplies given to schools. For example, in September 1993, each primary school was given enough books to allow teachers to establish in-class libraries. In 2001, the student–teacher ratio at the primary level was roughly 15:1. The Turks and Caicos Islands Community College offers higher education to students who have successfully completed their secondary education. The community college also oversees an adult literacy program. The Ministry of Health, Education, Youth, Sports, and Women's Affairs oversees education in Turks and Caicos.

Health system

The Turks and Caicos established a National Health System in 2010. Residents contribute to a National Health Insurance Plan through salary deduction and nominal user fees. Majority of care is provided by the private-public-partnership hospitals in Providenciales and Grand Turk. In addition there are a number of government clinics and private clinics. The hospital opened in 2010 is administered by Interhealth Canada and has been accredited by Accreditation Canada in 2012.


In 2009, GDP contributions were as follows:[54] Hotels & Restaurants 34.67%, Financial Services 13.12%, Construction 7.83%, Transport, Storage & Communication 9.90%, and Real Estate, Renting & Business Activities 9.56%. Most capital goods and food for domestic consumption are imported.

In 2010/2011, major sources of government revenue included Import Duties (43.31%), Stamp Duty on Land Transaction (8.82%), Work Permits and Residency Fees (10.03%) and Accommodation Tax (24.95%). The territory's gross domestic product as of late 2009 is approximately US$795 million (per capita $24,273).[54]

The labour force totalled 27595 workers in 2008. The labour force distribution in 2006 is as follows:

Skill level Percentage
Unskilled/Manual 53%
Semi-skilled 12%
Skilled 20%
Professional 15%

The unemployment rate in 2008 was 8.3%. In 2007–2008, the territory took in revenues of $206.79 million against expenditures of $235.85 million. In 1995, the island received economic aid worth $5.7 million. The territory's currency is the United States dollar, with a few government fines (such as airport infractions) being payable in pounds sterling. Most commemorative coin issues are denominated in crowns.

The primary agricultural products include limited amounts of maize, beans, cassava (tapioca) and citrus fruits. Fish and conch are the only significant export, with some $169.2 million of lobster, dried and fresh conch, and conch shells exported in 2000, primarily to the United Kingdom and the United States. In recent years, however, the catch has been declining. The territory used to be an important trans-shipment point for South American narcotics destined for the United States, but due to the ongoing pressure of a combined American, Bahamian and Turks and Caicos effort this trade has been greatly reduced.

The islands import food and beverages, tobacco, clothing, manufacture and construction materials, primarily from the United States and the United Kingdom. Imports totalled $581 million in 2007.

The islands produce and consume about 5 GWh of electricity, per year, all of which comes from fossil fuels.


The United States was the leading source of tourists in 1996, accounting for more than half of the 87,000 visitors; another major source of tourists is Canada. Tourist arrivals had risen to 264,887 in 2007 and to 351,498 by 2009. In 2010, a total of 245 cruise ships arrived at the Grand Turk Cruise Terminal, carrying a total of 617,863 visitors.[55]

A Turks and Caicos sunset
View of the southwestern beach at Grand Turk Island

The government is pursuing a two-pronged strategy to increase tourism. Upscale resorts are aimed at the wealthy, while a large new cruise ship port and recreation centre has been built for the masses visiting Grand Turk. Turks and Caicos Islands has one of the longest coral reefs in the world, making it a premier diving destination.

The French vacation village company of Club Mediterannee (Club Med) has an all-inclusive adult resort called 'Turkoise' on one of the main islands.

Several Hollywood stars have built homes in the Turks and Caicos, including Dick Clark and Bruce Willis as well as studio executive, Eric Edmeades.[56] Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner married on Parrot Cay in 2005. Actress Eva Longoria and her ex-husband Tony Parker went to the islands for their honeymoon in July 2007 and High School Musical actors Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens went for a vacation there. In 2013 Hollywood writer/director Rob Margolies and actress Kristen Ruhlin vacationed here. Musician Nile Rodgers has a vacation home on the island.

