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Facts about Turks and Caicos Islands For kids


The Turks and Caicos Islands are a British Overseas Territory consisting of the larger Caicos Islands and smaller Turks Islands, two groups of tropical islands in the Lucayan Archipelago, north of the larger Antilles island grouping. 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 647 mi east-southeast of Miami, United States.
  • The islands have a total land area of 170 sq mi.
  • The first recorded European sighting of the islands now known as the Turks and Caicos occurred in 1512.
  • In the subsequent centuries, the islands were claimed by several European powers with the British Empire eventually gaining control.
  • When the Bahamas gained independence in 1973, the islands received their own governor and have remained a separate autonomous British Overseas Territory since.
  • The first inhabitants of the islands were Arawakan-speaking Taíno people, who crossed over from Hispaniola sometime from AD 500 to 800.
  • In 1837, the Esperanza, a Portuguese slaver, was wrecked off East Caicos, one of the larger islands.
  • In November 2008, a cooperative marine archaeology expedition, funded by the United States NOAA, confirmed that the wreck has artifacts whose style and date of manufacture link them to the Trouvadore.
  • 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 territory is geographically contiguous to the Bahamas, both comprising the Lucayan Archipelago, but is politically a separate entity.
  • The most populated island is Providenciales, with 23,769 inhabitants in 2012, and an area of 47 sq mi.
  • 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.
  • Elections in the Turks and Caicos Islands were held on 24 April 2003 and again on 9 February 2007.
  • 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.
  • 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, an online forum connecting TCI residents with others interested in the islands, while keeping users updated on the TCI’s daily news.