March 24th

Q: It is said that Easter Lilies were introduced to Bermuda in the 1850s by a visiting missionary on his way to Hamburg. From which country did the missionary receive the Easter Lily bulbs that he ultimately left in Bermuda?
A: Japan

March 17th

Q: One hundred and twenty years ago, a well-known baseball team arrived in Bermuda for spring training. Which one was it? 

A: The New York Yankees

March 10th

Q: The Mary Celestia sank off the south shore in 1864. In 2011 marine archaeologists excavated in and around the ship’s bow and uncovered what interesting items?

A: Perfume and bottles of wine. The wine was stashed out of sight of the captain, which suggests that the crew was involved in the illegal wine trade, as well as its support of the confederates.

March 3rd

Q: Which national park was originally private land but after it was deemed to be unsuitable for development (due to its extensive marshland) it was donated to the Bermuda National Trust? 

A: Spittal Pond

February 24th

Q: Which former US president is said to have loved Bermuda so much that he spent four weeks here back in 1907?

A: Woodrow Wilson

February 17th:

Q: What anniversary did The Bermudian celebrate this Wednesday, February 15th?

A: First published on February 15th, 1930, The Bermudian celebrated 93 years this week!

February 10th:

Q: How did Shelly Bay get its name?

A: The bay’s name goes back at least to Norwood’s survey of 1663, recorded in Governor Lefroy’s Memorialsin. Historians, such as W. E. S. Zuill, agree it was named after Henry Shelly, a name listed as one of the passengers aboard the Sea Venture which was shipwrecked in Bermuda in 1609.

February 3rd:

Q: Who introduced loquats to Bermuda?

A: Governor Reid introduced loquats to the island, after obtaining seeds from Malta in 1850 and established the plants presumably at Government House in Pembroke.

January 27th:

Q: What did the first settlers discover on Smith’s Island that influenced England to colonize Bermuda?

A: They found a huge quantity of ambergris washed up on the shore of the small island. The discovery of this valuable material would go on to convince the English that Bermuda was a valuable island full of ambergris commodity, worthy of sending more ships and settlers. Ambergris, which is basically whale vomit, was used in the manufacture of luxury perfumes and fetched a hefty price.

Week of January 16th-22nd:

Q: Where were the dolphins formerly kept before relocating to the National Museum of Bermuda in Dockyard?

A: The dolphins were formerly kept at ‘Blue Grotto’, today known as Blue Hole in Walsingham Nature Reserve.

Week of January 2nd-8th:

Q: What nickname was Bermuda given by the first settlers who landed upon its shores?  

A: Bermuda was once known as ‘The Devil of Isles’, namely because of the loud calls of the Bermuda petrel or cahow, which spooked the first settlers upon their arrival. This, coupled with the islands treacherous reef line which left many sailors shipwrecked, gave Bermuda a haunted reputation in its early days of colonization.

Week of November 14th-20th:

Q: What is the highest point of land in Bermuda?

A: The highest point of Bermuda is Town Hill, with its official height being 76 m (249 ft) above sea level.

Week of October 31st- November 6th:

Q: Where was this photograph taken?

A: Flatts Inlet, circa 1928

Week of October 24th-30th:

Q: What was smuggled into USA from Bermuda in 1919-1933?

A: During the American Civil War, Bermuda was a staging area for blockade runners to Southern ports. Rum was smuggled into the United States from the island during the Prohibition period (1919–33).

Week of October 17th-23rd:

Q: Bermuda is the only land mass located inside of which vast sea?

A: Named for its abundance of Sargasso seaweed, which provides a habitat for small marine animals in the vast, clear blue, deep ocean desert, the Sargasso Sea is a biodiversity hotspot.To learn more about this body of ocean, click here.

Week of October 10th-16th:

Q: What is the origin of the word ‘Crawl’ in Crawl Hill?

