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Turks and Caicos Islands

August 13, 1892, Colonies and India, London, United Kingdom

The Turks and Caicos Islands

The Colonial Office has received a report on these islands, which are a dependency of Jamaica, for the year 1891, from Sir Henry Blake, Governor of Jamaica. The general tone of the report is satisfactory, notwithstanding the failure of crops in the spring which occasioned a good deal of distress. At the last census (April, 1891) the total population numbered 4,785 souls, of whom 41 were on board vessels not belonging to the dependency, making the actual population of the islands 4,744, being an increase of 12 on the census taken in 1881 and of 21 on that taken in 1871. The increase was in the female population. Both the white and black population have decreased since the previous census was taken the former over 25 per cent, and the latter about 3 per cent; while the coloured population has increased by 243 souls, or about 18 per cent. The decrease in the white population may be attributed to emigration to the United States of America. The census returns showed the average annual birth-rate to be 35 per 1,000 and the death-rate 24 per 1,000 of the population viz., average annual number of births, 166; deaths, 115. This is a decrease of one per 1,000 in the birth-rate and an increase of three per 1,000 in the death-rate cn the returns from the census of 1881.

Bahamas Map.

The cultivation of the pita (sisal) plant has made fair progress, especially in the Caicos Islands, and the reports from the plantations towards the end of the year were satisfactory. Two companies, the West Caicos Fibre Company (Limited), at West Caicos, and the East Caicos Company (Limited), at Breezy Point, formed for the purpose of raising pita plants and extracting the fibre, are registered under the companies' ordinance, and there are several private plantations.

A small shipment of fibre was made to New York within the year from one of the latter, and the first quality fetched a cent a pound more than the second quality an equal price to the best from Yucatan. This speaks well for the quality of the fibre which can be produced in these islands, and promises a bright future for the local fibre industry.

Patrullo's machine for making sisal hemp.

Patrullo's Machine for Making Sisal Hemp

Hemp was vital in almost every part of an industrial society and it is the raw material for rope. Without rope, ships could not sail and heavy cargo could not be loaded, fish could not be caught and water would remain in the wells.

The Halifax and Bermuda Cable Company (Limited) having decided to extend the cable from Bermuda to the West Indies and to establish a station at Grand Turk, made application to the Legislative Board to afford certain facilities to the company for carrying out the project, and the necessary ordinance was passed by the board in December. It should, in the opinion of the Commissioner, undoubtedly benefit these islands generally to be brought more in touch than they are at present with other parts, and the cable should not only greatly facilitate business transactions, but should also cause an increase in the shipping, and it is to be hoped, therefore, that a station of the company will be established and in working order at no distant date.

1899. World's Fleet. Boston Daily Globe

Lloyds Register of Shipping gives the entire fleet of the world as 28,180 steamers and sailing vessels, with a total tonnage of 27,673,628, of which 39 perent are British.

Great Britain10,990 vessels, total tonnage of 10,792,714
United States 3,010 vessels, total tonnage of 2,405,887
Norway 2,528 vessels, tonnage of 1,604,230
Germany 1,676 vessels, with a tonnage of 2,453,334, in which are included her particularly large ships.
Sweden 1,408 vessels with a tonnage of 643, 527
Italy1,150 vessels
France 1,182 vessels

For Historical Comparison
Top 10 Maritime Nations Ranked by Value (2017)

  Country # of Vessels







1 Greece 4,453 206.47 $88.0
2 Japan 4,317 150.26 $79.8
3 China 4,938 159.71 $71.7
4 USA 2,399 55.92 $46.5
5 Singapore 2,662 64.03 $41.7
6 Norway 1,668 39.68 $41.1
7 Germany 2,923 81.17 $30.3
8 UK 883 28.78 $24.3
9 Denmark 1,040 36.17 $23.4
10 South Korea 1,484 49.88 $20.1
Total 26,767 87.21 $466.9

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Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; CDNC: California Digital Newspaper Collection; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; and Maritime Museums and Collections in Australia, China, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Wales, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, etc.

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