Bermuda is a Caribbean island having an official status as an overseas British territory. It is located to the east of the United States of America in the North Atlantic Ocean. It is more than 600 miles away from the nearest landmass yet remains the most populated of the remaining overseas British territories. So what story does Bermuda history have to tell and what has shaped its present state?
The first discovery of Bermuda was in 1503 by a Spanish explorer. The island was used by both the Spanish and Portuguese as a place to replenish their ships in water and food. Becoming known as the isle of devils, Bermuda was not settled by either the Spanish or Portuguese as conditions were simply too challenging. There was a very dangerous reef to contend with and all attempts to colonize the island ultimately failed. The sixteenth century saw a lot of visiting ships pass the island and yet none tried to settle there. There were even attempts to introduce a breeding stock of hogs to provide future meat.
This was until the British king James I decided to make a more serious attempt at colonization. A flotilla of ships left England in 1609 with the scope of settling on Bermuda. The ships were led by Sir George Somers and unfortunately, the flagship was wrecked just off the Bermuda cost. It is possible that the Shakespeare play Tempest was inspired by this event. Despite this, the island was indeed claimed for the British Empire in 1612 and St. George was named as its capital.
Economic Development in Bermuda History
The main problem that Bermuda had was its lack of land mass. This lead to over population and as much as half the population had left in search of space elsewhere. The people of Bermuda made their living by seafaring and the island population was often left much lower as many were to be found at sea. Due to this problem and of the limited resources, a hunting ban was imposed in 1620 to prevent the hunting of certain birds and animals under threat on the island.
The English civil war had its impact upon Bermuda history, which seemed to take part in its very own civil conflict. Those that were the most loyal to the British crown stayed and forced those opposing them into exile, strengthening the British hold on Bermuda. After having relatively little success in settlement, the British opted to commence farming the island. This was not particularly lucrative and it was alleged that the cedar wood crates were worth more than their contents.
The Bermudans abandoned the agriculture enforced by the British and planted Cedar trees to cover the island. They turned their attention back to shipbuilding in the 18th century. The islanders were the jacks of all trades and turned their hands to many things, the most significant of which was the salt industry and became the world's largest supplier.
Prosperity and Growth in Bermuda
The 20th century saw the island develop rapidly in terms of communications and infrastructure. It became an important part of the trade route to America and an important navel base as well. The political system and government evolved rapidly as well and the country became well established.
So there you have it; Bermuda history reveals how this island started off as one of the most uninhabited and poor regions and developed into a significant location. It is now a magnet for tourists and continues to hold an importance in trade and navel affairs. Bermuda is a loyal British territory and looks set to stay that way.