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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 also developed into a highly successful offshore financial center. A referendum on independence from the UK was soundly defeated in 1995.


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Government

Country name
Conventional long form None
Conventional short form Bermuda
Former Somers Islands

Dependency status
Overseas territory of the UK

Government type
Parliamentary; self-governing territory

Capital
Name Hamilton
Geographic coordinates 32 17 N, 64 47 W
Time difference
UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Daylight saving time
+1hr, begins second Sunday in March; ends first Sunday in November

Administrative divisions
9 parishes and 2 municipalities*; Devonshire, Hamilton, Hamilton*, Paget, Pembroke, Saint George*, Saint George's, Sandys, Smith's, Southampton, Warwick

Independence
None (overseas territory of the UK)

Constitution
8 June 1968; amended 1989 and 2003

Legal system
English common law

International law organization participation
Has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt

Suffrage
18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state
Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor George FERGUSSON (since 23 May 2012)
Head of government
Premier Paula COX (since 29 October 2010); Deputy Premier Derrick BURGESS
Cabinet
Cabinet nominated by the premier, appointed by the governor
Elections
The monarchy is hereditary; governor appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition usually appointed premier by the governor

Legislative branch
Bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (11 seats; members appointed by the governor, the premier, and the opposition to serve a five-year term) and the House of Assembly (36 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve up to five-year terms)
Elections
Last general election held on 18 December 2007 (next to be held not later than 2012)
Election results
Percent of vote by party - PLP 52.5%, UBP 47.3%; seats by party - PLP 22, UBP 14

Judicial branch
Supreme Court (Chief Justice and other justices appointed by the governor; remain in office until they reach 65 years of age); Court of Appeal (President of the Court of Appeal and other justices appointed by the governor for a specific period laid out in their respective instruments of appointment); Magistrate Courts

Political parties and leaders
Progressive Labor Party or PLP [Ewart BROWN]; United Bermuda Party or UBP [Kim SWAN]

Political pressure groups and leaders
Bermuda Employer's Union [Eddie SAINTS]; Bermuda Industrial Union or BIU [Derrick BURGESS]; Bermuda Public Services Union or BPSU [Ed BALL]; Bermuda Union of Teachers [Michael CHARLES]

International organization participation
Caricom (associate), Interpol (subbureau), IOC, ITUC, UPU, WCO

Diplomatic representation in the us
None (overseas territory of the UK)

Diplomatic representation from the us
Chief of mission
Consul General Grace W. SHELTON
Consulate(s) general
Crown Hill, 16 Middle Road, Devonshire DVO3
Mailing address
P. O. Box HM325, Hamilton HMBX; American Consulate General Hamilton, US Department of State, 5300 Hamilton Place, Washington, DC 20520-5300
Telephone [1] (441) 295-1342
FAX [1] (441) 295-1592, 296-9233

Flag description
Red, with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant and the Bermudian coat of arms (a white shield with a red lion standing on a green grassy field holding a scrolled shield showing the sinking of the ship Sea Venture off Bermuda in 1609) centered on the outer half of the flag; it was the shipwreck of the vessel, filled with English colonists originally bound for Virginia, that led to settling of Bermuda
Note
The flag is unusual in that it is only British overseas territory that uses a red ensign, all others use blue

National symbol(s)
Red lion

National anthem
Name "Hail to Bermuda"
Lyrics/music Bette JOHNS
Note
Serves as a local anthem; as a territory of the United Kingdom, "God Save the Queen" is official (see United Kingdom)


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  Bermuda [ United Kingdom ] (Overseas Territory):


  GPS points from Bermuda [ United Kingdom ] (Overseas Territory)

Casemates Prison Sandys Parish

Delta Island Warwick Parish

Cooper Island Saint George's Parish


Long Bay Sandys Parish

South Basin Sandys Parish

Godet's Passage Warwick Parish

Saint Georges Harbor Saint George's Parish




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