Ships of Discovery

Supported mission discovers historic shipwreck off Turks and Caicos islands




Maritime archaeologists today announced they have recently identified the wreck of the historic slave ship Trouvadore off the coast of East Caicos in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research significantly funded several years of archaeological research leading to the discovery by Don Keith and Toni Carrell, from Ships of Discovery, an underwater archaeology research institute.

The Spanish vessel Trouvadore was participating in the slave trade, outlawed in the British Indies, including the Turks and Caicos Islands.

In 1841, after the vessel was grounded on a reef, Caicos authorities arrested the crew, and most of the 192 African survivors settled on Grand Turk Island.

Keith and Carrell believe the African survivors of the Trouvadore are the ancestors of a large portion of current residents in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

For example, traditions on the Islands have a recognizable African origin. The Turks and Caicos National Museum is recording these traditions through oral histories and is educating the community about their ancestral history.