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Then & Now: The Transformation of Turks & Caicos

Posted by Lia on June 25, 2018
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It all started with the Lucayans, the first Turks & Caicos inhabitants, thousands of years ago. Flash forward to the 1700s, when British colonists in Bermuda discovered the potential for the many natural salt ponds found throughout the islands. For the next few hundred years, salt harvesting and exportation reigned supreme as the lifeblood of the Turks & Caicos. Salt raking was briefly replaced with cotton plantations. But it wasn’t until the 1960s that the Turks & Caicos were really put on the map.

That’s when the development company Provident Ltd. acquired thousands of acres of land on Providenciales in exchange for roads and an airstrip. And so it began. After Club Med opened on Provo in 1984, becoming the first resort on Grace Bay Beach, further development rapidly followed. Today, new homes and hotels are popping up left and right. Prior to 1966, fewer than 500 people lived on Provo. Today, it’s home to about 30,000 residents. Once a dirt road, Leeward Highway was finally paved in the early 2000s, as were many other areas of the islands. Before 1966, though? There was no need for paved roads— there were no cars. Needless to say, things have changed.

But throughout all of its changes, the Turks & Caicos has managed to retain much of its charm. Despite a surge in development, our beaches remain uncrowded. And not all roads are paved — there are still plenty of dirt roads waiting to be explored, serving as a reminder of what life was like before the Turks & Caicos became a coveted destination.

We spent some time talking with Louise and James Stubbs to learn more about what life in Turks & Caicos was like before the boom, and the changes they’ve witnessed over the years.

Turks & Caicos through the years: Louise & James Stubbs reflect on the wave of change

Ready to create your own history in the Turks & Caicos? Get in touch

Our islands are a perfect blend of modern living and old school charm. Interested in purchasing your own home or land in the Turks & Caicos? We can help. Contact us to discuss finding the property for you — so you can begin creating your own memories here.