Turks and Caicos Islands History

Turks and Caicos Islands History

According to shopareview.com, the Turks and Caicos Islands are located in the Caribbean, in the western Atlantic Ocean, southeast of the Bahamas, and consisting of the islands Turks and Caicos Islands. Since 1714, they have been ruled by Britain after the Spaniards lost a war to Britain.


700-1300 – Taino Indians from Hispaniola visit the islands seasonally.

900 – Taino establishes permanent cities and trading posts, and the Indians became known as the “island people” of Lucayan.

1300-1500 – Lucayans had established settlements on all the islands.

1492 – Christopher Columbus lands ( possibly ) at Guanahani Beach, Grand Turk. The Bahamas did not pose much interest in Spain, except for the Lucayans who were kidnapped and used as slaves. Vespucci brought 232 of them to Spain as slaves in 1500. The exploitation of slaves, made by the Lucayans extinct except 11 who still lived on the islands in 1520.

1512 – Ponce de Leon makes its way past Grand Turk on its way to Florida, naming the island ” Isla del Viejo ” (“Old Island”).

1515 – A Spanish ship wrecked on Molasses Reef at Caicos coast became known as Molasses Reef Shipwreck. It is the oldest European ship in America that has been scientifically excavated. For over 450, the ship sat undisturbed on the reef until the mid-70s, when a pair of treasure hunters found it. After their rudimentary knowledge of ammunition, they could conclude that it was not a ship that was wanted by treasure hunters. (Read here )

1530-1730 – The islands were uninhabited, but pirates used them primarily as a hiding place.

1641 – The ship ” Nuestra Senora ” sinks north of Puerta Plata. It is estimated that there are about 1000 shipwrecks around the Turks and Caicos Islands. Only two of these are registered as Molasses Reef Wreck and Endymion.

1670 – Bermuda survives by extracting salt water from the Turks.

1687 – Over $ 60,000 in gemstones, gold and silver are found at what are now known as Silver Shoals by Sir William Phips, best remembered for having started the witch trials in Salem between February 1692 and May 1693.

1706 – The Turks are taken over by the French and Spanish.

1710 – Bermuda recaptures the Turks.

1718 – Anne Bonny and Mary Reed capture a Spanish treasure ship and settle temporarily on Parrot Cay. (read 10 facts about them here ) Read died of a violent fever while in prison, and her funeral on April 28, 1721, suggested that she died in the middle of her pregnancy. There is no evidence of what happened to Bonny, only speculation.

1720s – Francoise L’Olonnois occasionally used French Cay as a pirate base to capture passing ships.

1725 – Over 1000 men occupy seasonal Grand Turk for saltwater extraction, turtle fishing and wreck diving.

1750s – The Bermudans annually occupy the Turks, employ slaves and contract servants, and start a large-scale production of saltwater extraction.

1764 – Britain claims ownership of the islands.

1776 – Turkish merchants sell salt to George Washington’s Revolutionary Army, despite the island being a British colony.

1783 – France seizes Grand Turk ; Horatio Nelson tried unsuccessfully to recapture Grand Turk (Read here ); The islands came back into British ownership by the Treaty of Versailles.

1789 – Loyalist refugees arrive in the Caicos Islands. Land on Providenciales, Middle Caicos, North Caicos and Parrot Cay is given to the British Loyalists; Cotton and cattle ranching work is established with the help of slave laborers.

1792 – Grand Turk officially becomes the gateway to the islands.

1797 – The Haitian Revolution establishes a free state for former slaves, with many Turk and Caico slaves attempting to flee to Haiti.

1799 – Britain places Turk and Caico under Bahamian rule, most people resist.

1812 – Second British-American War prevents trade and causes famine on the islands.

Turks and Caicos Islands History