The Cayman Islands is a British Overseas Territory located in the western end of the Caribbean Sea. It's comprised of the islands of Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, and Cayman Brac. The capital is Georgetown on Grand Cayman. The Cayman Islands is the second most populated British Overseas Territory, behind Bermuda, and as of 2019, it is estimated to hold over 63,000 people.
The racial groups of the Cayman Islands are estimated at:
- 40% Mixed
- 20% Black
- 20% White
- 20% Asian and other
While home to only 63,000 people, there are more than 100,000 companies registered in the Cayman Islands. Financial services are the islands' major economic sectors, with many choosing it to base their companies offshore. One building in George Town is known to house upwards of 20,000 companies.
1734 saw the arrival of the islands' first slaves, predominantly from Africa. The majority of native Caymanians today are of African and English descent. At the time of slavery's abolition in the Cayman Islands, 116 families of English ancestry had enslaved over 950 former slaves of African ancestry.
The Cayman Islands 2018 Compendium of Statistics released by the Economics and Statistics Office showed a district breakdown as follows:
- George Town: 34,878 people
- Bodden Town: 12,624
- West Bay: 12,649
- North Side: 1,678
- East End: 1,979
- Little Cayman and Cayman Brac: 2,006
Grand Cayman is the most populous of the three islands. Over 97% of the Cayman Islands population is urban.
Christopher Columbus sighted the islands on May 10, 1503, and named them Las Tortugas. The Cayman Islands remained relatively untouched until the 17th century. As a result of the Treaty of Madrid, England and Jamaica took formal control of the islands in the 1670s. The 1730s saw the first permanent English-speaking settlement on Grand Cayman.
The Cayman Islands were a Jamaican dependency for some time until 1959 when they became internally self-governing. In 1962, Jamaica declared independence, and the Cayman Islands fell under direct British Rule. In 1972, they approved a new constitution that provided them autonomy on most domestic issues, and in 1994, a bill of rights was added to the constitution. Amendments were made to the constitution, such as the rules of the Legislative Assembly.
The government of the Cayman Islands has always relied on indirect taxation. There has never been any income tax, capital gains tax, or wealth tax levied by the government. This makes it an extremely popular tax haven.
In September 2004, Hurricane Ivan hit Grand Cayman, damaging an estimated 83% of dwellings on the island. As many as 70% were severely damaged by wind and flooding, and a further 26% suffered minor damage. This was the worst hurricane to hit the island in 86 years, and many saw disruption in power and communications for months. The hurricane caused over US$2.86 billion in damages, about 183% of the Caymans Islands' GDP.