|Its all about ships
Grand Cayman is a popular port of call on Western Caribbean cruises. It
is particularly known for its underwater attractions and for its shopping.
Located 150 miles south of Havana, Cuba and northwest of Jamaica, it is
the largest island in the Cayman Islands. The other two islands that
comprise this group, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, are some 90 miles
to the northeast. The vast majority of the islands’ population,
approximately, 40,000 people, live on Grand Cayman.
The Cayman Islands are primarily made up of limestone, the remains of
ancient coral formations. Indeed, the islands are still surrounded by
numerous coral reefs. As a result, the islands are generally low-lying - - the
highest peek is only 60 feet high - - and there is little fresh water (the
limestone is quite porous).
The Cayman Islands are a British Overseas Territory, however, since 1972
it has had its own constitution. The highest official in the islands is the
governor, who is appointed by Queen Elizabeth II. He or she presides over
a cabinet, which has three members appointed by the governor and five
ministers who are elected by the islands inhabitants.
George Town on Grand Cayman, is the capital of the Cayman Islands. It
is a moderate-sized town with quite a few shops and office buildings.
There are some 250 banks registered in the Cayman Islands. This does
not mean that there are retail offices offering mortgages and car loans on
every corner of George Town. Rather, the banks are there because the
Cayman Islands are a tax haven. This has spawned a thriving financial
services industry, which is a major part of the local economy. In fact
George Town is the world’s fifth largest financial center. As a result, the
Cayman Islands are more prosperous than many Caribbean Islands.
Speaking of money, the Cayman Islands has its own currency, the
Cayman Islands dollar, which is pegged to 80 percent of the U.S. dollar.
Thus, one U.S. dollar equals 80 Cayman cents. U.S. dollars are widely
accepted at that rate by local merchants. Most major credit cards are also
Above: Artifacts from the many shipwrecks that have
occurred on the reefs surrounding Grand Cayman can be
found around the island.
Below: The island celebrates its ties to pirate legends.
OVERVIEW AND HISTORY....................................................................Page One
CRUISE PORT AND GETTING AROUND..............................................Page Two
PLACES OF INTEREST...........................................................................Page Three
HISTORY The earliest record of the Cayman Islands comes
from Christopher Columbus. Blown off course during his
fourth voyage to the New World, Columbus sighted Cayman
Brac and Little Cayman on May 10, 1503. Impressed by the
numerous turtles that he saw on and around the islands,
Columbus named the islands “Las Tortugas,” which means
An alternative name for the islands had developed by 1530 i.
e., the Cayman Islands. This name stemmed from another
inhabitant of the islands - - the sea-going crocodiles called
“caimanas.” When English explorer and sea hawk, Sir
Francis Drake, came to the islands in 1585, he too was
impressed by the sea gong crocodiles and referred to the
caimanas in his report about the islands thus giving added
currency to the alternative name.
There was no immediate effort to settle these islands.
However, they were often by ships, which used the large turtle
population as a source of meat. This eventually led to the near
disappearance of turtles from the islands.
The first people to settle on the islands were British. In the
mid-Seventeenth Century, England was torn apart by a civil
war that pitted the Royalists, who were loyal to the King,
against the Roundheads, who supported Parliament. After the
execution of King Charles I, Oliver Cromwell, the leader of
the Parliamentary forces, became Lord Protector of England.
In 1655, he dispatched an army to take Jamaica away from
Spain. Some of his soldiers deserted and escaped to the
Following the restoration of the British monarchy, the
Cayman Islands officially became a possession of the British
Crown in 1670 when Spain recognized Britain’s claim in the
Treaty of Madrid.
In the years that followed, cotton, sugar cane, and indigo
were planted on the islands. This led to the importation of
slaves from Africa.. However, slavery was limited and is sad
not to have reached the same reached the same level of harsh
and oppressive conditions as on some other Caribbean
islands. Slavery was abolished in 1835.
Another source of livelihood was the sea. In the early years,
the islands were reportedly used as a base by pirates. Later,
the islands became known for their fishermen In addition, the
shipwrecks that periodically occurred on the surrounding reefs
were also a source of income. In 1794, ten ships wrecked on
Grand Cayman in one storm.. The islanders acted quickly and
rescued all of the crews and passengers.
Democracy came to the islands in 1831 when a group of
residents met at Pedro St. James Great House and decided that
representatives from each of the islands’ five districts should
be elected for the purpose of making local laws. The
Legislative Assembly met for the first time later that year.
In 1962, Jamaica became independent. Since the Cayman
Islands had been historically administered as part of the
Jamaica colony, the Cayman Islanders had to decide whether
to become independent as well. They decided to continue
under the Crown but with local self-government.
Above: If one looks closely, one may see an iguana
relaxing in a tree.
Below: Government House, the residence of the
representative of Her Majesty the Queen, the
Governor of the Cayman Islands.
George Town's business district reflects its prosperity
as an important world financial center.
Cruise destination guide - - photo tour - - Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands - - page 1
* This photo tour and the accompanying commentary should only be viewed as a general guide that is based upon one writer's research
and experiences. Accordingly, readers should do their own research prior to their journey. Beyondships is not affiliated with any of the
entities depicted or mentioned herein and assumes no responsibility for their actions and for the products and/or services they provide.
Nor is inclusion in this photo tour a recommendation of the entity shown, its products, services or facilities.
Remebering the past - -Heroes Day ceremonies in George