One of the most illustrious and capable of all the privateers to visit Roatan was Captain William Dampier. He sailed to the islandin 1679 when he was 28. He had just met John Coxen on a logwood cutting mission in Belize.
For over half a century Honduras was the biggest exporter of bananas to the United States, shipping over 12 million stems per year. The peak production decades for Roatan and The Bay Islands were the 1920s and 1930s, but it all started in 1876.
By the 1680s the tiny island of Saint.Vincent, located1800 miles from Honduras had become a sanctuary for maroons. These escaped slaves were accepted by the island’s Carib Indians who mixed and intermarried with them.
The inhabitants of Roatan and the other Bay Islands were much relieved in 1683, when notorious Dutch pirate, Nicholas Van Hoorn, attacked Trujillo in his massive “triple-decker warship.” His St Nicholas Day carried a small army of 300 men.
A part from a few pottery shards and bone fish hooks, there is not much evidence left that Paya Indians lived on Roatan and the other Bay Islands. Yet they lived and flourished here and on the eastern mainland of Honduras for over 3,000 years