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Turks and Caicos Islands

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Turks and Caicos Islands
Overseas territory of the United Kingdom
Motto: "Beautiful By Nature"
Anthem: God Save the Queen
National song: This Land of Ours [source?]
CapitalCockburn Town
Largest city Providenciales
Official languages English
Ethnic groups
Demonym Turks and Caicos Islander
Government British overseas territory
 -  Monarch Elizabeth II
 -  Governor Ric Todd
 -  Premier Rufus Ewing
 -  UK government minister[a] Mark Simmonds MP
Legislature House of Assembly
 -  Total 616.3 km2 (185th)
238 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) negligible
 -  2012 census 46,400
 -  Density 75/km2
194.2/sq mi
HDI 0.930
very high · unranked
Currency United States dollar (USD)
Time zone R-Romeo (UTC-5) EST
 -  Summer (DST) Q-Quebec (UTC-4) EDT (UTC)
Date format dd mm yyyy (AD)
Drives on the left
Calling code IDD Area code +1‑649
ISO 3166 code TC
Internet TLD .tc

The Turks and Caicos Islands are two groups of islands in the Caribbean Sea, near the Bahamas. The islands lie southeast of Mayaguana in the Bahamas island chain and north of the island of Hispaniola. Cockburn Town, the capital since 1766, is in the Grand Turk Island about 1,042 kilometres (647 mi) east-southeast of Miami, United States.

The islands have a total land area of 616.3 square kilometres (238.0 sq mi).[b] and they are on a tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.[5]


The government of Great Britain is also the ruler of the Turks and Caicos, but that ruler always acts through a governor. There are local elections for premier (similar to a president). Government offices are in the Grand Turk Island.


Map of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The two island groups are in the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of the Bahamas, north of Hispaniola, at 21°45′N 71°35′W / 21.75°N 71.583°W / 21.75; -71.583Coordinates: 21°45′N 71°35′W / 21.75°N 71.583°W / 21.75; -71.583. The Caicos Islands are separated by the Caicos Passage from the closest Bahamian islands, Mayaguana and Great Inagua.

The eight main islands and more than 299 smaller islands have a total land area of 616.3 square kilometres (238.0 sq mi),[b] consisting primarily of low, flat limestone with extensive marshes and mangrove swamps and 332 square kilometres (128 sq mi) of beach front. The weather is usually sunny and relatively dry, but hurricanes are frequent during summer. The islands have limited natural fresh water resources; private cisterns collect rainwater for drinking. The primary natural resources are spiny lobster, conch and other shellfish.

Turks Islands

The Turks Islands are separated from the Caicos Islands by Turks Island Passage, which is more than 2,200 metres (7,200 ft) deep,[6] The islands form a chain that goes from north to south.

There are only two inhabited islands, and these are:

  • Grand Turk. Here is the capital city, Cockburn Town, of the Turks and Caicos Islands, and all government offices are here. There is an international airport.
  • Salt Cay. It is the second largest of the Turks Islands. The main income used to be salt, but now it is tourism.

Caicos Islands

The inhabited islands of the group are:


Turks and Caicos Islands features a relatively dry and sunny marine tropical climate[1] with relatively consistent temperatures throughout the course of the year. The temperature during summer rarely is over 33 °C (91 °F) and during winter rarely is below 18 °C (64 °F).



Eight of the thirty islands in the territory are inhabited, with a total population in 2012 of 31,458: 16,037 males and 15,421 females. The population density is 214 persons per square mile.

Total population by island 2001-2012
Island Area
2001 2012 ![c]style="background: #CCC;" class="unsortable"|Change
Turks Islands
Grand Turk 17.39 3,976 4,831 21.5%
Salt Cay 6.74 120 108 -10%
Caicos Islands
South Caicos 21.21 1,063 1,139 7.1%
Middle Caicos 144.22 301 168 -44.2%
North Caicos 116.43 1,347 1,312 -2.6%
Parrot Cay 5.63 58 131 125.9%
Providenciales 122.20 13,021 23,769 82.5%
Turks and Caicos Islands 19,886 31,458 58.2%


The official language of the islands is English and the population also speaks Turks and Caicos Islands Creole[7] which is similar to Bahamian Creole.[8] Due to its close proximity to Cuba and Hispaniola, large Haitian Creole and Spanish-speaking communities have developed in the territory due to immigration from Creole-speaking Haiti and from Spanish-speaking Cuba and Dominican Republic.[8]


The people of Turks and Caicos was 72.8% Protestant (35.8% Baptists, 11.7% Church of God, 10% Anglicans, 9.3% Methodists, 6% Seventh-Day Adventists), 11.4% Catholics, 1.8% Jehovah's Witnesses, and 14% other.[1]


This is a list of cities in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

A street in Cockburn Town, the capital of the Turks and Caicos Islands


  1. Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office with responsibility for the British Overseas Territories
  2. 2.0 2.1 Different sources give different figures for the Islands' area. The CIA World Factbook gives 430 km2,[1] the Statistics Division of the United Nations says 948 km2,[2] and the Encyclopædia Britannica says "Area at high tide, 238 square miles (616 square km); at low tide, 366 square miles (948 square km)".[3] A report by the Turks and Caicos Islands Department of Economic Planning and Statistics gives the same numbers as the Encyclopædia Britannica though its definitions are less clear.[4]
  3. Population data retrieved from the 2012 census


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Turks and Caicos Islands". CIA World Factbook. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  2. "Demographic Yearbook 2011" (PDF). United Nations Statistics Division. // Retrieved 30 March 2013.
  3. "Turks and Caicos Islands". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  4. "TCI Physical characteristics". Retrieved 13 Mar 2013.
  5. UNESCO, "Turks and Caicos Islands"; retrieved 13 Mar 2013.
  6. "STS-100 Shuttle Mission Imagery". 1 May 2001. Retrieved 01 April 2013.
  7. "Languages of Turks and Caicos Islands". Ethnologue. Retrieved 30 Mar 2013.
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Turks and Caicos Creole English". Ethnologue. Retrieved 30 Mar 2013.

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