Bermuda is the most northerly group of coral islands in the world, lying just beyond the Gulf Stream some 650 miles off the coast of the Carolinas. Although very small and isolated in its part of the ocean, it offers a wide variety of places to see, people to meet, and things to do. With an economy based on tourism and international business, Bermudians enjoy a high standard of living with almost no unemployment, no national debt, and no income tax. They do face, however, a high cost of living and an increasing share of the stress associated with maintaining the lifestyle of an economically developed western society.
Places to see vary from Hamilton, the capital, with its smart shops and busy harbor, to St. George, the only other municipality, with its Old World lanes and fortresses. You can sightsee from the North Shore, with its bizarre rock formations, to the South Shore with its pink and white beaches. From end to end Bermuda is picturesque. Nature has endowed it with an abundance of verdant trees and colorful flowers. The landscape is dotted with pastel-hued, white-roofed houses and stately, tasteful hotels. No factories, billboards, or neon signs blot the quaint scenery.
In addition to the pleasant and hospitable Bermudians, the people include large numbers of more recent arrivals from around the world, some official representatives of the UK and their families, hundreds of Americans and Canadians who live on the island all or part of the year, a constant stream of tourists from the U.S. and Canada, a small but long-settled Portuguese community, and many residents and workers from the West Indies.
Bermuda offers many things to do. For recreation, Bermuda offers a host of outdoor sports including golf, tennis, fishing, sailing, diving, and swimming, and an adequate number of pursuits such as movies, occasional theatrical productions, and musical concerts.
Life in Bermuda is confined, yet varied. The island can be restful, yet interesting, busy, but not hectic
Only 2,000 people reside within Corporation limits, but as the island's business center Hamilton's daytime population swells to about 14,000. The city's main attractions are its restaurants and its smart shops and department stores along Front Street, which faces the busy quay side of Hamilton's harbor. The city's low traditional buildings are rapidly giving way on many streets to international-style low-rise business buildings with a few Bermudian architectural grace notes, but the town still retains a basically
British-colonial appearance. From across the harbor, its central skyline is dominated by the towers of City Hall, the Bermuda Cathedral, and the Sessions House or parliament building. The last contains the chambers of the House of Assembly and Supreme Court. Nearby on Front Street is the Cabinet Building, which houses the Senate chamber and the offices of the Premier and his staff. On a hill just north of the city stands Government House, the official residence and office of the Governor, overlooking the city and the harbor to the south, the Dockyard across the water to the west, and the ocean to the north. Hamilton's other attractions include Albouy's Point, site of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club and a park overlooking the harbor, the Bermuda Library, which houses the Museum of Bermuda History, and the adjacent Par-La-Ville Gardens. The remains of Fort Hamilton are on the east side of the city, also providing harbor and city views from its ramparts
Electricity in Bermuda is U.S. standard, 110/60 cycle. All American electric or electronic equipment can be used here. The electrical supply is fairly reliable, with the occasional weather-associated or equipment-failure outages to be expected by residents of islands.
Almost all of the island's food supply is imported. With transportation costs and import duties, all consumer good prices are much higher than in the US. A few foods-some vegetables, bakery goods, fresh milk and eggs, meats and several species of fish-are produced locally but are expensive. U.S.-style supermarkets abound.
Clothing which would be suitable for wear during summer in Washington, D.C., may be worn in Bermuda from April through November. Moderately heavy clothing is useful during Bermuda's frost-free but chilly winters. Sweaters are essential but are something of a bargain at times in local stores.
Fashionable clothing of all sorts is available in local stores, usually but not always at prices somewhat above those of Washington. Wash-and-wear clothing is a great boon in Bermuda's climate, especially since dry cleaning is very expensive.
Office wear is more casual than in Washington, and Bermudians often wear Bermuda shorts with long socks, blazers, and ties. In general, dress in Bermuda is informal and colorful, but not to the extent associated with the tropical tourist islands to the south. Most social occasions and visits to all the better restaurants and hotels require at least jackets and ties, if not suits, for men and comparable outfits for women. Formal wear can be rented locally.
Supplies and Services
Virtually everything is available in Bermuda at a price or can be obtained quickly by mail order from the United States.
Numerous satisfactory beauty salons and barber shops are available in Hamilton and elsewhere. Nearly all appliance repairs are available somewhere in Bermuda but can be difficult if the right parts are not in stock. As with everything else, this can be expensive.
Musical instruments suffer in the climate and need tuning every few months. A piano becomes "tinny" after a year or two of exposure to the subtropical climate. The wooden structure of a violin or guitar may warp. A brass instrument may corrode, unless frequently polished.
Good, reliable domestic help is hard to find and is expensive because the demand greatly exceeds the supply. For general housekeeping, count on paying about $15 per hour. Very few live-in domestics or nannies are available. Importing one from elsewhere may be useful. Baby-sitters are available but are also expensive. The going rate for an average teenage babysitter is approximately $7 per hour. Gardeners are provided where needed at leased housing.
Bermuda is in the process of reorganizing its public education system to provide middle schools and reduce the number of existing secondary schools. Professionally, the Ministry of Education seems to rely heavily on advice from educationists in the Province of Ontario and has followed many of their approaches to educational policy.
The Bermuda College, established in 1974, provides post-secondary education on a level with American junior or community colleges. Courses offered include "academic studies" (designed for preuniversity work), "commerce and technology" (designed to prepare students for various trades and business skills), and "hotel technology." In 1980, the government opened Stonington Beach Hotel, which is operated by the College and staffed by students training for careers in the hotel industry. The College offers some courses from Queens University in Canada.
Bermuda has a number of private schools. In addition to denominational (Roman Catholic and Seventh-Day Adventist) schools, there is one girls' school and two co-educational English style grammar schools, one of which offers a postgraduate year designed to prepare qualified graduates of any Bermuda secondary school for attendance at American and Canadian universities. Another private school on the university level is Webster University which operates associate, bachelor's, and master's degree programs.
The reorganization of the public school system has created distrust among the public in the system as a whole. This in turn has nurtured a growing rush by parents to place their children in private schools, so waiting lists may apply.
The island's proximity to the U.S. east coast opens a wide choice of specialized schools for those who wish it.
Much of the island's life centers around outdoor activity. The island boasts of having more golf courses per square mile than any other country in the world. Of nine courses on the island, three are public, four are associated with hotels, and two are private with long waiting lists for membership. Greens fees are more expensive than at comparable courses in the U.S.
Tennis is also popular and almost all hotels have courts. The National Tennis Stadium has five courts available at moderate charges, and five tennis clubs throughout the island may be joined easily.
Sailing is the outdoor sport supreme; racing in the various classes takes place throughout the year, but the sport is expensive. Sailing classes for children are held three mornings a week at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club and the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club during the summer. The Bermuda Yachting Association also offers a subsidized sailing program in the summer.
Excellent light tackle fishing is available and more than 200 species of fish are found in the waters off Bermuda. Charter boats equipped with outriggers and all modern equipment are available at reasonable prices.
Bermuda's beaches are the main recreational areas. Along the South Shore stretch superb white and pink sand beaches which are ideal for swimming and sunbathing. Throughout the year hardy individuals can bathe in the sea, although the popular swimming season is from late May to early October. A Bermudian would not think of taking a dip in the sea between October and May, but visitors and foreign residents do. Water skiing can be enjoyed in the protected waters of the harbors and sounds. Skin-diving with mask and snorkel or with aqualungs is popular, and even inexperienced swimmers can soon learn how to explore reefs close off Bermuda's shore.
Most sporting equipment can be bought from local shops. Every make of camera and film can be found in Hamilton's shops.
Hamilton has two modern movie theaters. Other movie theaters are located at Dockyard and St. George's. Visiting concert musicians and ballet troupes sometimes perform in the small theater at Hamilton's City Hall. In recent years several excellent plays have also been presented by overseas theatrical groups.
As a tourist mecca, Bermuda has a varied program of spectator events. The Queen's Birthday in June and other national holidays are celebrated with military parades on Front Street. The opening of Parliament each autumn is also marked by impressive ceremonies. The International Yacht Race between Newport, Rhode Island, and Bermuda, held every other year in June, brings well over 100 entries from North America, South America, and Europe to Hamilton Harbor where they form as large a fleet of ocean-going sailing vessels as may be seen anywhere in the world. Another popular sports event is the two-day cricket Cup Match each August. Both days of the match are national holidays. 1997 also saw the third annual "ShootOut" professional golf tournament, and the inaugural offerings of a celebrity golf tournament and a Bermuda Film Festival.
There is an active International American Women's Club and Junior Service League for women.
Good restaurants are available throughout the island, and most hotels have first-class dining rooms. However virtually all dining establishments are priced for the tourist trade and are expensive. "Continental" and Italian cuisine predominate. Ethnic restaurants-Chinese, Indian, and Mexican-exist, but are far from authentic. Many hotels and clubs offer dancing nightly. Prices are scaled to the tourist traffic.
The only other municipality in Bermuda is ST. GEORGE , on the extreme east, about 12 miles from Hamilton. It is much larger than Hamilton, with an area of 400 acres, but has a population of less than 1,700. St. George is probably the oldest English-speaking community in the Western Hemisphere, and it preserves the atmosphere and appearance of a 17th-century settlement. A series of high-walled, cannon-bedecked fortresses dating from the early 1600s line its eastern seacoast. The most imposing is Fort St. Catherine, and in one of its chambers an illuminated diorama illustrates scenes from the colony's history. Nearby is Gunpowder Cavern, a brick-lined cluster of chambers and walkways deep within a man-made hill—formerly an ammunition magazine, but today a charming restaurant.
