Bermu'das, or Somers' Islands, British possessions in Mid-Atlantic, 2900 miles from Liverpool, and 677 from New York. They were so named from Bermudas, a Spaniard, who first sighted them in 1515, and from Sir George Somers, an Englishman, whose shipwreck here in 1609 was the immediate occasion of their colonisation from Virginia in 1611. This low and lonely-archipelago is a mere group of specks; for though it numbers perhaps 100 islets and more than twice that number of rocks, yet it measures only 19 sq. m. in all, the whole occupying a space of about 14 miles in length by little more than 5 in breadth. The islands are composed of blown coral sand, and are surrounded by a living, growing reef of coral - the most northerly of atolls. The great value of this natural fortress as a British naval station, defended by its extensive barrier of reefs and rocks, with only one or two intricate channels, arises from its situation. In 32° 15'N. lat., and 64° 51' W. long., the Bermudas occupy, commercially and politically, a singularly commanding position. In the principal or Main Island is the seat of government, Hamilton, on a deep inlet running 2 or 3 miles into the land. St George's contains the picturesque town of the same name, and a landlocked and fortified harbour. Ireland Island is occupied by a dockyard and other naval establishments; and Boaz and Watford Islands have the military depots and garrisons. At Ireland Island also is the celebrated Bermuda Floating Dock, towed out from England in 1869. The minor islands of St David, Cooper, Smith, Nonsuch, Godet, and others, form numerous picturesque and deep creeks and bays. The group forms an almost continuous chain, and with one break there is uninterrupted communication by roads, causeways, and bridges for 22 miles; but from the shape of most of the islands, and the number of lagoons, the communications are largely by water. The climate is tempered by an almost constant sea-breeze, and the air is moist at all seasons. The thermometer never falls below 40° F., and seldom rises above 85°. The islands are becoming a popular holiday and winter resort, especially for Americans. The soil is poor in quality, and not more than a fourth is cultivable at all; still the raising of early vegetables for New York is a great industry. Besides being useful as a naval station, Bermuda was formerly an important convict depot, but since 1862 it has ceased to be so. The colony has a very complete telegraph system. Pop. (1871) 12,121; (1901) 17,535, almost two-thirds of them coloured, and more than half are members of the Church of England. See works by Lefroy (1882), Ogilvy (1883), Dorr (New York, 1884), and Heilprin (Phil. 1890).