A: Many Bermudians would think that Crawl Hill received its name for the seemingly endless upward journey from Hamilton to the airport, along North Shore. The ‘crawl’ of Crawl Hill and its environs originates from ‘corral’ or the Afrikans word ‘kraal’ describing pens that held animals. From the first colonists in Bermuda, ‘crawls’ were ponds or inlets where fish caught in deeper water were kept until they were ready to be eaten. A description of how these crawls functioned in 1823 describes a process whereby the customer could select a fish from the pools and have it hauled out fresh and on-demand. There are records of fish ponds on ‘Craule Point’ as early as 1623.

Week of October 3rd to 9th:

Q: Who does the Governor rent the State House to in exchange for one peppercorn a year?

A: The Peppercorn Ceremony is an annual event held in late April in the town of St. George’s. Each year since 1816 (and with much pomp and circumstance) the Freemasons have handed over one peppercorn to his Excellency the Governor in exchange for use of the historic State House.

Week of September 26th – October 2nd:

Q: Who is the actress pictured above, and what movie did she star in that was filmed in Bermuda in the 70s? 

A: The magnificent Jacqueline Bisset starred alongside Oscar-nominated Nick Nolte, in The Deep, which was filmed in Bermuda in 1977. The film tells the tale of two amateur treasure-hunting divers who have a run-in with local criminals when they discover the lost cargo of a World War II shipwreck. 

Week of September 12th-18th:

Q:What was the name of the ship that ran aground just off Elbow Beach during a hurricane in 1915?

A: The Pollockshields ran aground just off Elbow Beach during a hurricane in 1915. As the ship began to sink, Bermudian whaler, Antonio Marshall got in his rowboat and began to make his way out to the ship to help rescue the crew. While this happened, guests staying at the Elbow Beach Hotel watched with bated breath as the dramatic rescue took place. Sadly, the only person unable to be rescued was the captain of the ship who died while attempting to secure a life jacket.

Week of August 29th – September 4th:

Q: What does local lore claim about Wreck Hill in Ely’s Harbour?

A: Local lore claims that bonfires were lit deliberately on the top of Wreck Hill to mimic the presence of a lighthouse, in an effort to lure ships into the shoreline where they would eventually wreck onto the northwest reefs. Once it was evident that the vessels and crew required assistance, it is believed that locals generously came to their rescue, and even more generously helped themselves to lucrative goods on board. As William Sydes pointed out in his book ‘Account of Life on the Convict Hulks’, “If a vessel is on the rocks, all the fishing boats make to her, weather permitting, to see what they can purloin. They rejoice as such misfortunes, and call her a “turtle in the net”, and all they try is to cause a confusion in the ship, so as to get a load and off.”

Week of August 22nd-28th:

Q: Why is Bermuda’s sand pink?

A: Bermuda’s characteristic pink sand is all down to one little invertebrate – the red foram (Homotrema rubrum). Like many sea creatures found in Bermuda, such as sally lightfoot crabs and West Indian top shells, red foraminifera take in calcium carbonate from seawater and use it to construct hard skeletons.

The red foram is an amoeba-like organism, with a gelatinous body that is very vulnerable to predation in the ocean. So that it doesn’t leave itself so exposed, the red foram builds its own home – a small, red, spherical skeleton, which they fix to the rock. These little “casks” are the red fragments you can see if you pick up a handful of Bermuda sand.

Our parrotfish play a big role in getting red foraminifera off the rocks. They eat algae that grow on bare rock surfaces on the reef, and every time they scrape algae off of the rock, their powerful beaks take a little limestone with it. Red foraminifera are frequently caught in the crossfire, and later excreted along with limestone sediment by the fish.

Week of August 15th-21st:

Q: What is symbolic about Bermuda’s national flower, the Bermudiana?

A: Part of the Iris family, Bermuda’s national flower, The Bermudiana has a small, very distinct purple flower with a bright yellow centre. Endemic to our island, the Bermudiana is said have emerged from the ashes of Sally Bassett, an enslaved woman who was burned at the stake for allegedly trying to poison her enslavers. Sally Bassett declared that there would be a clear sign after her death that she was innocent and we are reminded of her each time our national flower blooms.

Week of August 8th-14th:

Q: What was the original name of Devonshire Parish?

A: Cavendish Tribe

Week of August 1st-7th:

Q: Can you name this iconic cruise ship that operated from New York – Bermuda before and after World War II, until its final voyage in 1966?

