Black and white photo of an old thatch roof cabin and a family


THE CAYMAN ISLANDS WAS FIRST SPOTTED BY CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS in 1503, who named them “Las Tortugas” – Spanish for turtles, which were found in abundance in the surrounding seas.

In 1670, the islands were acquired by the British from Spain. The Treaty of Madrid decreed the islands a British possession and a dependency of Jamaica. Permanent settlement of the islands began in the 1730s.

The name of the islands was changed to Cayman, after the Carib word caymanas, a local species of crocodile. In the days of piracy on the high seas, buccaneers used the islands as a base to replenish supplies. Among the famous privateers landing here in the 18th century were Blackbeard and Henry Morgan.

In 1831, the leaders of the day met at  Pedro St. James in Bodden Town Pedro St. James in Bodden Town to form the first elected parliament. In 1962, Jamaica became independent while Cayman remained a British colony, now referred to as an Overseas Territory.