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History of Montserrat
Since I know you'll want some information about the history of our island, I'll share with you this sheet I found among my papers, which I now keep in a strong box. Perhaps it will be helpful.

Important Moments in the History of Montserrat

25 million B.C. — Montserrat rose above the sea. Thrust up from the ocean's floor by volcanic activity that boiled, bubbled, flowed, and then went to sleep.

500 B.C. to 500 A.D. — Arawak Indians journeyed by canoe up the Caribbean from South America and settled in Montserrat.

Mid-1400s — Arawak Indians were driven out of Montserrat by a more aggressive group of Indians known as the Caribs. They gave the island its indigenous name, Alliouagana, which means "land of prickly bush" (named for the vegetation along the coast).

1493 — On November 11 Christopher Columbus sighted Montserrat and gave the island its present name because it reminded him of a mountain monastery in Spain.

1632 — Sir Thomas Warner led a group of English and Irish settlers from St. Kitts to start a colony. More Irish immigrants came from the colony of Virginia.

1650 — Sugarcane was introduced to the island.

1664 — The French took possession of Montserrat. Slavery was introduced to the island.

1668 — Montserrat was returned to England.

1712 — The French sacked Montserrat.

1780 — Montserrat was damaged by the Great Hurricane of 1780.

1782 — The French recaptured Montserrat.

1783 — Montserrat was returned to England as part of the Treaty of Versailles.

1834 — Slavery was abolished in Montserrat.

1857 — Joseph Sturge formed the Montserrat Company and introduced the cultivation of lime trees.

1871 — Montserrat became part of the Leeward Islands Colony of Great Britain.

1900s, 1930s — Earthquake tremors (which are now connected with the island's volcanic activity) affected the island.

1956 — The Leeward Islands Federation was abolished, and Montserrat became a separate colony.

1958 — Montserrat joined the West Indies Federation.

1960s — Earthquake tremors affected the island.

1962 — The West Indies Federation was abolished (when Jamaica became independent), and Montserratians voted to remain a dependency of Great Britain.

1965 — A PanAm jet approaching Guadeloupe crashed into Chance's Peak.

1989 — Hurricane Hugo passed over Montserrat as a Category 4 hurricane, devastating much of the island.

Melvin Clifton Proprietor

Footnote: Melvin Clifton is a fictitious character. Any relationship to organizations or persons past or present is strictly coincidental.

Review Questions

  1. Describe how the island of Montserrat was formed.
  2. What natural disasters have affected the island of Montserrat?
  3. What are the first signs that the volcano on Montserrat was awakening?