In King's Square, the former marketplace, stands a replica of an ancient stock and pillory. Around the square are most of the city's main attractions: St. Peter's Church, probably the oldest Anglican church site in the New World, in use, although often restored, since 1612; the Old State House, the colony's first stone building, constructed in 1619; Tucker House, a high-ceilinged mansion built in 1711, and the St. George Town Hall, in use since 1782. The square is lined on the south by the busy docks on the harbor.
Across St. George's harbor, to the south, lies St. David's Island, most of which is occupied by the U.S. Naval Air Station. The base's run-ways are shared with the Bermuda Civil Air Terminal, the colony's only civilian airport. The southernmost tip is the site of the Bermuda National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) installation, which has played an important role in manned space programs.
Separating St. David's and St. George's Islands from the 15-mile-long central island—sometimes called Main Island—is Castle Harbor, a six-square-mile body of seawater. Much of the eastern portion of Main Island is occupied by Harrington Sound, a three square-mile incursion of the sea that almost forms a lake.
Along the narrow strip of land between Castle Harbor and Harrington Sound are several caves where visitors may view impressive formations of stalactites and stalagmites. On the neck of land between Harrington Sound and the sea lies the village of Flatts, the most populous settlement between St. George and Hamilton. Nearby is the aquarium, where a fascinating collection of more than 200 varieties of fish and other marine life found in Bermuda's waters may be seen. Adjoining is the Natural History Museum, which displays shells, fossils, and marine antiques, and the Zoological Garden, featuring an array of tropical birds and animals.
At the southernmost point of Harrington Sound is Devil's Hole, a natural saltwater pool stocked with large fish and tortoises. Here visitors can drop baited, but hookless, lines to lure the creatures part way out of the water.
The western portion of Bermuda has its attractions, too. The large village of Somerset occupies much of Somerset Island, which lies just off the western terminus of Main Island, about 12 miles from Hamilton. Like St. George, Somerset retains much of the atmosphere and appearance of a 17th-century settlement. This island is connected with Main Island by Somerset Bridge, reputed to be the smallest functioning drawbridge in the world. It has a 22-inch-wide plank across its center which is raised by hand to allow clearance of sailboat masts.
Near Somerset, on a peninsula off Main Island, lies the U.S. Naval Air Station Annex, occupying about 268 acres. North of the base are the waters of Great Sound and, to the south, lies Little Sound. On Main Island, directly south of the base across Little Sound, stands Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, one of the most powerful lighthouses in the world. Completed in 1846, it stands on a 245-foot hill and is, itself, 117 feet high. Its rotating beam of a half-million candle power is visible as far away as 40 miles. Visitors may mount the spiral stairway to the top during the daytime.
Area and Geography
Bermuda is an archipelago of seven main islands and some 150 other islands and islets. The main islands, joined by bridges or causeways, stretch from northeast to southwest in a long, narrow formation that hooks northward at the western end. On the map the shape is much like that of a fishhook. The main islands are in close proximity, and since being joined the Bermuda Islands (or Somers Isles, their other name) are generally called the island of Bermuda.
Total land area is about 20 square miles-some 22 miles in length and an average of less than a mile in width. This is slightly smaller than the area of Manhattan. During World War 11, the U.S. military created 1.25 square miles of the present area by uniting and enlarging some of the islands with material dredged from the sea bottom.
The archipelago is the summit of a submerged volcanic mountain range, 14,000-15,000 feet high, which has been extinct since before the first ice age. Over the volcanic foundation and just under the inches-thin layer of soil capping it lies a 200-foot thick layer of limestone formed by deposits of mollusks, coral polyps, and other sea creatures. The coral content in the limestone substructure justify Bermuda's classification as a "coral island," though it is more accurately a mixed superstructure of aeolian petrified sand hills and limestone upon an eroded volcanic base. Only the surrounding reefs are true coral growths, and Bermuda is the most northerly point on the globe where reef-building coral exists.
Bermuda lies at latitude 32′ 18" N and longitude 65′46" W Geographically, it is remote and does not lie within or near the West Indies or Caribbean, with which it is often erroneously identified. The nearest land is Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, 570 nautical miles away. New-York City is 733 nautical miles to the northwest.
The terrain is hilly. Some hills exceed 200 feet in height; the highest, Gibbs Hill, is 260 feet above sea level. A fertile valley extends along the length of the main island. On the rocky northern shore wind-carved cliffs cascade into the sea. Similar rock formations form a dramatic backdrop for the long beaches and small coves of the sandy south shore. The enclosing reef, a few yards offshore on the south coast and up to several miles offshore on the north, emerges from the sea each day at low tide, framing the islands and completing the topographical picture.
Except for a few small ponds, no rivers, streams, lakes, or other fresh-water surface formations exist on the islands. For most of its history, Bermuda was thought to have no ground water, but in the 1920s and 30s, freshwater lens formations lying above underground salt water were discovered and exploited to supplement the island's main source of drinking water; rainwater collected on roofs and paved catchments.
Though far north from tropical latitudes, Bermuda has a mild, humid, frostfree climate. The annual mean temperature is 70.2 F. Highs in summer rarely top 90 E, lows in winter rarely are below the upper 50s. The lowest temperature ever officially recorded was 44 E The Gulf Stream, running west and north of the island, is the main reason for the good climate. Average annual rainfall is 57.6 inches, spread evenly across the 12 months. The year-round high humidity, averaging more than 75%, makes some days uncomfortably sticky in summer and damp in winter.
January through March tends to be overcast and squally, though when the sun shines it can be just breezy and spring-like. April and May are very pleasant. June through August are like summer in Washington, D.C., except that Bermuda nights are comfortable in houses positioned to catch southerly breezes. September is the stormy season; the hurricane season extends from June through November. Barring hurricanes, October through December are calm, usually sunny, mild months, considered by many the most pleasant part of the year. The climate plus the well-distributed rainfall and heavy dew make for a luxuriant growth of vegetation of every description, despite the dearth of soil.
Palms, Australian and Norfolk Island pines, mangrove, poinciana, casuarina, and ficus trees, along with citrus and some tropical fruits, grow well in Bermuda. Oleander and hibiscus are common. The famous Bermuda cedar trees which for centuries dominated the landscape and were the islands' pride were afflicted by a blight in the early 1940s and by 1944 more than 90% of them were dead. They are now protected but few are as robust as formerly. Some cedar reforestation, with blight-resistant stock, is being undertaken.
Bermuda is named for the Spanish seafarer Juan de Bermudez, who discovered the island in 1503. There is evidence of occasional visits by Spanish or Portuguese seamen, and at least one fruitless Spanish plan to settle the island, but generally the local reefs and raucous native birds gave Bermuda a bad name among Spanish sailors, who avoided a place they thought inhabited by devils. In 1609, Admiral Sir George Somers' ship Sea Venture, carrying a new lieutenant governor to Virginia, ran aground on Bermuda's eastern reef. The crew was stranded until they built a new ship from local timber to continue their voyage. Descriptions of Bermuda attracted great interest, and in 1612 about 60 colonists (including some of Somers' crew) sailed for what were then called the Somers Isles. Shortly after landing, they founded the town of St. George at the eastern end of the island. In 1790, the more centrally located town of Hamilton was incorporated. In 1815 the seat of government was transferred from St. George to Hamilton, which had a larger harbor and was more central to a greatly-expanded British program of fortification building that saw the creation of the massive Royal Dockyard at the West End, and Fort Prospect (the principal land garrison) and other forts in the parishes near Hamilton.
During the first three centuries of the Colony's existence, except for its function as a military bastion of the Empire and periods of prosperity generated by the American Revolutionary War and Civil War, Bermuda itself remained quite isolated from developments abroad. The industrial revolution virtually passed it by. By the turn of the 20th century, wealthy Americans, Canadians, and Britons, seeking refuge from the pressures of modern life, were renting or buying homes and estates for seasonal occupancy in Bermuda. Soon shops and restaurants sprang up to cater to this carriage trade. As the economic benefits of tourism became apparent, the colony sought to cultivate and broaden it. During the 1920s several impressive luxury hotels were built. In the early 1930s large passenger steamships were put into liner service between New York and Bermuda. In 1937, passenger sea-plane service between New York and Bermuda was inaugurated. The tourist industry continued to develop until the outbreak of World War II.
The war gave new significance to the Colony as a strategic outpost for the AngloAmerican forces. In 1941, the UK granted the U.S. a 99-year rent-free lease for construction and maintenance of two bases in Bermuda. The bases, the U.S. Naval Air Station, Bermuda, on St. David's Island, and the U.S. Naval Air Station Annex in Southampton, were for fifty years an integral and important part of the Bermudian scene and economy. The U.S. bases closed, however, in September of 1995. The airfield built by U. S. forces as part of the base during World War II now also serves as Bermuda's international airport.
Bermuda's population is 58,460 (1991 census). This includes about 15,800 foreign-born residents without Bermuda status (the nearest thing to citizenship this British Dependent Territory has). The racial composition of the native Bermudian population is about 76% black and 24% white; of the total population the proportion is nearer 60%-40%.
