Montserrat History

Montserrat History

According to, Montserrat is a lush, mountainous island in the Caribbean Sea. “Caribbean Emerald Island” is part of the Leeward Islands and part of the island chain called the Lesser Antilles. The island is about 16 km long and 11 km wide, with about 40 km of coastline. The island is inhabited by 5200 people (2012).

The island’s capital is Plymouth, but after its destruction, a new capital is being established at Little Bay. The major hubs of activities now are centered at the northwest end of the island of Brades, Carrs Bay and Sweeneys.

The largest cities are (by population): Brades, Cork Hill, Salem, Saint John’s Village, Gerald’s.

Since 1995, it has been feared that the Soufriere Hills volcano could erupt even larger. The island is growing quite slowly in size due to the accumulation of volcanic deposits on the southeast coast.


500 BCE – The Arawak Indians arrived on the island and settled.

15th Century – The Arawak Indians are driven off the island by a much more aggressive group of Indians, known as the Caribbean.

1493 – Christopher Columbus names the island on his second voyage to the New World, after Mount Montserrat, located in Catalonia.

1555 – Spain declares the island theirs.

1632 – Thomas Warner brings English and Irish Catholics from St. Kitts to start an English colony on the island.

1649 – Oliver Cromwell transports Irish political prisoners to Montserrat.

1650 – Sugar cane introduced to the island.

1664 – France occupies the island and introduces slavery. Four years later, the island reverted to Britain.

1712 – France renounces Montserrat.

1768 – Unsuccessful slave revolt takes place on Skt. Patrick’s Day.

1782 – France recaptures the island. The following year, Britain regained the island when it was enshrined in the Treaty of Versailles.

1834 – Slavery abolished.

1857 – The slave abolitionist Joseph Sturge forms the Montserrat Company and introduces the cultivation of linden trees.

1956 – Leeward Island Federation abolished; Montserrat became a separate colony.

1960 – Montserrat established as a British colony.

1965 – On September 17, Pan Am Flight 292 flew into Chances Peak near the top, smashing and killing all 30 passengers on board.

1989 – Hurricane Hugo ravages most of the island in September, leaving 11,000 out of 12,000 homeless. The infrastructure in the city was disrupted for several weeks after. A total of 21 died and the damage amounted to $ 200 million.

1995 – On July 18, the eruption of the Soufriere Hills volcano begins for the first time in 350 years, leading to the destruction of the island’s capital Plymouth. Between 1995 and 2000, two-thirds of the island’s population was forced to flee to “safe areas” in the northern part of the island, or to neighboring islands and all the way to New York, but primarily to England.

In August, the government declares a state of emergency.

1996 – The islanders are granted a residence permit by the United Kingdom, which includes the rights to work in the United Kingdom for up to two years. Two years later, the islanders were told that they could apply for a permanent residence permit.

1997 Airport WH Bramble Airport was destroyed by a volcanic eruption on June 25, which wiped out much of the southern part of the island.

2000 – Montserrat joins the international list of areas considered uncooperative in the fight against money laundering.

2001 – The Soufriere Hills volcano causes extensive damage in the eruption.

2003 – Soufriere Hills once again erupts, destroying a lot of buildings.

2005 – For several years after the disaster, access to Montserrat was only accessible by helicopter or ship, until July 2005, when the construction of the new Gerald’s Airport (now John A. Osborne Airport ) was completed at the northern end of the island.

2010 – On February 11, the former WH Bramble Airport was buried by currents from volcanic activity.

Montserrat History