Bermudans & the Salt Industry

The First Permanent European Settlers

Following the occasional short-term settlers: pirates, shipwrecked crews and sailors collecting salt, the first real settlers were the Bermudans. They re-discovered the Islands and by the 1670s had started to collect salt from the naturally occurring salinas. It is claimed that in 1701 Bermuda sent 500 men, women, children and slaves to settle on the Turks Islands (Packwood, p47). Many of the Bermudan slaves would have been trained as sailors, which was not surprising because Bermudas main business was trading by sea, mostly salt from the Turks Islands. In 1729 Spanish warships were attacking Bermudan ships and taking the crews (black and white) as well as the ships and cargoes. It is claimed that slaves, value d at 400 British Pounds, were also captured at the Turks Islands (Packwood, p 36).

Generally, though, this period suffers from the lack of documented evidence and it is only after the British officially declared ownership of the Islands in 1764 following Spanish (1710) and French (1753 and 1764) attacks that the Islands gain extensive written documents.

After 1767 the salt industry really began.