British Overseas Territories
The British Overseas Territories or United Kingdom Overseas Territories are 14 territories under the jurisdiction and sovereignty of the United Kingdom. They are remnants of the British Empire that have not been granted independence or have voted to remain British territories; these territories do not form part of the United Kingdom and, with the exception of Gibraltar, are not part of the European Union. Most of the permanently inhabited territories are internally self-governing, with the UK retaining responsibility for defence and foreign relations. Three are inhabited only by a transitory population of scientific personnel, they all share the British monarch as head of state. As of April 2018 the Minister responsible for the Territories excluding the Falkland Islands and the Sovereign Base Areas on Cyprus, is the Minister of State for the Commonwealth and the UN; the other three territories are the responsibility of the Minister of State for Europe and the Americas. The fourteen British Overseas Territories are: The term "British Overseas Territory" was introduced by the British Overseas Territories Act 2002, replacing the term British Dependent Territory, introduced by the British Nationality Act 1981.
Prior to 1 January 1983, the territories were referred to as British Crown Colonies. Although the Crown dependencies of Jersey and the Isle of Man are under the sovereignty of the British monarch, they are in a different constitutional relationship with the United Kingdom; the British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies are themselves distinct from the Commonwealth realms, a group of 16 independent countries each having Elizabeth II as their reigning monarch, from the Commonwealth of Nations, a voluntary association of 53 countries with historic links to the British Empire. With the exceptions of the British Antarctic Territory and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands and the British Indian Ocean Territory, the Territories retain permanent civilian populations. Permanent residency for the 7,000 civilians living in the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia is limited to citizens of the Republic of Cyprus. Collectively, the Territories encompass a population of about 250,000 people and a land area of about 1,727,570 square kilometres.
The vast majority of this land area, 1,700,000 square kilometres, constitutes the uninhabited British Antarctic Territory, while the largest territory by population, accounts for a quarter of the total BOT population. At the other end of the scale, three territories have no civilian population. Pitcairn Islands, settled by the survivors of the Mutiny on the Bounty, is the smallest settled territory with 49 inhabitants, while the smallest by land area is Gibraltar on the southern tip of the Iberian peninsula; the United Kingdom participates in the Antarctic Treaty System and, as part of a mutual agreement, the British Antarctic Territory is recognised by four of the six other sovereign nations making claims to Antarctic territory. Early colonies, in the sense of English subjects residing in lands hitherto outside the control of the English government, were known as "Plantations"; the first, colony was Newfoundland, where English fishermen set up seasonal camps in the 16th century. It is now a province of Canada known as Labrador.
It retains strong cultural ties with Britain. English colonisation of North America began in 1607 with the settlement of Jamestown, the first successful permanent colony in Virginia, its offshoot, was settled inadvertently after the wrecking of the Virginia company's flagship there in 1609, with the Virginia Company's charter extended to include the archipelago in 1612. St. George's town, founded in Bermuda in that year, remains the oldest continuously inhabited British settlement in the New World. Bermuda and Bermudians have played important, sometimes pivotal, but underestimated or unacknowledged roles in the shaping of the English and British trans-Atlantic Empires; these include maritime commerce, settlement of the continent and of the West Indies, the projection of naval power via the colony's privateers, among other areas. The growth of the British Empire in the 19th century, to its territorial peak in the 1920s, saw Britain acquire nearly one quarter of the world's land mass, including territories with large indigenous populations in Asia and Africa.
From the mid-nineteenth century to the early twentieth century, the larger settler colonies – in Canada, New Zealand and South Africa – first became self-governing colonies and achieved independence in all matters except foreign policy and trade. Separate self-governing colonies federated to become Canada, South Africa, Rhodesia; these and other large self-governing colonies had become known as Dominions by the 1920s. The Dominions achieved full independence with the Statute of Westminster. Through a process of decolonisation following the Second World War, most of the British colonies in Africa and the Caribbean gained independence; some colonies becam
Antigua known as Waladli or Wadadli by the native population, is an island in the West Indies. It is one of the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean region and the main island of the country of Antigua and Barbuda. Antigua and Barbuda became an independent state within the Commonwealth of Nations on 1 November 1981. Antigua means "ancient" in Spanish after an icon in Seville Cathedral, "Santa Maria de la Antigua" — St. Mary of the Old Cathedral; the name Waladli comes from the indigenous inhabitants and means "our own". The island's circumference is 87 km and its area 281 km2, its population was 80,161. The economy is reliant on tourism, with the agricultural sector serving the domestic market. Over 32,000 people live in the capital city, St. John's; the capital is situated in the north-west and has a deep harbour, able to accommodate large cruise ships. Other leading population settlements are All Liberta, according to the 2001 census. English Harbour on the south-eastern coast is famed for its protected shelter during violent storms.
