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Bermuda Travel Information and Hotel Discounts Bermuda Travel Information and Hotel Discounts


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Grotto Bay Beach Resort
Grotto Bay Beach Resort
Bermuda Travel Information and Hotel Discounts

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  Bermuda is a British overseas territory in the North Atlantic, situated 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 was once a popular tourist destination as well.

Main articles: History of Bermuda,
Bermuda was discovered by the early 1500s, probably in 1505, 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.

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. (William Shakespeare's play The Tempest may have been influenced by William Strachey's account of this shipwreck.) 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.

Soon the colony of Virginia far surpassed Bermuda in both quality and quantity of tobacco produced. 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.

After 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.

Main articles: Geography of Bermuda,

Map of BermudaBermuda is located roughly 580 miles (933 kilometers) off the coast of North Carolina, U.S.A., in the North Atlantic Ocean. (See map.) There are two incorporated municipalities in Bermuda; the City of Hamilton, and the Town of St George. There are also a number of localities which are sometimes termed villages, among them Flatts Village, Tucker's Town and Somerset. Contrary to common misperception, Bermuda is not located within the tropics. The subtropical climate is obviously influenced by trade winds as any island geography would entail. Winter evenings can get decidely cool, however summer days are rarely very hot.

Subdivisions of Bermuda
Islands of Bermuda
Flora and fauna in Bermuda
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
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
total: 53.3 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 53.3 sq km
Area - comparative:
about one-third the size of Washington, DC
noun: Bermudian(s)
adjective: Bermudian
Ethnic groups:
black 58%, white 36%, other 6%
non-Anglican Protestant 39%, Anglican 27%, Roman Catholic 15%, other 19%
English (official), Portuguese
Bermudian dollar (BMD)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Bermudian dollar per US dollar - 1.0000 (fixed rate pegged to the US dollar)

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