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The Bermudas, of which a good account will be found in the narrative of the voyage of the Challenger, may be described as a singular agglomeration of small islands and submarine sand hills and coral reefs, forming together an irregular oval ring, measuring about 22 miles in length from N.E. to S.W., and about 3 miles in width from N.W. to S. E. The external ring-whether composed of islands or of sunken banks or reefs-is seldom more than a mile in width, and generally considerably less.
At present the southern portion only of the encircling ring is formed of islands, the northern, eastern, and western sides being composed of almost continuous reefs of coral. The largest island, generally known as The Main Island, is about 14 miles in length, and about a mile in average width; it contains about 9,000 acres of land, the highest point being only 240 feet above All the other islands taken together measure about 3,000 acres. The city of Hamilton, now the seat of Government, is situated about the centre of the main island, where a deep inlet running up for two or three miles into the land from the sheltered waters, enclosed between the encircling reef, forms a safe and convenient harbour for the vessels which carry on the island trade.
Next in importance to the main island is the island of St. George, on which stands the town of St. George, so named after Admiral Sir George Somers, whose heart is buried there. This town was formerly the capital of the Colony, and though now shorn of much of its importance by the transfer of the seat of Government to Hamilton, is still a town of considerable trade, and its harbour is much frequented as a harbour of refuge.
The other principal islands of the group are Ireland Island, entirely given up for the accommodation of His Majesty's Dockyard and a number of other naval establishments; Boaz and Watford Islands, intervening between Ireland Island and the rest of the group, and now exclusively occupied by military depots and garrisons; Somerset, Smith's, St. David's, Cooper's, Nonsuch, Darrell's, Ports, and Godets-all inhabited by a civil population. The islands form an almost continuous chain, and there is uninterrupted communication by roads and bridges and causeways from St. George over the main island and Somerset, and over Watford and Boaz to Ireland Island-a distance of about 22 miles.
About one-half of the inhabitants are of English descent, the remainder belonging for the most part to the negro race. English is universally spoken.
The Climate has been long celebrated for its mildness and salubrity The rainfall in 1937 was 56-74 inches, as against an average of 58.97 inches. In winter the thermometer never falls below 40° Fahr., and the summers are never very hot, the thermometer rarely rising above 86°. The summer heat, too, is generally tempered by a pleasant sea breeze. Mean relative humidity in 1937 was 77.
In 1914 the Legislature voted the sum of 51,750., payable in fifteen yearly instalments, as a contribution to the Imperial Treasury in aid of the war fund.
The state of the Colony's finances did not admit of an immediate cash contribution and these annual payments represent a lump sum of the present value of 40,0007.
In 1927 the Legislature voted a contribution to His Majesty's Government of 2/6 per capita of
the local population, payable after the 1st January, 1930, towards the cost of the military Garrison in the Colony, and a further contribution payable after the 1st January, 1928, of a sum computed in respect of all ranks of the Military Garrison serving in the Colony.
Industry, Trade and Customs.
In former days the inhabitants of Bermuda gave themselves up almost entirely to maritime pursuits. Numerous small vessels, of from 200 to 300 tons burthen, built by the islanders themselves, of their native cedar, traded between the West Indies and Demerara, and the United States, and the British colonies of North America. Later they extended their voyages. carrying the salt fish of Newfoundland to Italy and Portugal, and taking back the Port wine for which Newfoundland became celebrated, or running down to Madeira or Ascension to meet the homeward-bound Indian fleet, and taking back cargoes of tea or other Indian and Chinese products to be distributed along the American seaboard.
The repeal of the British navigation laws, the introduction of steam, and the very general substitution of iron for wooden ships, gradually destroyed the carrying trade which had been so profitable to Bermuda, and now the maritime fleet may be said to have ceased to exist, and the industry of the islanders is entirely confined to mercantile pursuits and to turning to account the small quantity of agricultural land which they
The soil of Bermuda is naturally calcareous, free-draining, and poor in humus. A fair state of fertility is, however, readily maintained by the regular use of manures and fertilisers. Not more than one-fourth of the total area of the colony can be cultivated, but the climate, combined with the geographical position of these islands, compensates for the small extent of arable land. There is never any danger of frost, and seeds may be sown and plants put out at any time. The main crops, potatoes, onions and green vegetables, are planted from August to March, and are reaped and shipped from December to June when the Canadian markets are comparatively bare of early potatoes and fresh vegetables.
