Bermuda – The History

16 Aug

So our whole vacation in Bermuda didn’t just involve laying out on the beach, going to a wedding and eating lots of delicious food but we also learned A TON about Bermuda that we had never known before.

City of Hamilton in Pembroke Parish

Let me share some little known facts about Bermuda:

  • Bermuda used to be a penal colony. Many English prisoners would be shipped off to Bermuda for a certain amount of time before they were then shipped over to Australia back in the day
  • During the Civil War, most of Bermuda sided with the South. Many runners came through Bermuda off loading precious materials to be used for the war
  • Many Azorean people immigrated to Bermuda during the 16th and 17th century. About 10% of the entire population of Bermuda has some Portuguese ancestry and the second language of Bermuda is Portuguese.
  • Bermuda is a UK territory, so they drive on the left side of the road. However, the British Pound is NOT accepted in Bermuda. Bermudian currency and American currency are interchangeable on Bermuda.
  • You cannot rent a car in Bermuda. Only residents of Bermuda are allowed to drive cars. You can however, ride a moped
  • Bermuda has only one city, Hamilton, not to be confused with Hamilton parish. The city of Hamilton is located in Pembroke parish
  • The main business of Bermuda is international finance. As you can imagine, many offshore transactions happen in Bermuda
  • Traditional Bermudian business attire consists of a jacket, tie, shirt, Bermuda shorts and knee high socks. It sounds ridiculous, but it’s actually not that bad looking.
  • All of the roofs in Bermuda are white and made out of limestone, and if you look closely, they all look the same. They are grooved so that the rain water drains and is collected in a tank. The limestone purifies the water and is used in the household since there is no fresh water in Bermuda.
You’ll be surprised to know that Bermuda is also home to St. George’s, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000.

St. George’s is a small town, but it is filled with history. The streets are quaint, and the houses are traditional Bermudian pastel colors.
St. George’s is also home to St. Peter’s Church, which is the oldest Anglican church in the Western Hemisphere. Buried in the graveyard is the graves of the Governor of Bermuda Sir Richard Sharples and his aide Captain Hugh Sayers who were both assassinated in 1973.
Also interesting to note, there’s an actual time capsule in St. George’s town hall. I believe the date it’s to be opened is 2021.
There is a small island that is reachable by a small bridge called Ordinance Island. Ordinance Island has a great view of the water from a small park on the edge, and there is also a replica of the Deliverance (pictures above). The Deliverance is the ship that Sir George Somers (who the town is named after) and his crew built after they were shipwrecked on Bermuda in order to continue on their journey to Virginia.
Later on in the week we headed over to the Royal Naval Dockyards, which is another popular tourist destination.
It’s called the Dockyards because *shockingly* ships dock there. There were 2 cruise ships docked at the Dockyard while we were there. However, it’s also called the Dockyards because it was the principal base of the Royal Navy in the Western Atlantic between the Civil War to the Cold War.
One of the main attractions of the Dockyards (besides swimming with dolphins) is the Commissioner’s House which is the home of the Bermuda Maritime Museum.
There are also goats on the grounds. Hubby and I were wondering what animal all those brown pellets belonged too.
One of the most amazing parts of the museum was a huge mural that encompassed this entire room which is known as the Hall of History Mural. It took 3.5 years to complete and it depicts the history of Bermuda. These pictures do NOT do it justice.
The detail that went into this mural was amazing. I could have seriously stared at it for hours, there was so much going on. But it was all so amazingly cohesive, the artist who did it (who is named Graham Foster) is seriously talented.
One of my other favorite parts of the museum was the room that connected the Azores (where my Mom was born) and Bermuda. I had no idea how much influence the Azores had on Bermuda, it was really amazing to see my heritage there.
Before we grabbed some lunch, we also checked out the Bermuda Craft Market. In case you are wondering just WHAT that fish is made out of, it’s basically made up of material that a bunch of people found in the ocean. Hence, the S.S. Stinky Fish.
I really liked the Craft Market, because there were items there that you could only get in Bermuda. While we were shopping in other areas, I was disappointed that many of the Bermudian items we found weren’t actually made in Bermuda. Not the case here! We picked up 2 lovely art prints and a cute Bermudian house ornament for my mother-in-law. It was difficult not to buy one of everything there.
Obviously we had to spend at least ONE day at the beach. We chose Horseshoe Bay Beach which was a short walk from the Fairmont Southampton. The beaches of Bermuda are certainly beautiful, and the water is the bluest I’ve ever seen in my life, but I’m a Cape Cod girl at heart, so I definitely prefer the Cape beaches. The sand is so incredibly fine (and yes, it is pink, although Horseshoe Bay isn’t as pink as some of the others) that it gets EVERYWHERE. And I mean everywhere.
I have to be honest, when we came to Bermuda I didn’t expect to learn so much history! It definitely shows that Bermuda is not just some pretty place with beautiful beaches, you will definitely learn a lot!
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4 Responses to “Bermuda – The History”

  1. Elizabeth August 17, 2011 at 10:40 pm #

    I love the pastel colors on the bulidings. And the beach looks gorgeous

  2. Joanne August 19, 2011 at 8:53 am #

    I love that you actually explored Bermuda instead of just sitting on the beach!

  3. Erica Thomas August 21, 2011 at 8:37 am #

    Hi there, it’s Erica from brunch yesterday! I never thought of visiting Bermuda- but what a lovely place!!

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