Bermuda profile

A chronology of key events

A house in St Thomas, Bermuda Slaves brought by white settlers came to outnumber the colonists. Today, three-fifths of the island's population are of African descent

Circa 1503 - Spanish sea captain Juan de Bermudez discovers the islands.

1609 - Shipwrecked on his way to Virginia, English explorer Sir George Somers settles. In his honour Bermuda is renamed as the Somers Islands, although the name doesn't stick.

Early 1600s - African and American Indian slaves are brought to the islands. By 1617 they outnumber white settlers.

1684 - Bermuda becomes an English crown colony.

1834 - Slavery is abolished in Bermuda and the rest of the British Empire.

1941 - US establishes military bases on the islands.

1946 - Ban on private cars and motor vehicles lifted. Cars are restricted to one per family.

1957 - British army garrison, present since 1797, is withdrawn.

New constitution

1968 - New constitution introduced. British monarch is head of state, represented by a governor. Internal self-government is granted; the governor takes responsibility for external affairs, defence, internal security and the police.

1968 May - First general election under new constitution held amid growing racial and political tension. Pro-dependency United Bermuda Party (UBP) wins substantial victory. UBP returns to power in subsequent elections despite growing support for pro-independence Progressive Labour Party (PLP).

1973 - Tensions rise and culminate in the assassination of Governor Richard Sharples.

1977 - Riots and demonstrations for civil rights follow execution of Sharples' murderer. State of emergency is declared and British forces are sent to restore order.

1978 - Royal Commission investigates causes of racial violence, recommends early independence.

Racial discrimination banned

1981 - Human Rights Act introduced, prohibiting racial discrimination.

1995 June-September - US military bases closed.

BERMUDA PAPER DECLARES DECISION TO STAY BRITISH Independence from Britain is a recurring political theme

1995 August - Independence referendum: PLP encourages voters to boycott poll, saying independence issue should be resolved by general election. Majority vote against independence.

1998 - Jennifer Smith elected as first PLP premier.

2002 May - British Overseas Territories Act grants full British citizenship to Bermudians.

2003 September - Hurricane Fabian, worst storm in 50 years, sweeps across Bermuda with winds of up to 125 mph. Royal Navy task force heads out to offer assistance.

2004 December - Anti-Terrorism Act passed, aiming to stop terrorists from using offshore finance industry.

Premier announces formation of Bermuda Independence Commission; new body is to debate cutting ties with Britain.

2006 October - Ewart Brown becomes prime minister following a leadership challenge within the ruling Progressive Labour Party.

Former Bermuda premier Ewart Brown Ewart Brown stepped down as premier in 2010

2007 December - The PLP wins a third straight term in office.

2008 November - Britain says it is to conduct a review of the finance industry in Bermuda and other overseas territories. The Bermudian premier says the planned investigation is an insult to the territory.

2009 June - Bermuda added to OECD's "white list" of countries complying with internationally agreed tax standards, after signing information exchange agreements with several countries.

2009 June - Premier Brown causes a stir by agreeing to take in four Chinese prisoners from the US prison in Guantanamo Bay.

2010 September - Fierce waves and high winds from Hurricane Igor pound Bermuda, causing flooding and cutting power to thousands of homes.

2010 October - Premier Ewart Brown steps down; PLP elects Finance Minister Paula Cox to succeed him.

2011 May - Two main opposition United Bermuda Party and Bermuda Democratic Alliance groups merge to form the One Bermuda Alliance.

2012 December - Governing Progressive Labour Party loses parliamentary elections to the One Bermuda Alliance. Alliance leader Craig Cannonier becomes premier, pledges to overcome fall in living standards caused by four years of economic recession.

2013 May - Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Anguilla, Montserrat and the Turks and Caicos Islands sign agreements on sharing tax information with Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain as part of an international drive against tax evasion.

2014 May - Premier Craig Cannonier resigns amid a controversy over his alleged dealings with an American businessman. Deputy Premier Michael Dunkley is appointed in his place.

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