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Cayman Islands History Timeline

1500s - 1600s
  • (1503) Christopher Columbus discovered the islands
  • (1586) Sir Francis Drake's ships stopped on Grand Cayman
  • (1655) Islands came under British control after Jamaica was captured from the Spanish by Oliver Cromwell's army
  • (1655-71) Pirates, known as privateers, sailed the Caribbean with permission from their countries to seize wealth for their country; Cayman Brac and Little Cayman settled before Grand Cayman, settlements fell prey to Spanish pirates
  • (1670) Islands officially ceded to Britain by Spain, along with Jamaica, under the Treaty of Madrid
  • (1672) First settlers arrived near Bodden Town
1700s
  • (1700s) First permanent settlers arrived
  • (1708) Great Britain renamed islands Cayman Islands
  • (1713-1714) Treaty Of Utrecht officially ended privateering
  • (1790) Fort George constructed
  • (1794) "Wreck of the Ten Sails": a ship hit a reef off Grand Cayman, followed by a convoy of nine vessels
1800s
  • (1832) Legislative assembly established
  • (1835) Slaves were emancipated
  • (1863) Caymans became a Jamaican dependency, administrated by an appointed commissioner
  • (1877) Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman came under common administration
  • 1900s
  • (1932) Hurricane struck Cayman Brac, 109 people killed, near total destruction of homes
  • (1937) First cruise ships arrived
  • (1954) First airfield constructed
  • (1957) First recreational diving business started
  • (1959) Caymans joined Federation of the West Indies
  • (1962) Federation of the West Indies dissolved; Jamaica declared independence; Cayman Islands voted to remain under British rule, separate administrator appointed
  • (1966) Tourist Board formed; banking and trust laws passed
  • (1971) Title of administrator changed to governor
  • (1972) New constitution adopted
  • (1994) Constitution modified
2000s
  • (2001) United Democratic Party (UDP) formed; leader of government business, Kurt Tibbetts, ousted after no-confidence vote; UDP's McKeeva Bush assumed role
  • (2002) British Overseas Territories Act granted British citizenship to all Caymanians
  • (2004) Hurricane Ivan caused widespread destruction on Grand Cayman, over US $1.85 billion in damages
  • (2005) Kurt Tibbetts, People's Opposition Progressive Movement, won general election
  • (2006) Thousands of tiny parasitic wasps were released to combat island-hopping insects that destroyed crops
  • (2009) UDP won elections; territory joined OECD's global "white list" of countries using internationally recognized tax standards; US President, Barack Obama, singled out Cayman Islands in attack on tax havens; Britain refused territory to take loans for budget deficit, said it would have to find funds another way
  • (2010) British police brought in to help tackle gang-related crime and preserve territory's reputation for safety; British scientific expedition discovered world's deepest known underwater volcanic vent off Cayman Islands
  • (2011) Decommissioned 1945 vintage submarine rescue ship, USS Kittiwake, scuttled in waters off Cayman Islands for attracting fish and tourism

Cayman Islands Photographs

Photos used are from public domain sources and from en.wikipedia.org

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This page was last updated on April 7, 2017.