An archipelago comprised of 40 islands and cays, Turks & Caicos features a rich and intricate cultural legacy. Combining influences of the native Taíno people with that of French & Spanish explorers as well as African slaves resulted in a blend of beliefs, customs, religions, and ideas that shaped these islands.
Unbeknownst to many, the word “Caicos” comes from the Taíno language meaning “chain of islands”. While only eight of these are currently inhabited, archeological evidence seems to suggest a much wider population during the Caribbean’s prehistoric era. Undisturbed for thousands of years, these native inhabitants called this tropical paradise home.
Fast forward 529 years and their traditional arts, seafood-based cuisine, ripsaw music (among others) remain a vibrant part of these culturally rich islands. Similar art and cultural variables can be seen at many of TCI’s neighboring islands. The Dominican Republic & Haiti, for instance, feature the same bright and colorful art incorporating symbolisms that allude to island folklore. To this day, Carnivals still form an important part of Caribbean lifestyle -it’s hard to imagine these stem back hundreds of years!
Cuba also shares similar influences to its neighbor, TCI. Modern Cuban music was undeniably influenced by African culture and to this day mambo and cha-cha remain immensely popular. The cuisine echoes many other Caribbean islands with rice, beans, plantains and meat present in meals at any time of the day -woohoo!
Culturally rich in more ways than one, the Caribbean is not just for fun under the sun and award winning beaches, it is also home to one of the hallmarks of modern history -the joining of the two worlds.