Several thousand Americans and Canadians live on the island either all or part of the year. About half the 6,000 or so Portuguese (Azoreans) on the island are now Bermudians, with the other half contract workers expected to return to their home-land. Several hundred Europeans-British, Italians, Yugoslavs, Irish, Austrians, Swiss, and French-are employed in Bermuda's hotels, restaurants, guest houses, and other service areas, as are an equal number of Filipinos, other Asians, and West Indians. Some 600,000 tourists visit the island every year, most of them Americans.
Slavery was abolished in the British Empire in 1834, but racial segregation was practiced in Bermuda's schools, restaurants, hotels, and other public places until the 1960s. Racial discrimination in any form is not tolerated in today's multiracial Bermudian society.
English is the official and vernacular language of Bermuda. The traditional Bermudian dialect is characterized by broad vowels and a frequent transposition of "v" and "w" sounds. Educated Bermudians have accents ranging from standard British to standard American, with the "typical" accent sounding to the American ear like a cross between New England and Maritime Canadian. British visitors often find the local accent American, while many American visitors think it is vaguely British-sounding. Some Azorean Portuguese is also heard in Bermuda.
Bermuda has a strong religious tradition, rooted in its rural past. Many Christian denominations are represented on the island, distributed among the Church of England (28%), Roman Catholic Church (15%), African Methodist Episcopal (12%), Methodist (5%), and Seventh Day Adventist (6%), along with many other smaller Protestant followings. Baha'i, Moslem, and other groups are also present. Jewish services are held informally; there is no synagogue on the island.
Bermuda is the oldest self-governing colony in the British Commonwealth. Representative government was first introduced to the Colony in 1620. Since 1684, the Governor of the Island has been appointed by the Crown and the colony's laws enacted by a local legislature. Though Bermuda is a British Dependent Territory, it has a separate written Constitution, giving its elected Cabinet government almost complete self-determination in conducting local affairs. The Bermuda Parliament is the third-oldest in the world, following Iceland's and Britain's.
The Queen appoints the Governor, who is responsible for external affairs, defense, and internal security. In other matters the Governor acts on the advice of the Cabinet. The Deputy Governor is appointed by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, and is normally a British Foreign Service Officer. These two officials are the only representatives of the United Kingdom on the island.
The Legislature consists of the Senate and the House of Assembly. Members of the Senate are appointed by the Governor, five on the advice of the Premier, three on the advice of the Leader of the Opposition, and three by the Governor at his own discretion. The Senate elects its own president and vice president. The House of Assembly, consisting of 40 popularly elected members from 20 constituencies, elects a Speaker and a Deputy Speaker. Universal suffrage on the one-person, one vote principle has existed since 1968. In 1989, the voting age was lowered from 21 to 18.
The Cabinet consists of the Premier and at least six other members of the Assembly or the Senate. The Governor appoints the majority leader in the House of Assembly as Premier, who in turn nominates the other Cabinet Ministers. They are responsible for government departments and related business. The Opposition Leader, which in British parliamentary practice is a formally designated position, is the leader of the largest minority party in the House of Assembly.
The judiciary consists of the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court, and the Magistracy. The Chief Justice presides over the Supreme Court and is consulted by the Governor in the appointment of judges, magistrates, and court officers.
Hamilton, the capital, was made a city by an act of legislature in 1897 and is governed by a Corporation. The town of St. George, one of the oldest English settlements in the New World, was founded in 1612 and remained the capital until 1815. Charges for water and dock facilities and municipal taxes are the main sources of revenue for both.
Aside from the two municipalities, Bermuda is divided into nine districts, called parishes. From east to west, these are St. George's, Hamilton (not to be confused with the city of Hamilton), Smith's, Devonshire, Pembroke, Paget, Warwick, Southampton, and Sandys.
The United Bermuda Party (UBP) is the ruling party and has not lost an election since its founding in 1968. It is a multiracial party, and has combined moderately progressive social policy with conservative fiscal policy. The UBP saw significant erosion in its parliamentary majority in the 1989 elections, falling from 31 to 22 of the 40 seats in the House, largely because of internal party dissension arising from disputes over independence for Bermuda. In the 1993 elections, the UBP's majority slipped even further, and the party now maintains only 21 seats in the House, as well as five Senate positions. New elections must be held every five years, and thus the next scheduled vote must take place by the Fall of 1998.
The opposition Progressive Labor Party (PLP) holds 18 seats in the House and three in the Senate. The PLP is largely identified with the black population, closely allied to organized labor, and favors independence for Bermuda.
In August of 1995, former Premier Sir John Swan, the head of government for 13 years, bucked UBP supporters and staked his political career on an independence referendum, which was defeated at the polls by a three to one margin. The new Premier and UBP leader, Pamela Gordon, has held her position since March 1997. She previously served as Minister for the Environment & Minister for Youth, Sports & Recreation.
Arts, Science, and Education
Bermuda hosts a variety of cultural events featuring both local talent and groups touring from abroad. The Bermuda Festival is held in January-February, attracting additional tourists during the winter and providing cultural entertainment for local residents. The Festival features performances by international-class artists, which have included The Dance Theater of Harlem, the Flying Karamazov Brothers, the Vienna Choir Boys, Wynton Marsalis, and The Empire Brass Quintet.
Local amateur arts groups include the Bermuda Musical and Dramatic Society (performing arts), Bermuda Society for the Arts (exhibitions, art gallery), and the Gilbert and Sullivan Society (light opera). Memberships and participation are open to all.
The Bermuda Biological Station, on Ferry Reach at the island's eastern end, was founded by a group of North American universities to further the study of marine sciences, and receives both Government of Bermuda and U.S. National Science Foundation support. It hosts researchers from the U.S. and elsewhere, conducting research at sea with its own ocean-going research vessels.
Conservation/preservation groups include the Bermuda National Trust, Audubon Society, the Bermuda Maritime Museum, and the Bermuda Zoological Society (responsible for the popular Aquarium, Zoo, and Natural History Museum). The Bermuda Botanical Garden (also site of the Premier's official residence, Camden) and an Arboretum are publicly maintained.
Commerce and Industry
Bermuda's GDP is over $9 billion, or about $27,500 per capita-one of the highest per capita income rates in the world. Most Bermudians owe their livelihood, directly or indirectly, to tourism, which provides 55% of GDP.
Bermuda's other source of national income is foreign companies operating out of offices in Bermuda. These offshore "exempt" and "nonresident" companies, almost all of them reinsurance or captive insurance companies, for the most part conduct international operations unrelated to Bermuda. The fees, charges, and taxes they pay, and their local expenditures, contribute about 40% of GDP, a share that is growing relative to tourism. Some 8,700 foreign firms are registered in Bermuda, though only a few actually maintain a physical presence here.
Total exports for 1996 were estimated at $67.7 million. Roughly 98% of total exports fell under the tariff #99.7000-"Other Miscellaneous Manufactured Items". The re-export of pharmaceutical goods accounts for roughly 99% of this tariff number. Trading countries for pharmaceutical items include: Holland (50%), Brazil (13%), Canada (6%), Caribbean (5%), and all other countries (26%). The remaining export items are traded to the following partner countries: USA (91%), Canada (1%), Caribbean (1%), and UK (7%).
Fishing and agriculture (vegetables, fruits, eggs, and some milk) produce only a fraction of Bermuda's needs. Almost all manufactures and foodstuffs are imported, nearly two-thirds of them from the United States.
The largest single source of government revenue is customs duties, supplemented by a land tax, employment taxes, hotel occupancy taxes, departure taxes, and a hospital levy. There is no local income tax. Government spending in the FY 95 budget totaled $406 million on current account, including $34.5 million on capital projects. Bermuda traditionally does not borrow for current expenditure, and public borrowing for the capital account is limited to 10% of GDP.
Bermuda has tight immigration and property ownership and management regulations. The Immigration Board will grant permission for a non-Bermudian to work only if no qualified Bermudian, or person with Bermudian status, is available for the position. Applications for work permits are scrutinized carefully, and the procedure is complicated and time-consuming. Foreigners may purchase only those houses or condominiums listed as available for sale to nonBermudians. The list is short and the properties are expensive. Such properties may not pass by inheritance beyond the children of the original purchasers.
Cars have been a part of the Bermuda scene only since 1946. The law limits a car's size and horsepower, forbids the use of private cars by all but residents, and provides for only one car per household (and only members of that household may drive it). Because of the latter restriction, most families own one (or more) motorbike, motor scooter, or motorcycle in addition to a car. Rental cars are not available.
Bermuda's laws restrict passenger vehicles to a maximum of 169 inches in overall length and 67 inches in overall width, with a maximum engine capacity of 2,000 cc (2.0 liters). There are technical restrictions that might bar other vehicles, such as sports cars or unusual models. Most cars in Bermuda are of Japanese manufacture (Mitsubishi, Nissan, Honda, Toyota, and Mazda, etc.). Volkswagen, British Ford, Hyundai, Peugeot, BMW, and various other makes are also sold here. Bermudians drive on the left, so almost all cars are right-hand drive. Right-hand drive cars are not compulsory, however. Because most roads are narrow and winding, Bermuda's speed limit is 35 km/h (21.7 mph).
Bermuda's laws virtually forbid the import of used cars. A vehicle may be imported only if it was purchased new within 6 months of importation. The local used car market is small and prices tend to be high, as they reflect the 75% duty that new car buyers pay. New cars may be purchased through local dealers.
