What is Bermudian culture?
With perspectives being subjective, the answer may largely depend on who is asking the question and who is answering the question. So let us look at Bermudian culture as a recipe.
Start with a small island sitting on top of a “dormant volcano” in the middle of nowhere with the nearest land mass 500 miles away. That would seemingly make for an early plot of the series “Lost”.
Then throw in some folks fleeing from economic and religious constraints in the jolly old country of England during the 17th century heading to Jamestown, Virginia.
Just their luck, they pick to travel during hurricane season and end up crashed on the rocks of this prehistoric land mass of limestone, cedar trees and cahows in July of 1609.
As fate will have it, they all survived this shipwreck of the good ship 108 foot long Sea Venture. Their erstwhile skipper Admiral Sir George Somers lead them ashore and then began looking about becoming the first contestants of the “Survivor” series.
As typical as typical British resolve goes, they went about building shelter, looking for food and fresh water. In doing so they set the foundation for what would become a key component of the British Empire over the next 400 years.
To Bermuda’s culture they firmly established that our national language will be the Queen’s English with various twists of East London “Cockney” such as the word “innit”. In 1612 they established that our National religion will be the Church of England with St. Peters church being the oldest Anglican Church in the Western Hemisphere.
With threats of invasion from the Spanish at any given time for a few hundred years, starting in 1612 they went about building fortifications all around the island from Castle Island Fort and Fort St. Catherine in St. Georges to Dockyard in Sandy’s.
We effectively became Fortress Bermuda.
With Bermuda firmly established as a British Colony came everything British.
As Forrest Gump would say:-
- British laws
- British format of politics in 1616 under Governor Daniel Tucker
- British accents
- British Driving rules (on the left)
- British Football
- British Cricket
- British Education standards such as GCE’s ,IGCE’s ,O levels, A levels
- British style school uniforms
- British regiments
- British police officers
- British health standards
- British nurses
- British bases
- British manners
Basically the foundation of much in Bermuda is British. Right down to the British Clarke shoes most of us wore to primary and high school.
In some person’s eyes, this is what made Bermuda such a great place over the last 400 years. For other groups of persons, the British Empire and being brought to a British colony was anything but a great uplifting experience.
In the next installment we will look at the African ingredient in the recipe called our Bermudian culture.
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