British overseas territory in the North Atlantic Ocean
Top 10 Bermuda related articles
- 1 Etymology
- 2 History
- 3 Geography
- 4 Demographics
- 5 Politics
- 6 Economy
- 7 Education
- 8 Culture
- 9 Healthcare
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 Further reading
- 13 External links
Coat of arms
|Anthem: "God Save the Queen"|
|Unofficial territorial song: "Hail to Bermuda"|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Largest city||St. George's|
|Ethnic groups |
|Government||Parliamentary dependency under a constitutional monarchy|
|E. David Burt|
|House of Assembly|
|Government of the United Kingdom|
|Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP|
|To be Confirmed (As of 25 November 2020)|
|53.2 km2 (20.5 sq mi)|
• Water (%)
|Highest elevation||259 ft (79 m)|
• 2018 estimate
• 2016 census
|1,338/km2 (3,465.4/sq mi) (9th)|
|GDP (nominal)||2019 estimate|
|$6.269 billion (161st (estimate))|
• Per capita
|Currency||Bermudian dollar (BMD)|
|Time zone||UTC−04:00 (AST)|
• Summer (DST)
|ISO 3166 code||BM|
Bermuda (//; The Somers Isles, or Islands of Bermuda) is a British Overseas Territory in the North Atlantic Ocean. It is about 1,035 km (643 mi) east-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina (with Cape Point on Hatteras Island being the nearest landfall); 1,236 km (768 mi) south of Cape Sable Island, Nova Scotia; 1,759 km (1,093 mi) northeast of Cuba, and 1,538 km (956 mi) due north of the British Virgin Islands. Though typically referred to in the singular, Bermuda has 181 islands; the largest of these being Main Island. Bermuda's capital city is Hamilton. Bermuda is internally self-governing, with its constitution and cabinet of ministers selected from the elected Members of the lower house of a Parliament that enacts local laws. As the national government, the Government of the United Kingdom is ultimately responsible for ensuring good governance within British Overseas Territories, and retains responsibility for defence and foreign relations. As of July 2018, it has a population of 71,176, making it the most populous of the British overseas territories. Bermuda's largest industries are offshore insurance, reinsurance, and tourism. Bermuda had one of the world's highest GDP per capita for most of the 20th century.
Bermuda's climate is subtropical, primarily due to its chilly but mild winter temperatures. Unlike other designated subtropical areas, summers are also mild, with temperatures generally not rising above 30°C (86°F) in the hottest months of July and August. Its climate also exhibits oceanic features similar to other oceanic islands and western coasts of continents in the Northern Hemisphere: mean wind direction is from the west and carries warm, moist air from the ocean, ensuring relatively high humidity and stabilising temperature. Bermuda lies in Hurricane Alley and thus is prone to severe weather; however, it receives some protection from a coral reef and its position at the north of the belt, which limits the direction and severity of approaching storms.
Bermuda Intro articles: 71
Thou call'dst me up at midnight to fetch dew
From the still-vex'd Bermoothes
John Donne's poem The Storm uses the same idea:
Compar'd to these stormes, death is but a qualme,
Hell somewhat lightsome, and the’Bermuda calme.
Bermuda Etymology articles: 5
Bermuda was discovered in the early 1500s by Spanish explorer Juan de Bermúdez. Bermuda had no indigenous population when it was discovered, nor during initial British settlement a century later. It was mentioned in Legatio Babylonica, published in 1511 by historian Pedro Mártir de Anglería, and was included on Spanish charts of that year. Both Spanish and Portuguese ships used the islands as a replenishment spot to take on fresh meat and water. Shipwrecked Portuguese mariners are now thought to have been responsible for the 1543 inscription on Portuguese Rock, previously called Spanish Rock. Legends arose of spirits and devils, now thought to have stemmed from the calls of raucous birds (most likely the Bermuda petrel, or cahow) and loud nocturnal noises from wild hogs. With its frequent storm-wracked conditions and dangerous reefs, the archipelago became known as the 'Isle of Devils'. Neither Spain nor Portugal attempted to settle it.
