History Of The Cayman Islands

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The history of the Cayman Islands begins with Christopher Columbus who spotted three islands while sailing around the world. These islands came to be known as the Caymans .The Islands are a group of British Territories discovered in 1503. They were relatively human free and it encouraged a large number of sea turtles to take refuge there. The Islands original name was Las Tortugas, because of the many sea turtles that swam around it. This Islands remained relatively uninhabited until the 1670’s when it was acquired by the British Crown. Settlers started coming in from Jamaica from the early 18th Century, giving the island a sizeable population.  Los Tortugas then became known as Los Largatos which stands for large reptile, by 1530 they became known as Caymanes or rather Caiman which means marine crocodile, which were quite common in those parts. The Caymans consist of Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac. They are located about 290km from Jamaica and its capital is known as Georgetown on Grand Cayman.
They became a regular stopping point for ships who nearly hunted the turtles to extinction. The ships would stop over at the Caymans to hunt the turtles and collect fresh drinking water for their people. If you were to ask a native, they would tell you that the history of the Cayman islands inhabitants were a Welshman known as Walters and his companion Isaac Boden, these are unconfirmed though. Most of the first people to settle in the Caymans were pirates, slaves of African origin, refugees from the Spanish Inquisition and shipwrecked sailors. This homogenous group of people in a tropical island has led a racially mixed population. Most of the population depended on the sea for their livelihood.  The people of the Caymans built a name for themselves as world class sea men, they built ships and boats and this earned them a reputation as the best sea farers of the Caribbean.  Their ships and boats were used for trade and turtle hunting. The island inhabitants were among the first modern societies to practice democracy, they met at the oldest place on the island, Pedro St. Jude to create a legislature of representatives.
Historically these islands have been under the control of the British since the late 1670’s under The Treaty of Madrid. The treaty meant that control of the Caribbean Islands such as Caymans and Jamaica were handed over to the British from Spain. They became dependent on Jamaica until 1962 when Jamaica got its independence. The Caymans became British Territories under direct rule but the constitution was changed and they were granted autonomy on issues that were domestic in nature.
They have gone on to establish themselves as economic powerhouses. This was brought about by the amount of tourism the islands experienced. They have so far built their reputation as a tax haven. The culture there is currently very Americanized due to the influx in tourists and businesses setting up shop from America setting up shop there.