Beauty and Serenity Abounds: Turks and Caicos
The Turks and Caicos Islands are a British territory consisting of the smaller Turks islands and the larger Caicos Islands. There are over 50 islands and cays in the group with only 8 being inhabited. The total island population is 31,500 with 23,690 residents living on Provodenciales in the Caicos Islands. The islands are known for tourism and as a financial center for off shore company’s and trusts. Where is Turks and Caicos? The two island groups lie just south east of the Bahamas and north of the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean Sea. The Caicos Islands are separated from the Turks by the Turk Island passage with its dramatic drop off known as “The Wall” plunging 7,200 Ft deep. Turks and Caicos weather is best described as desert tropical being warm and dry with occasional trade winds. The islands receive a sparse 23 inches of rain per year and with 350 sunny days a year the climate is very warm and arid.
A Brief History of Turks and Caicos Islands
The Arawakan speaking Taino people first migrated to the islands from Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti) in 500 AD. The Spanish arrived in 1512 and took the native people as slaves and put them to work in Hispaniola. The islands where completely depopulated by 1513 and remained so until the 17th century. During the 16-18th centuries the islands where claimed by the Spanish, French and England but none were able to set up a permanent settlement. Pirates used the islands as a place to retreat and hide out at the turn of the 18th century. French occupation began in 1765 and again in 1783. Following the American war of independence loyalist of England fled to Caribbean British colonies and in 1783 they settled the islands. With labor from African slaves cotton and salt where quickly developed by the settlers and in 1799 Britain annexed both the Turks and Caicos islands as part of the British controlled Bahamas. In 1807 slavery was abolished in all the British colonies. In 1841 a illegal slave ship wrecked off the coast of East Caicos. The 192 African slaves and 20 man crew all survived the sinking. Officials freed all the slaves and offered them apprentice labor on Grand Turk and increased the population of the small colony substantially. The descendents of those freed slaves make up a large part of the population today.
Politics and Government
As a Overseas Territory of Britain the Queen appoints a Governor to oversee British interests. In 1976 the islands elected its first Chief Minister J.A.G.S. Mccartney and on Aug 30th of the same year adopted a constitution now a official holiday known as Constitution day. In 2008 then Governor Richard Tauwhare received several reports of corruption at the highest levels of government. That same year Michael Misick then Premier was accused of sexual assault by a American living in Puerto Rico. In March 2009 Misick resigned as Premier following an inquiry that found evidence of politicians selling crown land for personal gain and misusing public funds. Later that year Britain imposed direct rule over the Turks and Caicos in order to restore good governance. 2012 the British foreign secretary announced there would be new elections and stated that ambitious reforms had been successful and financial control had been put in place. Later that year a new constitution was approved.
The economy on the Turks and Caicos Islands or TCI depends heavily on the tourism industries and services with Turks and Caicos resorts Real estate and real estate development play a large part and are encouraged by investment incentives. A wide variety of financial services exist on the TCI such as Banking, Limited partnerships and offshore insurance. The TCI also export sea food and have gaming casinos threw out the islands.
Resorts on Grand Caicos
Provodenciales the most populated island in the chain was voted world’s top island by Trip Adviser traveler’s choice for 2015. The islands boast world class hotels, Spas and dinning. Turks and Caicos all inclusive resorts are now blossoming with heavy hitters such as Club Med and Beaches leading the way.
Turks and Caicos beaches are considered some of the finest in the entire world. Grace Bay Beach also on Prvodenciales was voted the second best beach in the world by Trip Adviser reviewer with 2567 trip reviewers rating the beach as excellent. Turks and Caicos resorts are all built on the beach and sea side and are usually open air so the trade winds can cool visitors.
Grace bay Provodenciales
Things to do
Turks and Caicos resorts offer all the classic water and land sports such as tennis, golf, snorkeling and fishing and offer some unusual excursions such as.
Wade Greens Plantation considered one of the best examples of a colonial plantation in existence. Built in 1798 to farm cotton it is now used to celebrate the emancipation of salary.
The John Glen “Splash Down” exhibit. See a detailed replica of the Friendship 7 capsule that splashed down in the TCI waters in 1962.
Caicos Conch farm. Being the only farm of its kind in the world they specialize in raising conch and exporting them threw out the world. Enjoy watching two trained Conchs, view conch pearls and then purchasing fresh conch for a delicious conch salad.
The government of TCI has committed itself to securing the natural wonders of the islands by adopting a strict eco tourism philosophy. This small island chain has established 27 protected areas and parks both on land and on the coral reefs. Also protected are rare birds , Marine turtles , migrating whales and dolphins.
If you are looking for sparsely populated islands with world class amenities, perfect beaches and 360 days of sunshine per year then enjoy the Turks and Caicos Islands.