The Turks and Caicos Islands are a group of 41 islands and cays located at the end of the Bahamian archipelago in the North Atlantic Ocean. They are sedimentary islands, built upon continental shelf, and separated by the deep Columbus passage. The islands were first inhabited by Arawat natives. Columbus encountered them in 1492, making landfall in Grand Turk. Ruled by pirates for a time, including Calico Jack and Anne Bonney, followed by the Bermudans arrival in the mid-1600's to rake salt. The island was under French rule briefly before being signed to the English at the end of the Seven Year War. Exiled English loyalists from the United Stated operated cotton plantations until the late 1800's. Upon collapse, the emancipated people established villages and undertook a subsistence lifestyle. Tourism arrived in the early 1980's with a Club Med on Grace Bay. The tourism industry has flourished in the millennia with the Turks and Caicos establishing itself as an up-market destination for North American visitors.
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