territory of the UK)
English and Irish
colonists from St. Kitts first settled on Montserrat
in 1632; the first African slaves arrived three decades later. The
British and French fought for possession of the island for most of the
18th century, but it finally was confirmed as a British possession in
1783. The island's sugar plantation economy was converted to small farm
landholdings in the mid 19th century. Much of this island was
devastated and two-thirds of the population fled abroad because of the
eruption of the Soufriere Hills Volcano that began on 18 July 1995.
Montserrat has endured volcanic activity since, with the last eruption
occurring in July 2003. English is spoken there.