Cayman Islands

Cayman Islands
Motto: "He hath founded it upon the seas"[1]
Anthem: "God Save the Queen" (official)
National song: "Beloved Isle Cayman"
Location of Cayman Islands
Location of Cayman Islands
StatusBritish Overseas Territory
Capital
and largest city
George Town
19°20′N 81°24′W / 19°20′N 81°24′W / 19.333; -81.400
Official languagesEnglish
Local dialectCayman Islands English
Ethnic groups (2011)
DemonymCaymanian
GovernmentParliamentary dependency under constitutional monarchy
• Monarch
Elizabeth II
• Governor
Anwar Choudhury
• Premier
Alden McLaughlin
• UK government minister[a]
Tariq Ahmad
LegislatureLegislative Assembly
Established as a Crown colony
• Established
1962
• Current constitution
6 November 2009
Area
• Total
264 km2 (102 sq mi)
• Water (%)
1.6
Population
• Census
60,765 as of 2016
• Density
212[3]/km2 (549.1/sq mi) (59th)
GDP (PPP)2014[4] estimate
• Total
$2.507 billion[4] (192nd)
• Per capita
$73,800 (2004 est.)[4] (11th)
GDP (nominal)2014[5] estimate
• Total
$3.480 billion[5][6] (160th)
• Per capita
$58,808[5][6] (9th)
HDI (2013)0.888
very high
CurrencyCayman Islands dollar (KYD)
Time zoneUTC–5 (EST)
Daylight Saving Time (DST) is not observed. Eastern Standard Time (EST) all year.
Driving sideleft
Calling code+1-345
ISO 3166 codeKY
Internet TLD.ky
Website
www.gov.ky

The Cayman Islands (ən/ or n/) is an autonomous British Overseas Territory in the western Caribbean Sea. The 264-square-kilometre (102-square-mile) territory comprises the three islands of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, which are located to the south of Cuba and northeast of Honduras, between Jamaica and the Yucatán Peninsula. The total population of the three islands is approximately 60,765.[7] The capital city is George Town, situated on Grand Cayman.

The Cayman Islands is considered to be part of the geographic Western Caribbean Zone as well as the Greater Antilles. The territory is often considered a major world offshore financial haven for international businesses and many wealthy individuals.[8]

History

The Cayman Islands remained largely uninhabited until the 17th century. While there is no archaeological evidence for an indigenous people on the islands, a variety of settlers from various backgrounds made their home on the islands, including pirates, shipwrecked sailors, and deserters from Oliver Cromwell's army in Jamaica.[9] Folklore suggests that the emergence of the name ‘Cayman’ is a result of a captive’s successful flee from Cromwell’s army. His name was Cayman Cushing, and he supposedly initiated the escape. It is believed that several other captives escaped to the islands alongside Cushing. As a result of his bravery, the runaway prisoners settled on what they called the Cayman Islands.[10]

Cayman Islands National Museum, George Town, Grand Cayman

The first recorded permanent inhabitant of the Cayman Islands, Isaac Bodden, was born on Grand Cayman around 1661. He was the grandson of the original settler named Bodden who was probably one of Oliver Cromwell's soldiers at the taking of Jamaica in 1655.[11]

England took formal control of the Cayman Islands, along with Jamaica, as a result of the Treaty of Madrid of 1670. Following several unsuccessful attempts at settlement, a permanent English-speaking population in the islands dates from the 1730s. With settlement, after the first royal land grant by the Governor of Jamaica in 1734, came the perceived need for slaves.[12] Many were brought to the islands from Africa; this is evident today with the majority of native Caymanians being of African and English descent. The results of the first census taken in the islands in 1802 showed the population on Grand Cayman to be 933 with 545 of those inhabitants being enslaved. Slavery was abolished in the Cayman Islands in 1833. At the time of abolition, there were over 950 Blacks of African ancestry enslaved by 116 white families of English ancestry.[13]

The islands continued to be governed as part of the Colony of Jamaica until 1962, when they became a separate Crown colony while Jamaica became an independent Commonwealth realm.[14]

The Heroes Square in the centre of George Town, which commemorates Cayman Islands' war dead. The Legislative Assembly building is at the left.

