Page:EB1911 - Volume 03.djvu/815

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

1794 and incorporated in 1797; and Hamilton, on the Main Island, founded in 1790 and incorporated in 1793. St George was the capital till the senate and courts of justice were removed by Sir James Cockburn to Hamilton, which being centrally situated, is more convenient. Hamilton, which is situated on the inner part of the Great Sound, had a population in 1901 of 2246, that of St George being 985. In Ireland Island is situated the royal dockyard and naval establishment. The harbour of St George’s has space enough to accommodate a vast fleet; yet, till deepened by blasting, the entrance was so narrow as to render it almost useless. The Bermudas became an important naval and coaling station in 1869, when a large iron dry dock was towed across the Atlantic and placed in a secure position in St George, while, owing to their important strategic position in mid-Atlantic, the British government maintains a strong garrison. The Bermudas are a British crown colony, with a governor resident at Hamilton, who is assisted by an executive council of 6 members appointed by the crown, a legislative council of 9 similarly appointed, and a representative assembly of 36 members, of whom four are returned by each of nine parishes. The currency of the colony, which had formerly twelve shillings to the pound sterling, was assimilated to that of England in 1842. The English language is universal. The colony is ecclesiastically attached to the bishopric of Newfoundland. In 1847 an educational board was established, and there are numerous schools; attendance is compulsory, but none of the schools is free. Government scholarships enable youths to be educated for competition in the Rhodes scholarships to Oxford University. The revenue of the islands shows a fairly regular increase during the last years of the 19th century and the first of the 20th, as from £37,830 in 1895 to £63,457 in 1904; expenditure is normally rather less than revenue. In the year last named imports were valued at £589,979 and exports at £130,305, the annual averages since 1895 being about £426,300 and £112,500 respectively. The population shows a steady increase, as from 13,948 in 1881 to 17,535 in 1901; 6383 were whites and 11,152 coloured in the latter year.

History.—The discovery of the Bermudas resulted from the shipwreck of Juan Bermudez, a Spaniard (whose name they now bear), when on a voyage from Spain to Cuba with a cargo of hogs, early in the 16th century. Henry May, an Englishman, suffered the same fate in 1593; and lastly, Sir George Somers shared the destiny of the two preceding navigators in 1609. Sir George, from whom the islands took the alternative name of Somers, was the first who established a settlement upon them, but he died before he had fully accomplished his design. In 1612 the Bermudas were granted to an offshoot of the Virginia Company, which consisted of 120 persons, 60 of whom, under the command of Henry More, proceeded to the islands. The first source of colonial wealth was the growing of tobacco, but the curing industry ceased early in the 18th century. In 1726 Bishop George Berkeley chose the Bermudas as the seat of his projected missionary establishment. The first newspaper, the Bermuda Gazette, was published in 1784.

See Godet, Bermuda, its History, Geology, Climate, &c. (London, 1860); Lefroy, Discovery and Settlement of the Bermudas (London, 1877-1879); A. Heilprin, Bermuda Islands (Philadelphia, 1889); Stark, Bermuda Guide (London, 1898); Cole, Bermuda ... Bibliography (Boston, 1907); and for geology see also A. Agassíz, “Visit to the Bermudas in March 1894,” Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard, vol. xxvi. No. 2, 1895; A. E. Verrill, “Notes on the Geology of the Bermudas,” Amer. Journ. Sci. ser. 4, vol. ix. (1900), pp. 313-340; “The Bermuda Islands; Their Scenery, &c.,” Trans. Conn. Acad. Arts and Sci. vol. xi. pt. 2 (1901-1902).

BERMUDEZ, a N.E. state of Venezuela, between the Caribbean Sea and the Orinoco river, bounded E. by the gulf of Paria and the Delta-Amacuro territory, and W. by the states of Guarico and Miranda. Pop. (est. 1905) 364,158. It was created in 1881 by the union of the states of Barcelona, Cumaná and Maturín, dissolved in 1901 into its three original states, and reorganized in 1904 with a slight modification of territory. The state includes the oldest settlements in Venezuela, and was once very prosperous, producing cattle and exporting hides, but wars and political disorders have partly destroyed its industries and impeded their development. Its principal productions are coffee, sugar, and cacáo, and—less important—cotton, tobacco, cocoanuts, timber, indigo and dyewoods. Its more important towns are the capital, Barcelona, Maturín (pop. 14,473), capital of a district of the same name, and Cumaná (10,000), on the gulf of Cariaco, founded in 1520 and one of the oldest towns of the continent.

