- Turks Islands: British colony 1867-1873, British colony/Dependency Jamaica 1873-1900
- Turks & Caicos Islands: British colony/Dependency Jamaica 1900-1959, British colony/West Indies Federation 1959-1962, British colony 1962-1981, British dependency 1981-2002, British overseas territory 2002-Present
Country name on general issues: Turks Islands, Turks & Caicos Islands, Turks & Caicos
Special issues: Regional issues Caicos Islands 1981-1985
Currency: 1 Pound = 20 Shilling, 1 Shilling = 12 Pence 1867-1969, 1 Dollar = 100 Cents 1969-Present
Population: 5 400 in 1901, 33 000 in 2013
Political history Turks & Caicos Islands
The Turks & Caicos Islands are a group of islands located in the Caribbean – for the exact location, please refer to the map of the Caribbean. Prior to colonization the islands were inhabited by the Lucayan people, a branch of the – Amerindian – Taino people. The islands were first explored by the Spanish in 1512. The first to settle on the islands were the British, from Bermuda, in 1648 to exploit the rich salt deposits. Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries the Turks & Caicos Islands were disputed by the British, the French and the Spanish. In 1799, the islands finally became British and were annexed to the Bahamas. Having been a separate colony from 1848, the Turks & Caicos Islands became a dependency of Jamaica in 1873. The Turks & Caicos Islands would be a dependency of Jamaica until 1959, when the islands, once again, became a separate colony – a crown colony from 1962. As such, the Turks & Caicos Islands joined the West Indies Federation – a short lived federation of British possessions in the Caribbean that existed from 1958 until 1962. From 1959 until 1962 and from 1965 until 1973 respectively, the governors of Jamaica and the Bahamas, in succession, doubled as governor of the Turks & Caicos Islands. The islands were awarded a governor of their own in 1973. Since 1976, the Turks & Caicos Islands have a local government. The Turks & Caicos Islands became a British dependency in 1981 and a British overseas territory in 2002.
Economically, the Turks & Caicos Islands long depended on salt extraction. From the 1980’s, tourism and off shore financial services developed to become the mainstay of the economy. The indigenous population was forcibly moved by the Spanish to Hispaniola – the current Dominican Republic and Haiti – to serve as slaves in the 17th century. The small European population was, in the 19th century, outnumbered by slaves brought to the islands and freed slaves that settled on the islands. Currently, 88% of the population is black and 8% white.
Postal history Turks & Caicos Islands
The first stamps for the Turks & Caicos Islands are issued in 1867. Prior to that, stamps of Jamaica have been used. Although the Turks & Caicos Islands became a dependency of Jamaica in 1873, the islands continued to issue stamps. The issues for the Turks & Caicos Islands are, until 1900, inscribed ‘Turks Islands’ only, from 1900 they are inscribed ‘Turks & Caicos Islands’.The Stampatlas by Wellsted, Rossiter and Flower suggests that the Caicos Islands were part of the Bahamas until 1900. Hence, the stamps issued until 1900 were inscribed ‘Turks Islands’ only and from 1900, ‘Turks & Caicos Islands’. All other resources used consider the Turks & Caicos Islands to be a single administrative unit from 1848 – a view that has been followed in this profile. In the classical period some of the designs are specific for the Turks & Caicos Islands and some common to the British colonies. The Turks & Caicos Islands participated in many of the omnibus issues for the British colonies. As the Turks & Caicos Islands became a separate colony in 1959, stamps were issued to commemorate the new constitution. From 1970’s until today, the Turks & Caicos Islands have mainly issued stamps aimed at the thematic collectors market. The Caicos Islands issued stamps from 1981 until 1985, again, aimed at the thematic collectors market.