Bermuda profile

Map of Bermuda

Bermuda, a densely-populated British overseas territory in the western Atlantic Ocean, has one of the world's most prosperous economies, largely because of its offshore finance industry.

Beaches, golf courses, colonial buildings and the subtropical climate makes the territory an attractive tourist destination.

The 16th century Spanish sea captain, Juan de Bermudez, is believed to have discovered the archipelago of seven main islands and more than 170 islets. England took control of Bermuda in the late 17th century and slaves, mostly brought from Africa, came to outnumber the colonists. Today, three-fifths of the population are of African descent with the remainder of mostly-European extraction.

The 1968 constitution guaranteed internal self-government but tension in the 1970s saw the assassination of the colony's governor and rioting. British troops went in to restore order and recent polls show a large majority opposed to independence.

Bermuda featured in the 2017 leak dubbed the Paradise Papers, which reveal the financial dealings of politicians, celebrities, corporate giants and business leaders.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
National Heroes Day parades are colourful annual celebrations


Head of state: Queen Elizabeth II, represented by a governor

The territory is believed to have one of the oldest parliaments in the world; a representative assembly was established in 1620.


The islands' broadcasting scene is dominated by two commercial players, the Bermuda Broadcasting Company and VSB.


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

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.

1968 - New constitution introduced. British monarch is head of state, represented by a governor and internal self-government is granted.

1973 - Tensions rise, culminating 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.

1995 - Independence referendum: pro-independence Progressive Labour Party (PLP) encourages voters to boycott poll. Majority votes against independence.

2003 - 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.

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

2012 - One Bermuda Alliance (OBA) wins general election, ending PLP's three straight terms in office.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Bermuda has one of the world's most prosperous economies thanks to the flourishing offshore finance industry

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