Do You Want To Learn More About Bermuda?

Learning about Bermuda is the first step to planning a vacation in paradise. Bermuda is an island, made up of 138 smaller islands, in the sun.

The birth of Bermuda

Formed on the Mid Atlantic Ridge, Bermuda sits on the North American tectonic plate.

As a result of the moving tectonic plates, the group of islands eventually moved off of the hot spot of high volcanic activity. After the Great Ice Age the newly formed volcanic island began to flourish. Between birds flying by and dropping seedlings and the winds, promoting cross pollination, it wasn't long before the Island became a sub-tropical wilderness.  Below is an image of the island before the Great Ice Age.

Where is Bermuda Located?

It is located on the North American tectonic plate in the Atlantic Ocean, 32 20N, 64 45 W. It is about a third of the size of Washington D.C., and has always been known to provide 21 sq miles of land, however, thanks to the ongoing reclamation of land, the island is approximately 54 sq miles.

Who founded the island?

The group of islands were first founded in 1503 by Juan de Bermudez, a Spaniard.  The island was later named after him.

Who colonized the island?

In 1609 the Sea Venture was on route to Jamestown, Virginia carrying food and supplies to the new settlement from England, was shipwrecked on our reefs just off what is now Ft St Catherine.  Below is the memorial of their wreckage.  The survivors, including Admiral Sir George Somers, made their way to the main land and began to build a ship to take them on to their original destination.

By 1610 the first settlers ended up building two ships, since they found the wood to be in bountiful supply, namely Patience and Deliverance. These later took some of the survivors on to Jamestown, Virginia while the reminder were left to colonize the island.

How did the first settlers survive?

Bermuda used to be known as the Isles of Devils. This name came about by the noises of the native bird Cahow and the wild hogs roaming the island. However the first settlers of the island fed themselves on these noisy creatures found about Bermuda as well as on the bountiful supply of fish found in the ocean.  

They built their homes out of palm branches and cedar wood found on the island as shown in the below replica located at Carter's House.

The formation of the first capital of Bermuda

The first settlers constructed the island's first capital, located in St. Georges, named after Admiral Sir George Somers. As the island population grew so did the need for more buildings and laborers to build them. Below is the Old State House ,Bermuda's oldest building which was built in 1620 and was used to seat the colonial parliament when the city was in the town of St. Georges.

The Admirals love for Bermuda...

Admiral Sir George Somers loved everything about Bermuda so much that when he died his heart was buried in Somers Garden, which was named after him. It is a beautiful garden set right in the town of St Georges. 

What is the capital of Bermuda now?

In 1815 the capital of Bermuda moves from St. Georges to the City of Hamilton. This is located within Pembroke Parish, one of the nine parishes that the island is divided into. 

The beginning of politics

In the beginning the island was run by the Virginia Company and the Bermuda Company. However these two companies running the island was less than desirable. At this point in Bermuda history marks the beginning of politics. In 1620 St. Peters Church hosted the first Bermuda Parliament meeting.  

What is the weather like?

The weather is great which entices tourists to the pink sandy shores. The climate is sub tropical which can provide intense humidity in the summer months and lots of rain.  Hurricane season is during the months June though to November.  One thing you must know about Bermuda is that the winter months can be quite cold, windy, damp and often ushers in strong winds and gales which are normally cold fronts moving off the US East Coast.

How do I get around the island?

I have heard tourists comment that since the island is so small they can walk to where they need to go. I smile at the lack of knowledge about Bermuda. In some instances you can walk, providing everything you need is close by. The truth of the matter is although the land mass isn’t quite as extensive as most other countries the hilly terrain coupled with the humidity can make walking anywhere almost unbearable.

Otherwise there are public transportation services that you can take advantage of which include ferries and buses, shown below. Taxis, shuttles and mopeds are readily available for reasonable prices.

Are there any natural resources?

Since the weather is that of a wet nature the most precious natural resource found on the island is limestone. This rock is basically the foundation of Bermuda. A picture of this porous rock is shown below.  The island itself sits on a limestone cap that has formed on top of the volcano that made paradise. It is a very porous rock and is quite strong. So strong that it is used in the building of the homes dotting the green pastures.

Approximately 20% of the land is utilized for farming whereas the remaining 80% is used for open spaces and developments. You will not find any fresh water lakes, waterfalls or rivers on the island. But you will come across brackish and salt water ponds and marshes.

Was there slavery on the island?

A fascinating fact about Bermuda is back in 1616 the first shipment of African slaves and captured Native Americans were brought to the island. They worked as tradespeople, domestic servants and agricultural laborers.  They also worked as sailors on pirate and privateer ships. Slavery was later abolished in 1834.

Inside the Commissioners House in Dockyard you will find an amazing mural dipicting the history of Bermuda's slavery.

What is the culture of the people?

The locals are known as Bermudians. Bermudians comprise of many ethnic groups however the majority are predominately black. In total there are about 70,000 people living in the land. The official language is English however Portuguese is widely spoken.

Another thing about Bermuda is that there are many different nationalities including Portuguese, Canadian, English, Indian, West Indian, Native American, Filipino, Jamaican, Africans, Chinese, and Italians have influenced Bermudian culture. The heritage and culture of Bermuda is on display at the annual Heritage Day parade and Cup Match.

Who governs the land?

A fact that many don't know about Bermuda is it is an overseas territory of the UK. In 1684 the island officially became a British Colony.

As a result there is a Governor residing on the island who is appointed by the Queen of England and under him is a Premier who is elected by the people of Bermuda. The government is a self governed one with a Parliamentary way of governing.

How did the first Bermudians make their fortune?

Another cool fact about Bermuda, is that the US Civil War paved the way for Bermudians to make their fortune shipping ammunition off to the confederates. Because of this strategic location in the Atlantic the island played a significant role in the intelligence operations during World War II.

Its close proximity to the United States allowed the Americans to build bases on the land that was leased to them. The reclaiming of land that took place in Ferry Reach paved the way for the L.F. Wade International Airport to be built thus opening Bermuda to all other international destinations.

How does the island generate income today?

The economy of the land comprises of International Business, financial services and the provision of luxury facilities.  When the tourism industry became less popular and no longer the primary source of income into the island, this gave rise to exempt companies looking to domicile in Bermuda. Some companies decided to redomicile, continue or amalgamate in order to have a presence in the island. Bermuda has a sophisticated infrastructure and a long history of accommodating international businesses.