The first known inhabitants of the Turks and Caicos were the Tainos (also referred to as Lucayans). It’s thought that the Tainos migrated to the islands from the south around the year 700 AD.
Evidence suggests that life was simple for the Tainos. Hunting and fishing were probably the main sources of food, but limited planting also helped to sustain daily life.
There’s not enough evidence to be certain, but it’s likely that several land animals such as a giant iguana, large nocturnal rodents, land tortoises and possibly a dwarf crocodile were native to the islands and were hunted to extinction by the Tainos. The Turks and Caicos Islands Rock Iguana is the largest indigenous animal still remaining.
Structures were basic huts as well and caves were used for shelter during storms.
Small artifacts, mainly broken pottery shards, have been the primary source of information on these aborigine peoples. These items have been mainly found in caves or at refuse sites in some of the Caicos wetlands. Currently housed at the Turks and Caicos National Museum in Grand Turk, the Taino Duo seat and canoe paddle are two of the most interesting artifacts found.
The Taino populations were decimated after the arrival of Columbus. Due to Spanish slavery and disease, the last of the Tainos disappeared by the early 1500s