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Turks & Caicos

The Turks and Caicos Islands [TCI] is a British Overseas Territory. The islands were part of the UK's Jamaican colony until 1962, when they assumed the status of a separate crown colony upon Jamaica's independence. The governor of The Bahamas oversaw affairs from 1965 to 1973. With Bahamian independence, the islands received a separate governor in 1973. Although independence was agreed upon for 1982, the policy was reversed and the islands remain a British overseas territory.

The Turks and Caicos Islands hold the status of Associate Member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). TCI uses the postal code BWI which represents British West Indies, a diversified group of Caribbean islands including Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Monserrat and the Turks and Caicos Islands, all dependent areas of the United Kingdom.

Turks & Caicos Islanders are mostly descendants of Africans who were brought in to work the salt pans or the cotton plantations. The expatriate population consists of British, Canadians, Americans, French, Bahamians, people from Hispaniola and virtually everywhere in the world.

The islands are home to roughly 30,000 full time residents, and welcome more than 200,000 tourist annually. Population was 51,430 (July 2016 est.). Ethnic groups were black 87.6%, white 7.9%, mixed 2.5%, East Indian 1.3%, other 0.7% (2006). Religions were Protestant 72.8% (Baptist 35.8%, Church of God 11.7%, Anglican 10%, Methodist 9.3%, Seventh-Day Adventist 6%), Roman Catholic 11.4%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1.8%, other 14%.

Technically, the Turks and Caicos are located in the Atlantic Ocean, not the Caribbean Sea. The Turks and Caicos Islands are located just 575 miles south of Miami, making it one of the most convenient Caribbean vacation destinations to visit for a relaxing getaway. The British Overseas Territory consists of 40 islands, of which only eight are inhabited. Providenciales is the island where the international airport is located and where most Turks and Caicos hotels are situated on the gorgeous Grace Bay Beach.

Grand Turk is the capital island of the Turks and Caicos, its historical heartbeat, and home to a state of the art luxury cruise ship center. It is here that Christopher Columbus first made landfall on his initial voyage to the New World in 1492. Almost 500 years later, US astronaut John Glenn discovered Grand Turk himself, after he became the first American man to orbit the earth.

The Turks and Caicos Islands is an archipelago of 40 islands and cays in the North Atlantic, located immediately southeast of the Bahamas, 145 km north of Hispaniola, and between coordinates 2180' and 2128' N and 7108' and 7227'W.

The Turks and Caicos Islands consists of two island groups: the Turks Islands, which are located to the east of the Turks Island Passage, and the Caicos Islands to the west of the passage.

The Turks group includes Grand Turk (on which Cockburn Town, the seat of Government, is located), Salt Cay, and various smaller cays. The Caicos group includes South Caicos, East Caicos, Middle Caicos, North Caicos, Providenciales, West Caicos, Pine Cay, and Parrot Cay.

The total land mass of the territory is 430 km2 , exclusive of the large, shallow Caicos Bank, which lies to the south of the Caicos Islands group, and the Mouchoir Bank, which lies east southeast of the Turks Island group and the Mouchoir Passage. The islands are low-lying and relatively dry, with a tropical temperature that averages between 70F and 90F.

Levels of crime are relatively low. The level of crime on Providenciales, the first point of arrival into the Turks and Caicos Islands for most visitors and the territorys economic hub, is higher than on the other islands where incidences of serious crime are rare. Most crime tends to be as a result of opportunistic burglary and theft, although an increase in the incidence of more serious robberies has been reported recently. There have also been a number of armed robberies. Victims of robberies may suffer injuries if they resist.

Traffic drives on the left in the Turks and Caicos. Primary roads are in generally good condition, while secondary roads are often unpaved. There are not many road signs but drivers are able to navigate with a map as there are few roads on Grand Turk and Providenciales Islands. Hazards such as blind intersections, road work, unmarked changes in road conditions, and a lack of familiarity with roundabouts are often the main cause of problems while driving. At a roundabout, drivers are required to give way to those on their immediate right and those who enter the roundabout first. Animals often wander on the roads, presenting a hazard to drivers, especially at night.

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