September 4, 2015

1874 UNITED KINGDOM (Turks and Caicos Islands) - Salt Raking at Salt Cay

Salt Cay is a tiny, flat, triangular island, with an area of only 6.7 sq km and a population of less than 100. Around 1673, British Colonials from Bermuda saw the potential of the shallow and landlocked ponds on many of the islands in the Turks and Caicos, including Salt Cay. At the time, salt was a valuable essential used for food preservation and commanded a high price. Although the early visitors simply raked the naturally-occurring salt, it became obvious that production could be increased and the complex system of divided ponds, gates, channels and pumps was born.

Salt production continued and was the main source of income to the economy of the island for about 250 years. The United States was the main destination of the country’s salt exports, even going back as far as the American Revolutionary War, when, despite the fact that Bermuda and the Turks and Caicos Islands were under the jurisdiction of Britain, salt was shipped to George Washington’s forces. Salt Cay saw a population high of around 700 in the 1700's and 1800's.

Several factors led to the industry’s demise in the early 1930's, but inefficiencies of the small scale of production was what ultimately caused the local industry to end. The island is small, with a limited number of ponds that could be developed, and necessary infrastructure such as deep water docks simply cost too much. The stamp reproduced on the postcard is part of the series Significant Occurrences in a Decade, with one stamp representing an important event for each of the decades of Queen Elizabeth’s reign. For 1952-1962 an image showing a salt raker was selected (on the postcard),

About the stamps
The stamps are part of the series Shells and Marine Snails,about which I wrote here.

About Salt Cay - Visit Turks and Caicos Islands

Sender: Denise 
Sent from Providenciales (Providenciales / Turks and Caicos Islands), on 17.04.2015

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