Cars brought to Bermuda should be undercoated to protect the chassis against the corrosive effects of the climate and seasprayed roads. Bermuda has adequate repair shops for most popular makes of small cars; spare parts are usually in stock. Labor and materials are expensive.
All drivers must, without exception, pass a driving test. The Transport Control Department (TCD) does not recognize any foreign licenses for use by Bermuda residents. A driver's license issued in Bermuda is normally valid only for the licensee's car.
All motorized vehicles must be registered with and inspected by TCD. Motorized vehicles with engines of 50cc or less may be driven with a local learner's permit or a foreign license (this permits tourists to rent 50cc mopeds or scooters on temporary visits to Bermuda). TCD vehicle inspection requirements are similar to examinations in the U.S. Third-party liability insurance is also compulsory on all vehicles. Most Bermuda insurance firms grant no-claim discounts; travelers with a record of accident-free driving should bring letters from their previous insurance firms attesting to this.
Used motorbikes or scooters are readily available. As with cars, duty must be paid on a new vehicle bought from a local dealer's existing stocks.
Gasoline sold at local service stations costs about $4.60 a gallon. Safety helmets must be worn when driving any two-wheeled vehicle.
More than 600 taxis are available. Some 300 Bermudian taxi drivers have attained "Qualified Tour Guide" status by successfully completing special government exams. Taxi fares are high; the fare from the airport to Hamilton is about $25.
Local bus service is extensive and reasonable in price and is heavily used by both Bermudians and tourists. The government ferry service connects Hamilton with points in Paget and Warwick (across the harbor from Hamilton) running at frequent intervals. Less frequent service on larger ferries goes to three points in Somerset, including the Dockyard. The ferries are heavily used by tourists and are a convenient form of commuting for those living near the landing points. The ferries are canceled, however, whenever sea conditions are unfavorable.
Flights are available daily between Bermuda and New York. Good non-stop services also connect Bermuda with Baltimore, Boston, Atlanta, London, and Toronto. Baltimore-Washington International Airport is about 2 hours away by plane. British Air and Air Canada are the only non-American carriers serving Bermuda. Passengers on the many U.S. carrier flights to the U.S. are precleared by U.S. Immigration and U.S. Customs at Bermuda's airport, arriving at domestic terminals on the mainland. Bermuda is on Atlantic Time, one hour ahead of the East Coast throughout the year.
Cruise ships service Bermuda from New York and Boston from May to October, with occasional voyages from other ports during this period.
Telephone and Telegraph
Telephone and fax service extends throughout the island. Long distance service is rapid and efficient, with direct dialing to the U.S. and most of the world.
Rental rates and local service costs are comparable to those in the U.S. A 3-minute direct-dialed station-to-station call to the East Coast averages $3.75. Calls to Bermuda from the U.S. are cheaper than the other way around. The Bermuda Telephone Company, Ltd. uses Canadian-built equipment and many international brands of telephone and fax sets are available for home and business use.
International telegraph service is operated by Cable & Wireless Ltd. Round the clock service is available by calling 297-7000. Communications in Bermuda are state-of-theart, with multiple satellite, ocean cable, and fiber-optic cable facilities in place.
TV and Radio
The three local TV stations can be received on any standard American TV set without alteration. One is a CBS affiliate, another carries NBC programs, and the other carries some ABC programs. A fourth station offers some CNN and BBC programming. Cable service is also available, similar to that in most American cities.
Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals
Bermuda has one daily newspaper, the morning Royal Gazette. The Mid-Ocean News and Bermuda Sun appear weekly on Fridays. While all newspapers concern themselves mainly with local events, they have wire-service coverage of leading US. and other foreign news stories. The New York Times and Washington Post are received by local vendors daily and usually arrive by air the same day of publication, or the following morning. Several other leading American and British newspapers are available on local stands.
American newspaper and magazine subscriptions should be sent via pouch. Magazines are normally sent by surface mail, arriving at least two weeks after publication. Current books, including paperbacks, are available in Hamilton bookstores, but are quite expensive. Subscription to book-buying services or clubs in the U.S. is advisable.
Health and Medicine
All physicians in the yellow pages of the Bermuda telephone directory are licensed by the Bermuda Government and are considered acceptable.
The only hospital in Bermuda is the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital just east of Hamilton. It is a well-equipped and modern general medical and surgical hospital with about 300 beds. All customary services are available at King Edward, including an emergency and out-patient department. The hospital is accredited under a Canadian system. Local dentists are competent, most trained in the U.S. or Canada.
Immunization and preventive care in Bermuda are undertaken vigorously and the general health of the community is good. Immunization programs exist for diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, poliomyelitis, and measles. Vaccination against smallpox is compulsory. No unusual communicable disease or severe epidemics have been recorded in the past few years. A successful diabetic program and the family limitation and birth control programs are being continued. The decrease in the number of births has continued annually since 1963.
As in any subtropical region, Bermuda is afflicted with a variety of insect pests. Most households, no matter how clean or how fumigated, may have ants and/or cockroaches and termites. These are kept under control by regular spraying under commercial contracts. Few mosquitoes are found on the island, due to the scarcity of standing fresh water, and mosquito-borne diseases have been eliminated. Small and harmless lizards, mostly chameleons, may enter houses but are often welcomed as scavengers of insects. Bermuda has no snakes and few household rodents.
The Department of Health monitors food operations of all hotels, restaurants, shops, food manufacturers, pasteurizing plants, dairy farms, and slaughterhouses. A close watch is kept on the quality of imported foods. The health standards of housing and sanitary engineering are supervised by the Bermuda Government. Garbage is collected once a week as are recyclables. Recycling at present is limited to aluminum cans and glass. Virtually all homes have septic tanks for sewage disposal, utilizing either brackish or fresh water. In the latter case, the supply is dependent on rainfall and may run short during droughts.
Few health hazards exist in Bermuda. Because the source of home water supply is rainwater stored in cisterns, the possibility of contamination always exists. Simple precautions and periodic testing of each water supply has made this problem minimal.
Foodstuffs available on the island present no health hazard. Milk from local dairies is safe. No unusual dangerous insects or animals are present, and the island is rabies free.
You can be severely sunburned during the summer, and standard precautions should be taken. The Portuguese man of-war abounds in the waters off Bermuda; its presence near shore depends on prevailing currents. Its sting produces serious but not fatal illness among swimmers. If you are stung, get immediate medical care.
No special treatment of raw fruits and vegetables is required. All milk is pasteurized. Some people add chlorine to the water in underground storage tanks.
The Bermuda Department of Health recommends that those coming to Bermuda be vaccinated against smallpox, diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough, but merely as a precautionary measure. Tuberculosis exists in Bermuda, but its incidence is decreasing and cases are rigidly controlled.
Those with respiratory ailments may suffer from the humid climate, which also seems to activate potential arthritis in those susceptible. Asthma and hay fever sufferers, however, will find some relief here. You need not bring any special medicines or drugs; any medication can be bought locally. It would be economical to stock up on any regular medications needed, however, as local pharmacy prices are high. Fluoride supplements are provided for all children over 6 months old at government expense, as part of a 25-year study.
NOTES FOR TRAVELERS
Passage, Customs & Duties
U.S. citizens entering Bermuda must present a U.S. passport or a certified U.S. birth certificate, and photo identification. The Consulate strongly recommends that visitors travel with a valid passport at all times. A U.S. driver's license or a voter registration card is not sufficient for entry into Bermuda. For additional information on entry requirements, travelers may contact the British Embassy at 3100 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W, Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 462-1340, or the British consulate in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York or San Francisco; Internet:http://www.britaininfo.org or the Bermuda Department of Immigration;http://www.immigration.bdagov.bm.
U.S. citizens who are taking prescription medication must inform Bermuda customs officials at the point of entry. Medicines must be in labeled containers. Travelers should carry a copy of the written prescription and a letter from the physician or pharmacist confirming the reason the medicine is prescribed.
Bermuda customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Bermuda of items such as animals, arms, ammunition and explosives, building sand, crushed rock, gravel, peat and synthetic potting media, foodstuffs (animal origin), fumigating substances, gaming machines, historic articles (relating to Bermuda), lottery advertisements and material, motorcycles, motor vehicles, obscene publications, organotin anti-fouling paint, plants, plant material, fruits and vegetables (living or dead, including seeds), pesticides, prescription drugs, prohibited publications, seditious publications, soil, VHF radios, radar and citizens band (CB) radios. For additional information on temporary admission, export and customs regulations and tariffs, please contact Bermuda Customs at telephone 1-441-295-4816, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the Bermuda Customs web site at http://www.customs.gov.bm.U.S. citizens may register with the Consular Section of the U.S. Consulate General located at Crown Hill, 16 Middle Road, Devonshire DV03, telephone 1-441-295-1342, where they may also obtain updated information on travel and security in Bermuda. Office hours for American Citizens Services are 8:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m., Monday through Thursday, except Bermudian and U.S. holidays. American citizens in need of after-hours emergency assistance may call the duty officer at telephone 1-441-235-3828.
Bermuda has no quarantine restriction, for pets arriving on the island, but an animal entry permit from the Bermuda Department of Agriculture is required. Failure to satisfy all requirements for this permit can result in the animal being refused entry, and there are no facilities at the airport or elsewhere for storing animals while the permit is straightened out. Veterinarians are available in Bermuda, as is pet grooming. Fleas abound.
