Montserrat is one of the Leeward Islands in the east Caribbean. It lies south-west of Antigua and north-west of Guadeloupe.
This pear-shaped island is volcanic in origin and mountainous. Parts of the island can be closed off because of volcanic activity.
The island’s capital Plymouth was destroyed by a volcanic eruption in 1997 and the process of rebuilding is underway.
Montserrat has a rugged coastline, with beautiful coral reefs and coves along the shore.
The island shares its name with a Spanish mountain and an opera singer – Montserrat Caballé.
It was discovered by Columbus and Irish emigrants settled on the in the 17th century. The official language is English, with an estimated 97% of the population being literate. Montserrat’s culture is a mixture of African, North American and European influences.
Dire Straits recorded their album ‘Brother in Arms’ at the Air Studio in Montserrat. They were followed by Duran Duran, who made ‘Rio’ here. Sadly, Hurricane Hugo devastated the island in 1989, and the studio was forced to close.
Music remains important. Alphonsus Celestine Edmund Cassel is Montserrat’s first soca superstar, and performs on stage as Arrow.
Cricket is popular, and players from the island are eligible for the West Indies team. Jim Allen and Lionel Baker have previously been selected.
Montserrat made its debut at the Victoria 1994 Commonwealth Games and has attended every edition of the Games since.