|General background: Bermuda was first settled
in 1609 by shipwrecked English colonists headed for
Virginia. Tourism to the island to escape North American
winters first developed in Victorian times. Tourism
continues to be important to the island's economy, although
international business has overtaken it in recent years.
Bermuda has developed into a highly successful offshore
financial center. A referendum on independence was soundly
defeated in 1995.
About one-third the size of Washington, DC
Climate: Subtropical; mild, humid; gales, strong
winds common in winter.
hills separated by fertile depressions.
Population: 63,960 (July 2002 est.)
Ethnic groups: Black 58%, White 36%, other
Religions: Non-Anglican Protestant 39%, Anglican
27%, Roman Catholic 15%, other 19%
Language: English (official), Portuguese
Government type: Parliamentary British overseas
territory with internal self-government.
Legal system: English law
Economic overview: Bermuda enjoys one of the
highest per capita incomes in the world, with its
economy primarily based on providing financial services
for international business and luxury facilities for
tourists. The effects of 11 September 2001 have had
both positive and negative ramifications for Bermuda.
On the positive side, a number of new reinsurance
companies have located on the island, contributing
to the expansion of an already robust international
business sector. On the negative side, Bermuda's already
weakening tourism industry - which derives over 80%
of its visitors from the US - has been further hit
as American tourists have chosen not to travel. Most
capital equipment and food must be imported, with
the US serving as the primary source of goods, followed
by the UK. Bermuda's industrial sector is small, although
construction continues to be important. Agriculture
is limited, only 6% of the land being arable.
Communication/Telephone system: Modern, fully
automatic telephone system.
Places of interest: Of course, the beaches.