Firearms and Ammunition
Bermuda laws are extremely strict with regard to firearms and ammunition. No private firearms may be brought into Bermuda. There are no exceptions to this regulation.
Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures
Bermuda's currency is on the decimal system; notes come in $100, $50, $20, $10, $5, $2 denominations, and metal coinage in $1, .25, .10, .05, and .01 issues. U.S. money, while not legal tender in Bermuda, is freely accepted by all trading establishments on a one-for-one basis, although the official exchange rate makes the Bermuda dollar worth slightly more than the U.S. dollar.
Most local concerns accept U.S. credit cards and many vendors take checks drawn on U.S. banks. No restrictions are placed on the importation of U.S. dollars, other currency, or travelers checks-the export of Bermudian currency requires a foreign exchange permit (usually granted) from the Bermuda Monetary Authority.
British Imperial standard weights and measures are in general used in Bermuda and many Bermudians habitually use American terms of measurement-but the Bermuda Government has adopted a policy of gradual shift to the metric system. Road signs and local gas pumps are metric.
Jan. 1 … New Year's Day
Mar/Apr. … Good Friday*
Mar/Apr. … Easter*
May 24 … Bermuda Day
June … Queen's Birthday*
Aug.2 … Emancipation Day
Aug. … Somers Day*
Sept.3 … Labor Day
Nov. 12 … Remembrance Day
Dec. 25 … Christmas Day
Dec. 26 … Boxing Day
The following titles are provided as a general indication of the material published on this country:
Bermuda Travel Guide. New York:Macmillan, 1989.
Cancelino, Jesse, and Michael Strohofer. Diving Bermuda. Locust Valley, CA: Aqua Quest Publications, 1990.
Christmas, Rachel J., and WalterChristmas. Fielding's Bermuda & the Bahamas Nineteen Ninety-Two. New York: Fielding Travel Books, 1991.
Fodor, Eugene. Fodor's Bermuda, 1991. New York: McKay, 1991.
Fox, Larry, and Barbara Radin-Fox. Romantic Island Getaways: The Caribbean, Bermuda & the Bahamas. New York: Wiley, 1991.
LaBrucherie, Roger A. Images of Bermuda. Rev. ed. Pine Valley, CA: Imagenes Press, 1989.
Raine. The Islands of Bermuda. Edison, NJ: Hunter Publishing, 1990.
"Bermuda." Cities of the World. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 24, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/bermuda
"Bermuda." Cities of the World. . Retrieved July 24, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/bermuda
|Official Country Name:||Bermuda|
|Region:||North & Central America|
Discovered by Spanish explorer Juan de Bermudez in 1503, Bermuda, known as "the isle of devils," inspired the setting for Shakespeare's The Tempest because of its treacherous seas and reefs. Bermuda is the oldest English-speaking settlement in the Western Hemisphere; as a result of the slave trade, however, 60 percent of Bermudans have African ancestors. A self-governing, parliamentary British colony since 1620, Bermuda is ruled by executive and judicial branches and a legislature that was strengthened in 1968. The British monarch is Chief of State.
For children ages five to sixteen, education, conducted in English, is compulsory in only 1 of 24 free government schools or 6 tuition-based private schools, which are modeled on the British system. There are no local boarding schools in Bermuda. School uniforms are required in all public and private schools. The school year for Bermuda's 6,500 students lasts 10 months, starting in September. In the 1990s a major restructuring resulted in the creation of 18 primary schools (grades 1-6), 5 middle schools (7-9), and 2 senior schools (10-13). Bermuda High School for Girls (with 650 enrollees) is the island's only all-girls school.
The American Head Start program inspired Bermuda's preprimary education curriculum. In more than 40 daycare and preschool facilities, children develop social skills while learning and playing. The new middle school and senior secondary curricula include such vital enrichments as the visual and performing arts and business/technology instruction. Special needs children are mainstreamed. The average class size is 24 students, but the pupil-teacher ratio is 13:1 including all professional staff. Public school students take the Bermuda Secondary School Certificate exam (BSSC); private school students take the British General Certificate in Secondary Education exam (GCSE). Those who earn the GCSE are eligible to enter grade 11 or 12 at an American school or to matriculate for an associate degree at Bermuda College.
A 20 percent annual increase in the number of home schooled children reflects some families' desires to avoid traditional schoolroom distractions for their children. Before they leave public school, however, home schooled students are tested to determine their grade level. Because no alternative school exists, a program is planned for "at risk" adolescents since 435 high school students dropped out in 1994.
Due to import duties, customs fees, and licensing costs, Bermuda has the highest Internet fees in the Western Hemisphere. Nevertheless, in 1999 Bermuda's Education Ministry, in concert with the University of Virginia and Stanford University, initiated a Technology Infusion Project, the first phase of which was to train Bermuda's teachers through video-conferencing and collaborative learning. Middle school and primary school students were to receive their computer training in 2000 and 2001. So serious is Bermuda about integrating technology and education that faculty trained in technology education earn academic certification. Moreover, recognizing that business has a vital stake in education's future, Bermuda's Corporate Partnership Program infuses scholarship money and business expertise into schools.
As of 2001 Bermuda College had about 4,000 students and 75 full-time faculty; it offered 10 associate degree and fifteen certificate programs in arts and science, hotel/business management, technology, and continuing education. Since there is no degree-granting university in Bermuda (although plans are underway to expand Bermuda College to a four-year institution), students may transfer abroad to obtain a baccalaureate degree. Many secondary graduates attend higher education in the United States, Canada, and Europe. American universities usually require Bermudans to take the SAT; many who transfer to universities in the United Kingdom study law. The National Education Guarantee Scheme, begun in 1994, promises loans to any Bermuda-born student with university potential.
Bermuda's Ministry of Education is responsible for all school programs. Its structure includes a comptroller, permanent secretary, chief education officer, and personnel director, as well as directors of curriculum, schools, student services, and early childhood, each of whom reports to the minister of education.
Bermuda College and the Community Education Development Program offer extensive adult education—non-credit courses related to technology, recreation, and personal development. Such private sector initiatives as the Seniors' Learning Centre and the Bermuda Biological Station for Research deliver additional continuing education services.
The Bermuda Union of Teachers (BUT) represents all 713 public school teachers. In 1996 Bermuda's teachers were required to upgrade their education. Fitchburg State College offered the M.Ed. degree through distance learning. In 2000 Bermuda College began a Centre for Education to promote and ensure qualified professional development and adult education; two of the Centre's constituent entities, The Teacher Education Institute and Educational Outreach Initiative, support ongoing teacher training and assist local teachers with core subjects.
Although Bermuda has one of the highest per-capita incomes in the world, Bermuda College reported in 2000 that some 70 percent of its applicants did not meet academic standards due in part to social problems and lack of family discipline; poor workplace skills, dropouts, and lagging technical training were also concerns. To its credit, Bermuda began addressing its declining educational standards in the late 1990s by enacting stronger secondary graduation requirements, smaller primary class size, updated technology integration into the classroom, and more teacher training.
Bermuda Online. "Education in Bermuda at all schools." Welcome to Bermuda, 2001. Available from http://bermuda-online.org/educate.htm.
Boultbee, Paul G., and David F. Raine. Bermuda. Oxford, England: Clio Press, 1998.
Ziral, James, and Liz Jones. "Education and Child Care." Insider's Guide to Bermuda, 2nd Edition, 2000. Available from http://www.insiders.com/bermuda/maineducation.htm.
—Howard A. Kerner
"Bermuda." World Education Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 24, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/bermuda
"Bermuda." World Education Encyclopedia. . Retrieved July 24, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/bermuda
Bermuda (bûrmyōō´də), British dependency (2005 est. pop. 65,400), 21 sq mi (53 sq km), comprising some 150 coral rocks, islets, and islands (of which some 20 are inhabited), in the Atlantic Ocean, c.570 mi (920 km) SE of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. The capital is Hamilton, on Bermuda (or Great Bermuda), the largest island. Smaller islands are Somerset, Ireland, and St. George. Bermuda's coral reefs are the northernmost in the world.
Economy, Government, and People
The colony's economic mainstays are international financial services, especially insurance and reinsurance, and tourism. Fine beaches, an excellent climate, and picturesque sites have made Bermuda a fashionable and popular year-round resort. Semitropical produce, sales of fuel to aircraft and ships, and the reexport of pharmaceuticals also contribute to the economy. Most capital equipment and food is imported. Bermuda is divided into nine parishes and two municipalities. The British monarch, represented by a governor, is titular head of state. Bermuda is led by a premier and has a bicameral parliament with an appointed 11-member Senate and an elected 36-member House of Assembly.
About 55% of Bermuda's inhabitants are of African ancestry, descended from slaves brought to the islands during the 18th cent.; there is also a sizable population of British descent. English is spoken. The main religions are the Anglican, Roman Catholic, African Methodist Episcopal, and other Christian churches.
Reputedly the first person to set foot on the islands was the Spanish navigator Juan de Bermúdez (1503–11), but they remained uninhabited, despite visits by the Spanish and English, until Sir George Somers and a group of colonists on their way to Virginia were shipwrecked there in 1609. This incident was known to Shakespeare when he wrote The Tempest. Long called Somers Islands, the Bermudas were first governed by chartered companies but were acquired by the crown in 1684. The harbor of St. George was a base for privateers during the War of 1812, and the island was a center for Confederate blockade runners during the American Civil War.
