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Travel Guide 2   >   Bermuda   >   History

   
 

Bermudan History


The first appearance of Bermuda in the historical record is in 1511, when Peter Martyr d'Anghiera mentions the islands in his book, Legatio Babylonica. It is likely that the islands were discovered a few years earlier at the very beginning of the 16th century, but the exact date is unknown. Later in the century, both Spanish and Portuguese ships are believed to have regularly stopped at the islands to replenish their supplies of food and water, and there was even an attempt to establish a breeding stock of hogs on the islands. A Portuguese ship is also believed to have become stuck in the islands' reefs, and the sailors had to build a new hull of Bermudan cedar before leaving the islands - leaving the initials "RP 1543" carved on what subsequently became known as "Spanish Rock".

The first permanent colonization of Bermuda took place in 1609, when the English ship, Sea Venture, was wrecked off the coast of the islands. The islands were claimed for the English crown, and initially associated with Virginia, an association which is till recorded today in many place names in Virginia.

In the next centuries, despite attempts to agriculture (principally tobacco) in Bermuda, the islands. Sailors from Bermuda were active in whaling, privateering, and even the Battle of Trafalgar (1805), as well as the salt trade. After the American Revolution (1775 to 1783), also became the Royal Navy's main base in the western hemisphere, and gained the nickname "Gibraltar of the West".

In the 20th century, Bermudans served with British forces during both World Wars, and their sacrifices are remembered by the Cenotaph memorial in front of the Cabinet Building in Hamilton. The Royal Navy base on the island was closed in the 1950s, except for a small supply base which lasted until 1995. Thus, today, the Royal Naval Dockyard is now simply a tourist attraction - in fact one of the most popular tourist attractions in Bermuda, incorporating shops, restaurants, an arts center, and crafts market, as well as the Bermuda Maritime Museum.

Today, Bermuda is highly prosperous with an economy based on financial services and tourism. The islands' Progresive Labour Party supports independence from UK, but Bermudan voters rejected independence in a referendum on the issue in in 1995, and polls indicate that opinion is largely unchanged since that time. As a result, Bermuda remains a British Overseas Territory, albeit with a very high degree of local autonomy (the UK retains responsibility only for defense, and foreign affairs, as well as ultimately ensuring good governance).

Here are some books about the history of Bermuda:


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Books about Bermudan History


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In the Eye of All Trade: Bermuda, Bermudians, and the Maritime Atlantic World, 1680-1783 (Published by the Omohundro Institute of Early American ... and the University of North Carolina Press)

By Michael J. Jarvis

Michael Jarvis
Paperback (704 pages)

In the Eye of All Trade: Bermuda, Bermudians, and the Maritime Atlantic World, 1680-1783 (Published by the Omohundro Institute of Early American ... and the University of North Carolina Press)
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  • In the Eye of All Trade Bermuda Bermudians and the Maritime Atlantic World 1680 1783
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In an exploration of the oceanic connections of the Atlantic world, Michael J. Jarvis recovers a mariner's view of early America as seen through the eyes of Bermuda's seafarers. The first social history of eighteenth-century Bermuda, this book profiles how one especially intensive maritime community capitalized on its position "in the eye of all trade."

Jarvis takes readers aboard small Bermudian sloops and follows white and enslaved sailors as they shuttled cargoes between ports, raked salt, harvested timber, salvaged shipwrecks, hunted whales, captured prizes, and smuggled contraband in an expansive maritime sphere spanning Great Britain's North American and Caribbean colonies. In doing so, he shows how humble sailors and seafaring slaves operating small family-owned vessels were significant but underappreciated agents of Atlantic integration.

The American Revolution starkly revealed the extent of British America's integration before 1775 as it shattered interregional links that Bermudians had helped to forge. Reliant on North America for food and customers, Bermudians faced disaster at the conflict's start. A bold act of treason enabled islanders to continue trade with their rebellious neighbors and helped them to survive and even prosper in an Atlantic world at war. Ultimately, however, the creation of the United States ended Bermuda's economic independence and doomed the island's maritime economy.

Story of Bermuda & Her People

By William Sears Zuill

Macmillan Caribbean
Paperback (259 pages)

Story of Bermuda & Her People
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This small group of islands in the Western Atlantic was formed by volcanic eruption 100 million years ago, but it was uninhabited until the early 16th century. Its story only begins 400 years ago when the thankful survivors of the "Sea Venture" staggered ashore to form the basis of the first settlement. This book chronicles the lives of the Bermudian people throught the excitements of ships and salt, from privateers and blockade-running in the earlier days to the more sedate present-day occupations of one of the world's most attractive tourist and business centres. Of major importance has been the island's unique geographical position which has more than once made Bermuda a place of great strategic value.

History's Mysteries: Curious Clues, Cold Cases, and Puzzles From the Past (National Geographic Kids)

By Kitson Jazynka

National Geographic Books
Released: 2017-10-17
Paperback (160 pages)

History s Mysteries: Curious Clues, Cold Cases, and Puzzles From the Past (National Geographic Kids)
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  • Book packed with facts about the most fascinating mysteries throughout history
  • Discover just how strange our world really is!
  • Read the story of each mystery and then explore its clues and theories
Product Description:
Why were the Easter Island heads erected? What really happened to the Maya? Who stole the Irish Crown Jewels? The first book in this exciting new series will cover history's heavy-hitting, head-scratching mysteries, including the Lost Colony of Roanoke, the Bermuda Triangle, the Oak Island Money Pit, Stonehenge, the Sphinx, the disappearance of entire civilizations, the dancing plague, the Voynich manuscript, and so many more. Chock-full of cool photos, fun facts, and spine-tingling mysteries.

