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North Caicos became plantation country when Americans loyal to the British crown (Loyalists) fled the United States to come here, where they were provided property from the British crown, in the wake of the War of Independence. According to historians at the Turks & Caicos National Museum, in 1788 the Caicos islands had a population of over 40 white families and 1,200 slaves. All slaves were freed in 1834, and today many descendants of these slaves reside in North Caicos. The main industry on these plantations was growing sea-island cotton, an endeavor that eventually failed as a result of dry conditions, thin soil, pests, and tropical storms. Today you can still see the occasional cotton plant growing tall along the roadside in both North and Middle Caicos. Outside of Kew are the ruins of one of the most successful plantations of the Loyalist era, Wades Green, which was constructed by Florida Loyalist Wade Stubbs around 1789 and eventually grew to 1,214 hectares (3,000 acres). Today you can see the ruins of the stone house, outbuildings, and surrounding walls, pillowed in North Caicos scrub brush. Call the Turks & Caicos National Trust for tours.