Bermuda ( /bɜrˈmjuːdə/), officially the Bermudas or Somers Isles, is a British overseas territory in the North Atlantic Ocean. Located off the east coast of the United States, its nearest landmass is Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, about 1,030 kilometres (640 mi) to the west-northwest. It is about 1,239 kilometres (770 mi) south of Cape Sable Island, Nova Scotia and 1,770 kilometres (1,100 mi) northeast of Miami, Florida, USA. Its capital city is Hamilton.
Bermuda was discovered in 1505 by Spanish sea captain Juan de Bermúdez, after whom the islands are named. Apparently uninhabited, he claimed them for the Spanish Empire. Although he paid two visits to the archipelago, Bermúdez was persuaded never to set foot on any of the islands by the dangerous reef surrounding them. Subsequent Spanish or other visitors are believed to have released the feral pigs that were abundant on the island when settlement began. In 1609, the Virginia Company, which had established Virginia and Jamestown on the American continent two years earlier, established a settlement on behalf of the English colonial empire. Initially, it was administered as an extension of Virginia by the Company until 1614, before its successor, the Somers Isles Company, took over until 1684. Bermuda then became a British colony following the 1707 unification of the Kingdom of England with the Kingdom of Scotland to create the unified Kingdom of Great Britain. After Newfoundland became part of Canada in 1949, Bermuda became the oldest (and, since the return of Hong Kong to China in 1997, the most populous) remaining British overseas territory. Its first capital, St George's, was established in 1612 and is the oldest continuously-inhabited English town in the Americas.
Bermuda's economy is primarily made up of Government employment, off-shore commerce and tourism. Off-shore finance and tourism are its two largest sectors. In 2005, Bermuda claimed to once have the world's highest GDP per capita, but, as Bermuda is classified as a UK territory rather than as an independent country, these statistics are difficult to verify. It has a subtropical climate. Bermuda makes up the eastern- and northern-most point of the so-called Bermuda Triangle, a region of sea in which, according to urban legend, a number of aircraft and surface vessels have disappeared under supposedly unexplained or mysterious circumstances. The island is prone to severe weather, including powerful hurricanes. These have, at times, led to widespread power outages.
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