Settlement by the English
For the next century, the island was frequently visited but not settled. The English began to focus on the New World, initially settling in Virginia, starting the Thirteen Colonies. After the failure of its first two colonies there, a more determined effort was initiated by King James I of England, who let the Virginia Company establish a colony at Jamestown, Virginia in 1607. Two years later, a flotilla of seven ships left England with several hundred settlers, food, and supplies to relieve the colony of Jamestown. However the flotilla was broken up by a storm. One ship landed on Bermuda's reef and reached the shores safely, with all 151 of its passengers surviving. (William Shakespeare's play The Tempest is thought to have been inspired by William Strachey's account of this shipwreck.) While there, they started a new settlement and built two small ships, Deliverance and Patience, to sail on to Jamestown. Bermuda was now claimed for the English Crown.
On 10 May 1610, the remaining survivors of Sea Venture sailed on to Jamestown. The Virginia Company's admiral, George Somers returned to Bermuda with the Patience to obtain food for the starving Jamestown settlers but died in Bermuda; the Patience instead sailed for England. In 1612, the English began settlement of the archipelago, officially named Virgineola, with arrival of the ship the Plough. New London (renamed St. George's Town) was settled that year and designated as the colony's first capital. It is the oldest continually inhabited English town in the New World.
In 1615, the colony, which had been renamed the Somers Isles in commemoration of Sir George Somers, was passed on to a new company, the Somers Isles Company. As Bermudians settled the Carolina Colony and contributed to establishing other English colonies in the Americas, several other locations were named after the archipelago. During this period the first enslaved people were held and trafficked to the islands. These were a mixture of enslaved native Africans who were trafficked to the Americas via the African slave trade and Native Americans who were enslaved from the Thirteen Colonies.
The archipelago's limited land area and resources led to the creation of what may be the earliest conservation laws of the New World. In 1616 and 1620 acts were passed banning the hunting of certain birds and young tortoises.
In 1649, the English Civil War was taking place and King Charles I was beheaded in Whitehall, London. The conflict spilled over into Bermuda, where most of the colonists developed a strong sense of devotion to the Crown. The royalists ousted the Somers Isles Company's Governor, and elected John Trimingham as their leader. Bermuda's civil war was ended by militias, and dissenters were pushed to settle The Bahamas under William Sayle.
[W]hereas divers acts of Rebellion have been committed by many persons inhabiting in Barbada's, Antego, Bermuda's and Virginia, whereby they have most Trayterously, by Force and Subtilty, usurped a Power of Government, and seized the Estates of many well-affected persons into their hands, and banished others, and have set up themselves in opposition to, and distinct from this State and Commonwealth, . . . the Parliament of England taking the premises into consideration, and finding themselves obliged to use all speedy, lawful and just means for the Suppression of the said Rebellion in the said Plantations, and reducing the same to fidelity and due obedience, so as all peaceable and well-affected people, who have been Robbed, Spoiled, Imprisoned or Banished through the said Treasonable practices, may be restored to the freedom of their persons, and possession of their own Lands and Goods, and due punishment inflicted upon the said Delinquents, do Declare all and every the said persons in Barbada's, Antego, Bermuda's and Virginia, that have contrived, abetted, aided or assisted those horrid Rebellions, or have since willingly joyned with them, to be notorious Robbers and Traitors, and such as by the Law of Nations are not to be permitted any maner of Commerce or Traffique with any people whatsoever; and do forbid to all maner of persons, Foreiners, and others, all maner of Commerce, Traffique and Correspondency whatsoever, to be used or held with the said Rebels in the Barbada's, Bermuda's, Virginia and Antego, or either of them.
The royalist colonies were also threatened with invasion. The Government of Bermuda eventually reached an agreement with the Parliament of England which left the status quo in Bermuda.