Practically the whole of the exports go to Canada. About two-fifths of the imports come from the United Kingdom, two-fifths from foreign countries and the remainder from the Dominions and Colonies
The Islands of Bermuda have become a favourite resort for Americans and Canadians. Large hotels have sprung up, and a considerable amount of money is expended by the visitors.
The total number of tourists to Bermuda during 1937 was 83,092, of whom 79,856 came from U.S.A., 942 from Canada, 1,174 from United Kingdom.
The quantity of shipping is remarkable for so small a place. During 1937, as will be seen from the tables, 6,227,383 tonnage entered and cleared, of which 5,124,080 was British.
About two-thirds of the Government revenue is obtained from Customs Duties on imports. The greater part of these receipts is from ad valorem duties at the rate of 10 per cent., with a surtax of 25 per cent. of the duty on all goods of non-British origin. Wines, spirits, and tobacco of British origin are subject to a 22 per cent. surtax, and additional preferences have recently been granted as the result of the agreements concluded at Ottawa.
Currency and Banking.
The coins in circulation are British currency, which is legal tender. There is no limit to the legal tender of British silver. Bermuda Government £1, 10s. and 5s. Currency Notes to the value of 190,9437. 108. were in circulation on 31st December, 1937. There are two incorporated banks, the Bank of Bermuda, Limited, and the Bank of N. T. Nutterfield & Son, Limited, and several of the leading merchants do a considerable amount of business as private bankers and agents. A Government savings bank was established in 1871, and there are branches at Hamilton, St. George's, and Sandy's Parish. The number of depositors at the end of 1937 was 5,281, the total amount of deposits 97,9981.
On the 1st of January, 1922, the Savings Bank was transferred from the Treasury to the Post Office Department.
In 1839 the Colonial Legislature first granted a sum of money to aid elementary schools.
The central control is vested in a Board of Education, consisting of ten members appointed by the Governor under the provisions of the Schools Act, 1922.
All the schools are private schools, charging fees. Attendance is compulsory, and there were, in 1937, 30 aided schools with 4,745 scholars.
There are, in addition, about 17 schools which receive no State aid.
In August, 1905, the Legislature established an annual scholarship of 1507., tenable by youths,
natives of Bermuda, for two years at some educational institution abroad to be approved by the Governor, with a view to assisting youths to prepare to compete for the Rhodes' Scholarship awarded to Bermuda. The amount was increased to 2001. p.a. in 1920, and the tenure of the scholarship to three years in 1927.
At the end of the year 1924, the Bermuda (Technical Education) Scholarship Act was passed establishing four new scholarships each of the value of 1251., subsequently increased to 1507., and tenable for four years at some educational institution out of the Colony.
Means of Communication. Telegraphic communication with the United Kingdom is carried on by the cable between the Islands and Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Rates to Halifax, 18. 4d. per word.
England, 2s. 6d.
This cable has also been carried on to Turks Island and Jamaica, thus giving direct telegraphic
communication with the West Indies.
A wireless telephone ervice between Bermuda and New York has been installed and gives communication with Great Britain, Ireland, Europe, U.S A., Canada, Mexico, Cuba and the Hawaiian Islands.
Communication between Bermuda and England is maintained by steamers of Messrs. Elders and Fyffes, Ltd., and of the Pacific Steam Navigation Co., Ltd., which make regular calls at Bermuda every month outward and homeward, Bermuda being a port of call in both directions.
Permits to land in Bermuda are required by other than bona fide visitors with first class return tickets. Communication between Bermuda and New York is maintained by steamers of the FurnessBermuda Line, with bi-weekly sailings.
The Canadian National Steamships maintain a passenger and freight service between Montreal, Bermuda, Nassau, Kingston, Belize and British
Honduras, sailing every two weeks from Montreal in summer and from Halifax in winter, and also a fortnightly passenger and freight service between Halifax, Boston, Bermuda, St. Kitts-Nevis, Antigua, Montserrat, Dominica, St. Lucia, Barbados, St. Vincent, Grenada, Trinidad and British Guiana.
Letters from England usually take from nine to twelve days. Postage rates are:Letters.
