Flag of Montserrat


Montserrat is a lush, mountainous island in the Caribbean Sea, located in the Leeward Islands, part of the chain of islands called the Lesser Antilles. It measures approximately 16 km (10 miles) long and 11 km (7 miles) wide, giving 40 km of coastline. It was given its name by Christopher Columbus on his second voyage to the New World in 1493, after its namesake located in Catalonia, Spain. Montserrat is often referred to as the Emerald Island of the Caribbean, due both to its resemblance to coastal Ireland and to the Irish descent of most of its early European settlers.

Montserrat is an overseas territory of the United Kingdom. Its Georgian-era capital city of Plymouth was destroyed and most of the island's population forced to evacuate in 1995, due to the eruption of Soufriere Hills volcano. The eruption continues today, although on a much reduced scale after the collapse of a major dome in 2003.

An exclusion zone, open during the day, extends from the south coast of the island north to parts of the Belham Valley and provides visitors with a spectacular view of the volcano and the destruction it has wrought upon the town. Much of the ash resulting from volcanic activity has been cleared, except in the south, where conditions can still be uncomfortable. Visitors with respiratory problems should avoid travel to the island.

Map of Montserrat