Bermuda

Capital: Hamilton
Dialing code: +1
Area: 20.54 sq miles (53.2 km²)
Currency: Bermudian dollar
Continent: Americas, North America

Country Name

  • Conventional long form: none
  • Conventional short form: Bermuda
  • Former: Somers Islands

Etmology

  • Bermuda was named after Juan de Bermudez.
  • Bermudez sailed through the reefs to reach the island in 1515.
  • An account of his voyage is given by historian Gonzales Ferdinando d’Oviedo who was also present on the ship.

History

  • Bermuda is believed to have been discovered by the Europeans in 1503.
  • It featured on a map designed by Peter Martyr d'Anghiera in 1511.
  • Spanish explorer Juan de Bermúdez was the first to discover the islands.
  • Spanish and Portuguese ships halted at the islands to replenish their resources.
  • The islands were known as the “Isle of Devils” due to legends and folklore.
  • The islands were not inhabited by permanent settlers for a long time after their discovery.
  • Unfavorable weather prevented colonization on the islands.
  • The island was claimed by the English Crown in 1684.
  • In 1615, the colony was taken over by the Somers Isles Company .
  • John Rolfe was responsible for beginning Virginia's tobacco industry.
  • Planned settlement began with the arrival of the “Plough” in 1612.
  • Before the American Revolution, thousands of Bermudians immigrated to South America.
  • The conservation laws of the New World were created in Bermuda during 1616 to 1620.
  • In 1649, the English Civil War raged and King Charles I was beheaded in London.
  • The Bermudian Civil War followed which was ended by embodied militias.
  • The colonists forced the puritans and independents into exile in the Bahamas.
  • Agriculture on the Bermuda did not meet with success.
  • After the dissolution of the Somers Isle Company, Bermudians shifted from agriculture to shipbuilding and replanting farmland with the native juniper trees.
  • Bermudians deforested their landscape to begin salt trade that massively contributed to the land’s economic growth.
  • Whaling, privateering, and the merchant trade were the major income generating activities.
  • During the American War of 1812, Bermuda was used by the British as a launching pad for attacks.
  • In 1816, James Arnold fortified Bermuda's Royal Naval Dockyard against possible US attacks.
  • Defense and foreign affairs were taken care of by the United Kingdom.
  • Bermuda now exists as the oldest British colony.
  • A Royal Assent granted Bermuda limited self-governance in 1620.
  • Bermuda has the fifth oldest parliament in the world.

Bermuda flag

Demographics

  • Majority of the population is black (54.8%).
  • 34.1% population is white and 6.4% is multiracial.
  • The number of Asians is also gradually increasing in Bermuda.
  • 10% of the population is Portuguese in origin.
  • Many people on St. David Island are descendants of Native Americans.
  • The Algonquian peoples were exiled from New England colonies and sold into slavery during the 17th century.
  • Expatriate communities comprise of people from the UK, Canada, the West Indies, and the U.S.
  • 29% of the population is non-Bermudian.

Government and Politics

  • Bermuda is an overseas territory of the UK.
  • It is a self-governing territory ruled by a parliamentary government.
  • Administrative divisions comprise of nine parishes and two municipalities.
  • The two municipalities include Hamilton and Saint George.
  • The nine parishes include Devonshire, Hamilton, Paget, Pembroke, Saint George’s, Sandy’s, Smith’s, Southampton and Warwick.
  • Bermuda Day (24 May) is observed as a national holiday.
  • The Constitution came into effect on June 1, 1967.
  • The Constitution was amended in 1989 and 2003.
  • Queen Elizabeth II is the chief of state.
  • The head of government is the premier.
  • The cabinet ministers are nominated by the premier and appointed officially by the governor.
  • The governor is appointed by the monarch.
  • The leader of the majority party or coalition is appointed premier by the governor following legislative elections.
  • The legislative branch consists of a bicameral parliament modeled on the Westminster system.
  • The Senate is the upper house consisting of eleven members appointed by the governor on the advice of the premier and the leader of the opposition.
  • The House of Assembly consists of thirty-six members elected by the eligible voting populace in secret ballot.
  • Elections must be called at 5 year intervals in the country.
  • The legal system is based on the English law.
  • The Judicial branch is represented by the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and the Magistrate Courts.

