Utila has a rich history with well-researched accounts of pirates, buried treasure,
and intrigue that are blended with ancient legends, mystery, and romance.
The early inhabitants of Utila were the Paya Indians, which pre-date the Mayan civilization,
and have left behind evidence of their existence that is scattered throughout the
beaches and numerous caves of Utila. The Bay Islands were first discovered by Europeans
when Christopher Colombus found them on the morning of July 30th, 1502, during his
fourth voyage to the "New World". This period was followed by the Spanish & Cuban
Slavers and the pirate years of the 17th & 18th centuries when Dutch, French, and
English buccaneers such as Van Horne, Claibourne, and Morgan ruled the land and the
Samuel Warren, the first American settler to Utila and the original owner/builder
of the Island House, arrived in the 1830's and was quickly joined by the arrival
of more white settlers from the Cayman Islands in 1836. These people co-habitated
with the Black Caribs or Garifuna, who are a mixture of African negro, Carib, and
Arawak Indians that were displaced from St. Vincent. On April 22nd, 1861, the British
Treaty with Honduras returned control to the central government of Honduras where
it remains until today.
Utila is now home to several distinct populations that consist of Paya Indians, Spaniards,
buccaneers, Englishmen, Black Caribs, Anglo-Antilleans, Afro-Antilleans, North Americans,
Europeans, and Spanish Hondurans that color the human fabric of the island. Many
of the early settlers family names such as Cooper, Bush, Howell, Hill, Jackson, Morgan,
Rose, Thompson, and Warren continue to live on in present day Utila.