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is a British overseas territory
in the North Atlantic around 600 miles off the coast of the United
States. It consists of around 138 islands, of total area 53.3 sq
km. The largest island is where the capital, Hamilton is located.
Bermuda has one of the most advanced economies in the world, with
a large financial sector. It is a popular tourist destination as
well. Discovered by the early 1500s, probably in 1503, although
the evidence for the exact year, and the identity of the discoverer,
is sketchy. It was certainly known by 1511, when Peter Martyr published
his Legatio Babylonica, which mentioned Bermuda. The discovery is
attributed to a Spanish explorer, Juan de Bermudez. Both Spanish
and Portuguese ships used the islands as a replenishment spot for
fresh meat and water, but legends of spirits, now thought to have
stemmed only from the callings of raucous birds, kept them from
attempting any permanent settlement. William Shakespeare set the
location of his play, "The Tempest" on the island in that
early period.The island became permanently inhabited when the Sea
Venture, on its way to the new colony in America, was wrecked off
Bermuda in 1609 (as depicted on the territory's Coat of Arms), and
left the first colonists in possession of a new territory. The land
was claimed by the British Crown and control was granted to a company
in order to produce tobacco for the markets in London. The islands
gained the name the Somers Isles, named after Sir George Somers,
the captain of the Sea Venture.
. After the
decline of the Somers Isle Company, life petered along until a period
of boat building became prevalent on the island due to the large
amounts of good juniper (Juniperus bermudiana, Bermuda cedar) woods
that grew thickly over the whole island. The Bermuda sloop became
highly regarded for its speed and manoverability. Indeed, at the
end of the Battle of Trafalgar, the Bermuda sloop HMS Pickle one
of the fastest vessels in the Royal Navy, raced back to England
with news of the victory and the death of Admiral Lord Nelson.
Resorts On Bermuda:
Coco Reef Bermuda
Elbow Beach Bermuda
9 Beaches Resort
Grape Bay Beach Hotel
Grotto Bay Beach Resort Bermuda
Pompano Beach Club
Surf Side Beach Club
The Fairmont Hamilton Princess
The Fairmont Southampton
The Rosedon Hotel
Wyndham Bermuda Resort & Spa Southampton Beach
the American Revolution, the British Royal Navy began improving the harbours
and built a large dockyard on Ireland Island, in the west of the chain.
Thereafter the navy used the bases as a strategic asset which later benefited
the USA as well (see below).
In the early 20th
century, as modern transport and communication systems developed, Bermuda
became a popular destination for wealthy US, Canadian and British tourists.
In addition, the tariff Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act enacted by the United
States against its trading partners in 1930 cut off Bermuda's once-thriving
agricultural export trade - primarily fresh vegetables to the US - spurring
the overseas territory to develop its tourist industry, which is second
behind international business in terms of economic importance to the island.
Bermuda had been a
strategically important military base since the war of 1812, but it became
particularly important during World War II, because of its central location
in the north Atlantic Ocean. In 1941, the United States signed a lend-lease
agreement with the United Kingdom giving the British surplus US Navy destroyers
in exchange for 99-year lease rights to establish naval and air bases
in Bermuda. The bases consisted of 5.8km ² (2.25 mi²) of land
largely reclaimed from the sea. The US Naval Air Station (Kindley Air
Force Base) was on St. David's Island, while the US Naval Air Station
Annex was at the western end of the main island in the Great Sound.
Both bases were closed
on 1 September 1995, as were British and Canadian bases on the island.
Unresolved issues concerning the 1995 withdrawal of US forces - primarily
related to environmental factors - delayed the formal return of the base
lands to the Government of Bermuda, which finally happened in 2002.
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