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Cayman Islands

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History

History of the Cayman Islands

Parts of the Cayman Islands were discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1503, but it was ceded to the English Crown under the Treaty of Madrid in 1670 and shortly after settlers from Jamaica came over and populated the islands. Little Cayman and Cayman Brac were settled some time later and maintained a separate administration until 1877. As the Islands were far from England, the Governor of Jamaica held administrative responsibility for the islands, as Jamaica was also a British Colony. This agreement lasted till 1962, till Jamaica became independent of British dominance and thus since have had their own Governor appointed by the British crown for the islands. The United Kingdom is officially responsible for the islands’ foreign policy, although the Americans do exert a bit of power in the region and do come in to help patrolling the waters as both have long been allies. There is no concern of the island trying to declare independence as the British Government has announced that it is prepared, in principle, to grant full British citizenship to the inhabitants of the Cayman Islands.

Today, the Cayman Islands have no direct taxation and have become important as an offshore financial centre and a tax haven. The finance industry has grown rapidly since the late 1980s when many companies relocated to the islands from Panama, which was racked by political instability. Good communications and infrastructure helped to sustain its growth, to the point where the islands are now the world’s fifth largest banking centre.


 
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