The Cayman Islands is a British Overseas Territory located in the western Caribbean Sea. The territory comprises the three islands of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman, located south of Cuba and northwest of Jamaica. The Cayman Islands are considered to be part of the geographic Western Caribbean Zone as well as the Greater Antilles.
By 1800 the population numbered less than 1000 – of whom half were slaves. After the Slavery Abolition Act was read at Pedro St James (near Bodden Town on Grand Cayman) in 1835, most freed slaves remained, and by 1900 the Caymans’ population had quintupled.
With no direct taxation, the islands are a thriving offshore financial center. More than 93,000 companies were registered in the Cayman Islands as of 2008, including almost 300 banks, 800 insurers, and 10,000 mutual funds. A stock exchange was opened in 1997. Tourism is also a mainstay, accounting for about 70% of GDP and 75% of foreign currency earnings.
Cayman has its own currency; the Cayman Island Dollar (CI$). This is tied to the U.S. dollar and does not fluctuate from it. The cash exchange rate is CI$1.00 = US$1.25.
English is the official language in the Cayman Islands.
Jamaican patois and regional Spanish dialects of Cuba and Central America are also spoken.
The majority of the people in the Cayman Islands are Christians. Churches include Anglican, Roman Catholic, Baptist, Methodist and Seventh Day Adventist.
vacationers will find the most popular beaches and land attractions. More specialized travelers -- divers, especially -- tend to choose the smaller and less secular Little Cayman or Cayman Brac.
It’s hard to imagine that the Cayman Islands, a prosperous nation built on the success of its international tourism and finance industries, laid the foundation of its vibrant economy only 30 years ago.
The story begins with sea turtles, which played a vital role in shaping the economy and culture of the Cayman Islands.
The three islands Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, and Cayman Brac lie in the Caribbean Sea about 200 miles (320 kilometers) northwest of Jamaica. Total land area is 100 square miles (264 square kilometers).
Over 100 different nationalities are represented in Cayman. The majority of the population is Caymanian, Jamaican, British, Canadian, American and South American but there are also a lot of Australians and Kiwis, South Africans and French.
In 1831, the first elected legislature was set up, though only free men were eligible to vote. (Indeed, legislation granting women the right to vote and to stand for election was not passed until 1958.) In 1863, the UK parliament formally declared the Cayman Islands a dependency of Jamaica, which put the islands in a better legal and economic position, not least because Cayman ships were no longer required to pay tonnage dues when entering Jamaican ports.
Caribbean, three-island group (Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, Little Cayman) in Caribbean Sea, 240 km south of Cuba and 268 km northwest of Jamaica
Around 1700, the first settlers came to live on Grand Cayman, but brought with them the scourge of slavery that was to last until emancipation in 1835. Life was not easy for these pioneers, even for freemen, who made a living from subsistence farming and fishing, turtling and woodcutting. At that time, mahogany, in particular, was in great demand for the furniture industry in Europe.
For the first century after Christopher Columbus happened upon the Caymans in 1503, the islands remained uninhabited by people – which may explain why multitudes of sea turtles were happy to call the place home, giving the islands their original Spanish name, Las Tortugas.
You should pay attention to dress codes in the Cayman Islands, as it still remains a "proper" British crown colony, and its residents are often conservative in dress and manners. Avoid wearing bathing suits or scanty beachwear outside a beach area or cruise ship. Cover up in public areas, especially when walking and sightseeing on the streets of George Town.