Black Bermudian |
|Regions with significant populations|
|Turks and Caicos Islands (UK)a|||
|Related ethnic groups|
|African people • Afro-Caribbean • Afro-Bahamian • Afro-American • English people|
a Ancestral Diaspora
b Estimated aboriginal population
All population figures are estimates
African Bermudians or Bermudians of African descent are Bermudians with any appreciable black African ancestry. The population descend primarily from blacks who arrived in Bermuda during the Seventeenth Century as indentured servants or slaves. The first influx of blacks in any numbers came in the mid-Seventeenth Century, when free blacks, most presumably Spanish-speaking Catholics, chose to immigrate to the Bermuda from former Spanish West Indian colonies that were captured by England and incorporated into its growing empire. As with most of the white settlers, few could afford the cost of their transport and so arrived as indentured servants. The continued reliance upon indentured servitude until the dissolution of the Somers Isles Company in 1684 meant that Bermuda's economy did not come to rely on slavery during the 17th Century. Black and Native American slaves continued to trickle in Bermuda, however, due to privateers using the colony as a base of operations. Black and Native American slaves captured aboard enemy ships were considered property, and returned to Bermuda for sale along with ships and cargoes. Bermuda was also used as a dumping ground for peoples ethnically-cleansed from their homelands by the expanse of the English Empire. This included particularly Algonquian peoples from New England, such as Pequots and Wampanoags, and native Irish Gaels, following the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland. All of these peoples were shipped to Bermuda and sold into bondage. Whites (excluding the Irish) remained the majority in Bermuda at the end of the Seventeenth Century. Although fears of blacks and Irish especially led to the discouragement of black immigration, the prohibition of the importation of Irish, and continual efforts to encourage slave-owners to export their slaves and free non-whites to emigrate or risk enslavement, the blacks, Irish, Native Americans, and some part of the white Anglos merged into a single demographic during the course of the Eighteenth Century which was known as coloured (anyone who was not entirely white). Intermarriage and extramarital relationships between the coloured and white populations continued to shift the ratio of coloured to white Bermudians as a child of a coloured and a white parent was generally considered coloured. By the 19th century the coloured population surpassed the white population and became Bermuda's largest ethnic group. As in the United States and Britain, the term "coloured" came to be seen as offensive in Bermuda by the mid-Twentieth Century and fell out of official use. It has been replaced by the terms "Black" and sometimes "African-Bermudian". The small numbers of Asians and other non-African minorities in Bermuda had always been included in the "coloured" demographic, but are now listed separately. Although the majority of Bermuda's ancestry doubtless remains European, given that all but a negligible few black Bermudians have European ancestry and that Portuguese immigration since the 1840s has contributed to 10% of the current population (although Portuguese have historically been defined as a separate racial demographic group from both white and coloured Bermudians), but with only those of entirely-European extraction being considered white and anyone with any black ancestry considered black, and with considerable black immigration from the West Indies during the course of the 20th Century, blacks have remained in the majority since the 19th Century.
Currently, the majority of Bermuda's ethnic make-up is black, accounting for 54% of the territory's population.
References & Footnotes
- "CIA - The World Factbook -- Bermuda". CIA. Archived from the original on 13 February 2013. Retrieved 2013-03-16.
- http://www.pewhispanic.org/files/2013/01/PHC-2011-FB-Stat-Profiles.pdf "STATISTICAL PORTRAIT OF THE FOREIGN-BORN POPULATION IN THE UNITED STATES, 2011"
- http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/migration1/migration-statistics-quarterly-report/august-2011/population-by-country-of-birth-and-nationality-jan10-dec10.xls "2001 UK census"
- http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2006/dp-pd/hlt/97-557/T404-eng.cfm?Lang=E&T=404&GH=4&GF=1&SC=1&S=1&O=D "Place of birth for the immigrant population by period of immigration, 2006 counts and percentage distribution, for Canada, provinces and territories - 20% sample data"
- http://turksandcaicos.tc/history/ "Brief History of Turk & Caicos Islands"