Turks and Caicos is a Caribbean British Overseas Territory made up of two island groups—the Turks Islands to the east and Caicos Islands to the west. This laid-back tropical paradise has the lowest rainfall in the Caribbean region, meaning there are more sunny days than anywhere else nearby.
The land is low and covered with forests and marine wetlands. The stunning beaches have gained more and more popularity over the years as the country continues to thrive with tourism.
Over 44,000 people call Turks and Caicos home. Most people inhabit only nine of this country's roughly 100 islands and cays. Turks and Caicos is famous for its incredible dive sites and beautiful coasts.
History of Turks & Caicos
The first inhabitants of Turks and Caicos were the peaceful Taino and Lucayan people who were highly skilled in fishing, cultivating crops, and much more. These people laid a foundation for the country as we know it today.
Unfortunately, with the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492, these civilizations were quickly wiped out. The islands were hardly populated for the next 30 years. Bermudians visited the islands to rake the abundant salt and transport it back home, where it was used to season and preserve food.
The French and Spanish ceded Turks and Caicos from Bermuda for a brief time. Soon, the British took the lands back for the Bermudians, and they became a safe place for pirates and British Loyalists during the American Revolution.
With the Treaty of Versailles, Britain claimed the country. But the back-and-forth claims were not yet over. In 1766, Turks and Caicos went under the Bahamian government. Finally, the islands became a British Crown colony which is true today.
In the early 1980s, Turks and Caicos began opening for tourism by establishing resorts and other accommodations for visitors. Today, it continues to thrive in the tourism industry and is known as one of the world's most luxurious and beautiful beach vacations.
Culture in Turks & Caicos
Like many Caribbean islands, the unique culture of Turks and Caicos is influenced by many others that played a crucial role in its history, like the original natives, French, Spanish, Africans, and more. This collection of influences has blended to create a special set of beliefs, religions, and traditions.
"Ripsaw Music" is a fascinating and vibrant form of musical expression unique to Turks and Caicos, featuring instruments like the saw, goatskin drum, accordion, maracas, and acoustic guitar. While ripsaw music still plays a significant role in the culture, modern music has evolved with influence from neighboring islands. For instance, the people of Turks and Caicos also enjoy reggae, calypso, and junkanoo, especially when mixing the genres into their traditional ripsaw music.
The island county's cuisine includes local seafood, grits, crab, and rice. The national dish of Turks and Caicos is Cracked Conch, a deep-fried conch with island seasonings, similar to conch fritters.
CITED: Turksandcaicostourism.com, Visittci.com, Tripsavvy.com