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White Bermudian

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

White Bermudians
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Approx. 21,400[1]
 United States[2]
 United Kingdom[3]
Bermudian English
Related ethnic groups
European people  • White Caribbeans  • English people  • Scottish people  • Irish people  • Portuguese people  • Americans  • Canadians

White Bermudians or Bermudians of European descent, are Bermudians whose ancestry lies within the continent of Europe, most notably the British Isles and Portugal. Around 31% of the population of Bermuda is white. [5]


The White population of Bermuda made up the entirety of the Bermuda's population, other than a black and an Indian slave brought in for a very short-lived pearl fishery in 1616,[6] from settlement (which began accidentally in 1609 with the wreck of the Sea Venture) 'til the middle of the 17th Century, and the majority until some point in the 18th Century.

The majority of the white settlers arrived from England as indentured servants or tenant farmers, as most of Bermuda's land was owned by absentee landlords who remained in England as shareholders (adventurers) in the Virginia Company and then its offshoot the Somers Isles Company. White Irish Gaels were sent to Bermuda after the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland that followed the English Civil War.[7] Usually described as 'prisoners-of-war', these Irish men and women were removed from Ireland involuntarily, and sold into indentured servitude on arrival in Bermuda. Small numbers of Scots were sent to Bermuda in the same way after Cromwell's invasion of Scotland. The Irish were ostracised by the English whites, and were found so troublesome that their further import was banned. By the middle of the 18th century, they, and the Native American slaves also sent to Bermuda after the conquest of their homelands, had largely merged, with the free and enslaved blacks (most of whom came from Spanish, or formerly Spanish, colonies in the West Indies), with Bermuda's population boiled down to two demographic groups: White and Coloured.

The population of Bermuda on 17 April 1721, was listed as 8,364, composed of: "Totals:—Men on the Muster roll, 1,078; men otherwise, 91; Women, 1,596; boys, 1,072; girls, 1,013. Blacks; Men, 817, women 965; boys 880; girls, 852." [8]

The Population of Bermuda in 1727 included 4,470 whites (910 men; 1,261 boys; 1,168 women; 1,131 girls) and 3,877 coloured (787 men; 1,158 boys; 945 women; 987 girls).

By 1871 the permanent population (not including the thousands of sailors and soldiers stationed in the colony) included 4,725 whites (2,118 males; 2,607 females) and 7,376 coloured (3,284 males and 4,112 females).

The term coloured was generally used in preference to black as anyone who was of wholly European ancestry (at least Northern European) was defined as white, leaving everyone else as coloured. This included the multi-racial descendants of the previous minority demographic groups (Black, Irish and Native American), as well as the occasional Jew, Persian, South-Asian, East Asian or other non-White and non-Black Bermudian.[9]

It was largely by this method (mixed-race Bermudians being added to the number of Blacks, rather than added to the number of Whites or being defined as a separate demographic group) that coloured (subsequently redefined after the Second World War as black) Bermudians came to outnumber white Bermudians, despite starting off at a numerical disadvantage, and despite low Black immigration prior to the latter 19th century (other contributing factors included the scale of white relative to black emigration in the 17th and 18th centuries, the greater mortality of whites from disease in the late 17th century, and large-scale West Indian immigration, which began, like Portuguese immigration, in the 19th century to provide labourers for the new export agriculture industry and expansion of the Royal Naval Dockyard. The Black West Indians, unlike the Portuguese, were British citizens and not obliged to leave Bermuda, as many Portuguese were, at the end of a contracted period.

At some point after the Second World War, the practice became for those with any degree of sub-Saharan African ancestry (which was virtually everyone who had been defined as coloured) to be defined as black, with Asian and other non-white Bermudians defined as separate racial groups (although it also, in that century, ceased to be the practice to record race on birth or other records). On Census returns, only in recent years have Bermudians been given the option to define themselves by more than one race, although there was considerable opposition to this from many Black leaders who discouraged Black Bermudians from doing so.

The majority of Bermuda's overall ancestry actually remains European, as most black Bermudians are actually of European ancestry, but as only those entirely of European ancestry are considered white, the largest demographic group is black, despite those of entirely sub-Saharan African ancestry being only a negligible part of the population.

