Montserrat is one of the so-called Lesser Antilles in the eastern Caribbean Sea; it lies in the vicinity of St. Johns, Antigua and Barbuda and Guadeloupe. Native peoples settled the island thousands of years ago; later Columbus and the Spanish passed it by, but the British took an interest in the seventeenth century when they settled a group of Irish there to save them from anti-Catholic violence elsewhere in the Caribbean, and a number of Irish convicts and revolutionaries were subsequently sent there. A slave revolt in the late eighteenth century was unsuccessful, but the British eventually abolished slavery throughout their Caribbean territories in 1834. Currently, Montserrat is officially a British Overseas Territory, and it continues to celebrate its Irish heritage.
A golf course was once open for play in the north of the island, but its 11 holes were put out of commission when the Soufriere Hills Volcano erupted in 1997. The eruption forced half of the island's inhabitants to relocate, and of course wreaked havoc on what was once a thriving tourist industry. Today Montserrat is enjoying something of a renaissance and visitors are starting to return. It is only to be hoped that a new, and perhaps even full-sized, golf course will be built to take advantage of the fantastic weather and spectacular scenery that the island has to offer.
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