TURKS & CAICOS ISLANDS
Turks & Caicos Islands (TCI)
The Turks and Caicos islands are an archipelago of 2 groups of islands, the Turks islands and the Caicos islands, located south of the Bahamas and north of the Dominican Republic.
The islands were originally inhabited by the Taino people, but following the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century, the Taino were captured to work as slaves on neighbouring islands. This lead to the islands being depopulated until the 17th century. The islands passed between the British, Spanish and French, and were ultimately annexed by the British as part of the Bahamas. Across the two groups of islands, the Turks islands and the Caicos islands, there are eight large islands and around 300 smaller islands.
Those from the Turks and Caicos are British Overseas Territories citizens and British citizens, and are known as either “Belongers” or “Turks and Caicos Islanders”. English is the official language. Grand Turk is the administrative and political capital and Cockburn Town is the seat of Government. The islands are split into 6 administrative districts- two in the Turks Islands and four in the Caicos Islands. Whilst the official language of the TCI is English, the population also speaks Turks and Caicos Islands Creole which bears similarities to Bahamian Creole.
The TCI operates as a Parliamentary Democracy. By virtue of their status as an overseas territory, ultimate executive authority vests in the Queen, and responsibility for defence and foreign affairs is vested with the UK. The authority of the Queen is exercised by a Governor on her behalf. The Governor is appointed by the Queen on the advice of the British Government.