Island History

Bermuda’s name comes from Spanish sea captain Juan de Bermudez who visited the island in the early 1500’s. The island remained uninhabited, apart from shipwreck survivors, until 1609 when the Virginia Company’s  Sea Venture wrecked on the east end of the island on its way to Jamestown. This led to the arrival of settlers in 1612 under the auspices of the Bermuda Company, and St. George’s was established at the capital.  Not until 1683 did the island became a British colony, after the dissolution of the Company.

The first Bermudians grew tobacco, and then turned to ship building and seafaring for their livelihood. Africans and Native Americans were introduced as slaves early in the island’s history and emancipation did not take place until 1834.  Agriculture was the mainstay of the economy in the 1800’s, with tourism appearing in the early 1900’s. Today Bermuda is home to captive and reinsurance companies, which provide most of the GDP; however the tourism sector is enjoying resurgence as a new generation of visitors discover the island’s charm.

Learn more about Bermuda’s history by visiting the World Heritage Centre in St. George’s and National Museum of Bermuda in Dockyard.