Bermuda

Posted on September 17, 2020 / 62
Listing Type : Imperial Fortress
Location : Bermuda

The location of Bermuda off the east coast of north America made it a transit point for vessels travelling to and from Europe.  It was also used by privateers who attacked the vessels making this journey.  The British established its’ first naval base in Bermuda in about 1795, initially concentrating in the area around St Georges. The Islands of Bermuda were also about half way between the British possessions of Halifax, Canada and Port Royal in Jamaica. With the loss of what is now the United States seaboard in 1783 there was a real need for the Royal Navy to find an alternative naval base in this area.

By 1815 a dockyard was developing on the West End of Ireland Island.  From 1851 work commenced on improving Bermuda as a naval base and it was designated as a Fortress along with Malta, Gibraltar and Halifax.

Bermuda is approximately one thousand miles from the United States and is therefore isolated.  The archipelago is surrounded by coral reefs and St Georges Harbour on the East Side was the principal military location until the end of the 18th Century.  In 1793 a Royal Naval hydrographer, Lieutenant Thomas Hurd discover the navigable channels through the Bermuda reefs which was named the Narrows or Hurds.  This became the primary route followed by all major vessels and allowed for the use of Ireland Island as a major Royal Naval Dockyard.  Prior to this the early defences were  concentrated around St Georges Harbour which was accessed  by Five Fathom Hole, a channel giving access from the East.

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