Island Historical Timeline

  • 750 - l500 AD - Evidence of Lucayan ceremonial and trading centre activities on Grand Turk and Middle Caicos.
  • 1300's - Pottery shards and bead-making remnants in a Lucayan village discovered on Grand Turk in 1989.
  • 1492 - Christopher Columbus lands at Guanahani Beach,Grand Turk. He finds a settlement of Lucayan Indians.
  • I512 - Ponce de Leon passes by the Turks Islands on his way to Bimini.
  • 1563 - First English visitor, Captain John Hawkins, stops to pick up salt.
  • 1641 - "Nuestra Senora" sunk north of Puerto Plata. An estimated 1000 shipwrecks surround the Turks & Caicos Islands.
  • 1668 - Salt making industry begins.
  • 1670's - Bermuda freely enjoyed raking salt from the Islands.
  • 1687 - Treasure of gemstones, gold and silver in excess of $600,000 is 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 - Anne Bonny and Mary Read capture Spanish treasure ship and settle on Parrot Cay.
  • 1720's - Francoise l'Olonnois used French Cay as his pirate base.
  • 1725 - Grand Turk is seasonally occupied by 1000 men raking salt, fishing for turtle and wreck diving.
  • 1776 - Bermudan sloops ignore Royal Navy blockade and ship salt to Washington's army.
  • 1777 - Inflation rampant in America, salt was selling for $40 per bushel.
  • 1781 - First permanent settlement on Grand Turk.
  • 1783 - French seize Grand Turk. Horatio Nelson tries unsuccessfully to capture Grand Turk. Islands are restored to Britain by the Treaty of Versailles.
  • 1789 - Loyalist refugees begin to arrive in the Caicos Islands.
  • 1792 - Grand Turk becomes Port of Entry and Customs arc set up here instead of in Nassau.
  • 1799 - Britain decides in favour of Bahaman rule for the TCI. Bermudan residents resist Bahamian rule.
  • 1812 - War in America led to suspension of trade and famine in the Islands.
  • 1813 - Hurricane forced loyalists to other British Islands and Canada, a few took their slaves to Grand Turk.
  • 1834 - All British Colony slaves are granted freedom.
  • 1834 - 1840 - Harriet family home, the White House, built on Salt Cay.
  • 1840 - The home of the Islands Salt Overseer built on Grand Turk, later to become the Governors guest house, and finally the Turks Head Hotel.
  • 1842 - Royal Mail Steam Packet Co. serves Caribbean mail and uses Grand Turk as a coaling station.
  • 1845 - First newspaper published, "Turks Island Gazette & Commercial Reporter".
  • 1846 - 1883 - Turks Island Whaling Co. is formed and harpoons first whale off East Ambergis Cay.
  • 1848 - 1873 - Queen Victoria grants a royal charter. The TCI become an independent colony.
  • 1850 - English Captain Delaney recovers $130,000 in pirate treasure from a cave at Sand Cay.
  • 1852 - Grand Turk lighthouse erected.
  • 1857 - "Waterloo", built in 1815, was acquired for the Governors residence.
  • 1866 - "The Great Bahama Hurricane" devastates the TCI and the entire Bahaman chain.
  • 1873 - Due to Civil War, salt exports drop to $0.04 per bushel.
  • 1874 - TCI annexed to Jamaica who provided medical and technical assistance and grants following the hurricanes.
  • 1898 - First telegraph cable, Bermuda to Grand Turk to Jamaica. First fire engine.
  • 1911 - Theodore DeBooy of the Heye Museum of American Indians, visited and collected archaeological specimens.
  • 1930 - Revival of the salt industry. Tax on salt accounts for 25% of Bahamas revenue.
  • 1941 - "Bahama Passage" starring Madeline Carrol and Sterling Hayden filmed at Salt Cay.
  • 1943 - 3,900,000 conch meats exported overseas.
  • 1948 - First commercial flight to TCI.
  • 1950 - US missile tracking station established on Grand Turk. First movie shown.
  • 1958 - Schemes to revive South Caicos salt industry failed.
  • 1959 - Hurricane Donna devastates all agriculture.
  • 1962 - Jamaica becomes independent but TCI wishes to remain a British Crown Colony.
  • 1962 - John Glenn splashed down just a mile or two off the coast of Grand Turk, and spent his first couple of days on the Island after his space flight.
  • 1966 - Development begins on Providenciales. The first car arrives.
  • 1968 - Airport opens on Providenciales.
  • 1978 - Burt Webber discovers millions in treasure on the Silver Shoals.
  • 1980 - Treasure hunting company located remains of 16th century ship on the Molasses Reef.
  • 1991 - Turks and Caicos National Museum opens on Grand Turk.
  • 1995 - Dr. William F. Keegan an Associate Curator of Anthropology at the Florida Museum of Natural History starts a major study of the Tainos people and culture.