Turks and Caicos Islands

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Turks and Caicos Islands

(kī`kōs), 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 BahamasBahamas, the
, officially Commonwealth of the Bahamas, independent nation (2005 est. pop. 301,800), 4,403 sq mi (11,404 sq km), in the Atlantic Ocean, consisting of some 700 islands and islets and about 2,400 cays, beginning c.50 mi (80 km) off SE Florida and extending c.
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. The capital is at Cockburn TownCockburn Town,
town (1990 pop. 350), capital of the British dependency of the Turks and Caicos Islands, located on Grand Turk Island, on the Turks Island Passage. The port town is the islands' administrative, commercial, and cultural center.
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 on Grand Turk. Lobster and conch are primary exports; the economic mainstays are tourism and offshore financial services. There is also an underground economy based on the transportation of illegal drugs. For nearly three centuries (until the 1960s), salt production was the islands' main industry. The population is largely of African descent; Protestantism is the main religion and English is spoken. The islands are governed under a constitution that came into effect in 2012; direct rule was imposed by Britain from 2009 to 2012 due to evidence of corruption, dishonesty, and administrative incompetence under the previous constitution. There is a unicameral 20-seat House of Assembly with 15 elected members (5 at large and 10 from constituencies), 4 appointed members, and the attorney general, all of whom serve four-year terms. The government is headed by a premier, and the monarch of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, represented by a governor, is the head of state. The islands were first visited by Europeans in 1512 when Ponce de LeónPonce de León, Juan
, c.1460–1521, Spanish explorer, first Westerner to reach Florida. He served against the Moors of Granada, and in 1493 he accompanied Columbus on his second voyage to America.
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 landed there; they were a dependency of Jamaica until that island's independence in 1962.
References in periodicals archive ?
To any developing country in the world, a water and sewerage policy is critical for ensuring protection and security of its water sources, its water independence, its water management and the way forward for sustaining and ensuring the safety of its water resources," stated The Honorable Jeffrey Hall, Minister of Housing, Agriculture, Works and Telecommunications for the Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Finalization of a contract is dependent upon the ability of Consolidated Water and the Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands to reach a mutually acceptable agreement.
Vice President Al Gore will be the keynote speaker of the first-ever Environmental Conference hosted by the Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands, in collaboration with the Ocean Conservancy and the National Coral Reef Institute at Nova Southeastern University's Oceanographic Center, to examine the mutual interdependency between local actions and global initiatives.
Dodge, Dean of the Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center and Executive Director of the National Coral Reef Institute, stated, "This important environmental conference, hosted by the Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands, is a wonderful opportunity to focus attention on status of science related to coral reefs, the strategies to promote coral reef preservation, and the historic, economic, and biogeological importance of coral reef ecosystems to the people living and working within the Caribbean.
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