Who Brought Slaves to the TCI?

The Salt and Sugar Trade


The Bermudans started to visit the Turks and Caicos Islands regularly from the 1680s. There were no people in the islands. The previous settlers, the Lucayans had been wiped out by slavery and disease.

The Bermudans brought slaves with them to collect salt. After the British claimed ownership of the islands in 1764 the Bermudans built settlements in the Turks Islands. In 1767 the British introduced the “Salt Pond Regulations”. Many of the new regulations referred to the number and treatment of the slaves.

People who had supported Britain during the American War of Independence were thrown out of America after Britain lost the war. These people were called Loyalists. Many of these “Loyalists” settled in the Caicos Islands and produced cotton. They bought slaves to do the work. Some of the plantations also produced a small supply of sugar.

Slaves were given or decided to have the same last name as their slave owners. Many of the Loyalist slave owner names still survive today for example Stubbs, Missick, Basden and Rigby.

Over 80% of all slaves in the Turks and Caicos Islands were Creole: which means they were born into slavery. In spite of the hardship they suffered, the slaves constructed houses, grew crops, built communities in the Turks and Caicos Islands long after the slave owners had left.