On 8 February 1794, the Caymanians rescued the crews of a group of ten merchant ships, including HMS Convert, an incident that has since become known as the Wreck of the Ten Sail. The ships had struck a reef and run aground during rough seas.[15] Legend has it that King George III rewarded the island with a promise never to introduce taxes as compensation for their generosity, as one of the ships carried a member of the King's own family. While this remains a popular legend, the story is not true.[16]

The Cayman Islands historically has been a tax-exempt destination. The government of the Cayman Islands has always relied on indirect and not direct taxes. The territory has never levied income tax, capital gains tax, or any wealth tax, making them a popular tax haven.[17]

On 11 September 2004 the island of Grand Cayman, which lies largely unprotected at sea level, was hit by Hurricane Ivan, creating an 8-ft (2.4 m) storm surge which flooded many areas of Grand Cayman. An estimated 83% of the dwellings on the island were damaged including 4% requiring complete reconstruction. A reported 70% of all dwellings suffered severe damage from flooding or wind. Another 26% sustained minor damage from partial roof removal, low levels of flooding, or impact with floating or wind driven hurricane debris.[18] Power, water and communications were disrupted for months in some areas as Ivan was the worst hurricane to hit the islands in 86 years.[19] Grand Cayman began a major rebuilding process and within two years its infrastructure was nearly returned to pre-hurricane status. Due to the tropical location of the islands, more hurricanes or tropical systems have affected the Cayman Islands than any other region in the Atlantic basin; it has been brushed or directly hit, on average, every 2.23 years.[20]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Kaaimanseilande
Alemannisch: Kaimaninseln
العربية: جزر كايمان
aragonés: Islas Caimán
arpetan: Iles Cayimans
asturianu: Islles Caimán
azərbaycanca: Kayman adaları
Bân-lâm-gú: Cayman Kûn-tó
беларуская: Кайманавы астравы
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Кайманавы астравы
brezhoneg: Inizi Cayman
català: Illes Caiman
ދިވެހިބަސް: ކޭމަން ޖަޒީރާ
dolnoserbski: Kajmany
Ελληνικά: Κέιμαν Νήσοι
español: Islas Caimán
Esperanto: Kajmana Insularo
estremeñu: Islas Caimán
føroyskt: Caymanoyggjar
français: Îles Caïmans
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Cayman Khiùn-tó
한국어: 케이맨 제도
hrvatski: Kajmanski otoci
বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরী: কায়ম্যান দ্বীপমালা
Bahasa Indonesia: Kepulauan Cayman
íslenska: Caymaneyjar
italiano: Isole Cayman
עברית: איי קיימן
Basa Jawa: Kapuloan Cayman
kernowek: Ynysow Kayman
Kinyarwanda: Ibirwa bya Kayimani
Kiswahili: Cayman
Kreyòl ayisyen: Kayman
latviešu: Kaimanu Salas
Lëtzebuergesch: Kaimaninselen
lietuvių: Kaimanų salos
Ligure: Isoe Cayman
Limburgs: Kaaimaneilen
македонски: Кајмански Острови
Bahasa Melayu: Kepulauan Cayman
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Cayman Gùng-dō̤
Nederlands: Kaaimaneilanden
Nordfriisk: Kaiman Eilunen
norsk nynorsk: Caymanøyane
Novial: Kayman Isles
occitan: Illas Caiman
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Kayman orollari
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਕੇਮਨ ਟਾਪੂ
پنجابی: کیمین جزیرے
Piemontèis: Ìsole Caiman
Plattdüütsch: Kaimaninseln
português: Ilhas Cayman
română: Insulele Cayman
sicilianu: Cayman Islands
Simple English: Cayman Islands
slovenčina: Kajmanie ostrovy
slovenščina: Kajmanji otoki
српски / srpski: Кајманска Острва
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Kajmanski Otoci
Basa Sunda: Kapuloan Kayman
svenska: Caymanöarna
татарча/tatarça: Кайман утраулары
Türkçe: Cayman Adaları
українська: Кайманові Острови
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: كايمان تاقىم ئاراللىرى
Tiếng Việt: Quần đảo Cayman
吴语: 开曼群岛
粵語: 開曼羣島
中文: 開曼群島
Lingua Franca Nova: Isolas Caiman