Bermuda


Bermuda
Bermudan, Bermudian /beuhr myooh"dee euhn/, adj., n.
/beuhr myooh"deuh/, n.
a group of islands in the Atlantic, 580 mi. (935 km) E of North Carolina: a British colony; resort. 62,569; 19 sq. mi. (49 sq. km). Cap.: Hamilton. Also, Bermudas.

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Bermuda

Introduction Bermuda
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. Tourism continues to be important to the island's economy, although international business has overtaken it in recent years. Bermuda has developed into a highly successful offshore financial center. A referendum on independence was soundly defeated in 1995. Geography Bermuda -
Location: North America, group of islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, east of North Carolina (US)
Geographic coordinates: 32 20 N, 64 45 W
Map references: North America
Area: total: 53.3 sq km water: 0 sq km land: 53.3 sq km
Area - comparative: about one-third the size of Washington, DC
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% other: 100% (55% developed, 45% rural/open space) (1998 est.)
Irrigated land: NA sq km
Natural hazards: hurricanes (June to November) Environment - current issues: asbestos disposal; water pollution; preservation of open space; sustainable development
Geography - note: consists of about 138 coral islands and islets with ample rainfall, but no rivers or freshwater lakes; some land, reclaimed and otherwise, was leased by US Government from 1941 to 1995 People Bermuda
Population: 63,960 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 19.2% (male 6,058; female 6,225) 15-64 years: 69.4% (male 21,950; female 22,442) 65 years and over: 11.4% (male 3,163; female 4,122) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.69% (2002 est.)
Birth rate: 11.82 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate: 7.49 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate: 2.61 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 0.94 male(s)/female under 15 years: 0.97 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.77 male(s)/ female total population: 0.95 male(s)/ female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 9.28 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.) Life expectancy at birth: total population: 77.3 years female: 79.27 years (2002 est.) male: 75.21 years
Total fertility rate: 1.81 children born/woman (2002 est.) HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: NA% HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/ NA
AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA
Nationality: 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
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population: 98% male: 98% female: 99% (1970 est.) Government Bermuda
Country name: conventional long form: none conventional short form: Bermuda former: Somers Islands
Dependency status: overseas territory of the UK
Government type: parliamentary British overseas territory with internal self- government
Capital: Hamilton Administrative divisions: 9 parishes and 2 municipalities*; Devonshire, Hamilton, Hamilton*, Paget, Pembroke, Saint George*, Saint George's, Sandys, Smith's, Southampton, Warwick
Independence: none (overseas territory of the UK)
National holiday: Bermuda Day, 24 May
Constitution: 8 June 1968, amended 1989
Legal system: English law
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor Sir John VEREKER (since NA April 2002) head of government: Premier Jennifer SMITH (since 10 November 1998) cabinet: Cabinet nominated by the premier, appointed by the governor elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; governor appointed by the monarch; governor invites the leader of largest party in Parliament to form a government as premier
Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (an 11-member body appointed by the governor, the premier, and the opposition) and the House of Assembly (40 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms) elections: last general election held 9 November 1998 (next to be held NA November 2003) election results: percent of vote by party - PLP 54%, UBP 44%, NLP 1%, independents 1%; seats by party - PLP 26, UBP 14
Judicial branch: Supreme Court; Court of Appeal; Magistrate Courts Political parties and leaders: National Liberal Party or NLP [Dessaline WALDRON]; Progressive Labor Party or PLP [Jennifer SMITH]; United Bermuda Party or UBP [Dr. Grant GIBBONS] Political pressure groups and Bermuda Employer's Union [Eddie
leaders: SAINTS]; Bermuda Industrial Union or BIU [Derrick BURGESS]; Bermuda Public Services Association or BPSA [leader NA]; Bermuda Union of Teachers [Michael CHARLES] International organization Caricom (observer), CCC, ICFTU,
participation: Interpol (subbureau), IOC Diplomatic representation in the US: none (overseas territory of the UK) Diplomatic representation from the chief of mission: Acting Consul
US: General Karen EMMERSON consulate(s) general: Crown Hill, 16 Middle Road, Devonshire DVQ3 mailing address: P. O. Box HM325, Hamilton HMBX; American Consulate General Hamilton, Department of State, 5300 Hamilton Place, Washington, DC 20520-5300 telephone: [1] (441) 295-1342 FAX: [1] (441) 295-1592, [1] (441) 296-9233