To boost tourism during the Caribbean low season of late summer, since 2003 the Turks and Caicos Tourist Board have organised and hosted an annual series of concerts during this season called the Turks & Caicos Music and Cultural Festival.[57] Held in a temporary bandshell at The Turtle Cove Marina in The Bight on Providenciales, this festival lasts about a week and has featured several notable international recording artists, such as Lionel Richie, LL Cool J, Anita Baker, Billy Ocean, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Kenny Rogers, Michael Bolton, Ludacris, Chaka Khan, and Boyz II Men.[58] More than 10,000 people attend annually.[58]


  • Beaches Resorts - Turks & Caicos[59]
  • Seven Stars Resort[60]
  • Grace Bay Club[61]
  • Alexandra Resort[62]


A French Angelfish in Princess Alexandra Land and Sea National Park, Providenciales
A Blue Tang and a Squirrelfish in Princess Alexandra Land and Sea National Park, Providenciales

The Turks and Caicos Islands are a

  • Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands official website
  • FCO Page for Turks and Caicos Islands
  • Visit Turks and Caicos Islands
  • Turks & Caicos National Museum
  • Turks and Caicos Islands from UCB Libraries GovPubs
  • Turks and Caicos Islands at DMOZ
  • Turks and Caicos Islands travel guide from Wikivoyage

External links

  • Boultbee, Paul G. Turks and Caicos Islands. Oxford: ABC-Clio Press, 1991.



