Turks and Caicos Islands

Columbus Monuments Pages

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Cockburn Town
Grand Turk

Columbus' First Landfall


Cockburn Town /  Columbus' First Landfall


The waterfront has the best sights in the capital, including historic government buildings surrounding a small plaza where a Columbus Monument — a bronze plaque on a concrete(?) stand — claims cheekily that the explorer landed here in 1492. Nearby, four large cannons point to sea, where a nearby coral reef is protected within the Columbus Landfall National Park.


grand turk
first landfall
christopher columbus
in the new world
12 october 1492
christopher columbus arrived in the new world at the island
of grand turk on 12 october 1492

columbus recorded that the lucayan people called this island
Guanahani. they welcomed the people from the sky... each brought
something to eat and drink which they gave with marvelous love.
columbus took possession for spain and named the island

La Isla de San Salvador and called its inhabitants Indios. on 14 october,
Santa Maria, Pinta and Nina sailed towards the caicos islands which
columbus named
La Isla de Santa Maria de la Concepcion.
the continuous cultural exchange between europe and america
which began on columbus's islands of discovery, now known as
the turks and caicos islands, changed the course of human history.

dedicated 5 october 1990

the government of the turks and caicos islands

his excellence
michael i. bradley, cmg qc
the honorable
oswald o. skippings, mlc
chief minister
governor's commission for california's quincentenary commemoration
of the discovery of america.
patricia cologne
helen skripkin
vice chairperson


Columbus's logbook described landing on a bean-shaped island that had several small islands nearby, to the south and east. Grand Turk certainly fits that description.
One of Columbus's ships, the Niña, was shipwrecked on his historic voyage. There happens to be a shipwreck on Molasses Reef, about 50 miles west of Grand Turk that fits the description of the Niña. Is that shipwreck the Niña? Scientists started to uncover the wreckage in the 1990s to try to figure out if it is that famous ship. If it is, it makes it even more likely that Grand Turk is the site of Columbus's landfall? There is however no evidence to support this and the official discovery of Grand Turk is accorded to Juan Ponce de Leon in 1515.

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Item Code: tc001; Added: 12 December 2006

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