Bermuda is a British Overseas Territory in the North Atlantic Ocean. It is approximately 1070 km east-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina; 1236 km south of Cape Sable Island, Nova Scotia; and 1759 km northeast of Cuba. The capital city is Hamilton. Bermuda is self-governing, with its own constitution and its own government, which enacts local laws, while the United Kingdom retains responsibility for defence and foreign relations. As of July 2018, its population is 71,176, the highest of the British overseas territories.
Bermuda's two largest economic sectors are offshore insurance and reinsurance, and tourism. Bermuda had one of the world's highest GDP per capita for most of the 20th century. The islands have a subtropical climate and lies in the hurricane belt and thus is prone to related severe weather; however, it is somewhat protected by a coral reef that surrounds the island and its position at the north of the belt, which limits the direction and severity of approaching storms.
The first European known to have reached Bermuda was the Spanish sea captain Juan de Bermúdez in 1505, after whom the islands are named. He claimed the islands for the Spanish Empire. Unusually, Bermuda had no indigenous population at the time of its discovery, nor at the time of the initial British settlement a century later. Bermúdez never landed on the islands, but made two visits to the archipelago, of which he created a recognisable map. Shipwrecked Portuguese mariners are now thought to have been responsible for the 1543 inscription on Portuguese Rock (previously called Spanish Rock). Subsequent Spanish or other European parties are believed to have released pigs there, which had become feral and abundant on the island by the time European settlement began. In 1609, the English Virginia Company (which had established Jamestown in Virginia two years earlier) permanently settled Bermuda in the aftermath of a hurricane, when the crew and passengers of the Sea Venture steered the ship onto the surrounding reef to prevent its sinking, then landed ashore.
The island was administered as an extension of Virginia by the Company until 1614. Its spin-off, the Somers Isles Company, took over in 1615 and managed the colony until 1684. At that time, the company's charter was revoked, and the English Crown took over administration. The islands became a British colony following the 1707 unification of the parliaments of Scotland and England, which created the Kingdom of Great Britain. After 1949, when Newfoundland became part of Canada, Bermuda became the oldest remaining British overseas territory. After the return of Hong Kong to China in 1997, Bermuda became the most populous remaining dependent territory (from 2002 overseas territory). Its first capital, St. George's, was established in 1612.