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Tuesday 28th May
Bermuda Information - Page 2
Juan de Bermudez, a Spanish seafarer, discovered Bermuda in 1503. An English claim was made on the islands by Sir George Somers in the early seventeenth century and Bermuda became an English Colony in 1684.

The British army was present in Bermuda from 1797 to 1957. During the Second World War American bases were established in Bermuda and remained for over fifty years. In 1968 a new constitution was introduced and self-government granted. The head of state is the British monarch, represented in Bermuda by a governor.

Independence has been a major political issue in Bermuda for many years. However, in the 1995 referendum, a majority voted against independence from Britain. The Bermuda Independence Commission was established at the end of 2004.

Bermuda's economy is based on its services sector which provides the majority of the country's Gross Domestic Product. A major international financial centre, Bermuda provides services in investment holding, finance and insurance. Tourism, especially luxury tourism, makes a significant contribution to the country's economy.

Bermuda's industrial sector is mainly focused on construction.

Most equipment and foodstuffs are imported and agriculture and fishing employs only a very small percentage of the labour force. Agricultural products include flowers, dairy products, honey, vegetables, citrus fruits and bananas. (2011)

The annual Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts was founded over thirty years ago. As well as local performers, the Festival welcomes musicians, dancers, and actors from many parts of the world.

The Bermuda International Film Festival features independent films from a number of countries. There are closing night parties and film workshops.

The Bermuda Music Festival takes place in the Royal Naval Dockyard.

The coral reefs and beaches of Bermuda have made the islands famous for water sports such as underwater swimming, water-skiing and windsurfing. Sailing clubs include the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club and the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club. Two of Bermuda's sailing events are the Bermuda Christmas Boat Parade and the King Edward VII Gold Cup.

Bermuda is also known for big-game fishing. Visitors can fish for barracuda, dorado and marlin.

The islands provide facilities for golf and tennis. Cricket and football are the national sports. Other sports include rugby, volleyball and track and field.

Christmas and Easter are celebrated. Other holidays include New Year's Day, Bermuda Day (24 May), Emancipation Day (28 July), Somer's Day (29 July), Labour Day (5 September) and Remembrance Day (11 November).

News from Bermuda is available from Newslink.

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