Montserrat

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An Tuath Féinrialaitheach Sléibhe Cíoracha
Autonomous Province of Montserrat
Conventional short name:
Local: Sliabh Cíoracha, Montsarat
English: Montserrat
Flag of Montserrat
National motto: Fé Mhóid Bheith Saor (Sworn to be free)
Subdivision of: Ireland
Languages:  
 Official: Gaeilg
 Others: Kerno, English, some kind of creole
Cities:  
 Capital: Durow (de-jure), Eastat (de-facto)
 Other: Phoirt Naoimh Phádraig (Under construction to replace Durow)
Uachtartán (President): Micheál Tómas Ó hUiginn
Príomhaire (Premier): Máire Labhaoise Ní Dhomhnaill
Gobharnóir: John Coolrunnings
Príomh-Aire an Oileáin: Liam Barcelona
Area: 102km2 (39 sq. mi)
Population: 5,600 Cíoracha Sléibhteoirí
Currency: Líre=20 Soilte=40 Ríúile=240 Deneair
Organizations: Celtic Union, Commonwealth of Nations


Contents

History

The Foundation of the Kemrese Caribbean

Sir William Penn, father of Pennsylvaania's founder, lead a joint Anglo-Chomro-Scots force in May of 1655 with General Robert Venables, and seized the island. Penn was shrewd. He invited Privateers to base themselves on the island in order to help deter a Castilian reconquest. Sure enough, the Castilians rushed from their main base of Cuba the next year to strike back and regain their lost islands, but the three nations were prepared. The Battle of Ocho Ríos in 1657 and the Battle of Río Nôvo in 1658 were resounding victories for the pan-British forces. Admiral Robert Blake defeated the Castilian West Indian Fleet at both battles. Serious colonization efforts began in 1661, but formal possession was only granted upon the signing of the Treaty of Madrid in the year 1670.

This is how Kemr received its first Caribbean possessions of Greg e Chaicoes, the Caiman Islands, and the tiny island of Montserrat. Christopher Columbus named the island "Montserrat" after the Virgin of Montserrat when he passed it in 1493 without landing. The Caribs had no permanent base on the island, although they were highly mobile and made constant landings on it during this time period, even giving it a name: Alliouagana (meaning 'Land of the Prickly Bush'). When the Castilians awarded the island to Kemr in 1670, it was more or less uninhabited. Carib voyages stopped making landfall after the Kemrese sent its first wave of colonists.

The Kemrese had a problem. They did not have enough experience with colonization to be able to build a Caribbean sugar colony from the start. They knew that. Their track record with setting up colonies on the North American mainland was not great. Prydain New failed horribly and barely anyone survived. Ter Mair was only 22 years old upon the first British ships landing in the Caribbean in 1655 and its viability was by no means proven, nor its continued existence by any means guaranteed. Meanwhile, rogue Irish merchants had decades of experience in the Caribbean and Irish missionaries were in the Americas almost since its discovery. Irish clergymen sailed with Portuguese forces to the New World in the 1520's. Some fringe historians for this reason even believe that the Portuguese name for their colony, "Brasil," came from the Irish phrase "Í Bres," with "Í" meaning "island" in Old Irish and "Bres" meaning "beauty," or "might." It's actually more likely for the Portuguese word for ember "brasa," because the main export, brazilwood, has wood as red as glowing embers of a fire, but it makes for a good story. Two brother monk-priests, Tomás & Chuan Farrell (Tomás & Seaghán Uí Fhearghail) sailed up the Riu da Pllata in 1536 to chart the area for the Crown of Aragon. In 1577, Tomás Mac Fithcheallaigh arrived in the settlement of Piratininga, better known today as São Paulo. He was one of the key figures in the founding of the Jesuit missions. More relevantly, Anglo-Irish from Osraighe worked with the tolerant Dutch state in Guyana in 1608, even playing a role in the foundation of Claeszoonstad. Four years later, those settlers established a colony of their own, known as Tauregue, located at the mouth of the Amazon river. There, English, Dutch, French, Tuscan, Sephardic Jewish, & Portuguese settlements existed in an uneasy truce. These European settlers were known to help one another since eking out a living from the harsh rainforests was nigh impossible. The colonists of different nations learned from one other. Solidarity & mutual aid were necessary for survival. Most of what these forts produced was tobacco, dye, and lumber. Tauregue received a second group of settlers in 1620 led by Rogerio Mac an Ultaigh from all over the island, not just from the ranks of the Yola speakers of Osraighe. In 1624, Bearnárd Ó'Briain from Tír Boruma, built a fort on the northern banks of the Amazon in an area called Pataui. He renamed the place 'Garrán Na Chnó Cócó'—'Grove of Coconuts' in English. It was these numerous colonies that dotted the coast where the Amazon met the Atlantic that made the Irish instrumental in the foundation of just about all of Kemr's colonies and thus indirectly gave birth to Montserrat. Once again, the Kemrese occupiers needed the help of their colonial subjects beyond the centuries of tax collection and manpower.

