History of Bermuda
The history of Bermuda takes as back to as far as one hundred million years ago when this hook-shaped chain of little islands was still a part of the lip of a big volcano, now inactive. Bermuda rises fifteen thousand feet from the bottom of the sea surrounded by a wide podium of underwater coral reefs that protect the island from story weather. The reefs of the island were deadly to ships who ventured too close, where numbers of wreckage of ships dot the islands outer reefs.
It was not until a Spanish sea captain by the name of Juan de Berm?dez, sighted the uninhabited islands in the early 1500’s, probably 1503, that a more colorful history of Bermuda came to be known. “Bermuda” takes its name from its discoverer Juan de Berm?dez. Although the Spanish did not claim the islands, they were soon a significant navigational landmark for galleons that crossed the Atlantic between Spain and the new World.
In 1609 in the history of Bermuda, Admiral Sir George Somers, was traveling from England with supplies for the recent British settlement at Jamestown, Virginia, when his ship, the Sea Venture, was wrecked on the reefs of Bermuda. He found Bermuda to be a rather lovely place to be washed up so after building a replacement ship of fine Bermuda cedar, he sailed off and left a few men behind to establish a British claim to the islands. Sir George Somers returned to Bermuda later that same year but died soon after his arrival. The British tried to rename Bermuda to Somers Islands in honor of the admiral, but the name failed to bond.
Only three years after Somer’s misadventure, the Virginia Company took ardent interest in the islands after they heard of their aptness for colonization. The company organized sixty settlers to institute a permanent colony on the islands. Unfortunately, the islands did not turn out to be what they expected, shallow topsoil, limited agriculture, and lack of water made it impossible for crops like sugar cane to be introduced. The settlers soon relied on imports from American Colonies paying sea salt secured from the Turks Islands.
For many of the early years of the history of Bermuda, Bermudians were traders, building swift ships of native Bermuda cedar to take them and their goods south to the West Indies and west to the United States. They were practical, multi-ethnic people, who earned their way in the world with their intellect. Their skills with ship building were famous; the Bermuda sloops were renowned to be the fastest thing on the sea. Although these vessels were gaff-rigged at first, the Bermudians enhanced the Bermuda rig, which is now the foundation for the rigging of nearly all-sailing yachts.
This cosmopolitan nature of the early inhabitants has been carried on by present-day Bermudians who trace their heritage back to Britain, to Africa, to the Azores, North America, and West Indies. The beautiful Bermuda Island is as vibrant as the history of Bermuda.