History

1503 – It is widely accepted that Christopher Columbus discovered the Cayman Islands on May 10th, 1503. On his fourth voyage of discovery he sailed past the Cayman Brac and Little Cayman Islands. Columbus named the islands Las Tortugas after all the sea turtles they saw all around the islands.

1586 – 23 ships stopped in Grand Cayman for 2 days lead by Sir Francis Drake. He wrote that the island was in fact not inhabited by humans but had alligators, iguanas and turtles in abundance.

1650 – This began the “Golden Years” of pirates in the Caribbean which lasted through to 1730. The Cayman Islands were situated along the travel routes of treasure ships bringing home gold and silver to Spain. The three islands were mostly uninhabited ( except for a few small settlements ) which made them a great place for pirates to hide their ships and bury their treasures. The carribbean became home to a crowd of pirates and buccaneers.

1655 – The British sent Admiral William Penn to take over Hispaniola from the Spanish. They failed to take over the Spanish stronghold but did manage to take over the island of Jamaica.

1670 – A short time after Jamaica was taken over by the United Kingdom, the Cayman Islands also became a possession of the UK. It was with the signing of the Treaty Of Madrid.

1700 – The first permanent settlers came to Grand Cayman Islands of which the most famous was the Bodden family.

1713 – Caymans most notorious pirate Edward Teach known as “Black Beard” frequented the Cayman Islands until his death in 1718. He was here to rob the Spanish treasure ships as they passed by to make their way home to Spain full of silver and gold.

1730 – The new growth in population discouraged pirates from hiding in and around these islands putting an end to the 100 plus years of Piracy.

1734 – The Governor of Jamaica made the first 5 land grants to settlers.

1780 – An English settler by the name of William Eden established the islands first cotton and mahogony plantation in the district of Savannah. he went on to build the famous Pedro St. James Castle. This was a very well built building for it’s time. It was the only house on Cayman Island to survive the hurricane of 1784.

1798 – The first magistrate in Cayman islands was appointed by the Governor of Jamaica.

1831 – The residents of Cayman met at the Pedro St. James Castle for the first election.

1846 – Reverend James Elmslie established the first Presbyterian Church in the Cayman Islands.

1920 – Cayman established a major education act which helped to start Government schools in all the districts.

1937 – The first cruise ship visited the Cayman Islands this year it was called the Atlantis. Cayman also published it’s first tourist booklet which opened up the beginning of Cayman Tourism.

1950 – A number of new hotels opened up this year and tourism really began to pick up.

1953 – Cayman built it’s first official commercial airfield to accommodate larger planes. Cayman also built the first commercial bank and the George Town Public hospital.

1959 – Cayman Islands received its first written constitution and ceased to be a dependent of Jamaica.

1962 – With it’s new found independence from Jamaica, Cayman decided to remain a Crown Colony even though Jamaica decided to become independent of England.

1966 – This was the year that the new banking legislation was introduced to encourage the Cayman Islands offshore banking industry.

1968 – Cayman Airlines was formed and started flying this year to make Cayman Islands more accessible. This helped the population reach 10,249 by 1970.

1972 – This is the year that Caymans banking industry really took off after  Cayman introduced it’s own currency and a new constitution to protect it’s banking clients.

This was the turning point that made the Cayman Islands one of the finest offshore investment centers and travel destinations of the world.