Whats the Story? – Pirates Week in the Cayman Islands
Since 1977 the Cayman Islands have celebrated their heritage in a rather strange fashion… by letting pirates take over the island for a week every November. It is a fun filled week with lots of pirates wandering around George town, a pirate float parade and a spectacular fireworks display over the water, but what is the story behind this celebration?
Up until the 17th Century it is thought that the Cayman Islands were uninhabited by any indigenous population, it is thought the first people to live on the islands were shipwrecked sailors and deserters.
Christopher Columbus was the first person to ‘discover’ the islands back in 1503 but they did not belong to anybody until 1607 when they were claimed as British Territory. This particular time in history was when pirates were at their height of swashbuckling glory. The islands quickly became a favourite place for the buccaneers to hide out and possibly retire due to its lack of inhabitants, lots of coves for hiding, plenty of turtles for food and the absence of an organised government. Even Blackbeard the most famous of all pirates is thought to have paid a visit!
Launched as a way to boost tourism on the islands, pirates week in Cayman now attracts an extra 35,000 visitors to the island each year!