Turks and Caicos Islands

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Geography of Turks and Caicos Islands

Location: Caribbean, two island groups in the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of The Bahamas Geographic coordinates: 21 45 N, 71 35 W Map references: Central America and the Caribbean Area: total area: 430 sq km land area: 430 sq km comparative area: 2.5 times the size of Washington, DC Land boundaries: 0 km Coastline: 389 km Maritime claims: exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm territorial sea: 12 nm International disputes: none Climate: tropical; marine; moderated by trade winds; sunny and relatively dry Terrain: low, flat limestone; extensive marshes and mangrove swamps lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m highest point: Blue Hills 49 m Natural resources: spiny lobster, conch Land use: arable land: 2% permanent crops: 0% meadows and pastures: 0% forest and woodland: 0% other: 98% Irrigated land: NA sq km Environment: current issues: limited natural fresh water resources, private cisterns collect rainwater natural hazards: frequent hurricanes international agreements: NA Geographic note: 30 islands (eight inhabited)

Government of Turks and Caicos Islands

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History of Turks and Caicos Islands

The name Turks is derived after the indigenous Turk's Head "fez" cactus, and the name Caicos is a Lucayan term "caya hico," meaning string of islands. Columbus was said to have discovered the islands in 1492, but some still argue that Ponce de Leon arrived first. Whichever it was, the first people to truly discover the islands were the Taino Indians, who unfortunately left little behind but ancient utensils. Then the Lucayans eventually replaced the Tainos but by the middle of the 16th Century they too had disappeared, victims of Spanish enslavement and imported disease. The 17th century saw the arrival of settlers from Bermuda, who established themselves on Grand Turk, Salt Cay and South Caicos. They used slaves to rake salt for British colonies in America, and were later joined by British Loyalists fleeing the American Revolution. The economy of the island revolved around the rich cotton and sisal plantations, their harvests sold in London and New York. Due to competition and the thin soil, however, the cotton plantations slowly deteriorated, most of them finally perishing in a hurricane in 1813. Solar salt became the main economy of the islands.

People of Turks and Caicos Islands

19,956 (July 2004 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 32.5% (male 3,301; female 3,184)
15-64 years: 63.8% (male 6,696; female 6,036)
65 years and over: 3.7% (male 327; female 412) (2004 est.)
Median age:
total: 27.2 years
male: 27.9 years
female: 26.5 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate:
3.03% (2004 est.)
Birth rate:
22.85 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate:
4.26 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate:
11.68 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.11 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.79 male(s)/female
total population: 1.07 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 16.27 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 18.79 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 13.61 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 74.25 years
male: 72.05 years
female: 76.57 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate:
3.11 children born/woman (2004 est.)

noun: none
adjective: none
Ethnic groups:
black 90%, mixed, European, or North American 10%
Baptist 40%, Methodist 16%, Anglican 18%, Church of God 12%, other 14% (1990)
English (official)
definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 98%
male: 99%
female: 98% (1970 est.)
People - note:
destination and transit point for illegal Haitian immigrants bound for the Turks and Caicos Islands, Bahamas, and US