Flag description: red, with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant and the Bermudian coat of arms (white and green shield with a red lion holding a scrolled shield showing the sinking of the ship Sea Venture off Bermuda in 1609) centered on the outer half of the flag Economy Bermuda -
Economy - overview: Bermuda enjoys one of the highest per capita incomes in the world, with its economy primarily based on providing financial services for international business and luxury facilities for tourists. The effects of 11 September 2001 have had both positive and negative ramifications for Bermuda. On the positive side, a number of new reinsurance companies have located on the island, contributing to the expansion of an already robust international business sector. On the negative side, Bermuda's already weakening tourism industry - which derives over 80% of its visitors from the US - has been further hit as American tourists have chosen not to travel. Most capital equipment and food must be imported, with the US serving as the primary source of goods, followed by the UK. Bermuda's industrial sector is small, although construction continues to be important. Agriculture is limited, only 6% of the land being arable.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $2.2 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 2.9% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $34,800 (2001 est.) GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 1% industry: 10% services: 89% (1995 est.) Population below poverty line: NA% Household income or consumption by lowest 10%: NA%
percentage share: highest 10%: NA% Inflation rate (consumer prices): 3% (July 2001)
Labor force: 37,472 (2000) Labor force - by occupation: clerical 22%, services 20%, laborers 17%, professional and technical 17%, administrative and managerial 13%, sales 8%, agriculture and fishing 3% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate: 4.5% (1993)
Budget: revenues: $609.5 million expenditures: $574.6 million, including capital expenditures of $54.8 million (FY00/01)
Industries: tourism, international business, light manufacturing Industrial production growth rate: NA% Electricity - production: 595 million kWh (2000) Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 100% hydro: 0% other: 0% (2000) nuclear: 0% Electricity - consumption: 553.35 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products: bananas, vegetables, citrus, flowers; dairy products
Exports: $51 million (2000)
Exports - commodities: reexports of pharmaceuticals
Exports - partners: EU excluding UK 77.9%, US 9.8%, UK 6.9% (1999)
Imports: $719 million (2000)
Imports - commodities: machinery and transport equipment, construction materials, chemicals, food and live animals
Imports - partners: EU excluding UK 35.4%, US 17.8%, UK 15.4%, Russia 14.6% (1999)
Debt - external: $145 million (FY99/00) Economic aid - recipient: $NA
Currency: Bermudian dollar (BMD)
Currency code: BMD
Exchange rates: Bermudian dollar per US dollar - 1.0000 (fixed rate pegged to the US dollar)
Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March Communications Bermuda Telephones - main lines in use: 52,000 (1997) Telephones - mobile cellular: 7,980 (1996)
Telephone system: general assessment: NA domestic: modern, fully automatic telephone system international: 3 submarine cables; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) Radio broadcast stations: AM 5, FM 3, shortwave 0 (1998)
Radios: 82,000 (1997) Television broadcast stations: 3 (1997)
Televisions: 66,000 (1997)
Internet country code: .bm Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 20 (2000)
Internet users: 25,000 (2000) Transportation Bermuda
Railways: 0 km
Highways: total: 450 km paved: NA note: public roads - 209 km; private roads - 241 km (2002) unpaved: NA
Waterways: none
Ports and harbors: Hamilton, Saint George's, Dockyard
Merchant marine: total: 102 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 5,485,450 GRT/8,782,869 DWT note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Croatia 5, Denmark 2, Germany 1, Greece 1, Hong Kong 9, Indonesia 1, Norway 2, Sweden 11, United Kingdom 52, United States 13 (2002 est.) ships by type: bulk 28, cargo 4, container 16, liquefied gas 6, passenger 3, petroleum tanker 17, refrigerated cargo 16, roll on/roll off 9, short-sea passenger 3
Airports: 1 (2002) Airports - with paved runways: total: 1 2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2960 m) (2002) Military Bermuda
Military branches: no regular indigenous military forces; Bermuda Regiment, Bermuda Police Force, Bermuda Reserve Constabulary Military expenditures - dollar $4,027,970 (January 2002)
figure: Military expenditures - percent of 0.11% (FY00/01)
GDP:
Military - note: defense is the responsibility of the UK Transnational Issues Bermuda Disputes - international: none

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British colony (pop., 2002 est.: 63,600), western Atlantic Ocean.

