is one of the most isolated places in the world, and yet one of the most
popular as a tourist resort, is the group of British islands known as
Bermuda, the Bermudas, or Bermuda Islands. On a map Bermuda looks
somewhat like a fishhook, with the curve at the southwest and the shaft
extending northeast (see West Indies). There are some 200 islands in
Bermuda but a total area of only about 21 square miles (54 square
kilometers). Great Bermuda, called the Main Island, is larger than all
the rest combined. The nearest land is Cape Hatteras, N.C., about 570
miles (900 kilometers) to the west. The islands' delightful
climate and their beauty attract thousands of visitors each year.
about 20 of the islands are inhabited. The population, excluding
tourists and British and American defense forces, is about 59,800 (1991
estimate). About 60 percent of the population is black. There is also a
large Portuguese population. The official language is English, but some
Portuguese is also spoken. Despite both a cost of living and a
population density that are among the world's highest, Bermuda has
almost no poverty or unemployment. No income tax is levied, nor does the
government receive any foreign aid. More than 95 percent of the
population is literate, and education is free and compulsory between the
ages of 5 and 16. There is one college.
capital and chief port is Hamilton, on Great Bermuda. Hamilton is one of
the world's smallest cities, with an area of about 180 acres (70
hectares). On St. George's Island, at the east end of the group, is the
picturesque old port of St. George. Nearby is the United States naval
The average temperature is about 70°F (21°C). In winter it is seldom
cooler than 55 F (13 C); in summer, rarely hotter than 87°F (31°C).
The heavy rainfall of nearly 60 inches (152 centimeters) a year and
brilliant sunshine encourage vegetation.