The three islands, Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac are collectively known as Cayman Islands. They are a part of an underwater mountain range situated nearly five hundred miles towards the south of the coast of Miami and roughly 150 miles south of Cuba. All of the islands are surrounded with coral reefs with walls near the shores providing exceptional diving and snorkelling conditions. The islands are essentially low lying with the highest point, the Bluff, being 43 meters (141 ft.) above sea level on Cayman Brac. The island of Grand Cayman is the largest of the three and is the residence of majority of the population and tourist facilities.
The islands were discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1503, but the Spanish never dominated them. Originally they were referred to as Las Tortugas due the profusion of marine turtle population in the surrounding waters, but the name did not stick. In 1670 the islands were relinquished to the British Crown and settlement followed in 1703. The name Cayman Islands was drawn from the Caribbean word for crocodiles which at one point inhabited the area.
The Cayman Islands were a British dependency until 1962, after which they became a British Overseas Territory. They were colonized from Jamaica by the British in the 18th and 19th centuries. Tourism on the Cayman Islands plays the main role in the country’s economy, with tourism geared towards the luxury market aimed at North American visitors. The Caymanians maintain one of the highest living standards in the world, with the islands being among the richest in the world. A typical day on the island may include swimming at the famous Seven Mile Beach, snorkelling, watching a match at the rugby club, or enjoying drinks under the Caribbean sunset.
The infrastructure of the islands is highly developed with state-of-the-art communication systems, well-maintained roads, sea ports, reliable facilities, and modern international airport. The police force is made up of local and British officers and hospitals are staffed with experienced staff.
United Kingdom, North America and Jamaica have a major influence on the culture of Cayman Islands. Always having been seafaring people, the Caymanian society is still based on maritime traditions. Tradition of storytelling and musical history are kept alive through the kitchen bands performing at annual festivals and other regular performances.
Political Status: British Overseas Territory
Government: Parliamentary Democracy
Currency: Caymaniean dollar (KYD)
Religion: Presbyterian, Protestant & Roman Catholic Christianity
Ethnic Groups: White, Black, Mixed
Dialling code: +345