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Turks and Caicos History Timeline

700s - 1500s
  • (750 - 1300) Taino Indians from Hispaniola visited the islands seasonally
  • (900) Taino Indians set up permanent villages and trading posts; Taino Indians became known as the Lucayans, "the island people"
  • (1300-1500) Lucayan settlements were located on all the islands
  • (1492) Christopher Columbus landed at Guanahani Beach, Grand Turk
  • (1512) Ponce de Leon stopped in Grand Turk on way to Florida, christened the island "Isla del Viejo"
  • (1515) Spanish ship wrecked at Molasses Reef on the Caicos bank, became known as the Molasses Reef Shipwreck
  • (1520) Lucayan population died
  • (1530-1730) Turks and Caicos Islands uninhabited, pirates used for hiding place
1600s - 1700s
  • (1670) Bermuda benefited from raking salt in the Turks Islands
  • (1687) Over $600,000 in gemstones, gold and silver was recovered from the Silver Shoals by Sir William Phipps
  • (1706) Turks Islands captured by the French and Spanish
  • (1710) Turks Islands recaptured by Bermuda
  • (1718) Pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read captured Spanish treasure ship, settled on Parrot Cay
  • (1725) Over 1,000 men seasonally occupied Grand Turk for raking salt, turtle fishing and wreck diving
  • (1750's) Bermudans started year-round occupation of the Turks Islands, used slaves and indentured servants; largescale saline development began
  • (1764) Britain claimed ownership of the Islands
  • (1776) Turks Islands salt merchants sold salt to George Washington's Revolutionary Army despite being a British colony
  • (1783) French seized Grand Turk; Horatio Nelson tried unsuccessfully to capture Grand Turk; islands restored to Britain by the Treaty of Versailles
1700s continued
  • (1789) Loyalist refugees arrived in the Caicos Islands
  • (1790) Land on Providenciales, Middle Caicos, North Caicos and Parrot Cay granted to British Loyalists; cotton and cattle raising using slave labor began
  • (1792) Grand Turk became an official Port of Entry
  • (1797) Haitian revolution set up free state for former slaves, many slaves from the Turks and Caicos tried to flee to Haiti
  • (1799) Britain placed Turks and Caicos under Bahamian rule, most residents resisted
1800s
  • (1812) Second British American War prevented trade, caused famine throughout the islands
  • (1813) Caicos Islands suffered a devastating hurricane, forced many loyalists to abandon their plantations
  • (1821) Hundreds of slaves from the Turks and Caicos Islands fled to freedom in Haiti
  • (1834) Slaves in the British Colony were granted freedom
  • (1841) Illegal Spanish slave ship "Trouvadore" wrecked off East Caicos with 192 Africans bound for Cuba and 20 crew
  • (1846) Turks Islands Whaling Company formed, first whale was harpooned off East Ambergris Cay
  • (1848 - 1873) Turks and Caicos Islands issued a royal charter by Queen Victoria, became independent colony
  • (1850) English Captain Delaney recovered $130,000 in pirate treasure at Sand Cay
  • (1852) Grand Turk Lighthouse constructed after many shipwrecks
  • (1860-65) American Civil War disrupted salt trade
  • (1866) "The Great Bahama Hurricane" devastated Turks and Caicos Islands
  • (1874) Turks and Caicos Islands became dependency of Jamaica
  • (1898) First telegraph cable installed between Bermuda to Grand Turk to Jamaica
1900s
  • (1926) "Hurricane of the Century" devastated all the islands from Grand Turk to Florida
  • (1948) First commercial flight to Turks and Caicos
  • (1950) U.S. missile tracking station established on Grand Turk
  • (1960) Hurricane Donna devastated all agriculture
  • (1962) Turks and Caicos Islands voted to remain a British Crown Colony; Astronaut John Glenn, first touched land on Grand Turk after space flight
  • (1966) Development of Providenciales began
  • (1970) Last shipment of salt from Salt Cay brought the 300 years industry to an end
  • (1976) First self-elected government
  • (1978) Millions in treasures were discovered on Silver Shoals
  • (1980) Treasure hunting company located remains of 16th century wreck on Molasses Reef; J.A.G.S McCartney, the islands' first elected Chief Minister, killed in plane crash
  • (1986) Constitution was suspended following inquiry into arson, alleged corruption
  • (1992) Coralie site (oldest archeological site in the Bahamas archipelago) discovered on Grand Turk
2000s
  • (2006) Grand Turk Cruise Center opened on Grand Turk
  • (2008) Two hurricanes, Ike and Hanna, struck in one week, caused major damage to the Turks and Caicos Islands
  • (2009) Prime Minister Michael Misick, resigned, following signs of corruption, Britain removed Misick and the cabinet, constitution was suspended for two years, a governor appointed by Queen Elizabeth would run the Islands

Turks and Caicos Photographs

horatio nelsonanne bonny Photos used are from public domain sources and en.wikipedia.org

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This page was last modified on April 7, 2017.