Cockburn Town


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Cockburn Town,

town (1990 pop. 350), capital of the British dependency of the Turks and Caicos IslandsTurks and Caicos Islands
, dependency of Great Britain (2005 est. pop. 20,600), 166 sq mi (430 sq km), West Indies. There are more than 30 cays and islands, of which eight are inhabited. Geographically, the islands are a southeastern continuation of the Bahamas.
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, located on Grand Turk Island, on the Turks Island Passage. The port town is the islands' administrative, commercial, and cultural center. Tourism, offshore banking, and the trapping and export of spiny lobsters are important to the economy. Cockburn Town was founded in 1681 by collectors of the island's then-abundant salt, and became the government seat in 1766. The salt trade ended in the 1960s, but the town's narrow streets and mainly 18th- and 19th-century Bermudian colonial architecture are reminders of that period. Other sights include the old British prison, a national park, and the national museum.