Grand Cayman
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Grand Cayman
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It’s hard to imagine that the Cayman Islands, a prosperous nation built on the success of its international tourism and finance industries, laid the foundation of its vibrant economy only 30 years ago.

The story begins with sea turtles, which played a vital role in shaping the economy and culture of the Cayman Islands. It is appropriate that the first recorded sighting of Little Cayman and Cayman Brac by Christopher Columbus, as recorded in his ship's log on his fourth and final voyage to the New World, notes "(10th May, 1503) . . .we were in sight of two very small islands, full of tortoise, as was the sea about, inasmuch as they looked like little rocks." Columbus thus named these islands "Las Tortugas" after the abundant sea turtles, and while the name stuck only briefly, it was a theme that would remain constant in Cayman history. It is fitting then, that today a sea turtle in pirate garb, dubbed "Sir Turtle," is the official logo of the Cayman Islands.

A Royal Establishment
The first royal land grant in Grand Cayman, recorded in 1734, marked the start of permanent settlement. It covered 3,000 acres between Prospect and the North Sound, and was the first of many such grants over the next eight years. Population growth was supplemented from 1750 to 1800 by the arrival of shipwrecked mariners and immigrants from Jamaica.