It is the site of a restored British colonial naval station called "Nelson's Dockyard" after Captain Horatio Nelson. Today English Harbour and the neighbouring village of Falmouth are known as a yachting and sailing destination and provisioning centre. During Antigua Sailing Week, at the end of April and beginning of May, an annual regatta brings a number of sailing vessels and sailors to the island to play sports. On 6 September 2017, the Category 5 Hurricane Irma destroyed 90 percent of the buildings on the island of Barbuda. Residents were evacuated to Antigua; the first residents were the Guanahatabey people. The Arawak migrated from the mainland, followed by the Carib. Prior to European colonialism, Christopher Columbus was the first European to visit Antigua, in 1493; the Arawak were the first well-documented group of indigenous people to settle Antigua. They paddled to the island by canoe from present-day Venezuela, pushed out by the Carib, another indigenous people; the Arawak introduced agriculture to Barbuda.
Among other crops, they cultivated. They cultivated: Corn Sweet potatoes Chili peppers Guava Tobacco CottonSome of the vegetables listed, such as corn and sweet potatoes, still are staples of Antiguan cuisine. Colonists took them to Europe, from there, they spread around the world. For example, a popular Antiguan dish, dukuna, is a sweet, steamed dumpling made from grated sweet potatoes and spices. Another staple, fungi, is a cooked paste made of water. Most of the Arawak left Antigua about A. D. 1100. Those who remained were raided by the Carib coming from Venezuela. According to The Catholic Encyclopedia, the Caribs' superior weapons and seafaring prowess allowed them to defeat most Arawak nations in the West Indies, they enslaved cannibalised others. Watson points out; the indigenous people of the West Indies made excellent sea vessels, which they used to sail the Atlantic and Caribbean. As a result, the Arawak and Carib populated much of the Caribbean islands, their descendants live throughout South America Brazil and Colombia.
Christopher Columbus named the island "Antigua" in 1493 in honour of the "Virgin of the Old Cathedral" found in Seville Cathedral in southern Spain. On his 1493 voyage, honouring a vow, he named many islands after different aspects of St. Mary, including Montserrat and Guadaloupe. In 1632, a group of English colonists left St. Kitts to settle on Antigua. Sir Christopher Codrington, an Englishman, established the first permanent European settlement. From that point on, Antigua history took a dramatic turn. Codrington guided development on the island as a profitable sugar colony. For a large portion of Antigua history, the island was considered Britain's "Gateway to the Caribbean", it was located on the major sailing routes among the region's resource-rich colonies. Lord Horatio Nelson, a major figure in Antigua history, arrived in the late 18th century to preserve the island's commercial shipping prowess. According to A Brief History of the Caribbean, European diseases and slavery destroyed the vast majority of the Caribbean's native population.
There are some differences of opinions as to the relative importance of these causes. In fact, some historians believe that the abundant, but starchy, low-protein diet may have contributed to severe malnutrition of the "Indians" who were used to a diet fortified with protein from sealife. Others believe that the psychological stress of slavery may have played a part in the massive number of native deaths while in servitude. Sugar became Antigua's main crop in about 1674, when Christopher Codrington settled at Betty's Hope plantation, he came from Barbados. Betty's Hope, Antigua's first full-scale sugar plantation, was so successful that other planters turned from tobacco to sugar; this resulted in their importing slaves to work the sugar cane crops. According to A Brief History of the Caribbean, many West Indian colonists tried to use locals as slaves; these groups succumbed to disease and/or malnutrition, died by the thousands. The enslaved Africans adapted better to the new environment and thus became the number one choice of unpaid labour.
