“What a great traveller you must have been, ma’am!” said Mrs. Musgrove to Mrs. Croft.
“Pretty well, ma’am, in the fifteen years of my marriage; though many women have done more. I have crossed the Atlantic four times, and have been once to the East Indies and
back again, and only once; besides being in different places about home: Cork, and Lisbon, and Gibraltar. But I never went beyond the Streights, and never was in the West
Indies. We do not call Bermuda or Bahama, you know, the West Indies.”
Bermuda (officially, the Bermuda Islands or the Somers Isles) is the oldest and most populous remaining British overseas territory, settled by England a century before the Acts
of Union created the Kingdom of Great Britain. Bermuda’s first capital, St. George’s, was settled in 1612 and is the oldest continuously inhabited English town in the Americas.
Bermuda was discovered in 1503 by a Spanish explorer, Juan de Bermúdez. It is mentioned in Legatio Babylonica, published in 1511 by Peter Martyr d’Anghiera, and was also
included on Spanish charts of that year. Both Spanish and Portuguese ships used the islands as a replenishment spot for fresh meat and water, but legends of spirits and devils,
now thought to have stemmed only from the callings of raucous birds (most likely the Bermuda Petrel, or Cahow), and of perpetual, storm-wracked conditions (most early visitors
arrived under such conditions) and a surrounding ring of treacherous reefs kept them from attempting any permanent settlement on the Isle of Devils.