The tropical islands that rejected independence from the UK and want to join Canada

One of the many British overseas territories scattered around the world, among which are found, for example, Gibraltar or the Akrotiri and Dhekelia bases in Cyprus, are the Turks and Caicos Islands (in English Turks and Caicos).

Although they are sometimes included in the Caribbean area, in reality they are not located in this sea that includes the waters to the south of Cuba and Hispaniola, but to the north of the latter and to the southeast of the Bahamas, therefore in the Atlantic Ocean .

There are 8 main islands and more than 299 small ones and islets, which in total have a surface area of ​​948 square kilometers, divided into two groups, the Turks Islands and the Caicos Islands.

Turks and Caicos situation / photo Geocurrents

The population barely reaches 30,000 inhabitants, of which two thirds live on Providenciales Island, the second westernmost of the larger Caicos, and whose beaches are considered among the best in the world. To this attraction is added the relatively dry climate and the almost 350 sunny days a year that it enjoys.

The islands belonged to the Spanish crown until 1765, when they were occupied by the French. After the American War of Independence, many loyal to the British crown chose to leave North America and settled in the Caribbean colonies, the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos. Thus, by 1799 the latter were annexed by the United Kingdom, which would not relinquish its possession until today.

The political history of Turks and Caicos is perhaps one of the most curious in the world. Since 1873 the islands belonged to the colony of Jamaica, under the guardianship of its governor. When Jamaica gained its independence from the United Kingdom in August 1962, it became dependent on the colony of the Bahamas.

Grand Turk Island / photo Jersyko on Wikimedia Commons

But the Bahamas also gained its independence in 1973, so that the Turks and Caicos finally received its own governor, becoming a colony and, later, successively a British Overseas Dependency and Territory to the present day.

But in the middle arose, already in 1917, the Canadian question. Since the beginning of the 20th century, the islands were one of the favorite destinations for the citizens of the independent North American country in 1867. For this reason, in that year 1917, the Prime Minister of Canada Robert Borden suggested the possibility of Turks and Caicos being incorporated as a new Canadian province. Something that the British did not like very much.

In 1974 they would try again, with a bill presented by the New Democratic Party at the request of the government of the islands, which was finally rejected by the Canadian parliament.

In 1980 the British reached an agreement with the Turks and Caicos People’s Democratic Movement to grant them independence in 1982. But in the subsequent elections, which were at the same time a referendum, the National Progressive Party, opposed to it, won. he rejected the offer.

Turks and Caicos map / photo Kelisi on Wikimedia Commons

To this day the question of independence is intertwined with Canadian interests, whose citizens make up 12 percent of the tourism that comes to the area and whose companies own 30 percent of the hotels and resorts. In April 2016, the New Democratic Party announced that it was preparing a resolution to discuss the possibility of joining Canada as its eleventh province.

The advantages for Canada would be both geostrategic and economic in nature, being able to count on a military port in traditionally highly disputed waters.

If one day this integration occurs, the Turks and Caicos Islands would become the first Canadian territory in the Caribbean area and only a thousand kilometers from Miami.

But Canadian aspirations do not stop there. A few months ago, intellectuals from the country advocated also annexing Haiti as a protectorate, as a means to solve the serious problems of the Caribbean country.


Sources

Geocurrents/Narcity/Huffpost Canada/Wikipedia.