Montserrat – British Territory and the Island of Montserrat


There is only one hotel and a few guest houses, owned by locals, and a campsite, where you can stay with a tent. The standard type of accommodation is a bed and breakfast. At the resort hotel, the price includes the right to use the pool and sun loungers. The level of service is acceptable.


Montserrat is a small volcanic island in the Caribbean. Until 1995, it remained an ordinary resort place, until the real disaster happened: the volcanic eruption of Soufrière Hills. Two-thirds of the island is covered with ash, the houses are abandoned, the roads are destroyed, the entrance here is closed for another 10 years. This place has gone from a tropical paradise to an abandoned country. Of course, there is life here, tourists still come here to enjoy the deserted beaches and unspoiled nature.

Man-made values have sunk beneath layers of ash. Therefore, the main attraction of the island – its “natural” side, that is, the amazing nature, beautiful hills and endless forests. However, the most picturesque part of the island and the coast is prohibited passage, as it is very much damaged by the Sufriere eruption.


Philatelic Bureau of Monserrat in some ways can be classified as the main local museum. A very curious place for tourists, even for those who are not particularly interested in stamps. The country still produces its own stamps, organizes exhibitions of unusual attributes of postal items and a lot of other fascinating activities.

Climate of Montserrat:: Tropical. Small seasonal temperature variations.


Most of the beaches are located on the northern part of the island. A distinctive feature – black, volcanic sand. The volcano still remains active, so the flow of tourists is not so great. But there is an opportunity to enjoy the beautiful, deserted coast. On the island, there are plenty of such places.

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Leisure activities

Rest here is contemplative. The island has no malls, nightclubs and any attributes of beach fun. Rare tourists are left here by themselves, there is no organized leisure here. If you are interested in solitude, Montserrat is a good place to stay. You can watch birds and walk around the mountains.

There are good opportunities for activities such as cycling, diving and trekking. You can also see the abandoned capital city of Plymouth from a boat or helicopter. A few years ago, tourists were allowed into the city itself, but now the rules have tightened, because the volcano is still active.

Terrain Montserrat:: A volcanic island, mostly mountainous, with small coastal lowlands.


Airport in the country appeared only in 2005. The old one was destroyed by a volcano, and for 8 years the country had no airport at all. Only charter flights from neighboring Antigua and Barbuda and Guadeloupe fly to Montserrat. The country has its own air carrier Fly Montserrat.

There is only one main road on the island. Because of the small size, cars are rare here, locals ride bikes or bicycles. You can rent a bike and ride to your heart’s content past the picturesque forests.

Standard of Living

After the volcanic eruption, two-thirds of the country’s population was evacuated, the same part of the island was closed to visits and any economic activity. The eruption was a tragedy for local residents (only 19 people died): they lost their jobs and homes, and the island lost its tourist popularity and any prospects for a peaceful future.

Local inhabitants are now engaged in agriculture (growing sugar cane, bananas, citrus fruits), raising cattle and serving the few tourists. The activity of the volcano is gradually decreasing, the locals are gradually returning to the island, which they left in 1995.

Montserrat is the safest country in the Caribbean for tourists. The number of crimes are minimal here, but still do not forget about the basic safety, the possible pickpocketing.

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Montserrat has resources like: No.


Until 1995, the capital (and the only city) of Montserrat was Plymouth. After the volcano wiped it off the face of the earth, there are no cities at all. The settlements of the country resemble a one-story America. The capital functions on the island are performed by the village of Brades, which is home to 1,000 people.


Montserrat is a British Overseas Territory, located on the island of the same name, which is part of the Lesser Antilles archipelago. The area of the territory is 102 sq. km.

The population in July 2005 was 4,488. 8,000 people (two-thirds of the population) left the island during the 1995 volcanic eruption, some of whom returned afterwards. To this day, the southern half of the island is closed to human traffic.

The administrative center is the town of Plymouth (3,500 people). After the eruption of the volcano – abandoned, now the temporary administrative center – the village of Braids in the north of the island.

Under the 1960 constitution, Montserrat is governed by a Governor appointed by the Queen of England. The Governor is the Chairman of the Executive Council.



