Bermuda was central to British presence in the western Atlantic from the late 18th century until the mid-20th century. Located near the Gulf Stream, the island was
a natural stopping point part way across the Atlantic.
It was also an important navigation beacon, particularly critical in the days before chronometers and the
ability to determine longitude at sea. Surrounded by reefs stretching far away from the dry land, however, sailing ships coming close enough to sight the island
or make landfall often foundered on the rocks. The resulting wrecks make for great diving and interesting archaeological sites.