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Date of Membership in CARICOM: 1 May 1974 - Learn more about membership in CARICOM
Also Known as:Emerald Isle
Status of Independence:Independent
Area: 103 km2 (40 miles2)
Capital City: Plymouth (abandoned in 1997 due to volcanic activity. Interim government buildings built at Brades Estate at the northwest end
Currency: Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC$)
Highest National Award: Montserrat Badge of Honour
GDP: EC$176 Mn (2012)
GNI: 0.058 Bn US$
1493 Sighted by Columbus who changed island’s Amerindian name `Alliouagana’ (land of the prickly bush) to Montserrat, after abbey of same name in Spain
1632 Colonised by Britain (settled by Anglo-Irish who arrived from St. Kitts)
1783 Finally ceded to Britain by France following numerous exchanges between the two countries which began in the seventeenth century
1871 Incorporated into Leeward Islands Administration
1958 Incorporated into the West Indies Federation
1967 Elected to retain colonial status instead of associated status within the West Indies Associated States (WISA)
1982 Montserrat-born, Alphonsus ‘Arrow’ Cassell released his first Pan-Caribbean hit called ‘Hot Hot Hot’ which became the biggest soca hit of all time
1989 Hurricane Hugo destroys more than 90 per cent of the island’s homes and other infrastructure. Island rebuilt in less than five years
1995 Eruption of Langs Soufriere Volcano
2002 Monsterratians regain full British citizenship
2009 Locally-based airline, FlyMontserrat commenced scheduled flights from Montserrat to Antigua. Permanent fast ferry services resume.
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The National Bird of Montserrat, the Oriole (leterus oberi), was found nowhere else in the entire world except Montserrat, until conservationists at Jersey Zoo went to the rescue when much of Montserrat was destroyed by a volcano at the end of the 1990s. It wiped out mountainous forests where these starling-sized Orioles live.The Jersey team went there and brought back eight surviving birds to begin a breeding programme and save them from dying out forever.
The Langs Soufriere Volcano located in Soufriere Hills, St. Anthonys, Montserrat erupted in July 1995 after having been dormant for 400 years. The volcano continues to be active and has resulted in more than half the population leaving the island. An eruption in December 1997 resulted in the deaths of 19 people.