During World War II the islands played an important strategic role as the site of a U.S. naval and air force base. Internal self-government was granted in 1968, and the United Bermuda party (UBP) was in power for the next 30 years. Sir John Swan was premier from 1982 to 1995, when he resigned after voters rejected independence (which he had supported); David Saul succeeded him. Saul resigned in 1997 and was succeeded by Pamela Gordon, the first woman premier.
In 1998 the Progressive Labor party (PLP) came to power, with Jennifer Smith as premier. Although Smith led her party to victory again in 2003, a PLP revolt led to her resignation and Alex Scott became premier. Scott's strong support for independence, which was not popular, led Ewart Brown to challenge him for the PLP leadership post, and in 2006 Brown replaced Scott as party leader and premier. Brown and the PLP remained in power after the 2007 elections; he resigned as premier and PLP leader in 2010 and was succeeded by Paula Cox. The 2012 elections were won by the One Bermuda Alliance (OBA). Craig Cannonier became premier, but he resigned in 2014 and was succeeded by Michael Dunkley.
See R. Joseph, Bermuda (1967); H. C. Wilkinson, Bermuda from Sail to Steam (2 vol., 1973); T. Tucker, Bermuda (1975); J. C. W. Ahiakpor, The Economic Consequences of Political Independence: The Case of Bermuda (1990).
"Bermuda." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 24, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/bermuda
"Bermuda." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved July 24, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/bermuda
BERMUDA ISLANDS, roughly 300 small coral islands, twenty of which are inhabited, are in the Atlantic Ocean east of North Carolina. Bermuda is a reference point of the Bermuda Triangle, an area of the Atlantic Ocean in which ships and airplanes have disappeared under supposedly mysterious circumstances that scientists attribute to weather and currents.
Discovered by the Spanish captain Juan de Bermúdez in 1503, Bermuda was first settled in 1609 by a hundred shipwrecked English colonists, including Sir Thomas Gates, Sir George Somers, and William Strachey. In 1612 Bermuda, called Somers Islands, was colonized by the Virginia Company. It became an autonomous company in 1615 and subsequently a British Crown colony. Bermuda records first mention slaves in 1617. In 1620, under probably the first conservation laws in the New World, Bermuda provided limited protection for turtles.
In 1946 the civil rights advocate E. F. Gordon delivered to London a petition protesting the political and racial conditions in Bermuda. In 1959 blacks boycotted hotels and theaters, forcing integration of those facilities. Black voting rights (1963), universal adult suffrage (1968), and school integration followed (1971).
In 2000 Bermuda had a population of 62,275 and 98 percent literacy. Reflecting its history of immigration, shipwrecks, and slavery, it is 59 percent blacks, 36 percent whites, and 6 percent others.
Because only 6 percent of Bermuda's land is arable, the islands survived by supplying ships, smuggling rum during U.S. prohibition, and providing services. From 1940 to 1995 the United States leased land for naval and air bases, which were important during World War II. Bermuda's economy is approximately 1 percent agriculture, 10 percent industry, and 89 percent services.
The islands' subtropical climate attracts tourists, especially from the United States, a major source of income, revenue, and employment. Bermuda is a major international offshore financial services and banking center, where transnational corporations shelter their assets and profits under permissive tax and banking laws.
Bermuda is a British territory with an appointed governor. Citizens elect a parliament, and the governor appoints the prime minister, the leader of the largest parliamentary party. A referendum on independence was defeated in 1995. In November 1998 the Progressive Labor Party won the general election, ending the United Bermuda Party's thirty-five years of control, and Stanley Lowe became the first black speaker of the House of Assembly. Opinion surveys in the late 1990s showed Bermudians increasingly inclined toward independence from Britain.
Ahiakpor, James C. W. The Economic Consequences of Political Independence: The Case of Bermuda. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada: Fraser Institute, 1990.
Boultbee, Paul G., and David F. Raine, comps. Bermuda. Oxford and Santa Barbara, Calif.: Clio Press, 1998.
"Bermuda Islands." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 24, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/bermuda-islands
"Bermuda Islands." Dictionary of American History. . Retrieved July 24, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/bermuda-islands
|Official Country Name:||Bermuda|
|Region (Map name):||North & Central America|
Bermuda, which lies east of North Carolina in the North Atlantic Ocean, was settled in 1609 when a group of English colonists shipwrecked there on the way to Virginia. Today the country is still linked with Great Britain, as a self-governing overseas territory. A referendum on independence was defeated in 1995, and the chief of state remains the British monarch, represented locally by a Governor. Presiding over a bicameral Parliament with an appointed Senate and an elected House of Assembly is the Premier, usually the majority leader of Parliament. The population of Bermuda is approximately 65,000, and the literacy rate is 98 percent. The official language of Bermuda is English, but Portugese is also spoken. Bermudians have one of the highest per-capita incomes in the world thanks to an economy based on financial services and luxury tourism.
Bermuda's newspapers are independent, but the government retains controls over broadcasting content. Tobacco ads are banned on television and radio, and there are restrictions on alcohol advertising. In 2002, the adoption of a "minimum local content" law for broadcasts was being debated. Bermuda's publishing hub is the capital city of Hamilton, and all major newspapers are printed in English. Bermuda's only daily newspaper is The Royal Gazette. Founded in 1828, the independent Royal Gazette publishes every day but Sunday and public holidays and claims to reach more than 90 percent of the adult market with its circulation of 16,000 and its online edition. The Mid-Ocean News publishes on Friday. Although it is the sister publication of The Royal Gazette, it maintains editorial independence. The Bermuda Sun, which publishes on Wednesday and Friday and maintains an online edition, has a reported circulation of 12,300 and publishes the island's official government and legal notices. Prior to March 2001, the Sun was known as the Official Gazette.
There are eight radio stations, five AM and three FM, broadcasting to 82,000 radios. Bermuda has three television stations serving approximately 66,000 televisions. There are 20 Internet service providers.
Benn's Media, 1999, Vol. 3, 147th Edition, p. 247-248.
"Bermuda," The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). World Fact Book 2001. Available from http://www.cia.gov.
Bermuda cable, daily and other newspapers, magazines, radio & television, Bermuda Online 2002. Available from http://www.bermuda-online.org.
Bermuda Sun, 2002 Home Page. Available from http://www.bermudasun.bm.
The Royal Gazette, 2002 Home Page. Available from http://www.theroyalgazette.com.
Jenny B. Davis
"Bermuda." World Press Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 24, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/media/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/bermuda
"Bermuda." World Press Encyclopedia. . Retrieved July 24, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/media/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/bermuda
Identification. Bermuda is named after Juan de Bermudez, a Spanish explorer who first sighted the uninhabited islands probably in 1503.
Location and Geography. In a setting of turquoise waters, pink beaches and lush foliage on low hills, this small, subtropical coral island in the North Atlantic sits atop a long-extinct volcanic chain 570 miles (917 kilometers) southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, the nearest land. Only twenty-one square miles in area (fifty-five square kilometers), the island is comprised of many small islets around the Main Island and seven others that are bridged together. Bermuda is shaped like a fish-hook, the eye being Saint George's Harbour at the northeast end, and the loop of the hook forming the Great Sound at the other, leading into Hamilton Harbour. Often mistakenly associated with the Caribbean, it is in fact nearer to Nova Scotia. Protected from extremes of weather by the Gulf Stream, temperatures range between 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius) in winter and 85 degrees Fahrenheit (29 degrees Celsius) in summer. There are nine parishes named after several of the primary English 'adventurers,' or investors in the 1607 Virginia colony who separately invested in the Somer Isles company.
Demography. The population of Bermuda is 62,997 (2000 estimate). Blacks have been in the majority since some point in the late eighteenth century, and now comprise between 60 and 70 percent of Bermudians. The majority of the remaining ethnic components are northern European, mainly British; they are followed by Portuguese, who are mainly of Azorean origin, and the descendants of a number of Native American tribes. While some 75 percent of Bermudians were born on the Island, many or most of those born overseas have eventually become Bermudian by marriage. Fears of permanent overpopulation and of changes in the ethnic structure have made it nearly impossible to otherwise obtain Bermuda Status (as citizenship is called).
Nearly all the slaves were brought to Bermuda from the West Indies or as slaves on ships captured by Bermuda privateers. Few arrived directly from Africa. The northern European minority descend from the original English colonists and subsequent arrivals from all over Britain including indentured laborers. Some U.S. military personnel and some Scandinavians also settled here. A few Portuguese families arrived first in the 1840s from Madeira. Portuguese immigrants increasingly arrived in subsequent years to work in the growing agricultural industry.
Linguistic Affiliation. The language is a blend of British, North American, and various West Indian versions of the English language. Azorean Portuguese is still spoken and preserved in some Portuguese homes. In the Bermudian accent, sometimes V s and W s are transposed; a usage that derives from the Elizabethan English of the seventeenth century settlers.
Symbolism. The Bermudian flag is the British Red Ensign 'defaced' with the heraldic Bermuda Coat of Arms. The Union Flag occupies the upper, hoist quarter of an otherwise red flag and the Arms are within the red field. They consist of a white and green shield in which a heraldic red lion grasps a scroll displaying the sinking of Somers' ship Sea Venture.