Later 17th century
In the 17th century, the Somers Isles Company suppressed shipbuilding, as it needed Bermudians to farm in order to generate income from the land. The Virginia colony, however, far surpassed Bermuda in both quality and quantity of tobacco produced. Bermudians began to turn to maritime trades relatively early in the 17th century, but the Somers Isles Company used all its authority to suppress turning away from agriculture. This interference led to islanders demanding, and receiving, revocation of the company's charter in 1684, and the company was dissolved.
Bermudians rapidly abandoned agriculture for shipbuilding, replanting farmland with the native juniper (Juniperus bermudiana, called Bermuda cedar) trees that grew thickly over the entire island. Establishing effective control over the Turks Islands, Bermudians deforested their landscape to begin the salt trade. It became the world's largest and remained the cornerstone of Bermuda's economy for the next century. Bermudians also vigorously pursued whaling, privateering, and the merchant trade.
Bermuda and the American War of Independence
Bermuda's ambivalence towards the American rebellion changed in September 1774, when the Continental Congress resolved to ban trade with Great Britain, Ireland, and the West Indies after 10 September 1775. Such an embargo would mean the collapse of their intercolonial commerce, famine and civil unrest. Lacking political channels with Great Britain, the Tucker Family met in May 1775 with eight other parishioners, and resolved to send delegates to the Continental Congress in July, aiming for an exemption from the ban. Henry Tucker noted a clause in the ban which allowed the exchange of American goods for military supplies. The clause was confirmed by Benjamin Franklin when Tucker met with the Pennsylvania Committee of Safety. Independently, others confirmed this business arrangement with Peyton Randolph the Charlestown Committee of Safety, and George Washington.
Three American boats, operating from Charlestown, Philadelphia and Newport, sailed to Bermuda, and on 14 August 1775, 100 barrels of gunpowder were taken from the Bermudian magazine while Governor George James Bruere slept, and loaded onto these boats. As a consequence, on 2 October the Continental Congress exempted Bermuda from their trade ban, and Bermuda acquired a reputation for disloyalty. Later that year, the British Parliament passed the Prohibitory Act to prohibit trade with the American rebelling colonies, and sent HMS Scorpion to keep watch over the island. The island's forts were stripped of cannons. Yet, wartime trade of contraband continued along well-established family connections. With 120 boats by 1775, Bermuda continued to trade with St. Eustatius until 1781, and provided salt to North American ports.:389–415
In June 1776, HMS Nautilus secured the island, followed by HMS Galatea in September. Yet, the two British captains seemed more intent on capturing prize money, causing a severe food shortage on the island until the departure of Nautilus in October. After France's entry into the war in 1778, Henry Clinton refortified the island under the command of Major William Sutherland. As a result, 91 French and American ships were captured in the winter of 1778–1779, bringing the population once again to the brink of starvation. Bermudian trade was severely hampered by the combined efforts of the Royal Navy, the British garrison and loyalist privateers, such that famine struck the island in 1779.:416–427
The death of George Bruere in 1780 turned the governorship over to his son, George Jr., an active loyalist. Under his leadership, smuggling was stopped, and the Bermudian colonial government was populated with like-minded loyalists. Even Henry Tucker abandoned trading with the United States, because of the presence of many privateers.:428–433
After the American Revolution, the Royal Navy began improving the harbours on the Bermudas. In 1811, work began on the large Royal Naval Dockyard on Ireland Island, which was to serve as the islands' principal naval base guarding the western Atlantic Ocean shipping lanes. To guard the dockyard, the British Army built a large Bermuda Garrison, and heavily fortified the archipelago.
During the War of 1812 between Britain and the United States, the British attacks on Washington, D.C. and the Chesapeake were planned and launched from Bermuda, where the headquarters of the Royal Navy's North American Station had recently been moved from Halifax, Nova Scotia.
In 1816, James Arnold, the son of Benedict Arnold, fortified Bermuda's Royal Naval Dockyard against possible US attacks. Today, the National Museum of Bermuda, which incorporates Bermuda's Maritime Museum, occupies the Keep of the Royal Naval Dockyard.
