Cayman Islands

1971-2018 Issues

News by - on

The Cayman Islands are located in the western part of the Caribbean Sea. They have three islands: Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac. The administrative capital, George Town is located on the west coast of Grand Cayman.

The islands were first reached by Christopher Columbus on May 10, 1503 during his fourth and final voyage to the New World. The islands remain very sparsely inhabited until the 17th century. While there is no archaeological evidence of an indigenous presence, they have served as a refuge for people from different backgrounds such as pirates, refugees fleeing the Spanish Inquisition, sailors lost at sea and deserters from the Oliver Cromwell's Army. According to folklore, the name Cayman comes from the name of a former captive, Cayman Cushing, who initiated an escape. In honor of his bravery, the escapees would have settled on what they would have called the Cayman Islands.

England officially took control of the archipelago, at the same time as that of Jamaica, following the Treaty of Madrid in 1670. After several unsuccessful attempts to establish a colony there, the first English-speaking population succeeded to settle permanently in the 1730s. With the establishment, the need for slaves arose. Many are brought from Africa: a majority of present-day Caymanians are of African and English descent. The first census, dating from 1802, indicated for Grand Cayman a population of 933 people including 545 slaves. When slavery was abolished in 1834, there were 950 slaves who belonged to 116 white families of English origin.

Historically, the Cayman Islands have been a tax haven. On February 8, 1794, the Caymanians rescued the crews of ten merchant ships which had struck the reef and had run aground in rough seas. Among the ships (including HMS Convert), one carried Prince William, the future William IV. According to legend, King George III rewarded the inhabitants of the archipelago for having saved his son, promising them never to create taxes. Although popular, this story is false ... The islands became British overseas territory in 1962.


Our sources

  • History of the Cayman Islands, Wikipedia.
  • Cayman Islands”, Banknote Museum website.
  • The Banknote Book “Cayman Islands” by Owen W. Linzmayer.
  • "Cayman Islands" Standard Catalog of World Paper Money, 1961-present, 17th edition (pages 212-217).
  • Photo archives:

Top of page
© 2018-2021, Numizon. All rights reserved.
Text index Legal mentions Contact us
Build in Paris - version A-3.6-1.5.5-161
Numizon NavigationNumizon Navigation