Turks and Caicos Heroes and Heritage

May is a time for remembering.  Whether it is Memorial Day in the United States or National Heroes Day in Turks and Caicos Islands (a holiday which celebrates Turks and Caicos heroes and heritage), both holidays celebrate heritage and heroes.

In the United States, this holiday memorializes all men and women who have died in military service for their country. Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, and Memorial Day weekend is traditionally considered the start of the summer season.

In Turks and Caicos, National Heroes Day commemorates the life of James Alexander George Smith (JAGS) McCartney, who served as the first Chief Minister of the country.  The event celebrates the country’s heritage of heroism and triumph.

The history of the Turks and Caicos stretches back to 1841 when a ship, the Trouvadore, set sail from Africa bound for Cuba’s sugar plantations with 300 slaves on board.  When the ship crashed into the island of East Caicos, a tragedy turned into a blessing.  Fortunately, the ship landed in a British Colony that emancipated its slaves in 1834.  So, instead of a lifetime of bondage, the Bambarra people that survived the Trouvadore shipwreck settled in Turks and Caicos Islands as free people and became pioneers.

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