Grand Turk Island

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A real Caribbean destination since 1492

The following is an excerpt from Caribbean Insider Adventures. For detailed information on the Caribbean Insider Adventures, visit this link: Caribbean Insider Adventures

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by Janet Burleson and Donald Burleson ($9.95, Rampant TechPress).

 


Many scholars are convinced that Christopher Columbus first set-foot in the New World in the western shores of Grand Turk Island in 1492. While the exact spot of the first anchorage of the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria remain clouded in 500 years of history, the prevailing winds, currents and ship logs makes a convincing argument that Grand Turk Island was the first sighted land and Columbus’s first stop prior to sailing south to Hispaniola.

Grand Turk is the capital of the Turks & Caicos Islands and Old Cockburn Town has been the seat of the government since 1766. Originally populated by Bermudan Salt-rakers in the 1700’s, the Island is a living museum of authentic British and Bermuda architecture, with many of the building (made from ground-up Conch shells) remaining intact.

The industry of Salt production dates from 1678 when businessmen from Bermuda created the expansive “salinas” in the center is Grand Turk Island where they remain to this day.  Hundreds of descendents from the original horses and donkeys remain on Grand Turk Island where they roam freely amongst the quaint neighborhoods.

Today, much of the Western shore of Grand Turk has been designated as the “Columbus Landfall National Park”. The Grand Turk area remained a frequent stop for the Spanish explorers, and the nearby Molasses Reed shipwreck of 1515 is the oldest European shipwreck in the new world.

The amazingly beautiful shoals and coral reefs are even more spectacular during the rare “green flash”, a dazzling burst of green light that occurs right at sunset against the western shores of Grand Turk Island.

 

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