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Top 10 unusual things to know about Bermuda

Travel Forums North America Top 10 unusual things to know about Bermuda

1. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator, 1871 posts) 3 Sep '12 19:58

Since I've been on this site (about 3 years), I haven't seen any posts about Bermuda, which seems to me to be a major oversight. Let me correct that by adding a few interesting notes here:

(1) Bermuda has one of the largest number of foreign permanent residents and tourists (pecentage-wise) of any place on earth. There are about 68,000 citizens living there, but over 8,000 registered permanent US citizens on the island as well as over 3,000 permanent citizens from other countries. During the summer months when the tourists (many the nouveau rich) visit, there are over 650,000 people on the island on a normal day.

(2) Only Bermuda citizens are allowed to purchase property on the islands. As a result, the average rental for a two-bedroom home/condo runs over $5,000 per month. Don't worry, though, as Bermuda's per-capita income of $91,000 is the highest in the world.

(3) Bermuda is an outlying British territory (meaning it has a lot of autonomy, but still has a UK naval presence).

(4) When the US declared war on the UK back in 1812, they didn't consider attacking Bermuda or building a blockade (since Bermuda was highly fortified), despite is geographical significance (640 miles off the eastern coast--North Carolina--of the US). This major oversight resulted in the island being used as the major staging point for the UK's attack on Washington DC and on Baltimore.

(5) The US considers Benedict Arnold (formerly George Washington's second-in-command during the American Revolution) to be the most detestable traitor in our history. He secretly arranged for the surrender of the fort at West Point, New York to the British, but was forced to flee when the plot was uncovered (P.S. West Point is now the site of the US Army's Military Academy). However, his son James Arnold was a well-respected military man in Bermuda, and one of the major figures in strengthening Bermuda's defenses against US attack during the 1815-1820 period. This also allowed the island to be used by Confederate blockade runners during the US Civil War. The building was so effective that Bermuda became known as the "Gibraltar of the West" or "Fortress Bermuda". Since the early 1900s, Bermuda and the US have been on the best of terms (as, of course, has the US and the UK). It has been used often for diplomatic meetings between the US presidents and the UK prime ministers.

(6) Nobody knows exactly how many islands there are in Bermuda. Most sources say 123 to 138 (these are islands large enough for humans to inhabit). There are an estimated 300-plus islands if you count ones only large enough to hold a bird's nest or to support underwater coral reefs.

(7) Bermuda has extremely low income taxes (which is why its citizens make so much money--from people who go there to evade taxes in other countries, but who then are willing to pay Bermuda import duties, payroll taxes, and consumption (VAT) taxes to live/work on the islands).

(8) The only animals native to Bermuda are bats and turtles. No fruits and vegetables were raised on the islands until the tobacco trade mostly moved over to Virginia (in the US). Now Bermuda is self-supporting in fruit and vegetable production.

(9) The only source for fresh water in Bermuda is rainfall. As a result, every building in the country is required to have a catchment and rainfall storage system.

(10) Hamilton, Bermuda is at the northeast corner of the "Bermuda Triangle", the other two points being Miami, Florida, and San Juan, Puerto Rico. The legend goes that there have been many ships and planes that have mysteriously disappeared into this area, never to be seen or heard from again. The legend has largely been debunked, although there are movies that expound the theory (for example, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, where some survivors are on the alien spaceship that visits earth), and there is some belief that the lost city of Atlantis may be found in the Bahamas near Bimini Road. (This is also why the mega-resort in the Bahamas is called the "Atlantis").

2. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru, 1940 posts) 4 Sep '12 11:17

When I was in the US Navy, we visited Bermuda quite often. I have also vacationed there with my family.

While Bermuda might be very interesting, it's a rich man's destination, and I will not be returning. I also find it more than boring! (maybe because I don't play polo or croquet?)