Irish Ascendancy

The deal cut between the court in Castreleon and the merchants on Ireland's west coast was not one of selflessness. This is not a tale of heroic, Irish peasants rescuing the state that colonized them. The Irish mercantile class forged the bonds between the metropole and her newest colonies, ironically enough. Irish merchant families from coastal towns such as Port Láirge and Gaillimh created trading networks with the Caribbean. Ireland became the premier European hub in the Columbian Exchange.

The Irish also were just about the one ethnic group that all colonial powers would tolerate operating within their lands, since they were only nominally loyal to Kemr and showed no interests in following orders. Even the Castilians turned a blind eye and tolerated their presence. The Uí Fhearghail family, for example, became one of Havana's leading families in the city. After making their fortune on their initial good, they diversified their spread and bought up shares in tobacco and sugar plantations, cattle ranches, sugar mills, and rum distilleries.

The number one good traded by the burgeoning petit bourgeois of Kemrese Ireland was human souls. Slavery was the main business of the Irish mercantilists, at least at first. Initially the rich Irish brought the poorest of the island with them to give them jobs as sharecroppers (more like veritable slaves) and harvest the cash crop agreed upon by all the first families of Montserrat: sugarcane. However, the mass-transportation of Ireland's poor to serve as indentured servants was not economically feasible in the long run. Ocean travel in the 17th Century went faster by sailing from Western Europe to Western Africa to the Americas using the currents. As such, it was cheaper to sail empty ships from Corcaigh to the Gold Coast, stock up on captured people there, and then finally sail to sail to Montserrat et al. The Irish were also not opposed to purchasing Carib and Arawak captives to put to work on their sugarcane fields.

The Kemrese had a laissez faire attitude when it came to its Caribbean holdings, Montserrat especially. The Irish of all classes were allowed to settle there. Kemrese settlers were not given special treatment here, although they received it if they moved to occupied Ireland. Sugar was profitable, but pretty soon the island hit capacity with how many slaves, free laborers/indentured servants, soldiers, merchants, construction workers, and engineers it could hold. The Irish sugar-barons ran the island with an iron fist. Unlike say in the English Caribbean colonies, they were wholly unconcerned with racial miscegenation. Brithenig was on the books as the language with administration, but the private sector kept records independent of the colonial administration & economic transactions were made wholly in Irish. The slaves even learned Gaeilg, albeit a highly simplified one. Irish is q highly dialectically disparate language. There are places in the motherland that can't understand people from other parts of the island. Montserrat is no exception. Although the Europeans had much higher casualty rates as they could not handle the heat & the tropical diseases, there were definitely settlements that were majority white, just as there were plantations that were 100% African or even more so Carib/Kalinago than West African. Modern linguists don't even consider "Montserratian Irish" to be one dialect, although the destruction of 2/3rds of the island has contributed to the death of several of them, if not most. Most of the toponyms of the island are Irish. There's a Corcaigh on the island, and a Cionn tSáile, for example. In 1716 (46 years after the Treaty of Madrid), the census recorded the white male population as 80% Irish, 10% Kerno, 5% proper Cambrian, and 5% English. The Arawak and Carib people slowly faded out of the picture within the next few decades, but many of their words live on in the Gaeilg creole(s) of the island. The Kernowmen outnumbered Cambrians 2:1, but by the 19th Century, at least on the island, there stopped being a distinction between the two groups. The main Kernow influence on the island is the name of the capital: Durow, from where all the Brithenig and English settlers sailed from. Some Kerno words pepper the Brithenig variety of the island, the distant second language of the native people. In fact, the specifically Montserratian Brithenig variety is in danger of extinction. Proper Brithenig is taught to young students on the island, and the volcano eruption of 1995 did no more favors for the dialect than it did for most of the Afro-Hibernian creoles. The English were wholly absorbed into the Irish populace, just as the Cambro-Norman and their English henchmen of the 11th Century takeover of Ireland were. English surnames are the last testament that there was ever an Anglo settler presence on the diminutive isle. Some Sephardic Jews did business on the island, but not many. Archaeologists in 1974 but evidence of a synagogue built in 1674, but a continued Jewish presence on the island didn't last. Up until 1995, 4% of the island (about 560 people) claimed Indian ancestry. Kemr, like every other colonial power, imported Indian labor hired via their depots on the Subcontinent to replace slave labor after manumission in 1834. Since Montserrat was so small, the Kemrese colonial administration didn't need many, so the Indian populace never reached critical mass here. They tended to be absorbed into the Afro or biracial populaces. Because they were too religiously divided, most ended up marrying local Catholics and accepting their religion as a condition of marriage.

St. Patrick's Day Uprising

St. Patrick's Day has a second layer of significance on Montserrat than it does back home in Ireland. On that day (March 17th) in 1718, slaves revolted against their white and biracial masters because they had endured enough of the horrors of the sugar trade. The French opportunistically took advantage of this uprising and offered their support to the slaves, which the leaders of the revolt gladly accepted. This was the sole break in the island's history from Kemrese rule. The French declared all slaves on the island free, but when their own businessmen and admins moved in, they brought with them new slaves and completely flew in the face of the revolution. French rule only lasted a year. At the Second Treaty of Montmartre in 1719, France handed the island back to the Kemrese. Most of the newly freed Africans went with the French administrators, leaving the island in desperate need of labor. Those free Afro-Hibernians were awarded land in La Louisiane as gens de couleur libres to boost the population there loyal to Paris. The first act of the Irish was to bring in new rounds of slaves from West Africa or the rest of the Caribbean. St. Patrick's Day in Montserrat not only commemorates the life of St. Patrick, but of the lives of the revolutionaries who said no to the bondage of human beings. Slavery was only abolished here as in the rest of the Anglo-Cambro-Scots world in 1834.