Comprising about 300 islands, of which only some 20 are inhabited, it lies about 570 mi (920 km) southeast of Cape Hatteras, N.C., U.S. The archipelago has a total land area of about 20 sq mi (52 sq km). Its capital is Hamilton on Bermuda Island. It was named for Juan de Bermúdez, who may have visited the islands in 1503. Colonized by the English in 1612, Bermuda became a crown colony in 1684. Its economy is based on tourism and international finance; its gross national product per capita is among the world's highest.

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▪ islands, Atlantic Ocean
Introduction
 self-governing British colony in the western North Atlantic Ocean. It is an archipelago of 7 main islands and about 170 additional (named) islets and rocks, situated about 650 miles (1,050 km) east of Cape Hatteras (North Carolina, U.S.). Bermuda is neither geologically nor spatially associated with the West Indies, which lie more than 800 miles (1,300 km) to the south and southwest. The archipelago is about 24 miles (40 km) long and averages less than 1 mile (1.6 km) in width. The main islands are clustered together in the shape of a fishhook and are connected by bridges. The largest island is referred to as Main Island (14 miles [22.5 km] long and 1 mile wide). The Peak, at 259 feet (79 m) on Main Island, is the highest point. The capital is Hamilton.

The land.
      The coral islands of Bermuda are composed of a layer 200 feet (60 m) thick of marine limestone that caps an extinct and submerged volcanic mountain range rising more than 14,000 feet (4,300 m) above the ocean floor; the limestone surface is overlain by a shallow layer of fertile soil. The islands are fringed by coral reefs and have no lakes or rivers, but the soil is highly porous, and standing water is not a problem.

      The climate is mild, humid, and equable. August is the warmest month, with an average daytime high of 86° F (30° C), and February is the coldest month, with an average nighttime low of 57° F (14° C). Mean annual precipitation is about 57 inches (1,450 mm). Occasional dry spells can be critical, as the supply of drinking water depends almost entirely on rainfall. (There also are a number of wells and seawater distillation plants). The vegetation is subtropical and includes flowering shrubs such as bougainvillea, Easter lilies, oleander, hibiscus, and poinsettia. Palm, pine, casuarina, and mangrove trees are found on most of the islands. A number of migratory birds visit the islands annually; other wildlife is limited to lizards and frogs.

The people.
      About three-fifths of the population is descended from African slaves brought to Bermuda before Britain outlawed the slave trade in 1807. Whites include the British and descendants of Portuguese labourers from Madeira and the Azores who went to Bermuda in the mid-19th century. English is the official language, but some Portuguese is also spoken. Christianity predominates, and more than one-fourth of the population is Anglican. Bermuda's rate of population growth is low by world standards, comparable to that of the United States. Less than one-fifth of the population is younger than 15 years.

      Virtually all of Bermuda's larger islands are inhabited, and Main Island has the largest concentration of people. Bermuda has one of the world's highest population densities.

The economy.
      Bermuda has a predominantly market economy based on tourism and international finance. The gross national product (GNP) is growing more rapidly than the population, and the GNP per capita is one of the highest in the world.

      Agriculture is of negligible importance in the overall economy, and most food must be imported. Fresh vegetables, bananas, citrus fruits, milk, eggs, and honey are produced locally. There is a small fishing industry. Mineral industries are limited to the production of sand and limestone for local construction. There are a few light manufacturing industries that produce paint, pharmaceuticals, electronic wares, and printed material.

      Tourism and international financial services account for the major share of the GNP and employ virtually all the workforce directly or indirectly. More than 500,000 tourists visit Bermuda each year; most come from the United States. Airlines account for the majority of arrivals, but there are also dozens of calls by cruise ships each year. Bermuda has low income taxes; the government derives most of its revenues from tariffs and various taxes on real estate and tourism. As a result the colony has become an important offshore financial centre, and many insurance and investment companies have established offices there. Principal trading partners include the United States, which supplies nearly three-fourths of Bermuda's imports by value; Canada; Japan; and the Netherlands Antilles, which supplies oil imports.

