The “Jewel of the Atlantic,” Bermuda is much closer than you think–less than 2 hours away from most eastern US airports. With our incomparable weather, pink sand beaches, breadth of historic sites and warm, friendly people, it’s no wonder Condé Nast Traveler readers have voted Bermuda “Best Island in the Caribbean/Atlantic” 17 times since 1994.
With our numbers reaching approximately 65,500, we Bermudians are a diverse group. Look around at our faces and you will see every colour of the rainbow. Listen and you will hear English like you’ve never heard, flavoured with a Bermudian lilt and sounding more like song than speech.
We are flattered about our reputation as some of the friendliest people in the world, and we do our best to keep it that way. Needless to say, we very much look forward to showing you why we love to call this beautiful place our home.
A few quick facts about us:
• Bermudians are descendants of slaves from the West Indies and West Africa, English settlers, Irish adventurers, exiled North American Indian prisoners and Portuguese immigrants
• The typical Bermudian accent can still be traced to Elizabethan English. In fact, Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” is believed to have been inspired by the shipwreck of the “Sea Venture”. The character Ariel makes reference to “the still-vex’d Bermoothes”.
• Historically, we are sea adventurers – fishermen, whalers, traders and privateers. Today, Bermudian seamanship can be seen in our annual yacht and fitted dinghy races.
• We honour old world manners: “Good morning” and “Good afternoon” are an absolute must for Bermudians.
Our Rich History
By straddling the old and new worlds, our island often finds itself a player in history’s crucial moments. And that is just how we like it.
A Quick Bermuda Timeline
1505 ~ Spanish sea captain Juan de Bermúdez spots the uninhabited islands that will later bear his name.
1609 ~ A violent storm wrecks the Jamestown-bound “Sea Venture” off St. George’s Island. Sir George Somers and his entire crew miraculously survive, marking the beginning of the colonisation of our island.
1612 ~ Our island is surrendered by the private Virginia Company to the Crown, making the island Britain’s oldest colony.
1620 ~ The first Bermuda Parliament convenes in St. Peter’s Church.
1812 ~ The United States declares war on Great Britain. Bermuda becomes a staging area for British troops on their way to fight the United States.
1815 ~ The City of Hamilton succeeds the Town of St. George as Bermuda’s capital.
1834 ~ Bermuda’s slaves are emancipated.
1844 ~ Gibbs’ Hill Lighthouse, the oldest cast iron lighthouse in the world is constructed.
1861 ~ US Civil War begins and Bermudians make their fortune ferrying supplies and munitions to the Confederates.
1877 ~ Mark Twain visits Bermuda for the first time and declares, “You can go to heaven if you want to, I’ll stay here in Bermuda.”
1883 ~ Princess Louise, daughter of Queen Victoria, visits Bermuda and helps to promote Bermuda as a tourist destination.
1941 ~ During WWII (1939-1945) Britain and the United States sign a 99-year lease that grants the US one-tenth of the land area of Bermuda for military purposes.
1964 ~ The phrase “Bermuda Triangle” is coined, but the myth is finally debunked in the 1970s.
1995 ~ US Navy and British Royal Navy close their bases in Bermuda.
2000 ~ The Historic Town of St. George and related fortifications are named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Shipwrecks. African drum beats. And those famous shorts. Our island’s culture is a rich fusion of British colonial history and African heritage that has developed into something unlike anywhere else in the world.
As Britain’s oldest colony, its influence continues to dominate our government, educational and legal institutions. You may spot
one of our judges walking through Hamilton in a powdered wig, see a bobby directing traffic or overhear a passionate conversation about a local cricket match.
African influences, while subtler, can be found in our dance and music, especially reggae, calypso and the rhythm of the Gombeys—our magnificent dancing and drumming troupes that often take to the streets.
• So-called Bermuda shorts were originally borrowed in the early 20th century from the British military’s uniform for hot climes. Although often colourful – pink is a favourite – do not mistake our shorts as informal. We take our shorts so seriously, in fact, we passed a law: no shorts shorter than six inches above the knee.
• Island cuisine is a reflection of our blended heritage and coastal access to premier local seafood such as wahoo and the ubiquitous rockfish. Our traditional dishes include Codfish and Potatoes (served either the English way with hard boiled egg, egg sauce and olive oil or Portuguese influenced with a tomato-onion sauce), Hoppin’ John (peas and rice), Pawpaw Casserole and, of course, Bermuda Fish Chowder.
• Bermuda’s architecture features whitewashed stepped roofs designed to channel rainwater into underground tanks. This is the main supply of fresh water as there are no rivers or lakes here.
• Bermuda is also famous for two signature drinks: the Dark ‘n Stormy® (featuring our own Gosling’s Black Seal Rum mixed with Ginger Beer) and the Bermuda Rum Swizzle
• The occurrence of ships and planes mysteriously disappearing in the area called the ‘Bermuda Triangle’ has made our island famous around the world. However, scientists believed the causes behind these mysterious disappearances were due to hurricanes, waterspouts, rogue waves and other potential geophysical phenomena. Visit the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute for a comprehensive display on the Bermuda Triangle.
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