Turks and Caicos Islands, a United Kingdom Overseas Territory in the West Indies. It lies in the Atlantic Ocean and consists of about 30 islands and islets at the eastern tip of the Bahamas. The total area is about 166 square miles (430 km2). The islands are low-lying, barren, and sandy. The weather is warm to hot throughout the year.
Economically, the islands depend on commercial fishing, tourism, British subsidies, and financial services that provide a tax haven for foreign companies. Several airports and airstrips serve the islands. Relatively few roads are paved.
The vast majority of the people on the islands are black. Only six of the islands are inhabited, the main ones being Grand Turk, South Caicos, North Caicos, and Providenciales. The capital and largest town is Grand Turk, also known as Cockburn Town, on Grand Turk Island.
Some scholars believe that Grand Turk was the island on which Christopher Columbus made his first landing in the New World. Traders from Bermuda established European settlements on the islands in the 17th century. They were annexed by Great Britain in the 1760's.