The English had expressed an interest in The Bahamas as early as 1629. However, it was not until 1648 that the first English settlers arrived on the islands. Known as the Eleutherian Adventurers and led by William Sayle, they migrated to Bermuda seeking greater religious freedom. These English Puritans established the first permanent European settlement on an island which they named 'Eleuthera', Greek for 'freedom'. They later settled New Providence, naming it Sayle's Island. Life proved harder than envisaged however, and many – including Sayle – chose to return to Bermuda. To survive, the remaining settlers salvaged goods from wrecks.
Johnson was baptised a Catholic and later confirmed into the Church of England, but has stated that "his faith comes and goes" and that he is not a serious practising Christian. He holds ancient Greek statesman and orator Pericles as a personal hero. According to Johnson's biographer, Andrew Gimson, regarding ancient Greek and Roman polytheism: "it is clear that [Johnson] is inspired by the Romans, and even more by the Greeks, and repelled by the early Christians". Johnson views secular humanism positively and sees it as owing more to the classical world than to Christian thinking.More Info
In 1987, Johnson married Allegra Mostyn-Owen, daughter of the art historian William Mostyn-Owen and Italian writer Gaia Servadio. The couple's marriage was annulled in 1993 and 12 days later Johnson married Marina Wheeler, a barrister, daughter of journalist and broadcaster Charles Wheeler and his wife, Dip Singh. Five weeks later, Wheeler and Johnson's first child was born. The Wheeler and Johnson families have known each other for decades, and Marina Wheeler was at the European School, Brussels, at the same time as her future husband. They have four children: two daughters and two sons.More Info
Johnson's paternal great-grandfather was Circassian-Turkish journalist Ali Kemal who was a secular Muslim. Johnson's paternal grandfather, Wilfred Johnson – Ali Kemal's son, was an RAF pilot in Coastal Command during World War II. His father's other ancestry includes English, German and French; one of his German ancestors was said to be the illegitimate daughter of Prince Paul of Württemberg and thus a descendant of King George II of Great Britain. This would make him and Elizabeth II sixth cousins twice removed. Through Mary of Teck's connection to Frederick II Eugene, Duke of Württemberg, they would in that case also have a closer genealogical link as fifth cousins twice removed. Johnson's mother is the granddaughter of Elias Avery Lowe, a palaeographer, who was a Russian Jewish immigrant to the US, and Pennsylvania-born Helen Tracy Lowe-Porter, a translator of Thomas Mann. In reference to his varied ancestry, Johnson has described himself as a "one-man melting pot" – with a combination of Abrahamic religious great-grandparents. Johnson was given the middle name "Boris" after a Russian émigré his parents had once met. An episode of Who Do You Think You Are? explored the German origins of his middle name Pfeffel. Through this family line, Boris Johnson is a descendant in the seventh generation of Anna Catharina Bischoff, whose mummified corpse was found in 1975 and identified in 2018.More Info
Johnson's biographer and friend Andrew Gimson said that while "in economic and social matters, [Johnson] is a genuine liberal", he retains a "Tory element" to his personality through his "love of existing institutions, and a recognition of the inevitability of hierarchy". His liberal stance on matters such as social policy, immigration and free trade were also commented on in 2019. In 2019, Al Jazeera editor James Brownswell said that although Johnson had "leaned to the right" since the Brexit campaign, he remained "slightly more socially liberal" than much of his party. In 2019, former Deputy Leader of the Conservative Party Michael Heseltine said Johnson "has no right to call himself a one-nation Conservative" and wrote: "I fear that any traces of liberal conservatism that still exist within the prime minister have long since been captured by the rightwing, foreigner-bashing, inward-looking view of the world that has come to characterise his fellow Brexiters".More Info
According to Purnell, "[Johnson] is blessed with immense charisma, wit, sex appeal and celebrity gold dust; he is also recognised and loved by millions—although perhaps less so by many who have had to work closely with him (let alone depend on him). Resourceful, cunning and strategic, he can pull off serious political coups when the greater good happens to coincide with his personal advantage but these aspirations are rarely backed up by concrete achievements, or even detailed plans." Furthermore, Purnell said that Johnson was a "highly evasive figure" when it came to his personal life, who remained detached from others and who had very few if any intimate friends. Among friends and family, Johnson is known as "Al" (short for his forename Alexander), rather than his middle name "Boris".Gimson stated that Johnson "has very bad manners. He tends to be late, does not care about being late, and dresses without much care". Highly ambitious and very competitive, Johnson was, Gimson wrote, born "to wage a ceaseless struggle for supremacy". He would be particularly angered with those he thought insulted aspects of his personal life; for instance, when an article in The Telegraph upset Johnson, he emailed commissioning editor Sam Leith with the simple message "Fuck off and die." Thus, according to Purnell, Johnson hides his ruthlessness "using bumbling, self-deprecation or humour", and was a fan of "laddish banter and crude sexual references".More Info
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