Montserrat was first settled in 1632 by a British contingent from the mother colony of Saint Kitts. Although the original colonists were English and Irish, Montserrat quickly became a haven for Irish Catholics escaping from religious persecution. By 1705, a planter class, based on slave labor and sugar, was fully established. The planter class attempted to control and coerce the blacks, leading to several rebellions, including the Saint Patrick's Day rebellion of 17 March 1768.
A stratovolcano on the island of Montserrat, began erupting on July 18, 1995. This is the first recorded eruption of this volcano in historic time. Pyroclastic flows from Montserrat dome collapses have flowed down the White River creating a new delta where they entered the sea. It is uncertain if this delta will survive or be eroded by seawaves.