Caymanians have a tradition of hardiness and independence of spirit, which sustained them through many difficult years when their home was sometimes referred to as "the islands time forgot." In those years, they earned a livelihood at sea, either as turtle fishermen or as crew members on foreign-owned ships, or by working in North and Central America. In 1906 more than a fifth of the population of 5,000 was estimated to be at sea, and even as late as the 1950s the government annual report said that the main "export" was seamen whose remittances were the mainstay of the economy.
Since the 1970s the economy has grown, thanks to tourism and financial services, in remarkable fashion, to be a model envied in other parts of the region. Over the last 30 years, governments have pursued policies aimed at developing the infrastructure, education, health and social services, fostering the stability which is an important factor in the economy’s continued growth.
Life in the Cayman Islands is a blend of the old and the new, traditional and modern, with both British and American influences. Many Caymanians have travelled the world as merchant seamen and others have lived and worked for long periods in the United States, Central America, Canada and Europe. Other, older residents have never left their island home.
Last Updated: 2011-08-04