However, according to a Smith
Geography of Cuba
Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean Sea. Cuba has an official area of 109,884 km2, its area is 110,860 km2 including territorial waters. The main island has 5,746 km of coastline and 28.5 km of land borders—all figures including the United States territory at Guantánamo Bay, where the U. S. Navy's Guantanamo Bay Naval Base is located. Cuba lies west of the North Atlantic Ocean, east of the Gulf of Mexico, south of the Straits of Florida, northwest of the Windward Passage, northeast of the Yucatán Channel; the main island makes up most of the land area 104,556 km2. The island is 1,250 km long and 191 km across its widest points and 31 km across its narrowest points; the largest island outside the main island is the Isla de la Juventud in the southwest, with an area of 2,200 km2. Cuba is located 77 km west of Haiti across the Windward Passage, 21 km south of the Bahamas, 150 km south of Florida, 210 km east of Mexico, 140 km north of Jamaica, it was made in three stages. Cuba is the largest country by land area in the Caribbean.
Its main island is the seventeenth-largest island in the world by land area. The island rises between the Caribbean, it is bordered on the north by the Straits of Florida, on the northeast by Nicholas Channel and the Old Bahama Channel. The southern part is bounded by the Windward Passage and the Cayman Trench, while the southwest lies in the Caribbean Sea. To the west, it reaches to the Yucatán Channel, the northwest is open to the Gulf of Mexico. More than 4,000 islands and cays are found in bays; the southern coast includes such archipelagos as the Canarreos. The northeastern shore is lined by the Sabana-Camagüey Archipelago, which includes Jardines del Rey and is composed of 2,517 cays and islands; the Colorados Archipelago is developed on the north-western coast. Terrain is flat to rolling plains, with rugged hills and mountains in the southeast; the lowest point is the Caribbean Sea at 0 m and the highest point is Pico Turquino at 1,974 m, part of the Sierra Maestra mountain range, located in the southeast of the island.
Other mountain ranges are Sierra Cristal in the southeast, Escambray Mountains in the center of the island, Sierra del Rosario in the northwest. White sand beaches, as well as mangroves and marshes can be found in the coastal area; the largest is the Zapata Swamp, with over 4,520 km2. Cuba has negligible inland water area; the largest natural water mirror is Laguna de Leche at 67.2 km2, while the man-made Zaza Reservoir, at 113.5 km2, is the largest inland water surface by area in the country. Cuba makes maritime claims that include a territorial sea of 12 nautical miles and an exclusive economic zone of 200 nautical miles. Extreme points in Cuba are: Natural resources include cobalt, iron ore, salt, silica and petroleum. At one time, the whole island was covered with forests and there are still many cedar, chechem and other valuable trees. Large areas were cleared to grow more sugarcane, so few trees remained that timber had to be imported; the most important Cuban mineral economic resource is nickel.
Cuba has the second largest nickel reserves in the world after Russia. Sherritt International, a Canadian energy company, operates a large nickel mining facility in Moa, Cuba. Another leading mineral resource is a byproduct of nickel mining operations. Cuba ranks as the fifth largest producer of refined cobalt in the world. Petroleum is extracted in the provinces of La Habana and Matanzas. Recent petroleum exploration has revealed that the North Cuba Basin could produce 4.6 billion barrels to 9.3 billion barrels of petroleum. As of 2006, Cuba has now started to test-drill these locations for possible exploitation; the petroleum is of low quality, used for energy generation only. Sugarcane was the most important part of the economy in Cuba's history, is still grown on large areas. Extensive irrigation systems are developed in the south of Sancti Spíritus Province. Tobacco, used for some of the world's cigars, is grown in the Pinar del Río Province. Most of Cuba has a tropical savanna climate according to the Köppen Climate classification, though some areas have a tropical monsoon climate, with isolated pockets that have a tropical rainforest climate or a hot semi-arid climate.
