A small island off the northern coast of Honduras, Roatan has become a popular tourist destination over the last couple of years. Many vacationers choose to visit Roatan because of its diving opportunities and picturesque white-sand beaches. When we are talking about the population of Roatan, we estimate it to be between 100,000 and 120,000. In the most recent census done by the government in 2014, the population of the island was 109,000.
History of Roatan Population
The pre-Columbian indigenous people of Roatan where believed to have been related to the Paya Indians from the mainland of Honduras. Christopher Columbus on his fourth voyage (1502–1504) came to the Bay Islands and soon after the Spanish began raiding the Bay Islands for slave labour.
Throughout colonial times, Roatan attracted an array of settlers, pirates, traders and military forces. On several occasions, the islands were under military occupation by the Spanish or English who occupied Roatan on and off between 1550 and 1700. During this time also, pirates found the islands a safe haven for settlement.
In 1797, the English deported from St. Vincent a few hundred Black Caribs to a settlement in Punta Gorda in Roatan, these settlers migrated to various parts of Honduras and Central America and went on to form the foundation of the Garifuna culture.
In the 1850s, Britain declared the Bay Islands its colony, but within a decade, the British Crown ceded the territory back to Honduras. At this time the majority of the islands residents where families who had migrated to Roatan from the Cayman Islands.
In the 19th century, Roatan’s population grew slowly but steadily with settlements being developed all over the island. In the 20th century the population continued to grow but somewhat quicker with migrants from mainland Honduras, and expat residents from all over the world deciding to relocate, work or invest in Roatan.
Cruise Ships create a daily increase in the Roatan Population
The port statistics tell us that just over 1 million cruise passengers visited Roatan in 2016. 361 cruise ships docked in Roatan in 2016 and there has been a 14.7 percent increase of passengers over the previous year. There are a number of cruise lines that come from cities in the USA like New Orleans, Tampa, and Miami and now include stops in Roatan as part of their Caribbean travel itinerary. Roatan is home to two popular cruise ship ports: Mahogany Bay in Dixon Cove and Port of Roatan in Coxen Hole. Both ports see more visitors each year as the cruise lines like Princess, Norwegian, Carnival, and Royal Caribbean bring more tourists to Roatan.
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