The Turks & Caicos contain a vast array of culture and history. The first known discoverers were the Taino Indians, and early settlers included the Lucayans. Evidence of their presence can be found in cave drawings and artifacts uncovered in archaeological excavations. A harsh environment for early survival, the islands lay uninhabited for generations until the intrepid explorers to the New World visited. From Christopher Columbus in the 13th century, to Ponce de Leon and John Hawkins in the 14th century, many adventurous spirits passed by these islands; many more left calling cards in the form of broken and battered ships on the sea floor.
The Bermudans were next to settle the island in the late 1600s, relying on the natural resources for sustaining a way of life. Salt raking soon became the prime industry, the Salinas can still be seen on many islands today – remnants of a once thriving trade. A secondary horticultural industry was established in the form of cotton and sisal plantations, but the thin, sandy soils could not over time produce crops to compete with the bountiful yields coming from other parts of the world. Ranching and fishing have added to the rich history, and while travelling throughout the islands you will stumble across remnants of these abandoned occupations. From wild cotton to wild cattle, they all have an historical tale to tell.
Turks and Caicos Islanders, or ‘belongers’, are mainly descended from the freed slave settlers of past centuries. The population has grown over the years to include many European and North American settlers, spreading nearly 30,000 people over the eight inhabited islands in the group.
Governance of the islands has passed from passed among countries until ultimately resting with Great Britain. Now a British territory, the proximity to the United States promotes the use of the US Dollar as the official currency. This, coupled with use of the English language, has made these beautiful islands a vacationing hot-spot for Americans and Europeans alike.
The largest industry in the islands now is undeniably tourism. With balmy year-round weather there is not a bad time to visit the pristine white sands and startling blue waters. Temperatures range from the low 80s in the winter to low 90s in the summer, and the trade winds offer cooling breezes wherever you find yourself.