The British abolished the slave trade in 1807, but not the institution itself. As a result of frequent slave rebellions in their other colonies, as well as the efforts of British abolitionists, the British Parliament abolished slavery in 1833.
Due to its proximity to the southeastern US coast, Bermuda was frequently used during the American Civil War as a stopping point base for the Confederate States' blockade runners on their runs to and from the Southern states, and England, to evade Union naval vessels on blockade patrol; the blockade runners were then able to transport essential war goods from England and deliver valuable cotton back to England. The old Globe Hotel in St. George's, which was a centre of intrigue for Confederate agents, is preserved as a public museum.
During the Anglo-Boer War (1899–1902), 5,000 Boer prisoners of war were housed on five islands of Bermuda. They were located according to their views of the war. "Bitterenders" (Afrikaans: Bittereinders), who refused to pledge allegiance to the British Crown, were interned on Darrell's Island and closely guarded. Other islands such as Morgan's Island held 884 men, including 27 officers; Tucker's Island held 809 Boer prisoners, Burt's Island 607, and Port's Island held 35.
The New York Times reported an attempted mutiny by Boer prisoners of war en route to Bermuda and that martial law was enacted on Darrell's Island, in addition to the escape of three Boer prisoners to mainland Bermuda, a young Boer soldier stowed away and sailed from Bermuda to New York on the steamship Trinidad.
The most famous escapee was the Boer prisoner of war Captain Fritz Joubert Duquesne, who was serving a life sentence for "conspiracy against the British government and on (the charge of) espionage". On the night of 25 June 1902, Duquesne slipped out of his tent, worked his way over a barbed-wire fence, swam 1.5 miles (2.4 km) past patrol boats and bright spotlights, through storm-wracked waters, using the distant Gibbs Hill Lighthouse for navigation until he arrived ashore on the main island. From there he escaped to the port of St. George's and a week later, he stowed away on a boat heading to Baltimore, Maryland. He settled in the US and later became a spy for Germany in both World Wars. He claimed to be responsible for the 1916 death of Lord Kitchener in the sinking of HMS Hampshire, the head of the British Army who had also commanded British forces in South Africa during the second Boer War, but this had resulted from a mine. In 1942, Col. Duquesne was arrested by the FBI for leading the Duquesne Spy Ring, which to this day remains the largest espionage case in the history of the United States.
Lord Kitchener's brother, Lt. Gen. Sir Walter Kitchener, had been the governor of Bermuda from 1908 until his death in 1912. His son, Major Hal Kitchener, bought Hinson's Island (with his partner, Major Hemming, another First World War aviator). The island had formerly been part of the Boer POW camp, housing teenaged prisoners from 1901 to 1902.
20th and 21st centuries
In the early 20th century, as modern transport and communication systems developed, Bermuda became a popular destination for American, Canadian and British tourists arriving by sea. The US Smoot–Hawley Tariff Act of 1930, which enacted protectionist trade tariffs on goods imported into the US, led to the demise of Bermuda's once-thriving agricultural export trade to America and encouraged development of tourism as an alternative source of income. The island was one of the centres for illegal alcohol smuggling during the era of Prohibition in the United States (1920–1933).
A rail line was constructed in Bermuda in the 1920s, opening in 1931 as the Bermuda Railway. Although popular, its high operating costs and the introduction of automobiles to the islands doomed the line, which was abandoned in 1948. The right of way is now the Bermuda Railway Trail.
In 1930, after several failed attempts, a Stinson Detroiter seaplane flew to Bermuda from New York City, the first aeroplane ever to reach the islands. The flight was not without incident, as the aircraft had to land twice in the ocean, once because of darkness and again when it needed to refuel. Navigation and weather forecasting improved in 1933 when the Royal Air Force (then responsible for providing equipment and personnel for the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm) established a station at the Royal Naval Dockyard to repair float planes (and supply replacements) for the fleet. In 1936, Luft Hansa began to experiment with seaplane flights from Berlin via the Azores with continuation flights to New York City.
