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Montserrat History Timeline

  • (500BC) Arawak Indians settled in Montserrat
1400s - 1600s
  • (1400's) Arawak Indians driven out of Montserrat by a more aggressive group of Indians know as the Caribs
  • (1493) Christopher Columbus sighted the island, named it after a mountain in Spain
  • (1555) Spanish claimed the island
  • (1632) Thomas Warner brought English and Irish Catholics from St. Kitts to start an English colony on Montserrat
  • (1649) Oliver Cromwell transported Irish political prisoners to Montserrat
  • (1650) Sugarcane introduced to the island
  • (1664) French took possession of Montserrat; slavery introduced
  • (1668) Montserrat returned to Britain
1700s - 1800s
  • (1712) French sacked Montserrat
  • (1768) Failed slave rebellion occurred on St. Patrick's day
  • (1782) French recaptured Montserrat
  • (1783) In Treaty of Versailles, Montserrat returned to Britain
  • (1834) Slavery abolished in Montserrat
  • (1857) Joseph Sturge formed the Montserrat Company, introduced the cultivation of lime trees
  • (1871) Montserrat became part of the Leeward Islands Colony of Great Britain
  • (1956) Leeward Islands Federation abolished; Montserrat became a separate colony
  • (1958) Montserrat joined the West Indies Federation
  • (1960) Montserrat established as British colony
  • (1962) West Indies Federation abolished; Montserratians voted to remain a dependency of Great Britain
  • (1965) Pan American jet crashed into Chance's Peak
  • (1989) Hurricane Hugo devastated much of the island; police investigated offshore finance industry, led to several arrests; many banking licenses revoked
  • (1992) Most offshore banks closed after investigation into offshore finance industry
  • (1995) Chance's Peak volcano erupted for the first time in 350 years, thousands evacuated; government declared state of emergency; Britain granted millions of pounds in development aid
  • (1996) Montserratians granted residency by Britain, included right to work in the UK for up to two years
  • (1997) Soufriere Hills volcano erupted, 19 people killed and two-thirds of the island is uninhabitable; Montserrat airport closed, island accessible only by helicopter or boat; capital of Plymouth was abandoned
  • (1998) Britain announced that Montserratians could apply for permanent residency
  • (2000) Montserrat placed on international list of territories deemed uncooperative in the fight against money-laundering 

  • (2001) Soufriere Hills volcano eruption caused widespread damages
  • (2002) Montserratians granted British citizenship in British Overseas Territories Act; Monserrat removed from the international uncooperative list, promised to improve transparency
  • (2003) Chance's Peak volcano erupted, destroyed many buildings
  • (2004) US Department of Homeland Security revoked temporary protected status granted to US based Montserratians in 1995
  • (2005) Gerald's airport opened, replaced the W H Bramble airport destroyed in 1997 volcanic eruption
  • (2006) Lowell Lewis sworn in as head of a coalition government after election as no party gained enough seats to govern
  • (2009) Movement for Change and Prosperity won six of nine seats in parliamentary election, Reuben Meade became chief minister

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This page was last updated on April 7, 2017.