1700 to 1900

In the 1700s, permanent settlement of Grand Cayman began with a few families, most notably the Boddens. Between 1734 and 1742, five land grants in Grand Cayman were made by the Governor of Jamaica. At this time, mahogany and logwood were exported to Jamaica.

In 1780, William Eden, a mariner and early English settler, established a cotton and mahogany plantation in Savannah’s Pedro bluff, building St. James (now known as Pedro St. James Castle), a remarkable building for that period and the only house on Grand Cayman to survive the devastating hurricane of 1784. In 1794 the ‘Wreck of the Ten Sail’ occurred and Cayman’s most popular legend (of how Cayman became tax-free) was born. In 1798, the Governor of Jamaica appointed the first magistrate in Cayman.

The 1800s saw the first census (1802) and on the 5th of December 1831, Pedro St. James was the site of a historic meeting of residents who came together to resolve which representatives should be appointed for the five different districts. The meeting allowed for local laws to be formed for better government. Cayman’s first elections took place five days later, and on the 31st of December, the first Legislative Assembly met in George Town. The population at that time was approximately 2,000.

Between 1830 and 1840, the first missionaries from the Anglican and Wesleyan churches arrived and the first schools were established (the Mico Charity and the Wesleyan school). In 1835, Governor Sligo of Jamaica landed in Cayman to declare all slaves free, in accordance with the Emancipation Act of 1833. In 1846, the Presbyterian Church was established by the Rev. James Elmslie. In 1898, Frederick Sanguinetti, a British national, was appointed by the Governor of Jamaica as the first Commissioner of the Cayman Islands.