St. George's, Bermuda

This article is about a World Heritage Site
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St. George's
The harbour and town of St. George's
The harbour and town of St. George's
Location in Bermuda
Location in Bermuda
Coordinates: 32°22′46″N 64°40′40″W / 32.37944°N 64.67778°W / 32.37944; -64.67778Coordinates: 32°22′46″N 64°40′40″W / 32.37944°N 64.67778°W / 32.37944; -64.67778
CountryUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
Overseas territoryBermuda Bermuda
 • Total1,527
Official nameHistoric Town of St. George and Related Fortifications, Bermuda
Designated2000 (24th session)
Reference no.983
State PartyUnited Kingdom
RegionEurope and North America

St. George's (formally known as the Town of St. George, or St. George's Town) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. First settlers were there since 1612. It is the first permanent English settlement on the islands of Bermuda. It is usually described as the third successful British settlement in the Americas. It is the oldest British town in the New World where people continue to live up to this day.

Name[change | change source]

In the Bermudian convention where the name of the place has the name of a person, it sets the person's name in the possessive form. The place is rarely treated as equivalent to the person.

Other examples include most of the parishes (which – other than St. George's Parish – all commemorate historical people). It includes churches such as Hamilton Parish (named for James Hamilton, 2nd Marquess of Hamilton), Devonshire Parish (named for William Cavendish, 1st Earl of Devonshire), and Paget Parish. While the city of Hamilton is commonly referred to as Hamilton, The Town of St. George, St. George's Parish, St. George's Island, and St. George's Harbour (and any other names of the place usually containing a person's name in the possessive form). It always remains possessive when shortened, such as in the St. George's Foundation.[2]

For example, Bermudians will always say St. George's and St. David's are the largest islands in St. George's Parish. It is never St. George and St. David are the largest islands in St. George Parish. As many maps and other printed materials featuring Bermuda are produced abroad, it is extremely common to find maps, books and other material using the non-possessive forms. However, visitors to Bermuda should be aware that using the non-possessive forms when speaking to Bermudians is likely to cause as much offence as saying "Bermudan".

History[change | change source]

Map of St. George's Town (and St. George's Garrison), circa 1897-1899
The harbour at St. George's in 1854
St. George's Town, from Barrack Hill, 1857
The State House, the home of Bermuda's parliament in St. George's from 1620 until the capital's relocation to Hamilton in 1815.
Saint Peter's Church.
Stewart Hall, ca. 1707.
A view of St. George's from the Norwegian Majesty cruise ship leaving the island

Originally called New London, St. George's was first settled in 1612. This was three years after the first English settlers landed on St. George's Island on their way to Virginia. Led by Admiral Sir George Somers and Lieutenant-General Sir Thomas Gates, they had deliberately steered their ship, Sea Venture, to a reef to escape a storm. The survivors built two new ships, the Deliverance and Patience, and most continued their voyage to Jamestown, but the Virginia Company laid claim to the island.

By the Virginia Company's Third Charter in 1612, the boundaries of the new colony were extended to include Bermuda. The company sent a party of 60 new settlers to Bermuda to join the three men left behind by the Sea Venture. After a brief period in nearby St. David's, the settlers started building at St. George's. By 1615, the shareholders of the Virginia Company created a second company, the Somers Isles Company. It managed Bermuda separately until the company was dissolved in 1686. The Virginia Company was later dissolved in 1624.

This small town was the capital of Bermuda until 1815. It was linked to the history of colonial America. Ten thousand Bermudians moved to Virginia and the American Southeast. This was before United States independence made them citizens of separate nations. Branches of wealthy Bermudian merchant families ruled the trade in the area's ports.

As Bermuda's population centre, St. George's was connected to the development in the North American colonies. During the American War of Independence, and as requested by George Washington, Bermudians assisted the American rebels in stealing much-needed gunpowder from a St. George's magazine. It supplied the forts protecting that were protecting the port.

Twin cities[change | change source]

In 1996, the town was twinned with Lyme Regis, Dorset, England. It was the birthplace of Admiral Sir George Somers. In 2000, the town, together with numerous surrounding fortifications, including the Castle Islands Fortifications, they were added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Together, they are formally known as the Historic Town of St George and Related Fortifications.

Sports[change | change source]

St. George's Colts and Hamilton Parish football clubs play their games at the Wellington Oval, which also serves as a cricket ground.

Education[change | change source]

St. George's Preschool serves the area.[3] St. George's Primary School is in the community.[4]

Gallery[change | change source]

Notable people[change | change source]

  • Thomas Tudor Tucker (1745 in St. George's – 1828 in Washington, D.C.) was a Bermuda-born American physician and politician representing Charleston, South Carolina.
  • John Hamilton Gray QC (1814 in St. George's – 1889 in Victoria, British Columbia) was a politician in the Province of New Brunswick, Canada, a jurist, and one of the Fathers of Confederation
  • Reverend Robert Ashington Bullen FLS, FGS, FZS, FRAS (1850 St. George's – 1912 in UK) was an Anglican priest, a geologist and an authority on Mollusca

Further reading[change | change source]

  • Michael Jarvis, Bermuda's Architectural Heritage: St. George's (Bermuda National Trust, Hamilton, 1998)

References[change | change source]

  1. "Bermuda 2016 Census" (PDF). Bermuda Department of Statistics. December 2016. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  2. "The St. George's Foundation". Archived from the original on 11 July 2020. Retrieved 14 August 2020.
  3. Home Archived 2020-03-27 at the Wayback Machine. St. George's Preschool. Retrieved on September 14, 2016.
  4. Home[permanent dead link]. St. George's Primary School. Retrieved on September 14, 2016. "A fantastic little school in the heart of the historic town of St. George's, Bermuda."

Other websites[change | change source]