Montserrat


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Montserrat

(mŏntsərăt`), British dependency and island (2011 pop. 4,922), 38 sq mi (98 sq km), West Indies, one of the Leeward IslandsLeeward Islands
, northern group of the Lesser Antilles in the West Indies, extending SE from Puerto Rico to the Windward Islands. The principal islands are the American Virgin Islands; the French island and overseas dept.
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. It is a rugged, scenic island of volcanic origin. Chance's Peak (3,002 ft/915 m) in the Soufrière Hills volcanic complex in S Montserrat was long the highest point, but the lava dome in English's Crater in the same complex has been estimated to be higher (3,050 ft/930 m). Plymouth was the capital and chief port, but it was destroyed in the volcanic eruptions that began in 1995, and subsequently an exclusion zone was established in the southern two thirds of the island. An interim capital was constructed at Brades EstateBrades Estate,
town (2005 est. pop. 1,000), capital of the British dependency of Montserrat, in the N part of the island. The original capital, Plymouth, was ravaged by volcanic eruptions that began in 1995; by 1997 the city was destroyed and abandoned.
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 in N Montserrat. Of African and European ancestry, the English-speaking inhabitants are predominantly Christian. Prior to 1995, tourism was the economic mainstay, and Montserrat's exports included electronic components and agricultural products. As a result of the Soufrière Hills eruptions, however, the economy has been severely disrupted and is dependent on aid from Great Britain. Montserrat has a unicameral 11-seat Legislative Assembly consisting of nine members elected for five-year terms, plus the attorney general and the finance secretary. The premier serves as head of government. The monarch of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the head of state and is represented by a governor. Administratively, Montserrat is divided into three parishes, but because of the eruption and exclusion zone, only one parish is now inhabited.

Montserrat was visited in 1493 by Columbus and colonized by the English and Irish in 1632. After changing hands several times between France and Britain, it was ceded to Great Britain in 1783. The island was a member of the former Leeward Islands colony and of the Federation of the West Indies. It has had internal self-government since 1960. In 1995 the Soufrière Hills Volcano, which had not erupted in historical times, began a series of devastating eruptions that destroyed most of S Montserrat, including the capital and the main port. The majority of the population was evacuated, more than half the island's land area was rendered uninhabitable, and residents were excluded from the southern portion of the island. Periodic hurricanes can cause extensive damage to the island.


Montserrat

or

Monserrat

(both: mŏn'sərăt`, mŏnt'–, Catalan mŏnsər-rät`, Span. mōnsārät`), mountain, 4,054 ft (1,236 m) high, NE Spain, rising abruptly from a plain in Catalonia, NW of Barcelona. On a narrow terrace, more than halfway up its precipitous cliffs, is a celebrated Benedictine monastery, one of the greatest religious shrines of Spain. Only ruins are left of the old monastery (11th cent.). The present monastery was built in the 18th cent. and restored after being destroyed by French troops in 1812. It has a valuable painting collection, library, and museum. The Renaissance church (16th cent.; largely restored in the 19th and 20th cent.) contains the black wooden image of the Virgin which, according to tradition, was carved by St. Luke, brought to Spain by St. Peter, and hidden in a cave near Montserrat during the Moorish occupation. In the Middle Ages the mountain, also called Monsalvat, was thought to have been the site of the castle of the Holy GrailGrail, Holy,
a feature of medieval legend and literature. It appears variously as a chalice, a cup, or a dish and sometimes as a stone or a caldron into which a bleeding lance drips. It was identified by Christians as the chalice of the Last Supper brought to England by St.
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. At Montserrat, St. Ignatius of LoyolaIgnatius of Loyola, Saint
, 1491–1556, Spanish churchman, founder of the Jesuits (see Jesus, Society of), b. Loyola Castle near Azpeitia, Guipúzcoa, Spain. Early Life and Ordination
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 devoted himself to his religious vocation just before the founding of the Society of Jesus.

Montserrat

 

a British island in the West Indies; part of the Lesser Antilles. Area, 98 sq km; population, 12,000 (1971). Its capital is Plymouth. The population is engaged primarily in the cultivation of cotton, bananas, and vegetables. Agricultural products are processed on the island. Montserrat was discovered by the Spanish in 1493.

Montserrat

1. a volcanic island in the Caribbean, in the Leeward Islands: a UK Overseas Territory: much of the island rendered uninhabitable by volcanic eruptions in 1997. Capital: Plymouth (effectively destroyed by the eruption). Pop.: 4000 (2003 est.). Area: 103 sq. km (40 sq. miles)
2. a mountain in NE Spain, northwest of Barcelona: famous Benedictine monastery. Height: 1235 m (4054 ft.)
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