What Should I Know About Turks and Caicos Islands?

Diana Bocco
Diana Bocco
Turks and Caicos is a popular destination for exotic weddings.
Turks and Caicos is a popular destination for exotic weddings.

The Turks and Caicos Islands, also known as TCI, is a group of islands situated in the West Indies. They have a total surface of 161 sq mi (417 square km), which makes the territory one of the smallest in the world. The islands have a total population of 32,000, with a very small percentage living in the capital, Cockburn Town.

There are 28 islands in this territory, with only eight of them having a surface big enough to be inhabited. The Turks Islands, where the capital is located, are the smallest of all groups. The Caicos Islands take the major part of the total surface and are home to the largest city in the territory, Providenciales. This city has a population of over 20,000, an international airport, a national museum, and major shopping stores.

The Turks and Caicos Islands gained independence from the Federation of the West Indies in 1973, although they remain a non-sovereign territory of Britain, with Queen Elizabeth II being recognized as head of state, at least in name. The islands have a governor and their own premier (prime minister), who oversee the political and economic needs of the territory. The official language is English, and most people practice Protestantism.

The main economic engine of the islands is tourism. Almost 1000,000 foreigners visit every year, a large percentage of which come from the United States. This may be due in part to the fact that the official currency of the island is the US Dollar, which makes it easier to pair the local economy with that of the US. Offshore financial services also provide a great source of income to the government.

Of the islands' labor force, 53% is unskilled, working in the fishing or agricultural sector. The islands are also a popular destination for exotic weddings, a fact that has been well exploited by the local tourism industry. Expensive resorts dot the coastline in the major islands. Hollywood stars, millionaires, and other public figures from all over the world own mansions in the smaller islands, taking advantage of the privacy the location offers.

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Discussion Comments


All I know about the Turks and Caicos Islands I learned by helping my niece with her Social Studies project. And the one thing I remember is that the islands are home to the world's only conch farm. Well, at least that was true when we were working on the school project. There may be other conch farms in other places now.

Another thing, the islands were inhabited by a large number of big animals. One of these is believed to be a very large crocodile because of the fossils found in caves there. Iguanas also lived there for some time. We got an A on the Social Studies project by the way.


I think the locals say that the islands were partly named after a cactus that grows there, and that is where the Turks part of the name comes from. However, there are just as many people who say that is not where the name originated.

I have also read that these islands were once call the pirate islands because of all the pirates in the area. This is another possibility for where the name originated since the islanders' word for pirates is similar to Turks.

I guess the bottom line is nobody knows for certain how the islands got their name. Either way, this is a really great place to visit and vacation.


So where does the Turks part of Turks and Caicos Islands come from? Is there some connection to the country of Turkey in the islands' past?

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    • Turks and Caicos is a popular destination for exotic weddings.
      By: tankist276
      Turks and Caicos is a popular destination for exotic weddings.