  1. ^ "Preliminary 2012 Turks and Caicos Islands census data published". Retrieved 2013-02-03. 
  2. ^ a b c "Turks and Caicos Islands". CIA World Factbook. Retrieved 13 March 2013. 
  3. ^ "". 
  4. ^ "Turks and Caicos Islands". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 13 March 2013. 
  5. ^ "TCI Physical characteristics". Retrieved 13 Mar 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c "World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples – Turks and Caicos Islands : Overview". Minority Rights Group International, 2007.
  7. ^ Fincher, Christina (14 August 2009). "Britain suspends Turks and Caicos government". Reuters. Retrieved 26 May 2013. 
  8. ^ "Encomienda or Slavery? The Spanish Crown's Choice of Labor Organization in Sixteenth-Century Spanish America" (PDF), Latin American Studies.
  9. ^ Paul Albury. (1975) The Story of the Bahamas. MacMillan Caribbean. ISBN 0-333-17131-4 pp. 34–37
  10. ^ Michael Craton. (1986) A History of the Bahamas. San Salvador Press. ISBN 0-9692568-0-9 pp. 17, 37–39
  11. ^ Julian Granberry and Gary S. Vescelius. (2004) Languages of the Pre-Columbian Antilles. The University of Alabama Press. ISBN 0-8173-5123-X pp. 80–86
  12. ^ William F. Keegan. (1992) The People Who Discovered Columbus: The Prehistory of the Bahamas. University Press of Florida. ISBN 0-8130-1137-X pp. 25, 48–62, 86, 170–173, 212–213, 220–223
  13. ^ Carl Ortwin Sauer. (1966, Fourth printing, 1992) The Early Spanish Main. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-01415-4 pp. 159–160, 191
  14. ^ a b c Sinking of the Slave Ship, pp. 210–212
  15. ^ a b Jane Sutton, "Shipwreck may hold key to Turks and Caicos' lineage", Reuters, 26 November 2008
  16. ^ Randolph E. Schmid, "Artifacts appear linked to Trouvadore", Associated Press, 25 November 2008.
  17. ^ a b Linking the Past to the Present"Trouvadore:Nigel Sadler, "The Sinking of the Slave Ship , Underwater and Maritime Archaeology in Latin America and the Caribbean, edited by Margaret E Leshikar-Denton, Pilar Luna Erreguerena, Left Coast Press, 2008
  18. ^ "Biography from City of Cambridge's Hall of Fame". Retrieved 2011-07-31. 
  19. ^ "Foreign Office news:A major step in clean up of public life in Turks and Caicos". Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  20. ^ "FCO Country Profile: Turks and Caicos: Politics". Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  21. ^ Hopper, Tristin. "‘It’s a whole new world’: Could Turks and Caicos be like a tiny Nunavut or Canada’s 11th province?". National Post. Retrieved July 2, 2013. 
  22. ^ Fekete, Jason. "‘Canada needs a Hawaii’: Conservative MP pushing for Turks and Caicos to become 11th province as island’s premier visits Ottawa". National Post. Retrieved May 26, 2014. 
  23. ^ "STS-100 Shuttle Mission Imagery". 1 May 2001. Retrieved 2011-07-31. 
  24. ^ a b "at". Retrieved 2011-07-31. 
  25. ^ "Historical Fisheries Production And Trade of the Turks And Caicos Island" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-07-31. 
  26. ^ "Turks Caicos Bank Website » Mouchoir Bank". 11 April 2008. Retrieved 2011-07-31. 
  27. ^ "Turks and Caicos, CIA – The world factbook". 
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^ "Independence 'ultimate goal' for Turks & Caicos, says Chief Minister." Caribbean Net News. 28 April 2006. Retrieved 1 August 2008.
  31. ^ "Turks and Caicos politics: Evidently, when A.L. Hall speaks, people should listen." Caribbean Net News. 29 July 2008. Retrieved 1 August 2008.
  32. ^ Turks & Caicos Islands Tourist Board Statistics Tourism Statistics- 2011 (2012).
  33. ^ Nick Meo. "Turks and Caicos: MPs criticise 'climate of fear' on luxury holiday islands." The Telegraph. 6 July 2008. Retrieved 1 August 2008.
  34. ^ "TCI Governor appoints Commission of Enquiry." Cayman Net News. 14 July 2008. Retrieved 1 August 2008.
  35. ^ "Turks and Caicos premier faces rape investigation; calls allegations 'outrageous'." International Herald Tribune. 16 April 2008. Retrieved 1 August 2008.
  36. ^ Anthony Hall. "Commentary: TCI Premier Michael Misick accused of rape! (Updated)." Caribbean Net News. 11 April 2008.
  37. ^ "UK Action over Turks and Caicos". BBC News. 16 March 2009. Retrieved 15 August 2009. 
  38. ^ The Turks and Caicos Islands Constitution (Interim Amendment) Order 2009 SI 2009/701
  39. ^ a b "Turks and Caicos PM quits amid corruption probe".  
  40. ^ a b Anne Barrowclough (24 March 2009). "Government suspended in overseas territory". London: The Times. Retrieved 2009-08-14. 
  41. ^ Free Press Editorial Board (23 March 2009). "Hon. Galmore Williams Sworn in as Premier". Turks & Caicos Free Press. Retrieved 16 August 2009. 
  42. ^ a b c d Edward Helmore (14 August 2009). "Britain seizes control of scandal-hit dependency". London:  
  43. ^ Jim Pickard (14 August 2009). "UK to run Turks and Caicos isles".  
  44. ^ Boyce, Hayden (15 November 2013). "Turks & Caicos Islands Chief Justice Edwin Goldsbrough Resigns". Turks & Caicos Sun. Retrieved 24 February 2014. 
  45. ^ [3]
  46. ^
  47. ^ [4] United nations. Demographic Yearbooks
  48. ^ [5]
  49. ^ "CIA World Factbook – Turks and Caicos Islands".  
  50. ^ Ethnologue report on Languages of Turks and Caicos Islands
  51. ^ Ethnologue report for Turks and Caicos Creole English
  52. ^ Languages of Turks and Caicos Islands from
  53. ^ 'Turks and Caicos Cuisine' from
  54. ^ a b "Department of Economic Planning & Statistics". Retrieved 2014-07-13. 
  55. ^ "Department of Economic Planning & Statistics". Retrieved 2009-08-15. 
  56. ^ "Eric Edmeades' Official Website". 8 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-08. 
  57. ^ "The Turks and Caicos Music & Cultural Festival". 21 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  58. ^ a b "The Turks and Caicos Music & Cultural Festival News Release". 21 April 2008. Archived from the original on 4 August 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  59. ^ Beaches Resorts - Turks & Caicos
  60. ^ Seven Stars Resort
  61. ^ Grace Bay Club
  62. ^ Alexandra Resort
  63. ^ "Science: UK Overseas Territories – Turks and Caicos Islands". Kew. Retrieved 2012-12-29. 
  64. ^ "Science: UK Overseas Territories: Biodiversity". Kew. Retrieved 2012-12-29. 
  65. ^ "Turks and Caicos Islands – UNESCO World Heritage Centre". 27 January 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-29. 
  66. ^ "Providenciales International Airport, Turks and Caicos Islands, United Kingdom". Retrieved 2014-08-09. 
  67. ^ "Government breaks ground on $10million expansion for Providenciales International Airport". Retrieved 2014-08-09. 
  68. ^ "Turks and Caicos Islands: Getting Around". Retrieved 2014-08-09. 
  69. ^ "Railways in the United Kingdom". Retrieved 2011-07-31. 
  70. ^
  71. ^
  72. ^
  73. ^
  74. ^ özgürKöy (6 April 2009). "". Retrieved 2011-11-25. 
  75. ^ "". Retrieved 2011-11-25. 
  76. ^ "". Retrieved 2011-11-25. 
  77. ^ "". Retrieved 2011-11-25. 
  78. ^ a b "ICC Members: Turks and Caicos Islands".  
  79. ^ "Other Matches played by Turks and Caicos Islands". CricketArchive. Retrieved 7 October 2012. 
  80. ^ "Twenty20 Matches played by Turks and Caicos Islands". CricketArchive. Retrieved 7 October 2012. 
  81. ^ "The FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking – Ranking Table". Retrieved 2012-12-29. 


