Cayman Islands profile

A chronology of key events:

1503 - Navigator Christopher Columbus sights the islands.

1670 - Spain cedes the islands, along with Jamaica, to the English under the terms of the Treaty of Madrid.

Early 1700s - First permanent settlers arrive.

1794 - Legendary "Wreck of the Ten Sails": A ship hits a reef off Grand Cayman, closely followed by its convoy of nine vessels.

1832 - Legislative assembly set up.

1863 - Caymans become a Jamaican dependency, administered by an appointed commissioner.

1877 - Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman come under common administration.

1932 - Hurricane kills scores of people on Cayman Brac.

1959 - Caymans join short-lived Federation of the West Indies.

Jamaica ties cut

1962 - Federation of the West Indies dissolves. Jamaica declares independence. Caymans stay under British rule; a separate administrator is appointed.

1971 - Title of administrator is changed to governor.

1972 - New constitution provides for a greater autonomy.

1994 - Constitution modified.

2001 - Constitutional review launched but later put on hold.

2001 November - United Democratic Party (UDP) is formed. Leader of government business, Kurt Tibbetts, ousted after vote of no-confidence. UDP's McKeeva Bush assumes the role.

2002 May - British Overseas Territories Act grants British citizenship to all Caymanians.

2004 September - Hurricane Ivan, one of the strongest Atlantic hurricanes on record, causes widespread destruction on Grand Cayman.

2005 May - Opposition People's Progressive Movement, led by Kurt Tibbetts, wins general election.

2007 March - New constitutional review launched.

2009 May - US President Barack Obama singles out Cayman Islands in an attack on tax havens.

2009 May - United Democratic Party wins elections.

2009 August - Territory joins OECD's global "white list" of countries using internationally recognised tax standards.

2009 September - Britain refuses to allow territory to take out loans to plug a budget deficit, suggesting it raise funds in other ways.

2010 April - British police brought in to help tackle gang-related crime and preserve territory's reputation for safety.

2012 December - Premier McKeeva Bush is arrested as part of a corruption investigation, with charges including misuse of a government credit card and importing explosive materials. He denies all charges. Parliament passes vote of no confidence in Mr Bush after he refuses to resign, effectively removing him from the premiership.

2013 May - Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Anguilla, Montserrat and the Turks and Caicos Islands sign agreements on sharing tax information with Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain as part of an international drive against tax evasion.

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