Cayman Islands History

The Cayman Islands was first discovered on May 10, 1503 by Christopher Columbus in his fourth voyage to the new world. He first named the islands Las Tortugas, which was derived from the sea turtles he saw when he got there. On 1586, an Englishman Sir Francis Drake arrived in the islands and named it Cayman Islands, after the Neo-Taino nations. The islands were first under the Spanish rule then turned it over to the British by 1670. The Grand Cayman Island was then settled from Jamaica in 1672. The other islands, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac, were settled little later under a different administration until 1877. The islands were handled administratively by the Governor of Jamaica until 1962, when Jamaica became a separate territory of the British. After this independence of Jamaica, the Cayman Islands separated from it. Although they are still under the British, they have their own government and constitution. The British Crown appointed Bruce Dinwiddy as governor of the Cayman Islands on 2002. The first permanent resident of the island recorded was Isaac Bodden. He was born in Grand Cayman at about 1700. He is the son of Bodden who was one of the first occupiers in the island and was a soldier of Oliver Cromwell at the war in Jamaica in 1655. The island has a history of trading and agriculture. It was where traders and merchants stop for reloading of supplies in their ships and for doing business as well. During the time when the Spanish handed over the islands to the British, the slave trade became rampant for some time under the British Parliament but later on banned it. Many companies also had their distillers in the islands to make their rum. And this made rum one of the main exports of the island, and also sugar. The location of the islands is prone to hurricanes and tropical storms. This makes them the most affected area than any other regions in the Atlantic. One of the worst hurricanes that hit the islands was Ivan in September 2004. It destroyed a lot of buildings and infrastructures for as much as 70 percent. The disaster was immense as the water, power and communication in some parts of the island were disabled. The Cayman Islands had done major rebuilding of their infrastructure for nearly two years. Later on, their standard of living became high and most of their income fully relied on tourism and financial services.