In most areas, the dry season lasts from the rainy season from May to October. Cuba is an archipelago of islands located in the Caribbean Sea, with the geographic coordinates 21°3N, 80°00W. Cuba is the principal island, surrounded by four main groups of islands; these are the Sabana-Camagüey, the Jardines de la Reina and the Canarreos. The main island of Cuba constitutes most of the nation's land area or 104,556 km2 and is the seventeenth-largest island in the world by land area; the second largest island in Cuba is the Isla de la Juventud in the southwest, with an area of 2,200 km2. Cuba has a total land area of 109,884 km2; the main island consists of flat to rolling plains. At the southeastern end is the Sierra Maestra, a range of steep mountains whose highest point is the Pico Real del Turquino at 1,974 metres; the climate is tropical, though moderated by trade winds. In general, there
Geography of El Salvador
El Salvador borders the North Pacific Ocean to the south and southwest, with Guatemala to the north-northwest and Honduras to the north-northeast. In the southeast, the Golfo de Fonseca separates it from Nicaragua. El Salvador is the smallest Central American country and is the only one without a coastline on the Caribbean sea. El Salvador, along with the rest of Central America, is one of the most seismologically active regions on earth, situated atop three of the large tectonic plates that constitute the Earth's surface; the motion of these plates causes the area's earthquake and volcanic activity. Most of Central America and the Caribbean Basin rests on the motionless Caribbean Plate; the Pacific Ocean floor, however, is being carried northeast by the underlying motion of the Cocos Plate. Ocean floor material is composed of basalt, dense; the subduction of the Cocos Plate accounts for the frequency of earthquakes near the coast. As the rocks constituting the ocean floor are forced down, they melt, the molten material pours up through weaknesses in the surface rock, producing volcanoes and geysers.
North of El Salvador and most of Guatemala are riding on the westward-moving North American Plate that butts against the northern edge of the stationary Caribbean Plate in southern Guatemala. The grinding action of these two plates creates a fault that runs the length of the valley of the Rio Motagua in Guatemala. Motion along this fault is the source of earthquakes in northernmost El Salvador. El Salvador has a long history of volcanic eruptions. San Salvador was destroyed in 1756 and 1854, suffered heavy damage in the 1919, 1982, 1986 tremors; the country has over twenty volcanoes, although only two, San Miguel and Izalco, have been active in recent years. From the early nineteenth century to the mid-1950s, Izalco erupted with a regularity that earned it the name "Lighthouse of the Pacific." Its brilliant flares were visible for great distances at sea, at night its glowing lava turned it into a brilliant luminous cone. Two parallel mountain ranges cross El Salvador to the west with a central plateau between them and a narrow coastal plain hugging the Pacific.
These physical features divide the country into two physiographic regions. The mountain ranges and central plateau, covering 85 percent of the land, comprise the interior highlands; the remaining coastal plains are referred to as the Pacific lowlands. The northern range of mountains, the Sierra Madre, form a continuous chain along the border with Honduras. Elevations in this region range from 1,600 to 2,700 meters; the area was once forested, but overexploitation led to extensive erosion, it has become semibarren. As a result, it is the country's most sparsely populated zone, with little farming or other development; the southern range of mountains is a discontinuous chain of more than twenty volcanoes, clustered into five groups. The westernmost group, near the Guatemalan border, contains Izalco and Santa Ana, which at 2,365 meters is the highest volcano in El Salvador. Between the cones lie alluvial basins and rolling hills eroded from ash deposits; the volcanic soil is rich, much of El Salvador's coffee is planted on these slopes.
The central plateau constitutes only 25 percent of the land area but contains the heaviest concentration of population and the country's largest cities. This plain has an average elevation of 600 meters. Terrain here is rolling, with occasional escarpments, lava fields, geysers. A narrow plain extends from the coastal volcanic range to the Pacific Ocean; this region has a width ranging from one to thirty-two kilometers with the widest section in the east, adjacent to the Golfo de Fonseca. Near La Libertad, the mass of the mountains push the lowlands out. Surfaces in the Pacific lowlands are flat or rolling and result from the alluvial deposits of nearby slopes. El Salvador has over 300 rivers, the most important of, the Rio Lempa. Originating in Guatemala, the Rio Lempa cuts across the northern range of mountains, flows along much of the central plateau, cuts through the southern volcanic range to empty into the Pacific, it is El Salvador's only navigable it and its tributaries drain about half the country.
