Cayman Islands

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Cayman Islands

(kā`mən), British dependency (2005 est. pop. 44,300), 100 sq mi (259 sq km), comprising three low-lying islands in the West Indies. George TownGeorge Town,
town (1989 pop. 12,921), capital and administrative center of the Cayman Islands, in the West Indies. A major offshore banking and business center, it is the site of several hundred banks.
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, the capital and chief port, is on Grand Cayman; the other islands are Little Cayman and Cayman Brac. The British monarch is the head of state, and is represented by a governor. There is an 18-seat Legislative Assembly; the government is headed by the premier. The Cayman Islands are divided into eight administrative districts.

The largely Christian, English-speaking population is about 40% mixed European and African ancestry, 20% white, and 20% black. Finance and luxury tourism are the economic mainstays of the islands, which are an international center for offshore banks, insurance companies, and mutual funds. Almost all goods are imported, primarily from the United States.

The islands were sighted by Christopher Columbus in 1503, but were colonized by the British beginning in the 1800s. Administered from JamaicaJamaica
, independent state within the Commonwealth (2005 est. pop. 2,732,000), 4,232 sq mi (10,962 sq km), coextensive with the island of Jamaica, West Indies, S of Cuba and W of Haiti. Jamaica is the largest island in the Caribbean after Cuba and Hispaniola.
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 after 1863, they became a separate British crown colony when Jamaica became independent in 1962. In 2004, Hurricane Ivan brought widespread destruction to the islands.

Cayman Islands

 

a British possession in the West Indies, in the Caribbean Sea. The territory consists of the Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, and Cayman Brae islands. Area, 259 sq km. Population, 10, 600 (1970 census). The inhabitants are Creoles, Negroes, and mulattoes; more than 80 percent live on Grand Cayman. Administrative center, Georgetown.

The islands are governed by a representative of the British crown. The main industries are agriculture, catching caimans and turtles, salt mining, and tourism. The Caymans were discov-ered by Christopher Columbus in 1503.