It may not be an independent country, but the Cayman Islands manage to separate itself from the busy and idyllic Caribbean nonetheless.
Want to learn more about the Cayman Islands?
- Status: British Overseas Territory
- Capital and Largest City: George Town
- Population: 56,732
- Total Area: 264 km²
- Official Language: English
- Currency: Cayman Islands dollar ($) (KYD)
History of the Cayman Islands
Unlike much of the Caribbean, it’s believed that there was no indigenous population on the Cayman Islands. This meant the first inhabitants settled the land in the 17th century – namely a mix of pirates, deserters, and unlucky (read: shipwrecked) sailors. In 1670, England took direct control of islands, and throughout the next couple centuries populated them with English settlers and slave labour (though slavery was abolished in 1833).
20th Century and Modern Era
Having been governed as a part of the Jamaican colony, this was changed in 1962 when the larger island was granted independence – while the Cayman Islands remained a crown colony. Though the islands do suffer the brunt of tropical storms and hurricanes (including the devastating Ivan in 2004), they have remained prosperous and peaceful. The Cayman Islands are renowned around the world as a tax haven – with no income, capital gains, or wealth taxes of any kind.
The majority of the population is mixed race (with descendants from both Africa and England, as well as a more recent influx from the US). The islands attract a very international population, with many businesses located here for tax purposes. The cuisine of the Cayman Islands is Afro-Caribbean in nature, with curry and jerk seasoning commonplace (like in Jamaica).
Flag of the Cayman Islands
As with most British territories, the flag of the Cayman Islands consists of a blue background with the Union Jack in the upper left corner. The Caymanian coat of arms is located on the right side.
Sports in the Cayman Islands
Many of the most followed sports in the Cayman Islands are of British Import, especially soccer which is the most popular. The national team, though small, represents the territory independently in international competition. Rugby and cricket also have followings, as does basketball.
Geography of the Cayman Islands
The Cayman Islands are located in the western part of the Caribbean Sea. There are three islands, namely Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman. Grand Cayman is larger than the other two combined. George Town is the main port of call for tourists as well as the business hub and largest city in the territory.
Facts about the Cayman Islands
- There’s a legend that the King imposed no taxes on the country after residents saved one of his family members from a shipwreck. This isn’t true however
- The Seven Mile Beach is 5.2 miles long
- There is a Pirates Week Festival every fall
- There’s a town called Hell
- Turtles are a protected species
While the history might be fairly uneventful, this Caribbean territory more than makes up for it with a great location and unique place in the financial world.
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