Montserrat is an island of volcanic origin. Among its three volcanic peaks the highest was Chance Mountain (915 m). After the Soufrière Hills volcano eruption, which began in July 1995, by 2006 the height of its lava dome had reached 930 m.

In the mountains are preserved rainforests. Streams flow down from them, forming waterfalls.

Climatic conditions are favorable for life, trade winds from the ocean moderate the heat. Weather is sunny with a small temperature variation during the year (24-27 °С). Average annual precipitation is 1500 mm. The greatest amount falls in September-November, the least in March-June.


In ancient times, the island was inhabited by the Carib Indians, who called their island “Alliouagana”, that is, “land of the prickly bush.

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The island was discovered by Columbus in 1493 and named by him after the Benedictine monastery of Montserrat in the Catalan mountains of the same name.

In 1632, exiled Catholics founded the first English settlement on the island, named Plymouth, after the famous English city. In the next decade, Negro slaves were brought to the island to work on the sugar cane plantations.

In the XVII-XVIII centuries, England and France competed for possession of the island. From 1783 Montserrat finally became a British possession.

Falling sugar prices in the XIX century had a devastating effect on the economy of Montserrat, and in 1869 philanthropist Joseph Sturge from Birmingham (England) founded the Montserrat Company, which bought those sugar cane plantations that had become economically unviable. The company planted lime trees on the acquired land and began to produce the famous Montserrat lime juice (at the same time being the first to begin cultivating lime on an industrial scale).

From 1871 to 1958, Montserrat was part of the Leeward Islands, and from 1958 to 1962, it was a member of the West Indies Federation. Montserrat is a member of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States and the Regional Security System.

On June 25, 1995, a catastrophic volcanic eruption of the Soufrière Hills volcano began, resulting in the evacuation of Plymouth, the administrative center of the island. Most of the population had left Montserrat by 1997. Permanent residents remain in the northern part of it, where the temporary capital of Braids is located.

Currently, entry and exit to the southern part of the island is forbidden, violators are caught and fined. It is expected that the affected half of Montserrat will be uninhabited for at least 10 years.

A violent volcanic eruption occurred on July 28, 2008 with no previous activity [ source not shown 319 days ] . The ends of the pyroclastic flows reached Plymouth. The height of the eruptive column was estimated at 12 km above sea level. On February 11, 2010 there was a partial collapse of the volcano dome [ source not cited 319 days ] .

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Political structure

The local government is the Executive Council, consisting of the governor, chief minister, three ministers, attorney general, and treasurer.

Local Parliament – Legislative Council (11 members, of whom 9 are elected by the people for 5-year terms, the attorney general and treasurer are ex officio).

Political parties (based on September 2009 elections):

  • Movement for Change and Prosperity – 6 seats on the legislative council
  • Non-partisan – 3 seats.

Not represented in parliament:

  • New People’s Liberation Movement.
  • Montserrat Democratic Party


The population – 5.1 thousand (estimate for July 2010).

Annual growth rate – 0.4%.

Birth rate (per 1,000 people) – 12.1. The mortality rate (per 1,000 people) – 7.6. Infant mortality – 15.7 per 1000. Fertility rate – 1.23 births per woman.

Life expectancy – 74.8 years for men, 70.9 years for women.

Ethnic composition: mainly African and mixed.

Administrative division

The island is divided administratively into three parishes:

  1. St. Anthony
  2. St. George’s
  3. St. Peters

The volcanic eruption of Soufrière Hills made half the island uninhabitable, destroying the administrative center, the town of Plymouth, and causing mass evacuations – 2/3 of the population left the island. Today only the parish of St. Peter, which is in the northwest of the island, is inhabited.


The economy of Montserrat was based on tourism. Rum, textiles, and electronic assembly were also produced.

In agriculture, sugar cane, cotton, citrus fruits, bananas, mangoes, avocados, coconuts, vegetables were grown, and cattle were raised in small quantities.

After the 1995 volcanic activity and the evacuation of much of the population, economic activity declined sharply. In recent years, the population has begun to return, but a lot of money has to be spent on rebuilding housing, infrastructure, and farmland.


Cricket is popular on the island, with Montserrat players eligible to play for the West Indies team. The island has a FIFA-registered soccer team that has competed in World Cup qualifying rounds.

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