History and Ethnic Relations
Emergence of the Nation. Bermuda was first settled in 1609, when the Sea Venture, a British flagship carrying settlers and provisions to Jamestown, Virginia, wrecked on the islands' shores. The senior officer of the fleet, George Somers, and his shipwrecked sailors built new vessels and continued on to Virginia, but, enchanted by the beauty and abundant natural resources, they made plans to settle the islands. Colonization began in July 1612, when sixty British settlers, led by Richard Moore, disembarked. Moore became the first governor. In 1616, the king issued a charter to form the Somers Isles Company, a commercial enterprise.
By 1620, the parliamentary Sessions House began to hold meetings of the colonial legislature. A system of land ownership developed as the territory was divided into parishes named after major stockholders in the Virginia Company. The Virginia Company ruled Bermuda much like a fiefdom and the colonists soon grew tired of the burdensome restrictions placed upon them. In 1684, Bermudian leaders sued to have the charter rescinded, and thereafter Bermuda was ruled as an English colony in a similar fashion to its American counterparts.
Slaves were first brought to the islands in the early seventeenth century. Most served as laborers and domestic workers rather than plantation workers. They were often treated brutally, and several slave revolts in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries resulted in even harsher treatment.
The Bermudians launched into shipping, a highly successful industry until the advent of steam in the early nineteenth century. Taking advantage of the prolific Bermuda Cedar, they set to work to design and build the Bermuda sloops and schooners that became internationally famous. These ships were especially effective when sailing upwind or to windward. This was critical to their commercial value since they could deliver goods more quickly than their competitors. Crewed by Bermudians of all shades and degrees of servitude, they traded with ports all over the Atlantic coast of North America and the Caribbean. In wartime, armed with Letters of Marque or Warrants from the crown, they captured, depending on the war, French, Spanish, Dutch, and even American ships, bringing them to the Admiralty Prize Court in Bermuda for sale and prize money. Bermuda has been well known for privateering throughout its history.
Bermuda rose to prominence in the seventeenth century as a ship building and manning center from which ships sailed to carry on trade between the colonies and islands of North America and the Caribbean. It became a post for slave trading, as well as for West Indian rum, salt, and oranges. Whaling also added to the colony's income.
In 1815 the capital was moved from Saint George's to the increasingly busy port of Hamilton in the center of the island. As shipping declined, a new industry was needed to support the workforce, and Bermudians began to venture into organized farming.
The British Emancipation Act banned slavery in the Empire in 1834, although the practice was not actually ended in the English-speaking world until the U.S. Civil War a generation later. Much of Bermuda's trade was with the southern United States. While the islands remained officially neutral during the U.S. Civil War, their sympathies tended to lie with the Confederacy. The war in fact provided a boost to business, as the South paid high prices for weapons that came through Bermuda from Britain. Northern blockades were effective, and made the trip even more profitable for sailors who were willing to run a risk.
During the end of the nineteenth century, the export of vegetables, and onions in particular, provided Bermuda with a steady income. This industry fell as the United States began to produce more onions on its own soil. However, a new industry rose to take its place. Tourism brought money and development in the form of new hotels and growing towns.
World War I, in which exactly half of Bermuda's contingent died, brought this fledgling industry to a standstill. After the war, there was insufficient capital to renovate the few hotels, and inadequate shipping to bring the necessary visitors. When the situation seemed most bleak, however, the Furness Steamship Company in England picked Bermuda as a destination for their new vacation ships. In the 1920s, the era of Prohibition in the United States, Bermuda became a popular escape where wealthy Americans could drink on steamships and in the hotels. In the 1930s, tourism carried Bermuda through the Great Depression with hardly a break in stride.
Soon after the beginning of World War II, when Britain "stood alone," Bermuda land was offered by a desperate Winston Churchill to entice President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the U.S. Congress to come to Britain's support. Roughly 10 percent of the country was leased for ninety years to the United States, displacing large numbers of Bermudian families. During World War II, Bermuda was used as a center of Allied operations. The British Royal Navy used it as a base for patrolling the Atlantic, and the United States built naval and military bases on the islands for protection against German submarines that posed a threat to American shipping. Bermuda was an important transit point for the Allies through the war. Winston Churchill, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and the British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan all held summits in Bermuda (as did John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, George Bush, and Margaret Thatcher in later years).
In the 1960s, racial tensions grew, as blacks began to protest unfair treatment. Grassroots movements formed to more thoroughly integrate blacks into Bermudian life. In 1968, a race riot erupted in Hamilton, caused by the perception that whites only were being given access to an overcrowded fair (they were in fact stall operators). Troops were called to Bermuda from Britain on two occasions but never were needed. In the spring of 1973, Bermuda's white governor, Sir Richard Sharples, and one of his aides were assassinated at the then unguarded Government House. Scotland Yard eventually prosecuted and obtained convictions for two of the men involved. The hanging of the two men resulted in further riots in the black communities. Injuries were minimal, but some business property was damaged. Some blacks began calling for independence from Britain as a way to end racial discrimination, and in 1977 continued political agitation led the government to discuss independence. In a vote in late 1995, Bermudians rejected a proposal of independence by a two-thirds majority, mainly in fear of opening the doors to the poverty independence brought to countries like the Bahamas and Jamaica, but also in fear of shaking the confidence of foreign firms who had invested in the country. Bermuda remains an Overseas Territory of the British crown, but the question of independence still arises.
National Identity. Bermudian identity is based largely in British cultural traditions. This is especially the case for wealthy white islanders and British expatriates. Blacks, poor whites, and those of Portuguese descent identify less with the British and their institutions. Cultural influences from the United States have also impacted life here.
Another ethnic group, the Mahicans, are descendants of American Indians who were brought to Saint David's Island from New York in the 1600s. They call themselves Mohawks, or "Mos" for short, and retain some of their unique cultural identity.
Ethnic Relations. The divide in Bermuda between blacks and whites began soon after the colony was established, as slaves were imported to serve the needs of the colonists. The so-called "Forty Thieves" families, descendents of the original white settlers, established a system of racial segregation in both government and social life that they perpetuated for over two centuries. Even today in the profusion of Bermuda's social clubs either blacks or whites tend to strongly predominate. Over the years, blacks have achieved important gains, but racial segregation still remains a source of tension.
Urbanism, Architecture, and the Use of Space
Hamilton, the capital and largest city, is home to a number of interesting buildings, including the Anglican Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity, built in 1894, and the Sessions House and Cabinet Building, which are the seat of government. However by far the most significant historical site is the original capital of Saint George's, a town largely unaltered since the seventeenth century. Among the many original buildings are the State House dating back to 1619 and Saint Peter's, the oldest Anglican Church in the Western Hemisphere.
Housing is now cement block, to preserve the native coral limestone, which is today used mostly for roofing slate in housing construction. Architectural styles were adapted to withstand the extreme winds and hurricanes Bermuda experiences, and as a result large numbers of the eighteenth century homes survive. Steep limestone roofs are whitewashed and designed to catch water to be stored in tanks beneath the houses. Slave quarters still survive as extensions to a number of the old houses. Where space was at a premium in Saint George's, these were often ground floor with the family living above. Fireplaces, still widely popular, were an essential feature from the seventeenth through the nineteenth century, and were used as a source of heat, and for cooking and baking. The handsome and much-photographed chimneys doubled as buttresses for added roof support.
Food and Economy
Food in Daily Life. Day-to-day food is identical with that of the United States, from where much of it is imported. Traditional Bermudian cuisine is a mixture of American, British, and West Indian influences. Once abundant seafood formed the basis of many local dishes. Chowder was made from a stockpot of leftover fish carcasses and flavored with hot pepper sauce and rum. Fritters were made from now-protected conch. Hoppin' John, a meal borrowed from the Carolinas, consists of rice cooked with beans or black-eyed peas. Johnnycakes (corn-meal pancakes, served with peas and rice) are also a traditional dish.
Rum is a popular drink. One local brand, Black Seal, when mixed with ginger beer, is appropriately called a Dark & Stormy.
Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions. Sunday breakfast is generally a big meal of salt codfish from Nova Scotia, egg sauce, boiled potatoes, cooked bananas, and avocado when in season. Cassava Pie is served at Christmas. It is similar to cornbread when cooked, made from minced cassava or manioc root, eggs butter, and filled with pork and turkey or chicken. Good Friday is celebrated with a traditional breakfast of codfish cakes and hot-cross buns. Sweet potato pudding is often served on Guy Fawkes Day.
Basic Economy. Unemployment is virtually nonexistent in Bermuda. Roughly 15 percent of the population is made up of expatriates employed on temporary permits by employers that must first prove to the government there is no Bermudian available to fill the job. "Expats" range in qualification from dishwashers to highly qualified professionals. They and their dependants are significant contributors to the economy. Of the workforce, the vast majority are in professional or administrative work or services; only 2 percent are engaged in agriculture and fishing. Farmers produce bananas, vegetables, citrus fruits, flowers, and dairy products, but agriculture is limited by the fact that only 6 percent of the country's land is arable.
Land Tenure and Property. Bermuda's twenty-odd square miles are taxed on a progressive scale according to the assessed rental value. To protect Bermudian ownership, foreigners may only purchase at the top end of the scale, and only with permission. Corporations may only own the land allowed by their incorporating act. There is also public land, including several nature reserves, parks, and historic sites.