Other rivers are short and drain the Pacific lowlands or flow from the central plateau through gaps in the southern mountain range to the Pacific. Numerous lakes of volcanic origin are found in the interior highlands; the largest lake, the Lago de Ilopango, lies just to the east of the capital. Other large lakes include the Lago de Coatepeque in the west and the Lago de Güija on the Guatemalan border; the Cerron Grande Dam on the Rio Lempa has created a large reservoir, the Embalse Cerron Grande, in northern El Salvador. Izalco has erupted at least 51 times since 1770, it earned the nickname "Lighthouse of the Pacific" because it was the most active volcano in Central America. El Salvador has a tropical climate with pronounced dry seasons. Temperatures vary with elevation and show little seasonal change; the Pacific lowlands are uniformly humid. The rainy season, known locally as invierno, or winter, extends from May to October. All the annual rainfall and the highest humidity occurs during this time, yea
Geography of Aruba
Aruba is an island in the south of the Caribbean in the Caribbean Sea. It is westernmost island of the ABC Islands and of the Leeward Antilles, it is located at 12°30′N 69°58′W, 25 km north of the coast of Venezuela and 68 km northwest of Curaçao. The island has a coast line of 68.5 km. Mount Jamanota of 188 m is the highest point. Politically, Aruba is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Oranjestad is the largest settlement with a population of 32,748. Aruba's terrain is flat with a few hills. There are some little ways of no inland water. Aruba's best-known geographical feature is its white-sand beaches, which are the basis of an active tourism industry, the mainstay of the island's economy. Aruba is situated on the Caribbean Plate Caribbean Tectonic Plate. Aruba, as well as the rest of the ABC islands and Trinidad and Tobago, lies on the continental shelf of South America, is thus geologically considered to lie in South America; the core of the island is made up of Turonian submarine and subaerial basalts which were formed in the Caribbean large igneous province.
These basalts were intruded by a pluton shortly after their eruption. The shore areas are limestone that capped hills and ridges, with cliffs on the northern and northeastern coasts and coral reefs on the southern coast. Aruba's terrain is entirely flat,Rock formations characterize the interior of the island; the two most known rock formations are Ayo Rock Formations and Casibari, both are tourist attractions. Along the northern coast it is more hilly in the Arikok National Park; the highest elevation, so-called Mount Jamanota, is only 188 m above sea level and the Arikok itself is 186 m. The Hooiberg is 165 m. While the Hooiberg is not the highest point on the island, it does look so, because of the flat surroundings it lies in; the Hooiberg can be seen from nearly every point of the island and is so known it has its on place on the Coat of arms of Aruba. Aruba has three deepwater harbors located at Oranjestad, Aruba-Oranjestad and San Nicolaas; the southern coastal area is known for its white-sand beaches and the calm waters surrounding Aruba are clear, making it a popular tourist destination.
While its northern coast is rocky and formed by corral plateaus with many small sandy bay like openings called'Bocas', Papiamento for mouths. The sea is rough and dark blue compared with the southern coastal areas and swimming here is discouraged. Aruba’s hot semi-arid climate varies little seasonally, with an average annual temperature of 28.1 °C, varying from about 26.7 °C in January to 29.2 °C in September. The rainy season occurs between October and December, but exhibits high variability due to the powerful influence of the Southern Oscillation. During strong El Niño years like 1911/1912, 1930/1931, 1982/1983 and 1997/1998 annual rainfall can be as little as 150 millimetres or 6 inches, while in contrast, as much as 1,000 millimetres or 39 inches may fall during a strong La Niña year like 1933/1934, 1970/1971, 1988/1989, 1999/2000 or 2010/2011; the highest monthly totals during these La Niña events are between 400 millimetres. Most rain brought by the prevailing easterly winds of the region falls on the Windward Islands of the Lesser Antilles, leaving Aruba in a rain shadow.
Rainfall averages 472 mm or less annually, the island’s residents rely on one of the world’s largest desalination plants for most of their drinking water. The island is divided into eight regions: Noord/Tanki Leendert Oranjestad West Oranjestad Oost Paradera Santa Cruz Savaneta San Nicolas Noord San Nicolas Nicolas Zuid Wikimedia Atlas of Aruba "Map of Aruba". Map of Aruba Maps of Aruba
Nevis is a small island in the Caribbean Sea that forms part of the inner arc of the Leeward Islands chain of the West Indies. Nevis and the neighbouring island of Saint Kitts constitute one country: the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis. Nevis is located near the northern end of the Lesser Antilles archipelago, about 350 km east-southeast of Puerto Rico and 80 km west of Antigua, its area is 93 square kilometres and the capital is Charlestown. Saint Kitts and Nevis are separated by a shallow 3-kilometre channel known as "The Narrows". Nevis is conical in shape with a volcano known as Nevis Peak at its centre; the island is fringed on its western and northern coastlines by sandy beaches which are composed of a mixture of white coral sand with brown and black sand, eroded and washed down from the volcanic rocks that make up the island. The gently-sloping coastal plain has natural freshwater springs as well as non-potable volcanic hot springs along the western coast; the island was named Oualie by the Dulcina by the early British settlers.
