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Early History

The Saladoid Native Americans who migrated from South America initially settled the island millennia ago. Archaeologists have found their artifacts at sites on the island. The more warlike Caribs, who gave the region its name, regularly raided Montserrat in later times and established a presence on the island prior to the arrival of the Europeans.

European Settlement. Christopher Columbus never landed on Montserrat during his travels to the Americas, but as he sailed past it in 1493 he made note of the island and named it after the monastery and mountainous region of Spain located near Barcelona.

European settlement began in 1632 with the arrival of Irish people from the adjacent island of St. Kitts. In the years immediately following the initial colonists, other Irish came to Montserrat, some as prisoners sent from Great Britain and more fleeing from the oppression they suffered in other areas of the world.

The British and French battled for control of the island throughout the eighteenth century. The treaty of Versailles signed in 1783 gave the British control of Montserrat. The island today still remains a colony of Great Britain.

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