The Cayman Islands is located in the western Caribbean traditionally referred to as the West Indies or British West Indies, it is a British Overseas Territory situated approximately four hundred and fifty miles south west of Miami. The Cayman Islands comprises three islands: Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman with a total area of around one hundred square miles and a total population of around fifty thousand, the largest and most populous of the Cayman Islands being Grand Cayman, which is also home to the capital George Town. Discovered by Christopher Columbus in May of 1503 on his fourth and final journey to the “New World” the islands were originally named Las Tortugas (The Turtles) by virtue of the abundant sea turtle population, after various name iterations Caymanas a derivation from the Carib word for crocodile was settled on which eventually became Cayman.
As with most Caribbean islands, historically the sea supported Cayman life, which is reflected in the country’s motto: “He hath founded it upon the seas”. Fishing, turtling, thatch rope making (for ships), ship building and shipping where historically the main sources of revenue but this radically changed in the nineteen sixties when a perceptive government set up the legal framework to promote the Cayman Islands as an offshore financial centre of which Cayman is now one of the largest and most pre-eminent in the world. Today corporations and residents bear no direct taxation; there is no capital gains tax, no corporation tax, income, inheritance, sales or withholding taxes in the Cayman Islands and importantly for those wishing to purchase real estate no property tax. Around eighty percent of the world’s hedge funds are now domiciled in the Cayman Islands, around which has grown up a large financial sector of accountants and attorneys who service this industry. It employs a large part of the Caymanian population as well as a significant expat population from all over the world. The Cayman Islands now enjoy the highest income per capita in the Caribbean and arguably the highest standard of living, with almost nil unemployment and very little crime to speak of, this combined with the natural tropical beauty and temperate climate make the Cayman Islands a veritable Caribbean paradise which ensures not only a strong tourism industry but a large non-resident population who wish to purchase second and third homes here. The Cayman Islands government promotes foreign ownership of property and guarantees land title and there is no simpler form of title transfer anywhere in the world.