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Bermuda

SOMEWHERE BETWEEN ENGLAND AND THE CARIBBEAN

Bermuda

FACTS & FANCIES

Photo courtesy Bermuda Tourism

 

A few things  BERMUDA  IS NOT (and IS):

It IS NOT in the Caribbean or the Gulf of Mexico. TRUE!
It IS in the North Atlantic Ocean. Its closest neighbors are the USA – Cape Hatteras, NC is 650mi west; Canada – Nova Scotia is 770mi north; the Bahamas, 835mi WSW; Turks & Caicos islands, 836mi SSW.

It IS NOT an independent country. TRUE!
It IS a British colony — officially one of 14 British Overseas Territories, vestiges of the once vast British Empire that the sun never set upon. Although Bermuda has its own parliament — the oldest continuously seated parliament in the world — its ultimate chief executive is the British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II.

It IS NOT a part of Europe. TRUE!
Bermuda belongs to North America geographically and is one time east of the United States east coast. Its closest European land mass is the Azores, a group of islands just east of the mid-Atlantic and an autonomous region of Portugal about 2,200mi ENE of Bermuda. London, England, is about 3,500mi from Bermuda. By comparison, Charleston, SC, is 884mi away; Savannah, GA, 956mi distant; Atlanta 1,140mi; Miami 1,035mi; Washington DC 825mi; Philadelphia 784mi; New York City 775mi.

 

It was never settled by Spain. TRUE!
Claimed & named — but not settled — by Spain, Bermuda became British when the flagship of the Virginia Colony sent to relieve & resupply colonial Jamestown was wrecked on the island’s reefs to save the crew from a violent storm in 1609. Bermuda became part of the Virginia Company’s North American colony, and is the oldest surviving vestige of England’s North American colonial settlement. Captain John Smith wrote about it, and early settler John Rolfe lost his first wife and infant child — named Bermuda — on the island after being shipwrecked by the hurricane. Rolfe later Pocahontas, the Native American princess who had saved

 

Replica of the ship Deliverance, originally
built 1609-10 to permit English colonists
shipwrecked on Bermuda to continue
their voyage to Jamestown, Virginia.

Detail of Bermuda Tourism Photo

Captain John Smith’s life.

It IS NOT lashed by frequent hurricanes. MOSTLY TRUE!
Hurricanes affect Bermuda about once every two years on average. Direct hits are rare, averaging fewer than one per decade. Most hurricanes occur from August through October, with September being the high-water mark – pun intended – the month producing the majority of occurrences. Otherwise, the weather is moderated to “subtropical” by the influence of the Gulf Stream, with rainfall averaging about 4.5 inches per month. The wettest month is October, averaging nearly 6 inches of rain. The driest month is April, with 3.3 inches of rain. Average daily temperatures vary from 63 degrees Fahrenheit in February to 81 degrees F in July and August. Despite being on a similar latitude with Savannah, GA, Bermuda’s average temperatures and rainfall amounts are much more like those of Miami, FL, around 500 miles further south.

It IS NOT home to an elite few and an impoverished many. TRUE!
Bermuda IS home to many well-paid executives and well-endowed retirees. And, perhaps 15% of its population earn incomes below the poverty line. Still, income distribution in Bermuda remains reasonable and wages are high: the average yearly household income is around $95,000. 25% earn above $108,000/year. Another 25% earn between $72,000-$108,000/year. One-third earn from $36,000-$72,000. 19% of its households earn less than $36,000/year.

 

It IS NOT a tax haven for wealthy American corporations and individuals.
PARTLY TRUE. Bermuda IS still home to many international corporations — including dozens of large American companies — that maintain offshore offices for their tax advantages. But, since 9-11, money laundering laws have changed that make it difficult for individuals and businesses to continue to use Bermuda like a secret bank account. Further — the Great Recession has focused much domestic US attention on corporate and individual tax-dodging, and pressure has been put on Bermuda to provide more

Business chic meets business casual on the pier at Hamilton Harbour. Hamilton is Bermuda's business and commercial center. Detail of Bermuda Tourism Photo.
Business chic on the pier at Hamilton, Bermuda's capital and business center.
 Detail of Bermuda Tourism Photo.

transparency to suspected international tax avoiders. For its part, Bermuda stands to lose American tourism and American investment, and American markets for its products if it fails to cooperate with US government tax inquiries.

Its currency IS NOT the British Pound Sterling. TRUE!
Although images of Britain's Queen Elizabeth are printed on Bermudian money, Bermuda's Dollar is an independent currency and not traded internationally. The Bermuda dollar's value IS pegged to the U.S. dollar on a 1-for-1 basis. Happily for visitors from the United States, Bermuda dollars and U.S. dollars are accepted equally everywhere throughout Bermuda and may be used together for purchases. That means visitors need not worry about exchange rate fluctuations or buying foreign currency in advance of — or even during — their visit.

 

It IS NOT in need of any more visitors.

FALSE! With about 85% of its visitors coming from the USA, since 2008 Bermuda tourism has been significantly — and negatively — affected by the Great Recession. And with its leading industry, international finance — insurance, re-insurance, banking, and the like — dropping as a percentage of Bermuda’s GNP, Bermuda has plenty of room for new visitors.

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