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Montserrat, Island Of

MONTSERRAT, ISLAND OF, an island in the British West Indies, one of the five presidencies in the colony of the Leeward Islands. Pop., mostly negroes (1901), 12,215. It lies 27 m. S.W. of Antigua, in 16 45' N. and 62 7' W.; is n m. long and 7 m. broad, and has a total area of 325 sq. m. The island is a cluster of rugged volcanic peaks rising from the Caribbean Sea, their summits clothed with forests; the still active Soufriere (3000 ft.) in the south being the highest point. The average temperature is 81 F., the hottest weather being usually tempered by cool sea breezes; the rainfall averages 94 in. per annum. There is a plentiful supply of water, and the roads are macadamized and well drained. The principal products are sugar and raw and concentrated lime-juice. Minerals are also found. Montserrat has a local legislature of six members, nominated by the Crown, and sends representatives to the general legislative council of the colony. Education is compulsory, and the majority of the schools are managed by the Church of England, to which most of the islanders belong; but the Wesleyans and the Roman Catholics also support schools. Plymouth (pop. 1461), the chief town, stands on an open roadstead on the south-west coast.

The island was discovered by Columbus in 1493, who named it after Monserrado, a mountain in Spain. It was colonized by the British under Sir Thomas Warner in 1632, and was taken by the French in 1664. Restored to the British in 1668, it capitulated to the French in 1782, but was again restored in 1784.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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