TCI, otherwise known as the Turks and Caicos Islands, is a stunning holiday destination located in the outer region of the Caribbean, just less than a two hour flight from Miami, Florida. Made up of around 40 islands and cays, only eight of which are inhabited, this destination offers something for everyone, from relaxation and white sand beaches to adventures out on the waves.
However, one of the main selling points of TCI is its fascinating history, from pre-European settlement indigenous populations through to the colonial era and present day.
Here, we’ve found five of the best historical sites in Turks and Caicos for the history buffs to explore, courtesy of Beach House TCI.
Both of these plantations are well worth a visit and stem from the colonial period of the islands.
Cheshire Hall is located on Providenciales and was previously owned by Thomas Stubbs, a British Loyalist who left his home in England to seek his fortune in the Caribbean. Although it now lies in ruins, you can explore the old buildings and discover the history of one of the most successful plantations in the islands.
Wade’s Green plantation was owned by Wade Stubbs, brother of Thomas, and is one the best surviving loyalist plantations in the Caribbean. Wade was awarded 860 acres of land on North Caicos after losing his property in Florida during the Revolutionary War, which grew to over 8000 acres at the time of his death. With tours and trails around the plantation, this site offers a fascinating look into the history of production on the islands.
Located on the south coast of Providenciales near Chalk Sound, the carvings can be reached by a steep climb to the top of Sapodilla Hill from the bay below. However, don’t let this put you off, as the views and the carvings are well worth the effort!
The inscriptions stem from the 1700s and 1800s and were carved by shipwrecked sailors and travellers as they waited to be rescued. You can find names, dates, symbols and simple drawings of ships and buildings, many of which have been confirmed by official government records of shipwrecked vessels.
Constructed in 1852, this lighthouse is one of Grand Turk’s most famous landmarks and is the only lighthouse in the islands.
Many ships were wrecked off the northern coast of Grand Turk in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, leading to its construction by British architect Alexander Gordon. Although access to the lighthouse itself is no longer permitted, you can explore the grounds, the light keeper’s house, and the beautiful coastal path leading to the building.
Located in the capital of TCI, Cockburn Town, this small picturesque prison was the nation’s only prison until 1994.
Built in the 1830s, although the exact date is not known, the original building housed between two and six prisoners at any time, most of which were arrested for petty offences. However, with the increase in drug trafficking in the 1970s and 1980s, the prison was expanded to house between 50 and 60 inmates.
The prison has painstakingly been restored to reflect a traditional colonial prison and visitors can conduct self-guided tours of the cell blocks, offices, Bell Tower and museum.
This late 19th-century settlement is located on the remote west coast of West Caicos and is one of the finest historical sites in TCI.
Established by the West Caicos Sisal Company in 1891 and used as the base for sisal and cotton planting, you can find lots of notable landmarks that seem to make the town stand still in time.
With stone buildings, cisterns, wells, machinery and the railroad all still intact, including the Burrell Traction Engine and the Crossley Kerosene Engine, you can explore the history of just one of the sites of industry in the Turks and Caicos Islands.