Within the Colony, per 1 oz. 1d.
Newspapers. d. per 2 oz.
Books per 2 oz. Papers per 2 oz. 3 lbs.: 38. for for 22 lbs.
A light railway is in operation between St. Georges and Somerset. There are approximately 105 miles of colonial and 15 miles of military roads. There is a private telephone company, which has 2,182 subscribers and about 11,600 miles of wire, a large portion of which is in underground cables.
Government and Constitution.
Representative government was introduced into the Colony in 1620, but the charter of the Bermuda Company of London was annulled in been appointed by the Crown, and the laws of 1684, and since then the Governors have always the Colony have been enacted by a local legislature consisting of the Governor, the Legislative Council, and the House of Assembly. The session lasts usually from November to June.
consisting of four official and three unofficial members. The Governor is assisted by an Executive Council,
The Legislative Council consists of nine members, three of whom are official and six unofficial. The House of Assembly consists of thirty-six members, four of whom are elected by each of the nine parishes. There are 2,411, electors, the electora lqualifications being the possession of freehold property of not less than 60%. value. The qualification for a member of the House of Assembly is the possession of freehold property rated at 2401. The members of Executive Council and of the Legislature are paid 8s. a day for each day's attendance.
Public Debt, 1936-75,0007. 1937-75,000Z.
573,572 1,397,066 659,753 1,340,729 681,967 1,420, 198 352,720 919,044 1,891,676 401,115 1,062,636 2,183,151
In the absence of the Governor the Officer 1934-228,3891. 1935-249,0041. administers the Government. 1932-271,6071. holding the substantive post of Colonial Secretary 1937-328,3851.
The Governor, Colonial Secretary, 2nd Senior Military
46,451 11,816 16,910
Population, Census, 1871-12,121. 4,725. 7,396. 1881-13,948. 5,384. 8,564. 1891-15,013. 5,690. 9,323.
Governors since 1888.*
1888 Lieut.-Gen. E. Newdigate-Newdegate, C.B.
1904 Lieut.-Gen. Sir Robert McG. Stewart,
White. Coloured. Devonshire Parish
G.C.M.G., K.C.S.I., D.S.O.
1922 General Sir Joseph John Asser, K. C.B., K.C.M.G., K. C.V.O.
1927 Lieut.-Gen. Sir Louis Jean Bols, K.C.B., K.C.M.G., D.S.O.
1931 Lieut.-Gen. Sir Thomas
K.C.B., C.M.G., D S.O. 1936 Lieut.-Gen. Sir Reginald Hildyard, K.C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O.
St. George's Parish
For Governors previous to 1888, see Edition for
1901-17,535. 6,383. 11,152.
1911-18,994. 6,691. 12,303. Pembroke Parish
1921-20,127. 7,006. 13,121.
1931-27,789. 11,353. 16,436.
Population of Hamilton, 3,217; of St. George's, 1,281.
1907 Lieut.-Gen. Joscelyn Heneage Wodehouse, Southampton Parish
1908 Lieut.-Gen. Sir Frederick Walter Kitchener,
1912 Lieut.-Gen. Sir George M. Bullock, K.C.B. Sandy's Parish
1917 General Sir James Willcocks, G.C.B.,
S. S. Toddings.
W. S. Cooper.
Sir S. S. Spurling, Kt..
E. P. T. Tucker, V.D.
W. B. Furbert.
J. B. Outerbridge.
H. T. North.
Clerk, E. H. Gosling, Grade IIB.
Governor and Commander-in-Chief, Lt.-Gen.
Chief Justice, Sir Sidney O. Rowan-Hamilton, Kt., Norway, H. T. Watlington, Honorary Consul. 1,1501. and rent allowance 2501.
Assistant Judge, R. C. H. Hallett, fees.
Registrar of Supreme Court and Registrar
Portugal, H. Outerbridge, Consul.
E. C. Merrell, Vice-Consul.
Situation, Area and Population.
British Guiana is the only British Colony on the Mainland of the South American Continent. It lies on the north-eastern coast of the continent between parallels 1° and 8° North and meridians 57° and 61° West. It has a coastline of about 270 miles extending almost from the eastern mouth of the river Orinoco to the river Courantyne, and is bounded on the north by the Atlantic Ocean, on the south and south-west by Brazil, on the east by Dutch Guiana, and on the north-west by Venezuela. It varies in depth from 540 miles on the western to 300 miles on the eastern side.