The name Nevis is derived from the Spanish Nuestra Señora de las Nieves. Nevis is known by the sobriquet "Queen of the Caribees", which it earned in the 18th century when its sugar plantations created much wealth for the British. Nevis is of particular historical significance to Americans because it was the birthplace and early childhood home of Alexander Hamilton. For the British, Nevis is the place where Horatio Nelson was stationed as a young sea captain, is where he met and married a Nevisian, Frances Nisbet, the young widow of a plantation-owner; the majority of the 12,000 citizens of Nevis are of African descent, with notable British and Lebanese minority communities. English is the official language, the literacy rate, 98 percent, is one of the highest in the Western Hemisphere. In 1498, Christopher Columbus gave the island the name San Martín. However, the confusion of numerous poorly-charted small islands in the Leeward Island chain meant that this name ended up being accidentally transferred to another island, still known as Saint-Martin/Sint Maarten.
The current name Nevis was derived from a Spanish name Nuestra Señora de las Nieves by a process of abbreviation and anglicisation. The Spanish name means Our Lady of the Snows, it is not known who chose this name for the island, but it is a reference to the story of a 4th-century Catholic miracle: a snowfall on the Esquiline Hill in Rome. The white clouds that cover the top of Nevis Peak reminded someone of this story of a miraculous snowfall in a hot climate. Nevis was part of the Spanish claim to the Caribbean islands, a claim pursued until the Treaty of Madrid though there were no Spanish settlements on the island. According to Vincent Hubbard, author of Swords, Ships & Sugar: History of Nevis, the Spanish ruling caused many of the Arawak groups who were not ethnically Caribs to "be redefined as Caribs overnight". Records indicate that the Spanish enslaved large numbers of the native inhabitants on the more accessible of the Leeward Islands and sent them to Cubagua, Venezuela to dive for pearls.
Hubbard suggests that the reason the first European settlers found so few "Caribs" on Nevis is that they had been rounded up by the Spanish and shipped off to be used as slaves. Nevis was first sighted by Columbus in 1493; the indigenous people of Nevis during these periods belonged to the Leeward Island Amerindian groups popularly referred to as Arawaks and Caribs, a complex mosaic of ethnic groups with similar culture and language. Dominican anthropologist Lennox Honychurch traces the European use of the term "Carib" to refer to the Leeward Island aborigines to Columbus, who picked it up from the Taínos on Hispaniola, it was not a name. "Carib Indians" was the generic name used for all groups believed involved in cannibalistic war rituals, more the consumption of parts of a killed enemy's body. The Amerindian name for Nevis was land of beautiful waters; the structure of the Island Carib language has been linguistically identified as Arawakan. In spite of the Spanish claim, Nevis continued to be a popular stop-over point for English and Dutch ships on their way to the North American continent.
Captain Bartholomew Gilbert of Plymouth visited the island in 1603, spending two weeks to cut twenty tons of lignum vitae wood. Gilbert sailed on to Virginia to seek out survivors of the Roanoke settlement in what is now North Carolina. Captain John Smith visited Nevis on his way to Virginia in 1607; this was the voyage which founded Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in the New World. On 30 August 1620 James VI and I of Scotland and England asserted sovereignty over Nevis by giving a Royal Patent for colonisation to the Earl of Carlisle. However, actual European settlement did not happen until 1628, when Anthony Hilton moved from nearby Saint Kitts following a murder plot against him, he was accompanied by 80 other settlers, soon to be boosted by a further 100 settlers from London who had hoped to settle Barbuda. Hilton became the first Governor of Nevis. After the Treaty of Madrid between Spain and England, Nevis became the seat of the British colony and the Admiralty Court sat in Nevis.