  1. ^ Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office with responsibility for the British Overseas Territories
  2. ^ a b Different sources give different figures for the Islands' area. The CIA World Factbook gives 430 km2,[2] the European Union says 417 km2,[3] and the Encyclopædia Britannica says "Area at high tide, 238 square miles (616 square km); at low tide, 366 square miles (948 square km)".[4] A report by the Turks and Caicos Islands Department of Economic Planning and Statistics gives the same numbers as the Encyclopædia Britannica though its definitions are less clear.[5]
  3. ^ The Islands area and population data retrieved from the 2012 census


See also

Turks and Caicos Islanders

As of 4 July 2012, Turks and Caicos Islands' football team shared the position of the lowest ranking national men's football team in the world at the rank of 207th.[81]

Cricket is the islands' national sport.[78] The national team takes part in regional tournaments in the ICC Americas Championship,[79] as well as having played one Twenty20 match as part of the 2008 Standford 20/20.[80] Two domestic leagues exist, one on Grand Turk with three teams and another on Providenciales.[78]


From 1950 to 1981, the United States had a missile tracking station on Grand Turk. In the early days of the American space program, NASA used it. After his three earth orbits in 1962, American astronaut John Glenn successfully landed in the nearby ocean and was brought back ashore at this island.


Turks and Caicos's newspapers include the Turks and Caicos Weekly News, the Turks and Caicos SUN[74] and the Turks and Caicos Free Press.[75] All three publications are weekly. The Weekly News and the Sun both have supplement magazines. Other local magazines Times of the Islands,[76] s3 Magazine,[77] Real Life Magazine, Baller Magazine, and Unleashed Magazine.

WIV introduced Channel 4 News in 2002 broadcasting local news and infotainment programs across the country. Channel 4 was re-launched as WIV4 in November 2007 and began providing reliable daily online Turks and Caicos news with the WIV4 News blog,[73] an online forum connecting TCI residents with others interested in the islands, while keeping users updated on the TCI's daily news.

West Indies Video (WIV) has been the sole cable television provider for the Turks and Caicos Islands for over two decades and WIV4 (a subsidiary of WIV) has been the only broadcast station in the islands for over 15 years; broadcasts from the Bahamas can also be received. The territory has two internet service providers and its country code top level domain (ccTLD) is ".tc". Amateur radio callsigns begin with "VP5" and visiting operators frequently work from the islands.

Mobile phone service is provided by Cable & Wireless, using GSM 850 and TDMA, and Digicel, using GSM 900 and 1900 and Islandcom Wireless, using 3G 850. Cable & Wireless provides CDMA mobile phone service in Providenciales and Grand Turk. The system is connected to the mainland by two submarine cables and an Intelsat earth station. There were three AM radio stations (one inactive) and six FM stations (no shortwave) in 1998. The most popular station is Power 92.5 FM which plays Top 100 hits. Over 8000 radio receivers are owned across the territory.


There is no postal delivery in the Turks and Caicos; mail is picked up at one of four post offices on each of the major islands.[70] Mail is transported three or seven times a week, depending on the destination.[71] The Post Office is part of the territory's government and reports to the Minister of Government Support Services.[72]

Postal system

The islands have no significant railways. In the early twentieth century East Caicos operated a horse-drawn railway to transport Sisal from the plantation to the port. The 14 km route was removed after sisal trading ceased.[69]

The territory's main international ports and harbours are on Grand Turk and Providenciales.[68]

The islands have 121 kilometres of highway, 24 km (15 mi) paved and 97 km (60 mi) unpaved. Like the United States Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands, the Turks and Caicos Islands drive on the left, but use left-hand-drive vehicles that are imported from the United States.[67]

Providenciales International Airport is the main entry point for the Turks and Caicos Islands. Altogether, there are seven airports, located on each of the inhabited islands. Five have paved runways (three of which are approximately 2000 metres long and one is approximately 1000 metres long), and the remaining two have unpaved runways (one of which is approximately 1000 metres long and the other is significantly shorter).[66]


Due to this significance, the islands are on the United Kingdom's tentative list for future UNESCO World Heritage Sites.[65]

The UK and Turks and Caicos Islands Governments have joint responsibility for the conservation and preservation to meet obligations under international environmental conventions.[64]


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.