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Background: Bermuda was first settled in 1609 by shipwrecked English colonists headed for Virginia. Tourism to the island to escape North American winters first developed in Victorian times. Bermuda has developed into a highly successful offshore financial center. A referendum on independence was soundly defeated in 1995.
Government type: parliamentary British overseas territory with internal self-government
Capital: Hamilton
Currency: 1 Bermudian dollar (Bd$) = 100 cents

Geography of Bermuda

Location: Bermuda is an archipelago consisting of seven main islands and many smaller islands and islets lying about 1,050 kilometers (650 mi.) east of North Carolina, USA. The main islands–with hilly terrain and subtropical climate–are clustered together and connected by bridges; they are considered to be a geographic unit and are referred to as the Island of Bermuda.
Geographic coordinates: 32 20 N, 64 45 W
Map references: North America
total: 58.8 sq. km
land: 58.8 sq. km
water: 0 sq. km
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 103 km
Maritime claims:
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm
Climate: subtropical; mild, humid; gales, strong winds common in winter
Terrain: low hills separated by fertile depressions
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Town Hill 76 m
Natural resources: limestone, pleasant climate fostering tourism
Land use:
arable land: 6%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 0%
forests and woodland: 0%
other: 94% (55% developed, 39% rural/open space) (1997 est.)
Natural hazards: hurricanes (June to November)
Environment – current issues: asbestos disposal; water pollution; preservation of open space
Geography – note: consists of about 360 small coral islands with ample rainfall, but no rivers or freshwater lakes; some land, reclaimed and otherwise, was leased by US Government from 1941 to 1995

People of Bermuda

Population: 65,365 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years:  19.4%
15-64 years:  69.43% 
65 years and over:  11.17%
Population growth rate: 0.74% 
Birth rate: 12.16 births/1,000 population 
Death rate: 7.42 deaths/1,000 population 
Net migration rate: 2.66 migrant(s)/1,000 population 
Infant mortality rate: 9.55 deaths/1,000 live births 
Life expectancy at birth:
total population:  77.12 years
male:  75.04 years
female:  79.06 years
Total fertility rate: 1.81 children born/woman 
noun: Bermudian(s)
adjective: Bermudian
Ethnic groups: black 58%, white 36%, other 6%
Religions: non-Anglican Protestant 39%, Anglican 27%, Roman Catholic 15%, other 19%
Languages: English (official), Portuguese
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98%
male: 98%
female: 99% (1970 est.)

Bermuda History

Bermuda was discovered in 1503 by a Spanish explorer, Juan de Bermudez, who made no attempt to land because of the treacherous reef surrounding the uninhabited islands. In 1609, a group of British colonists led by Sir George Somers was shipwrecked and stranded on the islands for 10 months.

Their reports aroused great interest about the islands in England, and in 1612 King James extended the Charter of the Virginia Company to include them. Later that year, about 60 British colonists arrived and founded the town of St. George, the oldest continuously inhabited English-speaking settlement in the Western Hemisphere. Representative government was introduced to Bermuda in 1620, and it became a self-governing colony.

Due to the islands’ isolation, for many years Bermuda remained an outpost of 17th-century British civilization, with an economy based on the use of the islands’ cedar trees for shipbuilding and the salt trade. Hamilton, a centrally located port founded in 1790, became the seat of government in 1815.

Slaves from Africa were brought to Bermuda soon after the colony was established. The slave trade was outlawed in Bermuda in 1807, and all slaves were freed in 1834. Today, about 60% of Bermudians are of African descent.

In the early 20th century, Bermuda’s tourism industry began to develop and thrive; Bermuda has prospered economically since World War II. Internal self-government was bolstered by the establishment of a formal constitution in 1968; debate about independence has ensued, although a 1995 independence referendum was defeated.

Bermuda Economy

Economy – overview: Bermuda enjoys one of the highest per capita incomes in the world, having successfully exploited its location by providing financial services for international firms and luxury tourist facilities for 360,000 visitors annually. The tourist industry, which accounts for an estimated 28% of GDP, attracts 84% of its business from North America. The industrial sector is small, and agriculture is severely limited by a lack of suitable land. About 80% of food needs are imported. International business contributes over 60% of Bermuda’s economic output; a failed independence vote in late 1995 can be partially attributed to Bermudian fears of scaring away foreign firms. Government economic priorities are the further strengthening of the tourist and international financial sectors.

GDP: purchasing power parity – $2.1 billion (2000 est.)
GDP – real growth rate: 1.5% (2000 est.)
GDP – per capita: purchasing power parity – $33,000 (2000 est.)
GDP – composition by sector:
agriculture: 1%
industry: 10%
services: 89% (1995 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.7% (2000 est.)
Labor force: 35,296 (1997)
Labor force – by occupation: clerical 23%, services 22%, laborers 17%, professional and technical 17%, administrative and managerial 12%, sales 7%, agriculture and fishing 2% (1996)
Unemployment rate: NEGL% (1996)
revenues: $504.6 million
expenditures: $537 million, including capital expenditures of $75 million (FY97/98)
Industries: tourism, finance, insurance, structural concrete products, paints, perfumes, pharmaceuticals, ship repairing
Electricity – production: 550 million kWh (1999)
Electricity – production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (1999)
Electricity – consumption: 511.5 million kWh (1999)
Electricity – exports: 0 kWh (1999)
Electricity – imports: 0 kWh (1999)
Agriculture – products: bananas, vegetables, citrus, flowers; dairy products
Exports: $56 million (2000 est.)
Exports – commodities: reexports of pharmaceuticals
Exports – partners: UK 29.5%, US 9.8% (1997)
Imports: $739 million (2000 est.)
Imports – commodities: machinery and transport equipment, construction materials, chemicals, food and live animals
Imports – partners: United States 34%, United Kingdom 9%, Mexico 8% (1997)
Economic aid – recipient: $27.9 million (1995)
Currency: 1 Bermudian dollar (Bd$) = 100 cents

Map of Bermuda