Legislators have voted to change the name of a holiday named in honour of the sea captain who founded Bermuda more than 400 years ago and rename a national holiday after a once enslaved Bermudian who became a heroine of the abolitionist movement in Britain.
The legislation, which was tabled in the House of Assembly on Friday, will see Somers Day become Mary Prince Day.
Community Minister Lovitta Foggo said the commemoration of Mary Prince, created a national hero in 2012, was “symbolically important”.
She added that the two-day Cup Match holiday’s link to the emancipation of the enslaved in 1834 had been enshrined in its first day, Emancipation Day.
The second day of the Cup Match holiday was named after Admiral Sir George Somers, who ran aground in Bermuda aboard the Sea Venture on July 28, 1609, which led to the permanent British settlement of the island. Somers died in Bermuda the following year aged 56.
It was a one-off official holiday in 1931, and incorporated into the two-day Cup Match public holiday in 1947.
The holiday is accompanied by a two-day cricket between two clubs at each end of the island, St George’s and current cup holders Somerset, which was first played in 1902.
The amendment, which will come into effect on January 1 next year, deleted his name from the date and substituted “Mary Prince Day”.
Foggo told the House of Assembly that Prince was “recognised on the world stage for the crucial role she played in the abolishment of slavery throughout the British Empire”.
Her autobiography, The History of Mary Prince, published in 1831, was a first-hand account of the brutality of slavery in Bermuda.