The Colony may be divided into three zones, the northern one is a low-lying flat swampy strip of marine alluvium known as the coastal region. This rises gradually from the seaboard and extends inland for a distance varying from 10 to 40 miles. It is succeeded by a broader and slightly elevated belt consisting of sands and clays which is mainly undulating and in places is covered by sand-dunes rising from 50 to 180 feet above sea level. The southern zone is more elevated. It rises gradually to the south-west between the river valleys, which are in many parts swampy, and contains three principal mountain ranges, several irregularly dis tributed smaller ranges, and in the southern and eastern parts many isolated hills and mountains. The eastern portion is almost entirely forest-clad, but on the south-western side there is an extensive area of flat grass-clad savannah elevated about 400 to 700 feet above sea level.
The country is traversed by many large rivers, which, with their numerous tributaries and branch streams. form a vast network of waterways. All the larger rivers of the Colony are impeded above the tide-way by numerous rapids, cataracts and falls, which render the navigation of the upper reaches difficult.
In its scenery British Guiana affords very great contrasts. The tourist who visits the colony and confines himself to the flat and settled coast-lands leaves with the impression that British Guiana is merely a mud-flat not entirely above sea-level; but the traveller who penetrates any considerable distance into the vast interior must be greatly impressed by the tropical vegetation of lofty trees, tangled lianas and graceful palms, the hilly nature of the country, the many great ranges and curiously. shaped mountains, the elevated undulating plateaus, the extensive savannahs, and the multitude of
cataracts and waterfalls of surpassing beauty, which occur on the upper parts of the large rivers and their tributaries.
Situated on the Potaro River is Kaieteur--one of the recognised largest single-drop waterfalls of the world. It is nearly five times the height of Niagara, having a vertical drop of 741 feet, with a series of rapids and falls immediately below the pool, giving a further fall of 80 feet. Its width varies from 350 to 400 feet, and the depth of water passing over from a few feet to 20 feet according to the season of the year. These Falls, which are situated amidst grand and remarkable river and hill scenery, are a source of attraction to tourists. The journey from Georgetown to Kaieteur is now made via the Bartica-Potaro road. Tours are arranged by the Transport and Harbours Department.
A.-Coastal Belt.-The climate compares favourably with that of other countries and islands similarly situated, and resembles rather that of a sub-tropical country. The mean temperature throughout the year is 80-4° F.
For most months of the year the maximum shade temperature is about 85° F., and even in the hottes: months (August, September, and October) a tempera. ture of 89° F. is rarely recorded.
At night the temperature falls about 12° to 14° F. The night temperature averages 73° or 74° F., and in the coolest months of the year (January, February and March) it may reach as low as 70° F.
The heat of the sun is tempered by fresh breezes from off the sea which blow steadily and without intermission during the daytime for the greater part of the year, and, during the months of January, February and March, continue both day and night.
The general direction of the wind is North-east to East, and it varies from gentle to fresh with occasional squalls; but hurricanes are unknown. The nights throughout the year are cool and conducive to sleep.
The seasons of the year for the coastal areas are as follows:
The long wet season-Mid-April to Mid-August.
The short wet season-Mid-November to end of
The short dry season-Beginning of February
The average rainfall for Georgetown in the county the County of Berbice being about eight inches of Demerara is about 88-64 inches annually, that for lower, and that for the County of Essequibo fourteen inches higher. The most humid month of the year is May, and the atmosphere is driest during September and October. The mean average humidity for Georgetown for the past 83 years is 78 per cent. B.-Middle Interior and Upper River Areas.Generally speaking, the climate is hotter and more humid in the interior and river areas away from the coastal belt, the most noticeable change being the absence of the fresh sea breezes which make living so congenial on the seaboard. In forest areas and on rivers surrounded by forests the day temperature is distinctly hot and trying. On the other hand the nights are noticeably cooler than on the coastal belt. The rainfall is heavier.
C.-Far Interior and Savannahs.-Climate, temperature and humidity are modified by the varying physical conformations of the territory in the far south, and depend especially on the altitude and the presence or absence of forest belts. As the name implies, the savannahs, in the upper Berbice river