Bermuda (historically known as the Bermudas or Somers Isles) is a British Overseas Territory in the North Atlantic Ocean. The Bermuda archipelago consists of 181 islands with a total land area of 54 km2. The closest land outside the territory is in the US state of North Carolina, approximately 1,035 km to the west-northwest.
Bermuda is named after Spanish explorer Juan de Bermúdez, who discovered the archipelago in 1505. The islands have been permanently inhabited since 1612, and, forming part of British America, became a crown colony in 1684. The first African slaves arrived in 1616, but as the slave trade ceased by the end of the 17th century, the colony developed into a base for merchants, privateers, and the Royal Navy. More recently, tourism has been a significant contributor to Bermuda's economy. After World War II the territory became a prominent offshore financial centre and tax haven.
Black Bermudians, primarily descended from African slaves, make up around 50% of the population, while White Bermudians, primarily of British, Irish and Portuguese descent, account for 30%.
Bermuda is the oldest British Overseas Territory, and the oldest self-governing British Overseas Territory, and has a great degree of internal autonomy through authority and roles of governance delegated to it by the national Government (the British Government, which is ultimately responsible for the governance of all British territory). Its parliament held its first session in 1620, making it the third-oldest continuous parliament in the world. As part of the British realm, the monarch of the United Kingdom is head of state and is represented in Bermuda by a Governor, appointed on the advice of the British Government. The Governor has special responsibilities in four areas: external affairs, defence, internal security, and policing.