Grand Turk History & Culture
A Rich Heritage of Stories, Secrets, & Mysteries
Long before Christopher Columbus is believed to have first set foot on the capital island of Grand Turk during his discovery voyage of the new world in 1492, the islands of Turks & Caicos were inhabited by Taino and Lucayan Indians as early as 750AD.
These original settlers left us with a rich heritage of seafaring, salt raking, and farming which still lingers today. Words such as "canoe", "Caribbean" and "caicos" are derived from the Indian language. As is our own name, Bohio, or "home", and our restaurant, the "Guanahani", meaning island.
Even the name of the country comes from these earliest inhabitants. Turks is a reference to the indigenous Turk's head cactus, and Caicos is from the Lucayan term "caya hico" meaning string of islands.
You'll see plenty of Turks Head Cactus at Bohio, and can also sample our local beer - Turks Head.
After a checkered past including pirates, salt, slavery, and probably a fair amount of rum, the Turks and Caicos Islands are, for the moment, a British Colony. And fortunately Grand Turk is now a peaceful island exuding old-world Caribbean charm - the stuff you read about in books and hope to find on a dream vacation.
You can explore the history further in charming Cockburn Town, just a short walk along the shore. In the Turks & Caicos museum, you'll find tales of colonial power struggles, pirates and slave ships. You'll see the remains of the salt trade and cotton industry here and on neighbouring Salt Cay.
Secrets Of Grand Turk
Few people know about the Turks & Caicos Islands involvement with the space race. John Glenn became the first US man to orbit the earth when his space capsule splashed down just off of Grand Turk in 1962, a replica capsule can be seen at our airport.
The Igloo Mystery
During your visit, see if you can find out why the Turks & Caicos Islands had an igloo on their flag for over one hundred years...