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Though Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman Island is a misnomer (it's really only 51/2 miles long), no one is complaining. Seven Mile Beach is part of the Cayman Islands, and is located on Grand Cayman Island, the largest of the three island group. The original inhabitants thrived with little outside contact through turtle hunting, rope making, and ship building. The Cayman Islands National Museum provides a great overview of the islands' history and culture.
The Cayman Islands' "civilized" history hails back over 500 years to 1503, when the inimitable Christopher Columbus and crews were blown off course by strong winds. Turtles inspired the island chains' original name of "La Tortugas", which was later changed to "Caymanas," derived from the Carib word for crocodile. In 1655, England's tentacles grabbed hold of the islands when Oliver Cromwell's army took Jamaica from Spanish control, making it a British territory.
Legalized piracy (condoned by their countries of origin) had a strong influence in the islands for many years, lending the air of adventure and buried treasure to the islands' history. Slavery was a part of the Caymans' history until 1835, when the British parliament declared the islands' emancipation.
The islands were annexed to Jamaica in 1863 and the islands began to develop. In 1959 the islands obtained their first constitution, and in 1962, Jamaica became independent while the other two islands opted to remain under British rule.