Culture

  • Bermudian culture is a combination of British and African heritages.
  • The British influences can be seen in the education system, government and legal framework.
  • Cricket is the most popular sport in the country.
  • Pub culture is very popular among the Bermudans.
  • Majority of the people speak English.
  • Christianity is the dominant religion.
  • A subtle African influence can be seen in the music and dance forms.
  • Reggae and calypso are popular musical genres.
  • The unique Gombey dance is the most popular dance form.
  • Gombey dancing is inspired by the Christian missionaries, the British military and the American Indians.
  • Gombey dancing is carefully choreographed to specific rhythms and often depicts biblical stories.
  • The dancers traditionally perform on the streets on Boxing Day and New Year's Day.
  • Bermudan cuisine is heavily influenced by British styles.

Economy

  • Bermuda has the third highest per capita income in the world.
  • Tourism and international financial services are the primary revenue earners.
  • Bermuda’s international business sector is rapidly growing due to the increasing number of reinsurance companies.
  • Most capital equipment and food must be imported.
  • Construction is the most important industry.
  • Agriculture is limited due to unavailability of arable land.
  • The GDP (purchasing power parity) as calculated in 2004 was $4.5 billion.
  • 2.1% of the population is unemployed.
  • 19% of the population is below poverty line.
  • The main agricultural produce consists of bananas, vegetables, citrus, flowers, dairy products and honey.
  • The primary industries are international business, tourism and light manufacturing.
  • Export commodities include re-exported pharmaceuticals.
  • Import commodities include clothing, fuels, machinery and transport equipment, construction materials, chemicals, food and live animals.

Infrastructure

  • Telecommunication system in Bermuda is fully automated and modernized.
  • There are eight radio broadcast stations and three television broadcast stations.
  • Internet facilities are readily available.
  • Bermuda has one international airport.
  • Roadways cover a distance of 447 km.
  • Bermuda’s merchant marine is equipped with 133 ships.
  • The main ports and terminals are located at Hamilton and Saint George.

Education

  • Until 1965, there were separate schools for “whites” and “blacks”.
  • At present, the Bermuda Public School System has twenty-six schools.
  • An Alternative Programme is provided for students with behavioral challenges.
  • The Bermuda College offers higher education in the form of associate degrees and other certificate programs.
  • Bermuda does not have any four-year colleges or universities.
  • Three categories of schools operate in the Bermuda Education system:
  •  Different Schools
    1. Aided schools: These are run by a board of trustees and are partially maintained by public funding.
    2. Maintained school: These are owned by the Government and fully maintained by public funds.
    3. Private school: These are registered with the government and do not receive any financial aid.

Neighbour Countries

Bermuda is surrounded by:

  • Miami, Florida (southwest)
  • Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada (North)
  • Cape Hatteras, North Carolina (Southwest)

Geographical Settings

  • Bermuda is located off the east coast of the United States in the North Atlantic Ocean.
  • Its geographical coordinates are 32 20 N, 64 45 W.
  • Bermuda covers a total area of 53.3 sq km.
  • The coastline is 103 km long.
  • Bermuda enjoys a mild, humid, subtropical climate.
  • Gales and strong winds are common during winter months.
  • The terrain comprises of low hills separated by fertile depressions.
  • The highest point is Town Hill standing at 76 m.
  • 20% of the land is arable.
  • Natural resources include limestone and pleasant climate fostering tourism.
  • Hurricanes are common between June and November.
  • Sustainable development is the primary environmental concern.
  • Rainfall is abundant but there are no rivers or freshwater lakes.
  • Bermuda consists of about 138 coral islands.

Freedom

  • Bermuda is a partially self-governing overseas territory of the United Kingdom.

Famous for

  • Bermuda is rrenowned for its pink sand beaches and natural beauty.
  • St. George's is a designated World Heritage Site.
  • Shipwreck sites and coral reefs are popular among scuba divers.
  • Bermuda's most popular attraction is the Royal Navy Dockyard and Museum.
  • The Crystal Caves are famous for stalactites and underground saltwater pools.
  • Bermuda’s aquarium, zoo and museum also receive a large number of visitors every year.

Total Population

  • According to a 2008 census, the total population was estimated to be 66,536.
  • The annual population growth rate is 0.546%.
  • Birth rate: 11.15 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
  • Death rate: 7.98 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Bermuda Related Topics:

» Bermuda Shipping Companies » Sports in Bermuda

Bermuda Tourist Attractions:

  • Horseshoe Bay
  • Bermuda Botanical Gardens
  • Bermuda Aquarium
  • Spanish Point
  • Gibbs Hill Light House
  • Ireland Island
  • Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity
  • Boaz Island
  • Bermuda Maritime Museum