COLLECTIONS & RESEARCH

Dorset and Bermuda

George Somers of Lyme Regis and Whitchurch Canonicorum was the founder of the colony on the island of Bermuda in 1609. He died only a year later on a return visit to the island, and his will lists some of the exotic items owned by the explorer including a carpet of ‘cloth of goulde’ and stylishly a pair of ‘breeches of cloath of gold’ and a doublet of the same material. He also left £10 a year to the poor of Lyme Regis.

Bermuda developed a huge tobacco industry, and imported large numbers of slaves to labour in the plantations. Most of these were from Africa, but native North Americans were also sent to Bermuda and sold as slaves.

Despite protests from the 17th century onwards, slavery in Bermuda was not abolished until 1834. The anniversary of emancipation is still celebrated each year.

In 1996 St. Georges, Bermuda and Lyme Regis were linked together by twinning, the link being Sir George Somers.

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