Colonization by the Spanish began in the early 1500s. Over the next century, the Spanish plundered the island for its slave trade and eliminated the island of its natives by the early 1600s. Britain, in its aggressive attempt to colonize the Caribbean from the Spanish, occupied the Bay Islands on and off between 1550 and 1700. During this time, the buccaneers found the vacated, mostly unprotected islands a haven for safe harbor and transport. Útila is rich in pirate lore that, and even presently, scuba divers look for sunken treasure from Captain Morgan's lost booty from his raid on Panama in 1671.