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Bermuda Island Information & Facts
This section is about our findings in Bermuda that are beyond just the tourism attractions and opportunities. As we kept exploring the island during our many visits, we started to uncover lot more information like how was the island Bermuda formed after all? How did human beings arrive here? In fact the warmth and friendliness of the people triggered us to find out about their background and culture, the local customs and traditions, and many other details.
We started digging deeper to understand the history of Bermuda, how the British settlement took place way back in early 1600s, how the tourism industry started growing and along with it the International business that over the years made Bermuda one of the richest countries in the world. The flora and fauna of the island too offer something different and amazing that we seldom found anywhere in the world.
So this section is all about the island of Bermuda - its location & geography, its formation, the history & the people, their culture & traditions, animal & plant life, economy, industries, the infamous Bermuda Triangle and lot more. It's about our findings about many aspects of the island that are hardly known to occasional visitors or tourists.
How was Bermuda formed?
Although Bermuda on most maps looks like a dot, as you take a closer view, you will see that the shape of the island is like a fish hook, bending near south-west end and the stem extending towards north-east. Actually Bermuda is not a single island. It is a cluster of some 180 islands and located in the North Atlantic ocean. Some of these islands are so tiny that they are fit only for birds' nests. The total area including all these tiny islands is little over 21 square miles. Only about 20 of these islands are inhabited and seven of the larger ones are joined by bridges and causeways to the main island of Bermuda. Rest of the islands are scattered in the waters nearby.
Bermuda is actually a volcanic rock created as a result of a volcanic eruption from the ocean floor some 100 million years back. From the sea floor up to 200 feet below the water surface, it's all volcanic rock. The remaining part of the island up to what you see above the surface is limestone rock that consists of seashells and corals. The highest point of Bermuda, called the Town Hill is about 260 feet above the sea level and is located in Southampton Parish. The limestone rocks that formed the upper part of Bermuda islands have played an important part in the life of Bermudians. It's a rock that is naturally soft and can be easily cut with even saws. But it becomes hard with exposure to air. Bermudians have used this rock to create the white shiny roads in the island that are nothing but polished limestone.
Bermuda Island (a satellite image)
Bermuda Houses & Architecture: Bermudians also use this rock to build limestone roofs in their houses which then serve an important purpose. There are no fresh water lakes or rivers in Bermuda. All houses need to store the rain water in an underground reservoir and use it as drinking water. The rainwater passes through the grooves of the limestone roofs, gets purified and then stored in the tank where further filtering takes place.
The pastel color houses in pink, yellow, blue and other rainbow colors, along with their shiny white roofs, English gardens, and lush landscapes of Bermuda is a sight that you seldom find anywhere else. Most of Bermuda is still residential.
Location of Bermuda: So where is the island of Bermuda? Many make a mistake thinking that it is part of the Caribbean islands. It is not. Bermuda is an independent country and a cluster of islands (although still part of British Overseas Territory) which is located in the north Atlantic ocean and off the eastern coast of North America. But how long does it take to reach the island? How far is the nearest shore of US main land? What is its time zone? You will know about all that from the link above.
History of Bermuda: Although Bermuda was first discovered in 1500s, it's actually the Englishman Sir George Somers and his sailors who first accidentally landed up in the island as their ship got wrecked. They initiated the first human settlement in the island. Bermuda went on to play a major role subsequently for the British as well as for the USA in both the World Wars and building strategic relationships between the two countries. But Bermuda's history has also been marked with slavery which took a long time to get eradicated.
Bermuda's People & Culture: There were many questions that started cluttering our mind. How did so many people come to such a remote and isolated island on the north Atlantic? What is their background and culture? How did they manage their living? What language do they speak, what do they eat & wear? And many more such questions. You will find all our findings to such questions in this section.
Bermuda Traditions & Customs: There has been several external influences that made significant impact on the life style of Bermudians. Much of such influence have come from the British, the Americans and also the Caribbean & Portuguese. Such influences are reflected in the dress codes they follow, the accent in their language, the architecture of their houses, food & drinking habits, the belief system and lot more.
Legendary Bermudians: There have been several islanders who played key roles in shaping the island - be its economy, making a mark in the musical world, spreading love amongst the people, or positively influencing others & their lives by their sheer lifestyle and charisma. This section is a tribute to those Bermudians who remain close to the hearts of all islanders.
There are many periodic festivals and events taking place all across the island on almost every month of the year. Some of them are sporting events, while others are festive celebrations and events that reflect the deep culture and traditions of Bermuda.
On public holidays, most commercial establishments in the island including shops, restaurants and offices remain closed. Even public transports like buses and ferries operate at a reduced frequency, and taxis will be hard to get. So, should you travel to Bermuda on a public Holiday? It's better you find out which are those days in the year before you travel and know what you may expect on those days.
Bermuda Shorts: What started as a comfort wear in early 1900s when the British Navy officers stationed in Bermuda visited the yacht clubs, gradually became a traditional formal wear. In fact, Bermuda Shorts is part of the island's national dress and is a formal business wear for men. Although you will see many wearing colorful shorts as casual wears particularly in the beaches, you will also see men wearing the formal shorts with shoes & long socks, collared shirts, jacket and tie heading for their offices in the morning.
