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Once, it was owned and run by the British military as part of the string of then-strategic islands that stretched from the Dockyard to Hamilton, In 1870, the British Army, in conjunction with the Royal Navy, worried about the vulnerability of its stores of weaponry at Ordnance Island in St.George's and its ring of forts and their munitions stores around Bermuda, built a secret underground powder magazine on this island.Bermuda's first aquarium was here in 1908, as the forerunner to the Bermuda Aquarium, Natural History Museum and Zoo in Hamilton Parish.

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With the exception of Devonshire Parish, no Parish shows boundary signs. Some were absorbed into one of the former military bases or been blasted away or merged with a neighboring island.On the north, west, and south they are surrounded by reefs.There are nine parishes (counties), each 2.3055 square miles (3.68 square kilometers).Below the level of limestone and 450 feet below sea level is volcanic rock; and below that, only black lava and other igneous volcanic rock. Most visitors' maps portray Bermuda, wrongly, as only one island. The largest by far is Great Bermuda or Main Island, neither of which phrase is used locally.

Only in one place in Bermuda - 60 feet below sea level at the southern end of Bermuda International Airport -is volcanic rock found so near to sea level. It has 6 principal islands or former islands and 120 others for practical purposes (138 in total, including mere rocks) in its total land area of under 21 square miles (33 square kilometers). It is a mile wide on average, 14 miles long, 259 feet above sea level at its highest point, with hills and fertile depressions.

It was then reputed to be one of the largest in the world.