The Cayman Islands in the Past and in the Present

The peaceful past of the Cayman Islands helped the islands to enjoy a prosperous present

Photo credit: © lyng883

While the Cayman Islands were originally named "Las Tortugas" for the turtles that dotted its shores, the islands would ultimately be named after an indigenous crocodile, called "Caymanas" by the Caribs. Today, the Cayman Islands are sought after by both businesses and tourists.


Due to its geography and size, the Cayman Islands got a relatively late start in the colonialism that swept through the Caribbean in the 16th and 17th centuries.  Located half way between Cuba and Honduras, the Cayman Islands have a total area of 101.9 square miles, and feature a coastline of 99 miles.  While Columbus spotted Cayman Brac and Little Cayman in 1503, the islands did not receive their first settlers - English soldiers from Jamaica - until the 1660s. Turtles and legends of shipwrecks dominate the early history of the tiny nation, and the population remained under 1,000 in 1800.  Today, the population reaches just over 54 thousand permanent residents.


...typically deeply religious, respectful, and genuinely friendly.


The largely blood-free history of the Cayman Islands has created a nation that is peaceful, quiet, and relatively crime-free. The standard and quality of life on these islands rank among the best in the world, with life expectancy put at just under 80 years. Education is compulsory for children up to 16 years of age. Caymanians are typically deeply religious, respectful, and genuinely friendly.

Because of the early British colonial rule, the Cayman Island's learned much about governance from Great Britian, and have framed their current government system after parliamentary representative democratic overseas territory.  The Cayman Islands operate under a two party system, of which the Premier is head.  Though the United Kingdom still overseas the country, the Cayman Islands have largely been a self-governed body for many years.


The Caribbean's first scuba dive shop opened in 1957 on Grand Cayman, and the islands are renowned for their scuba diving opportunities. Particularly appealing is the Bloody Bay Wall near Little Cayman. Tourism has swelled since the 1950s, and the islands now receive nearly 1 million vacationers a year. While tourism is an essential part of the local economy, the absence of direct taxation has also drawn 40,000 registered business and 600 banks and trust companies.

The Cayman Islands caters to a luxury tourist crowd looking for a peaceful vacation on a friendly island with a high quality of life.


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