Rum Cay has been through a history of booms and busts over the years. Long ago, Rum Cay was the second island that Columbus visited in 1492, which he called Santa Maria de la Concepcion. Spanish explorers once found a lone rum keg washed up on a shore and changed the name again to Rum Cay. Pineapple Plantations started to develop in the beginning of the 19th century when Loyalists settled here. It is recorded that thousands of people lived on the island during this time until competition ended the economic benefits of these plantations. Later, a thriving salt industry started in Rum Cay as Crystal Salt factory developed a large salt pond in the southeast part of the island. During this time, there was another boom and the island grew back to a population of near 1000. After one of the worst known direct hurricane hits on the island in 1926, which decimated the salt ponds, the salt industry ended. Since that time there have been a couple attempts to start resorts which so far have failed and the population has varied between 50 and 100.
Today, most of the islanders on Rum Cay struggle in many ways. There is a one room, all age school which has had a declining population over the years. The school and its one teacher have limited resources, but they have made the most of what little they have. While there are some local government jobs as well as a couple of stores which supply basic essentials, and some jobs created for taking care of properties for US residents, the local economy is basically non-existent.
Now with the hit of Hurricane Joaquin the island is in a state of emergency. Relief efforts are under way but we need your financial help. All proceeds will initially go towards relief efforts and then the long, rebuild of Rum Cay to come.
If you have ever been to this island paradise you will know the beautiful nature of people on Rum Cay. Your help is needed now!
Please follow us on Facebook at Rum Cay Community to follow our relief efforts. Please share resources & ideas with us there.