Between 1675 and 1730, the island was the headquarters for the slave trade for the Leeward Islands, with 6,000–7,000 enslaved West Africans passing through en route to other islands each year. The Royal African Comp
Montserrat is a British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean. The island in the Leeward Islands, part of the chain known as the Lesser Antilles, in the West Indies. Montserrat measures 16 km in length and 11 km in width, with 40 km of coastline. Montserrat is nicknamed "The Emerald Isle of the Caribbean" both for its resemblance to coastal Ireland and for the Irish ancestry of many of its inhabitants. On 18 July 1995, the dormant Soufrière Hills volcano, in the southern part of the island, became active. Eruptions destroyed Montserrat's Georgian era capital city of Plymouth. Between 1995 and 2000, two-thirds of the island's population was forced to flee to the United Kingdom, leaving fewer than 1,200 people on the island as of 1997; the volcanic activity continues affecting the vicinity of Plymouth, including its docking facilities, the eastern side of the island around the former W. H. Bramble Airport, the remnants of which were buried by flows from volcanic activity on 11 February 2010. An exclusion zone, encompassing the southern half of the island to as far north as parts of the Belham Valley, was imposed because of the size of the existing volcanic dome and the resulting potential for pyroclastic activity.
Visitors are not permitted entry into the exclusion zone, but a view of the destruction of Plymouth can be seen from the top of Garibaldi Hill in Isles Bay. Quiet since early 2010, the volcano continues to be monitored by the Montserrat Volcano Observatory. A new town and port are being developed at Little Bay, on the northwest coast of the island. While this construction proceeds, the centre of government and businesses is at Brades. In 1493, Christopher Columbus named the island Santa María de Montserrate, after the Virgin of Montserrat in the Monastery of Montserrat, on Montserrat mountain, near Barcelona in Catalonia, Spain. "Montserrat" means "serrated mountain" in Catalan. Archaeological field work in 2012, in Montserrat's Centre Hills indicated there was an Archaic occupation between 4000 and 2500 BP. Coastal sites show the presence of the Saladoid culture. In November 1493, Christopher Columbus passed Montserrat in his second voyage, after being told that the island was unoccupied due to raids by the Caribs.
A number of Irishmen settled in Montserrat in 1632. The preponderance of Irish in the first wave of European settlers led a leading legal scholar to remark that a "nice question" is whether the original settlers took with them the law of the Kingdom of Ireland insofar as it differed from the law of the Kingdom of England; the Irish being historical allies of the French in their dislike of the English, invited the French to claim the island in 1666, although no troops were sent by France to maintain control. It was captured shortly afterwards by the English and English control of the island was confirmed under the Treaty of Breda the following year. Despite the seizing by force of the island by the English, the island's legal status is that of a "colony acquired by settlement". A neo-feudal colony developed amongst the "redlegs"; the colonists began to transport Sub-Saharan African slaves for labour, as was common to most Caribbean islands. The colonists built an economy based on the production of sugar, rum and sea island cotton, cultivated on large plantations manned by slave labour.
By the late 18th century, numerous plantations had been developed on the island. Many Irish continued to work as indentured servants. On 17 March 1768, slaves failed to achieve freedom; the people of Montserrat celebrate St Patrick's Day as a public holiday due to the slave revolt. Festivities held that week commemorate the culture of Montserrat in song, dance and traditional costumes. In 1782, during the American Revolutionary War, as America's first ally, France captured Montserrat in their war of support of the Americans; the French, not intent on colonizing the island agreed to return the island to Great Britain under the 1783 Treaty of Paris. The Irish constituted the largest proportion of the white population from the founding of the colony in 1628. Many were indentured labourers; the geographer Thomas Jeffrey claimed in The West India Atlas that the majority of those on Montserrat were either Irish or of Irish descent, "so that the use of the Irish language is preserved on the island among the Negroes".
African slaves and Irish colonists of all classes were in constant contact, with sexual relationships being common and a population of mixed descent appearing as a consequence. The Irish were prominent in Caribbean commerce, with their merchants importing Irish goods such as beef, pork and herring, importing slaves. There is indirect evidence that the use of the Irish language continued in Montserrat until at least the middle of the nineteenth century; the Kilkenny diarist and Irish scholar Amhlaoibh Ó Súilleabháin noted in 1831 that he had heard that Irish was still spoken in Montserrat by both black and white inhabitants. A letter by W. F. Butler in The Atheneum quotes an account by a Cork civil servant, C. Cremen, of what he had heard from a retired sailor called John O'Donovan, a fluent Irish speaker: He told me that in the year 1852, when mate of the brig Kaloolah, he went ashore on the island of Montserrat, out of the usual track of shipping, he said he was much surprised to hear the negroes talking Irish among themselves, that he joined in the conversation… The British phonetici