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Bermuda was first settled in 1609 by shipwrecked English colonists headed for Virginia. Tourism to the island to escape North American winters first developed in Victorian times. Tourism continues to be important to the island's economy, although international business has overtaken it in recent years. Bermuda has also developed into a highly successful offshore financial center. A referendum on independence from the UK was soundly defeated in 1995.

Bermuda enjoys the fourth highest per capita income in the world, more than 50% higher than that of the US; the average cost of a house by the mid-2000s exceeded $1,000,000. Its economy is primarily based on providing financial services for international business and luxury facilities for tourists. A number of reinsurance companies relocated to the island following the 11 September 2001 attacks on the US and again after Hurricane Katrina in August 2005 contributing to the expansion of an already robust international business sector. Bermuda's tourism industry - which derives over 80% of its visitors from the US - continues to struggle but remains the island's number two industry. Most capital equipment and food must be imported. Bermuda's industrial sector is largely focused on construction and agriculture is limited, with only 20% of the land being arable.

Cuisne Unlike the Caribbean islands, Bermuda has not developed a range of dishes or preparations that could be considered a distinctive cuisine. But there are a number of items that you will find here that won't appear on your menu at home.

Bermuda Fish and Seafood
Surrounded by miles of ocean with both deep-sea and shallow waters, Bermuda is a fish lover’s paradise. In many restaurants the catch of the day will be the tastiest and freshest option.

Snapper is a very frequent choice but, depending on the season, you might also find tuna, wahoo, or rockfish. Served with butter or wine sauces, the fillets will always be superb. Much of the other fish and seafood on the island is delicious but will often be imported: giant shrimps, scallops, Dover sole, and crab, among others. Another great option in Bermuda is the spiny lobster, similar to cold-water lobster except that it lacks biting claws. The local lobster season runs from September through March. It is served boiled with melted butter, baked in a cheese sauce, or sautéed in chunks with brandy and covered with a cream sauce.

Mussel pie is a favorite Bermuda seafood dish - a slightly curried, thick clam stew in a pastry shell. Another island specialty might sound barbarous but tastes rich: Bermuda shark. It reaches the table after several transformations, arriving in tiny pieces cooked with onions, peppers, parsley, thyme, and mustard greens.

Bermuda Desserts
Locally grown fruits are used in abundance in Bermuda. Fruit salads might contain a selection of strawberries, loquats, jumbo grapefruit, watermelon, and Suriname cherries. Bananas are also a popular choice, fried as fritters or flamed in rum for a great finale to a meal. However, the British influence is probably most visible in Bermuda in restaurants dessert menu items. You will find such traditional puddings as jelly-roll or sponge cake drowned in sherry and laden with peaches or strawberries, bananas, chopped nuts, custard, and whipped cream. You will also get the lighter Bermudian syllabub: guava jelly, port or sherry, and whipped cream.

Christmas brings out Bermuda’s national dish, cassava pie. Cassava (also known as manioc) was imported from the West Indies in the earliest days of the colony. Here it is combined with chicken, pork, eggs, and perhaps brandy in a sweetish but meaty layered pie.

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