This history has been well understood from the written record, was confirmed in 2009 by the only genetic survey of Bermuda, which looked exclusively at the black population of St. David's Island (as the purpose of the study was to seek Native American haplogroups, which could be assumed to be absent from the white population) consequently showed that the African ancestry of black Bermudians (other than those resulting from recent immigration from the British West Indian islands) is largely from a band across southern Africa, from Angola to Mozambique, which is similar to what is revealed in Latin America, but distinctly different from the blacks of the British West Indies and the United States.[10]

68% of the mtDNA (maternal) lineages of the black islanders were found to be African, with the two most common being L0a and L3e, which are sourced from populations spread from Central-West to South-East Africa. These lineages represent less than 5% of the mtDNA lineages of blacks in the United States and the English-speaking West Indies. They are, however, common in Brazil and the Spanish-speaking countries of Latin America. L3e, by example, is typical of !Kung speaking populations of the Kalahari, as well as of parts of Mozambique and Nigeria. The modern nation where it represents the highest percentage of the population is actually Brazil, where it represents 21% of mtDNA lineages. 31% of the mtDNA lineages of blacks in Bermuda are West Eurasian (European), with J1c being the most common. 1% were Native American. For NRY (paternal) haplogroups among black Bermudians, the study found about a third were made up of three African ones (of which E1b1a, the most common NRY haplogroup in West and Central African populations, "accounted for the vast majority of the African NRY samples (83%)" ), with the remainder (about 64.79%) being West Eurasian excepting one individual (1.88%) with a Native American NRY haplogroup Q1a3a. Of the individuals with European NRY haplogroups, more than half had R1b1b2, which is common in Europe and is found at frequencies over 75% in England and Wales.


The 2010 Bermudian Census found that White Bermudians accounted for 31% of the territory's total population, with a further 7% of Bermuda's population self-identifying as being of mixed African and European descent.[1]

A majority of European Bermudians are foreign-born nationals. The most common place of birth for foreign-born White Bermudians are: the United Kingdom - 3,942 (or 6% of Bermudas total population), United States - 3,424 (6%), Canada - 2,235 (4%), Azores/Portugal - 1,574 (3%) and other European countries - 1,125 (2%).[11]

See also


  1. ^ a b "CIA - The World Factbook - Bermuda". CIA. Archived from the original on 2 April 2010. Retrieved 2013-03-16.
  3. ^ ""2001 UK census"". Retrieved 2017-08-18.
  4. ^ ""Place of birth for the immigrant population by period of immigration, 2006 counts and percentage distribution, for Canada, provinces and territories - 20% sample data"". Retrieved 2017-08-18.
  5. ^
  6. ^ The St. George's Foundation newsletter 4 October, 2017
  7. ^ Orr, Tamra (16 December 2017). "Bermuda". Marshall Cavendish. Retrieved 16 December 2017 – via Google Books.
  8. ^ Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies, Volume 32, 1720-1721. Pages 281-297. America and West Indies: April 1721. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1933.
  9. ^ 19th Century Church Registers of Bermuda, indexed by A. C. Hollis Hallett. Updated by: C. F. E. Hollis Hallett. Published by Juniperhill Press and Bermuda Maritime Museum Press, 2005. ISBN 0-921992-23-8
  10. ^ "Genetic Ancestry and Indigenous Heritage in a Native American Descendant Community in Bermuda". By Jill B. Gaieski,1 Amanda C. Owings,1 Miguel G. Vilar,1 Matthew C. Dulik,1 David F. Gaieski,2 Rachel M. Gittelman,1 John Lindo,1 Lydia Gau,1 Theodore G. Schurr1* and The Genographic Consortium (1 = Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104; 2 = Department of Emergency Medicine, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104). AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY 000:000–000 (2011). DOI 10.1002/ajpa.21588 Published online in Wiley Online Library ([]).
  11. ^ 2010 Bermuda Census Official census results (Page: 18)
This page was last edited on 16 July 2020, at 01:24
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