Bermuda: Country and Foreign Investment
Population, Language and Culture
This page was last updated on 1 August 2019.
In 1505, the islands were discovered by accident, by Juan de Bermúdez, who is naturally the source of the islands’ name. Bermuda was colonised by the British in 1612 as the ‘key to the West Indies’. Three years later the founders of the Bermuda Company assumed the island's government and divided it up into parishes named after the company's principal investors. Bermuda is the oldest British colony and has the oldest parliament in the Western hemisphere.
In 1670 the rule of the Bermuda Company ended, with Charles II of England taking direct control. Since 1950 the resident civilian population has steadily increased. The ethnic composition is mostly mostly of English, Portuguese and West Indian descent. Around 2010 there was then a brief period of population decline, though it is rising again now.
Bermudian standard time is 4 hours behind GMT and 1 hour ahead of US Eastern time. There is daylight saving time from April to October.
English is the official language, with Portuguese is spoken by a minority of those descending from Cape Verdean and Azorean migrants. Bermuda was once referred to as the Isle of Devils because of the many ships wrecked there (hence the stories of a ‘Bermuda Triangle’). William Shakespeare based his play The Tempest on the wreck of the British flagship Sea Venture which set sail in 1609 carrying supplies to Virginia Colony in North America. The ship was wrecked near the shores of Bermuda during a storm and the survivors discovered the island, its lush fruits and wildlife.
Bermuda has since developed as a tropical haven for tourists with beautiful beaches, gardens, golf courses and quaint harbours. Nightlife centres on the larger towns of Hamilton and St George. Bermudians like to boast that there is no illiteracy, no unemployment and no income tax.