Bermuda Music & Dance: The island over the years has created an amazing blend of music from all that it could gather from it neighbors like the Caribbean island Jamaica, and also from North America and United Kingdom. Today the Gombey dance & music, the steel pan, the Bagpipe & Calypso are all firmly integrated within the musical framework of the island. There have been many musicians of Bermuda who became forceful names in the world of music. And today the island has advanced to handle all the modern genres of music and dance.
Bermuda Animal Life: While Bermuda may not be home to large exotic animals like the big cats, you will be surprised to know there are so many endemic species which are only unique to Bermuda and can not be found anywhere else in the world. Some examples include the Skink (Rock lizard), Bermuda's national bird the Cahow, Bermuda cave shrimps and lot more. And there are many other species as well. But how did all these creatures come to the island which is more than 600 miles from the nearest shore land? This section reveals all that.
Bermuda Bird Life: Bermuda is a bird watchers' paradise. There are more than 200 species of birds that can be found in Bermuda. While there are many resident birds in the island, large numbers are migratory birds that migrate between the South and North America, and use Bermuda as a halting place. Know about the beautiful birds of Bermuda and the best way to go about bird watching in the island.
Bermuda Plant Life & Vegetation: Among the vegetation, you will find plenty of cedars, palmettos, mangroves and other trees. Among the flowers, Easter Lilies in Bermuda are quite famous. They are exported and also used in making perfumes in Bermuda. Other flowers like hibiscus and oleanders are also quite common in the island. Fruits like bananas and vegetables like the tomatoes, sweet potatoes and onions are grown in plenty in the island. Know about the different species of trees and plants in Bermuda, including endemic trees & plantations which are unique to the island, and also the native and introduced species.
UPDATE: Bermuda Onions are no longer grown commercially for exports.
How tourism thrived in Bermuda: This small little island had to focus on tourism to keep pulling on with its economy. After all the thriving onion harvesting & trade that once helped Bermuda flourish, was quickly coming to an end by late 1800s. So it had to do something else. While wealthy tourists started trickling in as early as mid 1800s, it was only in early 1900s when Bermuda got serious with its tourism business. Find out how.
International Business: While tourism thrived, it could not be the only force to propel Bermuda to the level of economy where it is today. And when it got the first opportunity, it invited the Shell Oil Company to set up its international business in 1947 even when there was no legislation in place to support such industry. Today there are over 18,000 international companies (mostly in insurance and re-insurance sectors) and off shore businesses that are operating out of Bermuda. After all, Bermuda has offered a tax free haven to them who in turn help in the island's economy and offer employment to the Bermudians creating a win-win situation for both.
Bermuda's Economy: So tourism and international businesses became the two main pillars of Bermuda's economy, in fact the latter overshot the former. And Bermuda became one of such countries where the per capita income is one of the highest in the world. Both industries offered plenty of jobs to the islanders. However the cost of living too became one of the highest since Bermuda has no produce of its own and had to import virtually everything. And being such a small island with land property at premium, the real estate prices too shot up.
Bermuda Triangle: Who doesn't know about Bermuda Triangle and its mystery of ships and planes disappearing strangely? Well it's the island of Bermuda which forms one of the corners of this infamous triangle and has lended its name to it. Find out about the greatest stories of disappearances and what may have caused such incidents.
Bermuda's Coral Reefs: The coral reefs around Bermuda are some of the northern most reefs that can be found in the Atlantic. These reefs formed by corals grow from the bottom of the ocean. While the corals grow on the surface and make the reefs look colorful & spectacular, the reefs are also home to amazing marine life and fish.
Famous Shipwrecks of Bermuda: The treacherous and hidden coral reefs around Bermuda had been the cause of ill fate for many passing ships in the past when there was no good navigational system available. There are more than 300 shipwrecks that are lying in the waters of North Atlantic and close to Bermuda. Many of these ships were of great significance and had interesting stories about them and their wrecking.
Weather in Bermuda: Weather in the island is sub-tropical in nature. It is never too hot or too cold. The temperature varies between average high of 87°F during summer to a low of 56°F in winter. While there is plenty of rainfall, you get an average 8 hours of bright sunshine almost 315 days a year. There is no specific rainy season or monsoon time in Bermuda. It can rain any time, but usually in short spurts.
Why Visit Bermuda: If all the information above is not enough for you to plan a visit to Bermuda, then check out this link to know why you should.
Bermuda Specials: Find out the unique features and offerings of Bermuda that you may rarely find anywhere else in the world and which makes the island so special.
Bermuda Grass: Although Bermuda is not the origin of this grass, it is so named because the island was the first to introduce it to the USA. Its large scale adaptation & rapid growth across the southern part of USA led to its name as Bermuda Grass. If you are planning to seed the grass in your lawn, or wanting to better maintain it, or just trying to kill it, you will find all the required information in this section.
Bermuda Business Directory: This is where I have compiled all the well known businesses in Bermuda by category, big or small. They may be tour operators, hotels, restaurants, shops, schools, florists or any other establishment taking part in Bermuda's active economy. The harsh realities of the economy has sometimes taken toll on some that had to eventually close down their operations. I have also indicated the ones that were once good names to reckon with but no longer in business.
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By Raj Bhattacharya
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