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Bermuda was discovered in about 1503 by Spanish captain Juan de Bermudez, for whom the island was eventually named. He paid two visits to the archipelago without ever setting foot on it.
In 1609, a fleet from the Virginia Company of London set sail from Plymouth, England to re-supply and bring new colonists to the English settlement at Jamestown, Virginia, which had been established in 1607. The fleet was commanded by Admiral Sir George Somers. During a fierce storm, his ship the Sea Venture was separated from the fleet and was driven upon Bermuda’s reefs to prevent its foundering. Somers was able to get all passengers and crew to safety on Bermuda. The other survivors included several important personages of early Virginian history, including the Sea Venture's captain, Christopher Newport, Lieutenant-General Sir Thomas Gates, Sylvester Jordain, Stephen Hopkins, William Stratchey, and John Rolfe. Rolfe would bury his first wife and child in Bermuda before marrying Pocahontas in Virginia.
The following year, the survivors completed two new ships, the Deliverance and the Patience, and set sail for Virginia, leaving behind two men to lay claim to the island. When they arrived in Jamestown, they found the colony nearly destroyed by illness, famine and attacks by Indians. The supplies they brought from Bermuda saved the remaining colonists. Jamestown was still thought to be unsalvageable, and everyone was embarqued aboard the two ships for return to England. The colony was saved by the fortuitous arrival of another relief fleet from England. With more mouths to feed, Somers returned to Bermuda with the Patience to obtain more food, but died on the island. His heart was buried there, but his body was returned to his hometown of Lyme Regis, in Dorset.
In 1612, The Virginia Company was granted a new charter extending the boundaries of Virginia far enough out to sea to formally include Bermuda. The company sent 60 settlers to the island, led by Governor Thomas Moore. In 1615, ownership of Bermuda was transferred to a spin-off of the Viginia Company, the newly formed Somers Isles Company. In 1684, the Somers Isles Company's charter was revoked, and the English Crown took over the adminstration of the colony. When England and Scotland united in 1707 to create the United Kingdom of Great Britain, Bermuda became a British colony.
In 1883, Princess Louise, daughter of Queen Victoria, visited Bermuda and helped to establish the island as a tourist destination. The [Fairmont Hamilton] Princess Hotel opened in 1885, marking the true beginning of Bermuda's tourism-based economy. Mark Twain famously stayed at the hotel.