Discovering Somers Isles: A Guide to Bermuda's History 1500-1615

By John M Archer

John Archer
Paperback (122 pages)

Discovering Somers Isles: A Guide to Bermuda s History 1500-1615
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  • Discovering Somers Isles A Guide to Bermuda s History 1500 1615
Product Description:
The fact that Bermuda was discovered at all might seem amazing: the tiny cluster of islands sits almost in the middle of 20,000,000 square miles of the North Atlantic. But sixteenth-century trade routes to the West Indies brought hundreds of ships through the turquoise waters surrounding its desolate shores - and left countless shipwrecks on its uncharted reefs. It is no small wonder that the Bermudas were once known as "Devil's Isles.

On the way to the struggling colony at Jamestown in May of 1609, the flagship of an English convoy was driven onto those reefs by a hurricane.  Battered and sinking, the "Sea Venture" was run aground by Admiral George Somers and miraculously, all 150 passengers survived. Their story, and how Bermuda came to be settled, is a remarkable tale of survival and perseverance.

This guide uses their words, together with maps and images, to allow readers to envision those shores with "seventeenth-century eyes," and discover for themselves what the settlers called "Somers Isles."

Bermuda History, Travel Guide and Tourism: Bermuda people and immigration, tourism information, Government, Culture and Economy

By Evan Adams

Released: 2016-06-16
Kindle Edition (229 pages)

Bermuda History, Travel Guide and Tourism: Bermuda people and immigration, tourism information, Government, Culture and Economy
 
Product Description:
Nearly all the slaves were brought to Bermuda from the West Indies or as slaves on ships captured by Bermuda privateers. Few arrived directly from Africa. The northern European minority descend from the original English colonists and subsequent arrivals from all over Britain including indentured laborers. Some U.S. military personnel and some Scandinavians also settled here. A few Portuguese families arrived first in the 1840s from Madeira. Portuguese immigrants increasingly arrived in subsequent years to work in the growing agricultural industry. More history information on Bermuda……

Defenses of Bermuda 1612–1995 (Fortress)

By Terrance McGovern

Osprey Publishing
Released: 2018-02-20
Paperback (64 pages)

Defenses of Bermuda 1612–1995 (Fortress)
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Bermuda has played an importantmilitary role between America and Europe for almost 400 years due to itslocation in the Western North Atlantic some 635 miles off the Carolinas halfwaybetween Halifax and Jamaica. Bermuda was a key naval base for the Royal Navyafter the American Revolution in 1783, and ultimately as allies with the UnitedStates. Defending its coastline (64 miles) and ports has been vital, resultingin the construction of over ninety forts and batteries, even though its totalland mass is only 20.6 square miles. This concentration of fortifications (4.4forts per square mile), British possession, and its small size led to Bermudagaining the informal title of the "Gibraltar of the West".  Today, thelegacy of these defense works remains either as disused structures or parksscattered throughout Bermuda. The book provides an overview of their design,features, and operational history of Bermuda's fortifications from thesettlement of the islands in 1612 to the closure of the last defense base in1995, as well as what has happened to these fortifications since that time, andwhich are the best ones to visit today through meticulous research and stunningcommissioned color artwork.

The History Of The Bermudas Or Summer Islands

Lefroy John Henry
Paperback (356 pages)

The History Of The Bermudas Or Summer Islands
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  • The History of the Bermudas or Summer Islands
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This scarce antiquarian book is a facsimile reprint of the original. Due to its age, it may contain imperfections such as marks, notations, marginalia and flawed pages. Because we believe this work is culturally important, we have made it available as part of our commitment for protecting, preserving, and promoting the world's literature in affordable, high quality, modern editions that are true to the original work.

Bermuda, Today and Yesterday, 1503-1980's

By Terry Tucker

Brand: Robert Hale Ltd
Hardcover (223 pages)

Bermuda, Today and Yesterday, 1503-1980 s
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Book by Tucker, Terry

Tiny Goes Back in Time A Bermuda History Tour

By Elizabeth A., Mulderig

Bermudian Publishing Company Limited,
Hardcover

Tiny Goes Back in Time A Bermuda History Tour
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The BERMUDA TRIANGLE: The Strange & Unexplained Mysteries of the Deep

By Anna Revell

Independently published
Paperback (129 pages)

The BERMUDA TRIANGLE: The Strange & Unexplained Mysteries of the Deep
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The BERMUDA TRIANGLE: The Strange & Unexplained Mysteries of the Deep

The Bermuda Triangle is a loosely defined area of the western part of the North Atlantic Ocean where numerous aircraft and ships have reported strange occurrences, with some completely vanishing without trace. While some people dismiss the idea that there is something strange happening in the area, it is after all one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world with aircraft regularly flying over it, others remain convinced that a murky secret lurks in the waters of the Bermuda Triangle. As early as the 15th century people were reporting strange activity in the western part of the North Atlantic Ocean. In 1492 Christopher Columbus experienced odd lights and strange compass readings. Despite this, and many other incidents and disappearances in the area over the next few centuries, it wasn’t until the latter half of the twentieth century that the idea of the Bermuda Triangle was firmly established. The writer Vincent Gaddis was one of the first people to define the boundaries of the Bermuda Triangle. In a 1964 edition of Argosy, a pulp magazine, he positioned it’s three points as being in Miami on the Florida peninsula, San Juan in Puerto Rico and the island of Bermuda in the mid-Atlantic. This is the true story of the weird and unexplained events happening within the parameters of the so-called Bermuda Triangle. Many have their theories, but what is really going on in this forgotten corner of the Atlantic?


 
 
 

 
 
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