Government and social conditions.
      Bermuda is an internally self-governing British (British Empire) colony with a parliamentary government. Under its 1968 constitution, the British monarch, represented by the governor, is the head of state. The governor maintains control over external affairs, defense, internal security, and the police but acts on the advice of the cabinet, led by the premier, who is head of government and of the majority party in the legislature. The bicameral legislature is composed of the House of Assembly, with 40 members elected to terms of up to five years, and the Senate, with 11 members appointed by the governor (5 on the advice of the premier, 3 on the advice of the leader of the opposition, and 3 at the governor's discretion. The Supreme Court heads the judicial system. The system of local government comprises nine parishes: St. George's, Hamilton, Smith's, Devonshire, Pembroke, Paget, Warwick, Southampton, and Sandys.

      Bermuda enjoys a high standard of health, as reflected in the average life expectancy of about 73 years for men and 79 years for women and in the relatively low infant-mortality rate. Social-security provisions, first enacted in 1965, include old-age, disability, and survivor pensions and compulsory hospitalization insurance for all citizens.

      Nearly the entire population is literate. Education is compulsory and free between the ages of 5 and 16. There is one junior college, and government scholarships are available for overseas study.

History.
      In 1511 an island named “Bermudas” was depicted on a map in Spain. The Spanish navigator Fernández de Oviedo sailed close to the islands in 1515 and attributed their discovery to his countryman Juan Bermúdez, possibly as early as 1503. A century later, about 150 British travelers were blown off course by a hurricane and shipwrecked (1609–10) at Bermuda, which they named the Somers Isles. News of these events inspired Shakespeare's writing of The Tempest (Tempest, The) (1611–12); in the play Ariel makes reference to “the still-vex'd Bermoothes.” Bermuda was included (1612) in the third charter of the Virginia Company, and 60 English settlers were sent to colonize the islands. Indian and African slaves were transported to Bermuda by 1617, and soon the slave population outnumbered the white settlers.

      In 1684 the colony became administered by the crown. The colonial capital was transferred from St. George to Hamilton on Main Island in 1815. Slavery was abolished in Bermuda and the rest of the British Empire in 1834.

      During the American Civil War, Bermuda was a staging area for blockade runners to Southern ports. Rum was smuggled into the United States from the island during the Prohibition period (1919–33). In the 20th century the colony developed thriving industries in tourism and international finance. The U.S. government acquired a 99-year lease for military bases in 1941 but closed them in 1995. The British army garrison, which dated to 1797, was withdrawn in 1957, a Canadian base closed in 1993, and a small remaining Royal Navy base ceased operating in 1995.

      The first Bermudian political party, the Progressive Labour Party, organized in 1963, claimed to represent the nonwhite citizens. In 1968 a new constitution gave strong powers to the elected head of the majority political party in the legislature, and the next election placed the multiracial United Bermuda Party in power with a substantial majority; the party was returned to power in subsequent elections.

      Political tensions increased in 1973 when the governor, Sir Richard Sharples, was assassinated. Political unrest and rioting in 1977 led to official efforts to end de facto racial discrimination and to begin independence talks. In a referendum held in August 1995, however, nearly three-fourths of those voting opposed independence. In the 1990s economic and environmental concerns—the latter resulting in part from the high population density—and a growing traffic in illegal drugs were major political issues. Area 21 square miles (54 square km). Pop. (1970) 52,976; (1991) 59,324; (1995 est.) 58,000.

Pauline Heaton George J. Rushe

Additional Reading
George Rushe, Your Bermuda (1995), is a comprehensive, fact-filled guide. Wolfgang Sterrer and Christine Schoepfer-Sterrer (eds.), Marine Fauna and Flora of Bermuda (1986), provides representative coverage. Historical works include Terry Tucker, Bermuda: Today and Yesterday, 1503–1973 (1975), a popular overview; Wilfred Brenton Kerr, Bermuda and the American Revolution: 1760–1783 (1936, reissued 1969); and Henry C. Wilkinson, Bermuda from Sail to Steam: The History of the Island from 1784 to 1901, 2 vol. (1973). Further resources may be found in A.C. Hollis Hallett, Bermuda in Print: A Guide to the Printed Literature on Bermuda, 2nd ed. (1995).

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Universalium. 2010.

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