Montserrat Island is one of Leeward Islands (Lesser Antilles, British West Indies) in the Caribbean Sea. The island is also one of UK's British Overseas Territories. It has population around 5,000, total area approx 102 km2 (39 mi2), length 16 km (10 mi), width 11 km (7 mi) and coastline approx 40 km (25 mi).
Since 1998, Montserrat's largest town and capital is Brades (population around 1,000). The old capital (Plymouth) was abandoned after it was destroyed by Soufriere Hills volcano's eruption on June 25, 1997. Little Bay is a newly developed port town (and island's future capital) located on the northwestern coast (adjacent to Brades). Two of the names suggested for the new capital (currently constructed at Little Bay) are "Port Diana" and "St Patrick's".
In the period 1979-1989, Montserrat Island was home to a branch of AIR Studios of George Martin, making it popular with musicians who arrived here for recording sessions. However, the studio closed due to Hurricane Hugo (September 10-25, 1989, Cape Verde hurricane that caused damages worth ~USD 9,47 billion).
On July 18, 1995, the previously dormant Soufriere Hills volcano (in island's southern part) became active. Eruptions destroyed the capital city Plymouth. Between 1995-2000, 2/3 of island's population was forced to flee, mainly to the UK. WH Bramble Airport's remnants were buried by volcanic flows on February 11, 2010.
An exclusion zone (extending from the south coast north to Belham Valley) was imposed as a result of the size of the existing volcanic dome and potential activity. Tourists are generally not allowed into this zone. The impressive view of Plymouth's destruction can be seen from Garibaldi Hill's top in Isles Bay. The volcano continues to be monitored. It is one of the world's most studied volcanoes. The island is also home to Montserrat Yachting Association.
Montserrat's economy has been halted since the devastations caused by Hurricane Hugo and Soufriere Hills Volcano. Virtually everything available for sale is included in imports. The island is famous for its surrounding coral reefs and shoreside caves. The caves house many bats species, including 10 critically endangered.
Montserrat Island cruise terminal
Cruise ships to Montserrat Island dock (anchor) at Little Bay - port town (adjacent to Brades) on the northwestern coast.