Montserrat is a small island territory located in the Caribbean Sea. Montserrat is controlled by the British government, although it has a considerable measure of autonomy. Montserrat covers about forty square miles, but has a population of less than six thousand residents. The island has about twenty five miles of coastline, and takes its name from a mountain in Spanish Catalonia. Montserrat, which is nicknamed the “Emerald Isle of the Caribbean,” has a strong Irish cultural heritage. The island has lost a considerable number of inhabitants as well as a substantial portion of its economy since a volcanic eruption in the 1990s. Montserrat has begun to recover, operating its government from Brades while the community of Little Bay is being constructed. Montserrat was originally discovered by European settlers in the year 1493 by Christopher Columbus, although it was first inhabited by the Arawak and Carib Indians. Although Montserrat was briefly controlled by the French in the late eighteenth century, the island has spent the rest of its recent history as a part of the British Commonwealth.
Montserrat is subdivided into Saint Peter Parish, Saint Anthony Parish, and Saint Georges Parish, and has a number of small settlements and villages. Montserrat includes two offshore islets, Virgin and Little Redonda, as well as a geographic landmark called Statue Rock. Montserrat has impressive biodiversity, featuring rare endemic species such as the Montserrat orchid and the pribby. Although Montserrat was formerly a popular destination for musicians and some tourists, the island and its economy are currently undergoing a rebuilding period largely funded by the British government. Montserrat has a strong cricket community, as well as a soccer team that competed in the World Cup qualifying tournament.