Roatan – A Prosperous Island Much Fought for by the Major Colonizers of the Caribbean Area
The largest of the Bay Islands around Honduras, Roatan had been inhabited by Maya, Paya and Lenca tribes way before it was discovered by Christopher Columbus during his fourth voyage, between 1502 and 1504. It was raided many times by the Spanish, who took the locals as slaves. Slave trade stopped when the local population was almost completely eradicated by the smallpox and the measles they contracted from the Spanish.
For the next few centuries it was ruled alternately by the Spanish and the British. In the 19th century, Roatan was populated by migrants from Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. In the 1850’s it became a British colony again, but it was soon ceded to Honduras, and it still stays a territory of Honduras today.