Bermuda Terrain: low hills separated by fertile depressions;
Natural Resources: limestone, pleasant climate fostering tourism;
Natural Hazards: hurricanes (June to November);
Population: 69,080 (July 2012 est.)
Bermuda was first settled in 1609 by shipwrecked English colonists headed for Virginia. Tourism to the island to escape North American winters first developed in Victorian times. Tourism continues to be important to the island’s economy, although international business has overtaken it in recent years. Bermuda has developed into a highly successful offshore financial center. Although a referendum on independence from the UK was soundly defeated in 1995, the present government has reopened debate on the issue.