In 1511 a reference to Bermuda in “Legatio Babylonica” shows the islands were known at the beginning of 16th century.
The Islands were ascribed to Juan Bermudez and granted to Phillip II of Spain in 1527. In 1609 the “Sea Venture” was wrecked off St. George’s in a violent storm on its way to America.The survivors built two new ships, the “Patience” and the “Deliverance” that sailed on to Virginia a year later. Admiral Sir George Somers died shortly after he returned to Bermuda.
The Virginia Company took possession of the Islands and in 1612 Bermuda got its first Governor.The Town of St. George was founded as capital and the first parliament met in 1620. During this time the first slaves were brought in from Africa, and later also Indians from North America together with Scottish and Irish prisoners.In 1775 gunpowder was stolen from a camp in St. George’s and used for the American rebels. In return, Bermudians received food, and a letter of thanks from George Washington.In 1815 Hamilton replaced St. George’s as the capital.
Slavery was abolished in 1834.In 1872 a steamer service started operating from New York to Bermuda.After the first world war a great expansion in tourism began.In 1920 to 1930 Bermuda became a popular destination for many Americans. During the second world war Bermuda became a strategic point with new military bases formed by the USA and Canada. In 1972 the Bermuda Dollar was given parity with the US Dollar.The Island has remained a major force in both Tourism, International Business and now ecommerce.
Tom Moore’s Tavern
“Tom Moore’s Tavern”, in Hamilton Parish, has been maintained just as it was at the time the famous Irish Poet penned his prose, while enjoying the shade of the old Calabash tree. It is now a 5 star restaurant, that has entertained the company of visiting Dignitaries, Presidents, and Entertainers.
The Caves are one of the most popular sightseeing venues. The caves, Crystal Cave and Fantasy Cave are magnificent. The tour of the caves explains how they were formed and how they were found by schoolchildren playing cricket.
St. David’s and Gibb’s Hill Lighthouses
The Red and white striped lighthouse in St. David’s overlooks the beaches of Clearwater and the nature reserves.
Gibb’s Hill lighthouse stands 117 feet high overlooking the sound and south shore. You can climb to the top of the lighthouse for spectacular views. 185 very steep steps, in 8 flights. You will probably need a refreshment at the Lighthouse Tea Room at the base of the beacon. Get there by 4 pm for an English cream tea as it closes at 5 pm.
Bermuda has some 100 large and small beaches.
Horseshoe Beach off South Road is Bermuda's most famous beach. Special events are held there such as Bermuda Kite flying on Good Friday.The beach house has an indoor and outdoor restaurant, rest rooms, changing facilities, lockers and showers.John Smiths Bay, Shelly Bay, Tobacco Bay and Clearwater Beach also have facilities.
The Railway Trail
The 1949 the railway was sold to Guyana. Conservationists and government utilized the old tracks as walkways and cycle trails once the sleepers were removed. Many of the charity walks use the Railway Trail because of the lack of traffic.
Museums & Galleries
The Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo in Flatt’s Village has pink Flamingos, Penguins, turtles, other exhibits, and large fish tanks that contain colourful fish, coral, and sea plants.
The Confederate Museum has a small exhibit containing relics and historical information of Bermuda’s sympathetic involvement in the American Civil War.
The Maritime Museum, is located on the grounds of the old English Royal Naval Dockyard. It contains the relics, cannons, and documentation of the once thriving Fort, that had housed many young soldiers from England, Scotland and Ireland. The Commissioner's House in Bermuda was restored in 2000 after long years of neglect. The Bermuda Government contributed US$ 500,000 in a new partnership with the Maritime Museum. It has now been reopened as a second museum. Dolphin Quest is an added attraction to the museum.
The Bermuda National Gallery at City Hall in Hamilton, host exhibitions and lecturers, by local as well as International artists. Jazz nights and other special events are also held in the gallery.
The Bermuda Society of Arts, also housed in City Hall, contains two Galleries which are used for local artist exhibits, both members and non members of the Society. One exhibit is “The Prisoners Show”, held once a year, showing the talents of some of the Bermuda inmates.
Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art is located in the old Arrowroot Factory of the Botanical Gardens. The Museum is beautifully restored for the purpose of being able to permanently house and exhibit over 1,000 pieces of Bermuda art which they have repurchased, or obtained by donation, and brought back to the Island. The Museum is now open to the public.
||Parishes, City, Town, & Villages
The Island of Bermuda has 12 Parishes in its 21 mile length.
Hamilton, being the largest city, is the Capital, and the central business hub of the Island. The large Cruise ships dock in the harbour on Front Street, which is made up of many colourful shops. A Policeman still stands in the birdcage to direct traffic during the rush hour.
The Town of St. George was the original capital of Bermuda and is a World Heritage Site with its narrow alleyways and streets, quaint shops and a town square with stocks and the replica of the Sea Venture. You will need a day to take in all of the sites.
Flatt’s Village is an inlet and safe harbour for many boats and yachts, and is home to The Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo.
Somerset Village with its shops, pubs and restaurants is a great place to stop and take in the views. Don’t forget to visit Fort Scaur and Somerset Bridge (The smallest Drawbridge in the world) whilst in Sandy’s parish.
The Royal Naval Dockyard work began in 1809 at Bermuda’s Ireland Island on the construction of the ‘Gibraltar of the West’, the Royal Naval Dockyard. The work was carried out using both slaves and convicts shipped from England. Of 9,000 convicts shipped to Bermuda, approximately 2,000 perished during construction, many from yellow fever. It now houses the Clocktower Mall, Craft Market, Dockyard Art Centre and Bermuda Maritime Museum.
Bermuda has numerous old Military Forts, and many are still accessible to be explored. One of the earliest was Gates Fort c.1612, which is located at town cut, St. George’s. It is said that the only shot ever fired was over a Spanish Galleon that turned tail and ran.
Fort Hamilton c.1870, overlooking the city has magnificent views and lush moat and is a great picnic spot. At certain times of the year the Skirling Ceremonies are held here. Fort St. Catherine c.1814 has ramparts with cannons, excellent views and even a room with replicas of the Crown Jewels (there is a fee to enter Fort St. Catherine).
Bermuda's Parks, Gardens & Nature Reserves
With its varied flora & fauna Bermuda explodes with vibrant colours. The Bermuda Government and organisations such as the National Trust and Audubon Society have worked tirelessly to create open spaces that can be enjoyed by all. Their dedication has resulted in a variety of beautiful parks and nature reserves throughout the island.
There are always flowers blooming on the roadsides, with the Hibiscus and Bougainvillea flowering year round. A trip to the Botanical Gardens is a must.
The slat houses contain Cacti, Ferns and Orchids. Camden (the official residence of the Premier), is open to visitors at certain times of the week and tours of the gardens are also available.
Gombeys, Parades and Ceremonies
Troupes of Gombeys are a mix of Afro-Caribbean and Native American influences. Their dance, bright masks and costumes, loud whistles and hypnotic drum beats the gombey’s brighten up any parade.
May 24th is the Bermuda Day Parade and the streets are lined with people to see the colourful floats, majorettes and marching bands.
The Queen’s Birthday Parade is a military and governmental affair with visiting naval ships crew also on parade. The Governor salutes the Queen to a military bypass.
The Christmas Boat Parade brightens the harbour with boats decorated in lights and themes, ending in a magnificent fireworks display.
The annual Cricket Cup Match, which began over a century ago, is always a colourful and thrilling event, with Somerset vs. St. George. The Match is held over a two day national holiday, (Emancipation Day and Somers’s Day).
Bermuda is a walker and runner’s paradise with regular competitive events, including the “End to End”, for charity, and “International Race Weekend” which draws entries from all over the world.
Bermuda holds many world records for deep-sea fishing with Marlins caught in local waters of over 1,000lbs.
The avid golfer can choose from 9 golf courses, the highest concentration per square mile in the world. Some courses are private and need introductions although the 3 government courses are world class.
The SCUBA Diving on the wrecks around Bermuda amongst the multitude of fish is some of the best in the world. Dive shops are located around the island.
Photographic links to imagesofbermuda.com
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