BERN (Fr. Berne), after the Grisons, the largest of the Swiss cantons, but by far the most populous, though politically Bern ranks after that of Zürich. It extends right across Switzerland from beyond the Jura to the snow-clad ranges that separate Bern from the Valais. Its total area is 2641.9 sq. m., of which 2081 sq. m. are classed as “productive” (including 591 sq. m. of forests, and 2.1 m. of vineyards), while of the remainder 111.3 sq. m. are occupied by glaciers (the Valais and the Grisons alone surpass it in this respect). It is mainly watered by the river Aar (q.v.), with its affluents, the Kander (left), the Saane or Sarine (left) and the Emme (right); the Aar forms the two lakes of Brienz and Thun (q.v.). The great extent of this canton accounts for the different character of the regions therein comprised. Three are usually distinguished:—(1) The Oberland or Highlands, which is that best known to travellers, for it includes the snowy Alps of the Bernese Oberland (culminating in the Finsteraarhorn, 14,026 ft., and the Jungfrau, 13,669 ft.), as well as the famous summer resorts of Grindelwald, Mürren, Lauterbrunnen, Interlaken, Meiringen, Kandersteg, Adelboden, Thun and the fine pastoral valley of the Simme. (2) The Mittelland or Midlands, comprising the valley of the Aar below Thun, and that of the Emme, thus taking in the outliers of the high Alps and the open country on every side of the town of Bern. (3) The Seeland (Lakeland) and the Jura, extending from Bienne and its lake across the Jura to Porrentruy in the plains and to the upper course of the Birs. The Oberland and Mittelland form the “old” canton, the Jura having only been acquired in 1815, and differing from the rest of the canton by reason of its French-speaking and Romanist inhabitants.

In 1900 the total population of the canton was 589,433, of whom 483,388 were German-speaking, 97,789 French-speaking, and 7167 Italian-speaking; while there were 506,699 Protestants, 80,489 Romanists (including the Old Catholics), and 1543 Jews. The capital is Bern (q.v.), while the other important towns are Bienne (q.v.), Burgdorf (q.v.), Delémont or Delsberg (5053 inhabitants), Porrentruy or Pruntrut (6959 inhabitants), Thun (q.v.), and Langenthal (4799 inhabitants). There is a university (founded in 1834) in the town of Bern, as well as institutions for higher education in the principal towns. The canton is divided into 30 administrative districts, and contains 507 communes (the highest number in Switzerland). From 1803 to 1814 the canton was one of the six “Directorial” cantons of the Confederation. The existing cantonal constitution dates from 1893, but in 1906 the direct popular election of the executive of 9 members (hitherto named by the legislature) was introduced. The legislature or Grossrath is elected for four years (like the executive), in the proportion of 1 member to every 2500 (or fraction over 1250) of the resident population. The obligatory Referendum obtains in the case of all laws, and of decrees relating to an expenditure of over half a million francs, while 12,000 citizens have the right of initiative in the case of legislative projects, and 15,000 may demand the revision of the cantonal constitution. The 2 members sent by the canton to the federal Ständerath are elected by the Grossrath, while the 29 members sent to the federal Nationalrath are chosen by a popular vote. In the Alpine portions of the canton the breeding of cattle (those of the Simme valley are particularly famous) is the chief industry; next come the elaborate arrangements for summer travellers (the Fremdenindustrie). It is reckoned that there are 2430 “Alps” or mountain pastures in the canton, of which 1474 are in the Oberland, 627 in the Jura, and 280 in the Emme valley; they can maintain 95,478 cows and are of the estimated value of 46½ million francs. The cheese of the Emme valley is locally much esteemed. Other industries in the Alpine region are wood-carving (at Brienz) and wine manufacture (on the shores