On May 10, 1503, Christopher Columbus discovered the Cayman Islands.
The navigator Christopher Columbus is known to everyone from his high school geography course as the discoverer of America. But there is another, small, but significant discovery. We are talking about a small territory – the Cayman Islands.
They lie between Jamaica and Cuba in the northwestern part of the Caribbean Sea. They belong to Great Britain.
The discovery took place during the fourth expedition – in May 1503. He discovered “Las Tortugas,” which means “turtle islands” in Spanish. The many turtles in the area helped him acquire this name. The story with the name did not end there. Twenty years later a new name appeared on the map – “Lagartos”, which translates as “alligators. It can be assumed that this time the culprit was crocodiles.
Since 1530, a new name – Cayman Islands. The unofficial theory is that its roots go back to the European travelers. They confused iguanas with crocodiles – caimans.
After the Englishman Francis Drake visited the islands in 1586, the island became a staging post for Caribbean seafaring ships for a century to come. Provisions and water were replenished here, and the only inhabitants were turtle hunters, pirates, and sailors who stayed here for a short time.
In 1670 the Treaty of Madrid gave Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, and Cayman Brac to Britain.
Gradually a permanent population began to form. Initially it consisted practically of slaves, and in the early 19th century it barely reached 1,000 people. This only began to change after slavery was abolished in 1835. The islanders engaged in fishing, growing cotton, and weaving ropes. The results of their labor were exported to Jamaica.
In 1962, Jamaica became independent, but the Cayman Islanders chose to remain “at the mercy” of Great Britain. Grand Cayman became the tourist capital of the Caribbean and the center of economic relations.
Now this colorful place attracts more than 2 million tourists annually. The coast here is surrounded by reefs and enjoys a relaxing tropical climate. The average monthly temperature ranges from +15C to +30C. There are a lot of sights on the island, including pirate caves in which, according to legends, gold is hidden.