Bermuda; environmental and geological setting; societal development


The island of Bermuda (32º 20’ N, 64º 45’ W), consists of carbonates interbedded with terra rossa paleosols, situated on top of an eroded shield volcano of mid-to-late Eocene-through-early Oligocene age. The impacts of this distinctive geology, in combination with the island’s isolated geographic setting, have shaped human occupation of Bermuda since it was first settled in 1612.

Since the seventeenth century, Bermudian societies have optimized their activities to accommodate their distinctive geologic and geographic setting. Such accommodations include the collection of rainwater as a source of freshwater, the production of sloops out of local Bermudian cedar, the utilization of limestones as well as unique local woods as a building material in the construction of homes and other structures, and the construction and utilization of fishing wells. Other adaptations include a close proximity of buildings on the island so as to accommodate a high population density, the development of a maritime economy, and an emphasis on trade and tourism. The relationship between Bermudian society and its environmental and geographic setting is reflected by this suite of adjustments that have been made by Bermudians throughout the last five centuries which have made it possible for them to thrive on the island. This poster presents these distinctively Bermudian accommodations with reference to their geological and geographical setting, underlining the significant influence setting has played upon the establishment of a successful society.