In 1937, Imperial Airways and Pan American Airways began operating scheduled flying boat airline services from New York and Baltimore to Darrell's Island, Bermuda. In World War II the Hamilton Princess Hotel became a censorship centre. All mail, radio and telegraphic traffic bound for Europe, the US and the Far East was intercepted and analysed by 1,200 censors, of British Imperial Censorship, part of British Security Coordination (BSC), before being routed to their destination. With BSC working closely with the FBI, the censors were responsible for the discovery and arrest of a number of Axis spies operating in the US, including the Joe K ring. In 1948, a regularly scheduled commercial airline service began to operate, using land-based aeroplanes landing at Kindley Field (now L.F. Wade International Airport), helping tourism to reach a peak in the 1960s and 1970s. By the end of the 1970s, however, international business had supplanted tourism as the dominant sector of Bermuda's economy.
The Royal Naval Dockyard and its attendant military garrison remained important to Bermuda's economy until the mid-20th century. In addition to considerable building work, the armed forces needed to source food and other materials from local vendors. Beginning in World War II, US military installations were also located in Bermuda, including a naval air station and submarine base along with US Army air, anti-aircraft, and coast artillery forces. The Army forces were under the Bermuda Base Command during the war, with some shifting and renaming of bases between the US Army, Navy, and Air Force after the war. The American military presence lasted until 1995.
Universal adult suffrage and development of a two-party political system took place in the 1960s. Universal suffrage was adopted as part of Bermuda's Constitution in 1967; voting had previously been dependent on a certain level of property ownership.
On 10 March 1973, the governor of Bermuda, Richard Sharples, was assassinated by local Black Power militants during a period of civil unrest. Some moves were made towards possible independence for the islands, however this was decisively rejected in a referendum in 1995.
Bermuda History articles: 123
Bermuda is a group of low-forming volcanoes in the Atlantic Ocean, in the west of the Sargasso Sea, roughly 578 nautical miles (1,070 km; 665 mi) east-southeast of Cape Hatteras on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, United States which is the nearest landmass.
Although usually referred to as one island, the territory consists of 181 islands, with a total area of 53.3 square kilometres (20.6 square miles). The largest island is Main Island (also called Bermuda). Eight larger and populated islands are connected by bridges. The territory is largely low-lying, with the tallest peak being Town Hill on Main Island at 79 metres tall (260'). The territory's coastline is 103 km (64 mi).
Bermuda's pink sand beaches and clear, cerulean blue ocean waters are popular with tourists. Many of Bermuda's hotels are located along the south shore of the island. In addition to its beaches, there are a number of sightseeing attractions. Historic St. George's is a designated World Heritage Site. Scuba divers can explore numerous wrecks and coral reefs in relatively shallow water (typically 30–40 ft or 9–12 m in depth), with virtually unlimited visibility. Many nearby reefs are readily accessible from shore by snorkellers, especially at Church Bay.
Bermuda's most popular visitor attraction is the Royal Naval Dockyard, which includes the National Museum of Bermuda. Other attractions include the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo, Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute, the Botanical Gardens and Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art, lighthouses, and the Crystal Caves with stalactites and underground saltwater pools.
Bermuda consists of over 150 limestone islands, but especially five main islands, along the southern margin of the Bermuda Platform, one of three topographic highs found on the Bermuda Pedestal. This Bermuda Pedestal sits atop the Bermuda Rise, a mid-basin swell surrounded by abyssal plains. Initial uplift of this rise occurred in the Middle to Late Eocene and concluded by the Late Oligocene, when it subsided below sea level. The volcanic rocks associated with this rise are tholeiitic lavas and intrusive lamprophyre sheets, which form a volcanic basement, on average, 50 metres (165') below the island carbonate surface.
The limestones of Bermuda consist of biocalcarenites with minor conglomerates. The portion of Bermuda above sea level consists of rocks deposited by aeolian processes. These eolianites are actually the type locality, and formed during interglaciations, and are laced by red paleosols, also referred to as geosols or terra rossas, indicative of Saharan atmospheric dust and forming during glacial stages. The stratigraphic column starts with the Walsingham Formation, overlain by the Castle Harbour Geosol, the Lower and Upper Town Hill Formations separated by the Harbour Road Geosol, the Ord Road Geosol, the Belmont Formation, the Shore Hills Geosol, the Rocky Bay Formation, and the Southampton Formation.