Commercial Activities. Most commercial activity revolves around the tourist industry. Hotels and restaurants, golf courses, and tour companies all cater to the constant influx of visitors (84 percent of whom come from the United States). Most of the goods sold in Bermuda are imported, and therefore costly.
Major Industries. Bermuda's dominant industry today is financial, and includes some of the world's largest re-insurance companies among other corporate enterprises of all kinds. The only restriction at this time has been a reluctance to accommodate foreign banks, for fear of losing local financial control. The earnings in this sector are now twice that of tourism, and as tourism has declined, the new housing and general services required by these corporate enterprises have absorbed much of the workforce once dependent on tourism.
Trade. Bermuda imports machinery and transportation equipment, construction materials, chemicals, food products, and live animals, primarily from the United States, but also from the United Kingdom and Mexico. The country's main export is pharmaceuticals, which are not processed in Bermuda, but merely stop there in transit. Bermuda also exports perfume, liqueurs, and Bermuda lilies (which are popular in the United States as Easter lilies) mostly to the United Kingdom and the United States.
Division of Labor. There is no shortage of jobs available, and people are free to choose their own professions. Blacks tend to occupy more of the lower paying positions than whites. Business ownership is substantially white, although board membership, and thus control of business, has become more diverse.
Classes and Castes. There is a uniformly high standard of living and little poverty in Bermuda. While racial discrimination continued to haunt the country long after the abolition of slavery, blacks have made progress in entering the government and civic life.
Symbols of Social Stratification. In general, attire is fairly formal. The famous Bermuda shorts, a legacy of the British Army's uniform, are worn by businessmen, along with jackets, ties, and knee socks. Otherwise, dress is similar to in the United States or Britain, and there are few distinguishing features among classes.
Government. A 1977 constitutional conference effectively gave Bermuda full internal independence. Today, with a Westminster based parliamentary system of government, Bermuda has forty elected members in the Assembly. These choose the premier, and the premier selects a Cabinet of Ministers, each with a ministerial responsibility ranging from fiscal to education and health. The Senate is an appointed assembly, five seats by the premier, three by the opposition party, and three by the governor, of whom one is the president. The Senate cannot debate tax bills and may only delay others.
Leadership and Political Officials. The Governor acts as Queen Elizabeth II's representative, as an advisor, and like the Queen has little actual power.
The present ruling party is the Progressive Labour Party (PLP), almost entirely African Bermudian and formed in 1963 with those interests at heart. The PLP won power in 1998 after some thirty-five years in opposition. Prior to this, the multi-racial United Bermuda Party (UBP) held a majority, with overwhelming support among the white population and a significant percentage of blacks as well.
Social Problems and Control. Crime is dominated by drug-related offenses. Guns are prohibited, and violent crime is relatively rare. The legal system is based on that of Britain with Magistrates and a Supreme Court and Court of Appeal. The Privy Council of the British House of Lords is the final arbiter. The Supreme Court still retains the traditional British robes, wigs, and format. There is a maximum-security prison and a more relaxed prison farm.
Military Activity. Britain assumes responsibility for the country's defense. The military consists of the Bermuda Regiment and the Bermuda Reserve Constabulary.
Social Welfare and Change Programs
In 1965, funding for formalized pensions for all over the age of 65 was established and is paid for from payroll deductions. In 1997, legislation to substantially expand pensions was launched and now is in effect. Bermudians have basic hospitalization coverage, and employers customarily provide enhanced medical programs for all employees.
Nongovernmental Organizations and Other Associations
There are a large number of charities and service clubs active in Bermuda. The primary Bermudian provider of funds is the Centennial Trust of the Bank of Bermuda, which has donated nearly seven million dollars (U.S.) over ten years to numerous charities and organizations. The large international business sector provides significant funds. The two larger banks, the government, and many other interests provide comprehensive scholarships.
Gender Roles and Statuses
Division of Labor by Gender. While women are still responsible for most everyday domestic jobs, in Bermuda they are widely represented in all aspects of business and the professions. Most senior executives are still male, but significant top positions in business and the civil service are, and have been held by women. The present and previous premiers are women.
The Relative Status of Women and Men. Women and men are equal in law; this is widely respected by employers and in most areas of society.
Marriage, Family, and Kinship
Marriage. Religious ceremonies are followed by large receptions. The traditional cake is three-tiered, with one layer for the bride, one for the groom, and one that is served to the guests. The cake is topped with a cedar sapling, which the couple then plants at their new home.
Domestic Unit. The domestic unit generally consists of the nuclear family. There is a considerable acceptance of single parenting. To be successful, and to provide role models for young males, this usually requires strong support from siblings, grandparents, and aunts and uncles in the wider family. There is often difficulty in realizing court child support rulings, and much remains unpaid.
Inheritance. While inheritance was once limited to the male line, today women as well as men are legally entitled to inherit property.
Infant Care. Infant care is generally the domain of the mother, although those of the upper class often hire nannies.
Child Rearing and Education. Bermuda is well equipped with nursery and preschools set up to accept children of working mothers. Education is free and mandatory between the ages of five and sixteen. The school system is based on the British and American model. Several large private schools, once segregated, still lean to one race, religion, or the other. The literacy rate is near 100 percent.
Higher Education. Bermuda has one junior college, which enrolls about six hundred students. To obtain a four-year degree, it is necessary to leave the islands, and the government and private organizations provide scholarships to study in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
Politeness is highly valued, and there is a degree of formality in social interactions.
Religious Beliefs. Thirty-nine percent of the population is non-Anglican Protestant; 27 percent is Anglican; 15 percent is Roman Catholic; and 19 percent practice other religions. Methodism first came to the islands in the mid-eighteenth century, and attracted a large percentage of the islands' black inhabitants. The African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church has historically been a significant unifying force in the black community. Catholicism first began to make inroads in the mid-nineteenth century, bolstered by the influx of Portuguese immigrants.
Religious Practitioners. The Archbishop of Canterbury in England is the central religious figure for members of the Anglican Church. The Bishop of Bermuda, who presides over the Anglican Cathedral in Hamilton, is next in the hierarchy. The Anglican church in Bermuda has many black pastors, including the bishop, and numerous black congregations.
Rituals and Holy Places. Bermuda has a number of historic churches. The oldest, Saint Peter's Church in Saint George's, was originally built in the early 1600s, and later rebuilt in 1713. The Anglican Cathedral in Hamilton is an elaborate Gothic structure with stained-glass windows and British oak sculpture. The Presbyterian Church in Warwick dates to 1719.
Death and the Afterlife. Both Catholics and Protestants believe in an afterlife. Funeral services in the church are generally followed by mourning in the home of relatives of the deceased.
Medicine and Health Care
The standard of health care is high. There are two hospitals on the islands, one medical and the other psychiatric, and there are adequate doctors to provide care for most of the population. There is an air-ambulance service to the United States and established medical relationships there, in Canada, and in the United Kingdom provide specialist care not locally available. Bermuda has a low infant-mortality rate, and life expectancy is seventy-five years for men and seventy-nine for women.
Holidays celebrated include New Year's Day, 1 January; Bermuda Day, 24 May (Queen Victoria's birthday); the monarch's official birthday, usually the third Monday in June; the two-day cricket, or Cup Match held on a Thursday and a Friday at the end of July or beginning of August; Labor Day, on first Monday in September; Armistice, or Remembrance Day, 11 November when wars are remembered; and Boxing Day, 26 December.
The Arts and Humanities
Literature. Bermuda has produced a number of writers remarkable mostly for historical and cultural studies of the islands, including Walter B. Hayward, Dr. Henry Wilkinson, William S. Zuill, Terry Tucker, Nellie Musson, Cyril Packwood, and Frank Manning and Brian Burland. Bermuda has also provided refuge and inspiration for writers from other countries, including Mark Twain, Eugene O'Neill, Munro Leaf, Noel Coward, James Thurber, Vernon Ives, and Peter Benchley.
Graphic Arts. The Bermuda National Gallery in Hamilton, the Masterworks Foundation Gallery, and a number of smaller galleries throughout the Island display and sell work by many aspiring and successful resident artists. Hamilton's City Hall Theatre and the Ruth Seaton James Hall at Prospect present numerous local and traveling productions.
Many local painters and sculptors have found a market in the tourist population. Much of their work takes its inspiration from the natural surroundings; watercolor is perhaps the most popular medium. Well-known painters include the late Alfred Birdsey, his daughter Joanne Birdsey Linberg, Carol Holding, and Joan Forbes. Desmond Fountain is the country's best-known sculptor.
Performance Arts. The Bermudian variety of Gombey, of West African origin but influenced and made unique by the early strong Native North American presence, has been passed down in family groups over centuries. Accompanied by rhythmic drums, wielding bows, arrows, and tomahawks, the dancers, including children, sport peacock feathered headdresses, masks, and capes. Many of the dances relate to biblical st. The four main Gombey troupes perform on Boxing Day and on unscheduled occasions throughout the year. West Indian calypso and reggae music are both popular.
The State of the Physical and Social Sciences
The Bermuda Biological Station for Research (largely funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation) has laboratories and a library for the study of marine life and environmental issues such as acid rain. There are several including the Maritime Museum complex within the restored Royal Naval Dockyard at Ireland Island. The Bermuda Aquarium and Museum is privately and government supported; it is world famous.
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—Eleanor Stanford and Andrew Sussman
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J. A. Cannon
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