Bermuda is a British Overseas Territory located in the North Atlantic Ocean. It is a self-governing country, with its own government and its own constitution, while the United Kingdom maintains charge of defense and foreign relations. The capital of Bermuda and the only incorporated city is Hamilton with a population of just 1,000. This makes it one of the smallest capital cities in the world. The largest city in Bermuda is the historic St. George's with a population of 2,600.
The racial composition of Bermuda, according to a 2010 census, is estimated at:
- 54% Black
- 31% White
- 8% Multiracial
- 4% Asian
- 3% Other
While from early settlement until the 19th century Bermuda was predominantly made up of white Anglo-Saxon ethnic groups, the slave trade brought in many African slaves, and the emigration of Free Blacks. Initially, this was slow to change the demographics, due to the encouraged emigration of Free Blacks (who made up the majority of Black Bermudans in the 17th century) by the end of the slave trade Bermuda’s black population was self-sustaining, with it’s growth expanding naturally.
Portuguese immigration from the Atlantic Islands began in the 19th century, providing labor for the blooming agricultural industry. Portuguese laborers had not, however, been allowed to migrate on the basis of permanent immigration. Some, however, were allowed to stay, and there was a sizable community of Portuguese-Bermudans by the 1940s. Bermuda continued to rely on large-scale immigration of temporary Portuguese agricultural workers until the 1990s, when economic recession led to many work permits being denied renewal. Many were forced to leave. It's believed that as much as 10% of the population can trace Portuguese heritage. This is, however, inexact; it's thought that the real number is likely much higher.
The first Europeans known to have reached Bermuda did so in 1050. Spanish navigator Juan de Bermúdez was the one to discover the islands on his way back to Spain from Hispaniola, and the island was then named after him, having claimed the islands for the Spanish Empire.
The island was visited frequently for the next hundred years, but it was never settled. After an English voyage to Jamestown, Virginia was diverted to Bermuda by a stirn, the 150 passengers started a new settlement, staying for 10 months while building new ships to take them to Jamestown, and claimed the islands for the English Crown. One of these passengers was John Rolfe, future husband of Pocahontas. 1612 saw the first intentional English settlements established on Bermuda.