Manumission and the 19th Century

Around this time, sugar became a less valuable export good with every passing year. The Portuguese of Brazil dominated the market by the 1850's and offered lower and lower prices to consumers the world over. Although philanthropists (usually Quakers) reopened former plantations with freemen laborers to prove that paid labor wouldn't increase the price of goods much at all, some cunning, former slaveowners brought in Indians from other parts of the Caribbean who were hired and contracted out from the Kemrese port city colony of Bom Bahía (Bombay, aka Mumbai). Montserrat until 1718 was attached to the Kingdom of Ireland, but after the takeover in 1719 was reattached directly to the Kemrese crown. Direct rule from Castreleon carried on until 1916. It was only after slavery ended that small landowners proliferated across the isle, but the first families of Montserrat still owned their own estates, albeit in decreased sizes. The feudalism that shaped the isle's existence did not disappear overnight.

Irish Revolution and the Early 20th Century

The Irish Revolution of 1916 rocked the entire Kemrese Empire. The Flag of St. Patrick was raised on Durow city hall, just as it was in Melbroin thousands of kilometers away. Irish revolutionaries were in touch with operatives in the colonies, this much is certain. The locals who joined Óᵹlaıᵹ̇ na hÉireann knew exactly what they were doing and when to rise up. The reason colonies like Guyana, the Caiman Islands, & the Greg e Chaicos Islands didn't go along with Montserrat and Guereintia because the rest were much more heterogenous. Montserrat was the smallest, as such it was the homogenous since the Irish and their slaves crowded out others from settling on the island almost right away. Kemrese Guyana is a plurality Indian, Greg e Chaicos are almost entirely African, and the Caimans had plenty of actual Kemrese settle down over the centuries. The next six years were a time of turmoil for Montserrat (and Guereintia). The Kemrese sent in troops to restore order, and the African populace was divided between supporting independence and continued colonial rule. To many (if not more than half), the Irish were the true slavers of the island, and rule by distant, far away Castreleon was a relief from overtly cruel practices by the Irish nobility of the island. The biracial populace meanwhile felt wholly Irish. The choice was easy in their minds, as easy as it was for the white populace to make. Only by referendum was the question settled, in 1922. Like in New South Cambria, the people of Montserrat voted narrowly for independence from Kemr and union with Ireland. The common people did, however have some demands. The noble titles bestowed upon Irish merchant families 252 years ago had to be disbanded. The people did not want to maintain a medieval lifestyle any longer. The Irish Revolution was twinged with socialism, so Dubhlinn was all for greater social reform. With the stroke of a pen, land in Montserrat was nationalized and redistributed to everyone and the very name of the island was changed to "Sliabh Cíoracha," a calque of the original name bestowed by Columbus. This absolutely crushed the power of the landed nobility here, something which none of them expected. The most wealthy of the island supported the very movement that undid their power. Almost overnight, the African populace turned from suspicion and indifference to wholehearted support. A new wave of idealists came from cosmopolitan Dubhlinn to teach new and marketable skills to the newly landed proletariat. For once, female immigration to Sliabh Cíoracha from Ireland was equal to the numbers of male emigration. The ruling party of the new Ireland poured a lot of money into the island. This was the only way the intelligentsia in charge knew how to right the wrongs of slavery and the sugar industry.

Volcanic Eruption of 1995

Resettlement in Ireland

Resettlement in West Florida

Commonwealth flag   Members of the Commonwealth of Nations   Commonwealth flag
English Members
  Calcutta | East Caribbean Province (including Montserrat, a part of Ireland) | England | English Australia | English Guyana | Gibraltar | Hong Kong | Kingdom of Mauritius | Mosquito Coast | Providence Islands | The Salomon Islands | The Seychelles | Socotra | Somer Islands | Southwest Africa | Swan Islands | Wallace Cay  
Scottish Members
  Bombay | East Caribbean Province | Kingsland | Scotland  
Cambrian Members
  Ascension Island | Cambrian Arctic Ocean Territory | Cambrian Guyana | Cambrian Indian Ocean Territory | Kemr | New Kemr di'll Ostr | Madras | Mutapa | Tortuga Islands | West Caribbean Province  
Other Full members
  Aotearoa | Cyprus | Fiji | Grand Fenwick | Indo-British Union | Madagascar | Malta | Margarita Islands | NAL-SLC | South Africa | Tahiti | Toga  
Associate Members
  Alyaska | Armorica | Bharatij Samrazj | Bengal | Ireland (including Guereintia, excluding Montserrat) | Oregon | Thiruvithankur | Xrivizaja  

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