A: SS Queen of Bermuda was a British cruise ship that belonged to Furness, Withy & Co Ltd, as part of its Furness Bermuda Line which operated between New York and Bermuda. The ship made its first arrival to the island in 1933, but once the Second World War broke out, the Queen of Bermuda served as an armed merchant cruiser and then a troop ship. In 1947 the UK Government relieved the ship from its war duties, and it resumed operations between New York and Bermuda in 1949 after being overhauled and refitted as a luxury cruise line. The Queen of Bermuda’s final voyage to Bermuda was in 1966. To read more about the Queen of Bermuda, click here.

Week of July 18th-22nd:

Q: What environmental disaster did Bermuda face in 1945?

A: In 1945, Juniper Scale insects were found living on numerous cedar trees across the island. Within three years, the scale had infected every tree in Bermuda. Despite efforts to halt the advance of the scale, from mass spraying to importing beetles, 90% of Bermuda’s cedar tree population perished within a decade. By the 1950s, the government was felling more than 13,000 dead cedar trees a year. To read more about the demise of Bermuda’s most iconic tree, click here.

Week of July 11th-17th:

Q: What famous explorer made history by descending into Bermuda’s deep ocean in a bathysphere, further than anyone had gone before at the time?

A: William Beebe.

Week of July 4th-10th:

Q: Who introduced cricket to Bermuda?

A: The game of cricket was introduced to Bermuda by British soldiers stationed in St. George’s and members of the Royal Navy at Dockyard. The first recorded cricket match in Bermuda was played in 1846 between British servicemen. Bermudians, and black Bermudians in particular, fell in love with the game.

Week of June 27th-July 3rd:

Q: In 1953 the grounds of Fort St. Catherine doubled as a stage for the performance of which theatrical play?

A: In 1953, an open-air production of Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth, was performed here starring Academy Award-winning actor, Charlton Heston as the title role. The performance, directed by Burgess Meredith, involved a variety of daring theatrics. According to Heston’s biography, during the first performance of Macbeth in Bermuda, his tights caught fire causing serious burns to his legs.

Week of June 20th-June 26th:

Q: Most sailors commonly refer to the Newport Bermuda race as which nickname?

A: The Newport Bermuda race, which is the world’s oldest regularly scheduled ocean yacht race adopted the nickname “thrash to the onion patch” by the sailors who raced it. Writer-sailor John Rousmaniere once wrote, “There’s poetic justice: after several long days of discomfort in a closed and pungent cabin, the boat finally arrives at the historic home of a famous pungent vegetable.”

Week of June 13th-June 19th:

Q: The first organised attempt to make a profitable industry out of Bermuda’s soil was in 1616, with the cultivation of what crop?

A: Tobacco.

Week of June 6th-June 12th:

Q: What two famous visitors to Bermuda (one a famous author and the other a former U.S. president) were responsible for drafting a petition against automobiles on the island, which resulted in a ban of all motor cars in 1908?

A: Mark Twain and Woodrow Wilson frequently visited Bermuda to escape the hustle and bustle of life on the East Coast. As the world started to become more modernised around them with the introduction of vehicles to the United States, they drafted a petition against the use of motorcars in Bermuda out of fear that it would ruin the peace and quiet of their tranquil getaways. The pair gained support from 111 tourists who signed their petition, and the Assembly actually passed the Motor Car Act of 1908, banning motor cars on the island until 1946.

Week of May 30th-June 5th

Q: What name did Front Street bear before it became Front Street?

A: The original name for Front Street was Water Street.

Week of May 23rd-29th:

Q: In what year did Bermuda’s first marathon derby take place, which later evolved into the traditional May 24th fixture?

A: The first official running of what would become the May 24th marathon took place in 1909, when a group of British soldiers challenged local islanders to a race.  Unfortunately, the Brits took the win, with Private Jordan, of the Duke of Cornwall Light Infantry placing first and Bermuda’s own, John C. Bean finishing second. In true Bermudian spirit, the locals proposed a rematch with a 13-mile route starting from the Princess Hotel in Hamilton to Somerset the following year. The race subsequently became an annual May 24th fixture around 1928.