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Montserrat Travel Guide
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Welcome to Montserrat on the Paradise Islands website. This small emerald isle is located in the Caribbean Leeward island chain just 30 miles south west of Antigua, south of St Kitts and Nevis and north west of Guadeloupe. The island has a volcanic mountainous interior and is around 10 miles long and 7 miles wide.

It's nickname is "The Emerald Isle of the Caribbean" due both to it's similar appearance to coastal Ireland and the Irish decent of many of it's early European settlers.

Montserrat

 

The emerald isle was sighted and named by Christopher Columbus on his second voyage to the West indies in 1493. He christened the island "Santa Maria de Montserrat" after the famous mountain monastery near Barcelona in Catalonia of the same name.

The island is a British overseas territory and was first occupied by the British in 1632 when Irish Catholics from nearby Saint Kitts colonised the island. In the 1800's one of the main exports was Lime and in the 1900's it was cotton. Today the economy relies quite heavily on tourism in common with many other destinations in the Caribbean.

Eruption

Plymouth before volcano eruption

Erupting Volcano

The Island House Gift Shop in Plymouth 1992

 

Natural disasters have taken their toll on this pretty island in recent times. In 1989 the emerald isle took a direct hit from Hurricane Hugo which damaged over 90 percent of the buildings and wiped out the tourist trade for several years.

The population was starting to get back on it's feet when the Soufriere Hills volcano erupted in 1995 and again in 1997 killing 19 people. The erupting volcano buried the island's capital of Plymouth, the dock and the W H Bramble airport. Montserrat's economy was almost completely destroyed and more than half of the population abandoned the isle to live elsewhere.

Montserrat Volcano

The tourist trade is gradually returning and a new airport was opened in 2005 and a new capital is being constructed with docks at Little Bay. The whole southern part of the island remains an exclusion zone, but in it's own right serves as a tourist attraction. The last major volcanic eruption was in 2003. Montserrat is open for business and the volcano and the half buried town of Plymouth will remain an important draw to any tourists visiting the island.
Travel, holiday, vacation and cruise guide to the Caribbean. All text and images are Copyright Paradise Islands org. All photographs on this Caribbean travel website are obtained with the permission of the owners and come from various sources including the islands tourist boards. Some of our own maybe reproduced with permission - please see notes attached to each image to avoid any copyright penalty.
 

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Quick Facts

Capital
Plymouth
(now Brades)

Main Airport
John A
Osborne

Main Port
Little Bay
Brades

Language
English

Currency
Eastern
Caribbean
Dollar

Government
British
Overseas
Territory

Island Size
39 Square Miles

Population
5,000
 

Montserrat Map

Montserrat Volcano

Soufriere Volcano

Plymouth Montserrat

Buried Plymouth

W H Bramble Airport Montserrat

Bramble Airport

Reconstruction of Montserrat

Reconstruction

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