A Tourist Destination and Financial Safe Haven for the World's Elite
Originally colonized by Great Britain through Jamaica in the 18th century, the Cayman Islands were administered directly by Jamaica starting in 1863. The islands became a territory within the Federation of the West Indies in 1959. In 1962, the Cayman Islands chose to become a British dependency when the Federation of the West Indies dissolved.
The Cayman Islands are one of the most famous offshore financial havens in the world. There is no direct taxation, and by 2008, nearly 100,000 businesses had registered addresses in the Cayman Islands, including 300 banks, 800 insurers and 10,000 mutual funds.
The islands are known as a high-end tourist destination that is aimed at the world's wealthiest and best-connected residents. The country hosts nearly 2 million visitors every year, and tourism accounts for as much as 75 percent of the local economy. Virtually everything in the Cayman Islands is imported.