Bermuda in 1776: Loyalist or Neutral?
Esmond Wright explains how, during the American War of Independence, the island of Bermuda was in sympathetic touch with Patriots as well as with Loyalists.
It is natural to generalize about the West Indian islands, in 1776 as today, as if they were a single place. They were, and are, very diverse. The Bermudas, in particular, do not fit easily into any pattern that holds of the rest. They are a number of small islands 500 miles to the east of North Carolina, covering some twenty square miles. The largest, Great Bermuda, or Main Island, is fourteen miles by one; north-east of it and forming a semi-circle round Castle Harbour are the rest of the group, including St George’s.
This port could accommodate a large fleet and was the only Bermuda port authorised under the Navigation Acts; to it, therefore, all shipping had - in law- to go; it was in St George’s real estate that local men of property invested when they could. The islands, known frequently in North America at the time as the Summer, or more accurately the Somers Islands, acquired the name of Bermuda from the shipwreck of Juan Bermudez, a Spaniard on a voyage from Spain to Cuba who was cast up there.