Eastern Caribbean Dollar (XCD)
Montserrat is located in the Leeward Islands, and part of the Lesser Antilies. It has one of the smallest populations in the Caribbean, due in part to the previously dormant Soufriere Hills volcano which became active in 1995. Between 1995-2000, it is estimated that 2/3 of the population of Motserrat were forced to flee the island, leaving a population of arond 1,700. The contnued erruptions have called for over half of the island to be contained within a designated exclusion zone, to which access is severly restricted.
Although first sighted by Colombus on his second voyage to the Americas, Motserrat was originally settled by Irish migrants and indentured servants. The territory came under the control of the English following the capture and subsequent signing of the Treaty of Breda in 1667.
Prior to the volcanic activity, Plymouth was the capital of Motserrat. However, Plymouth was largely destroyed, prompting the move of the capital to Little Bay in the north of the island. A new airport was also contrusted in the north following destruction of the previous airport in the south. Following the volcanic activity, all citizens of Motserrat were granted rights of residency in the UK, and all are now entitled to British Citizenship. Citizens of Montserrat are known as Montserratians. Whilst English is the official language of Montserrat, the high level of migration of Irish to the island has influenced the language. Amongst others, Montserrat is a member of and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). Through its membership of the OECS, Montserrat is a member of regional economic union, with its official currency being the EC dollar.
Montserrat is a self-governing overseas territory of the United Kingdom. Executive power is held by the Government, with the Premier as the head of government. A Premier is selected by the Governor (the Queen’s representative) from a nine member elected Legislative Assembly. Defence of Montserrat is the responsibility of the UK.