The older eolianite ridges (Older Bermuda) are more rounded and subdued compared to the outer coastline (Younger Bermuda). Thus, post deposition morphology includes chemical erosion, with inshore water bodies demonstrating that much of Bermuda is partially drowned Pleistocene karst. The Walsingham Formation is a clear example, constituting the cave district around Castle Harbour. The Upper Town Hill Formation forms the core of the Main Island, and prominent hills such as Town Hill, Knapton Hill, and St. David's Lighthouse, while the highest hills, Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, are due to the Southampton Formation.
Bermuda has two major aquifers, the Langton Aquifer located within the Southampton, Rocky Bay and Belmont Formations, and the Brighton Aquifer located within the Town Hill Formation. Four freshwater lenses occur in Bermuda, with the Central Lens being the largest on Main Island, containing an area of 7.2 km2 (1,800 acres) and a thickness greater than 10 metres (30').
Bermuda has a tropical rainforest climate (Köppen climate classification: Af), bordering very closely on a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification: Cfa). Bermuda is warmed by the nearby Gulf Stream, and low latitude. The islands may experience modestly cooler temperatures in January, February, and March [average 17 °C (63 °F)]. There has never been snow, a frost or freeze on record in Bermuda.
Summertime heat index in Bermuda can be high, although mid-August temperatures rarely exceed 30 °C (86 °F). The highest recorded temperature was 34 °C (93 °F) in August 1989. The average annual temperature of the Atlantic Ocean around Bermuda is 22.8 °C (73.0 °F), from 18.6 °C (65.5 °F) in February to 28.2 °C (82.8 °F) in August.
Bermuda is in the hurricane belt. Along the Gulf Stream, it is often directly in the path of hurricanes recurving in the westerlies, although they usually begin to weaken as they approach Bermuda, whose small size means that direct landfalls of hurricanes are rare. The most recent hurricanes to cause significant damage to Bermuda were category 2 Hurricane Gonzalo on 18 October 2014 and category 3 Hurricane Nicole on 14 October 2016, both of which struck the island directly. Hurricane Paulette directly hit the island in 2020. Before that, Hurricane Fabian on 5 September 2003 was the last major hurricane to hit Bermuda directly.
With no rivers or freshwater lakes, the only source of fresh water is rainfall, which is collected on roofs and catchments (or drawn from underground lenses) and stored in tanks. Each dwelling usually has at least one of these tanks forming part of its foundation. The law requires that each household collect rainwater that is piped down from the roof of each house. Average monthly rainfall is highest in October, at over 6 inches (150 mm), and lowest in April and May.
Access to biocapacity in Bermuda is much lower than world average. In 2016, Bermuda had 0.14 global hectares  of biocapacity per person within its territory, far lower than the world average of 1.6 global hectares per person. In 2016 Bermuda used 7.5 global hectares of biocapacity per person—their ecological footprint of consumption. This means they use much more biocapacity than Bermuda contains. As a result, Bermuda runs a biocapacity deficit.
|Climate data for Hamilton – capital of Bermuda (L.F. Wade International Airport) 1981–2010, extremes 1949–2010|
|Record high °C (°F)||25.4
|Average high °C (°F)||20.7
|Daily mean °C (°F)||18.3
|Average low °C (°F)||15.8
|Record low °C (°F)||7.2
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||139
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 inch)||18||16||16||12||10||11||13||15||14||15||14||15||169|
|Average relative humidity (%)||73||73||73||74||79||81||80||79||77||74||72||72||76|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||142.9||144.5||185.7||228.1||248.1||257.2||281.0||274.1||220.1||197.5||170.3||142.5||2,492|
|Source: Bermuda Weather Service (sun, 1999–2010)|