It’s the capital city, but nobody lives there

Map of Montserrat

It’s the capital city, but nobody lives there. Let’s find out why and where it is located.


Welcome to Plymouth, the only one capital in the world with no inhabitants that really looks like the set of an episode of Scooby-Doo. Why is nobody living there anymore? Let’s find out.

# Plymouth: a small capital city in the Caribbean


Plymouth is the capital city of the island of Montserrat, an English overseas territory located in the middle of the Caribbean Sea, more precisely in the Lesser Antilles.

The city had 4,000 inhabitants, which is not bad at all for a capital city of a small Caribbean island. But the inhabitants of this small town could not sleep well due to the nearby volcano Soufrière Hills.

# After 100 years of inactivity, the volcano reawakened in 1995

The volcano had been inactive for over 100 years, but, as certainly you know, nature always has surprises in store. In fact, in 1995, the volcano put an end to the islanders’ quiet life with an eruption called phreatic explosion. What does phreatic explosion mean? It occurs when the underlying magma heats the surface water and immediately turns it into steam, thus causing an eruption.

A curiosity: Those who think that Pompei is an Italian exclusive phenomenon are wrong. As a matter of fact, on this island too, the body of an old man was found completely intact, covered with volcanic ash.

# A new explosion caused even the most reckless people to leave


Despite the eruption, some of the citizens of Plymouth only left the city temporarily. Then, they decided then to go back and resume their life right where they had been interrupted. But this admirable effort was again swept away by another unexpected eruption in 1997, which was even stronger than the first, reaching a speed of 100 km/h.

At that point, the inhabitants had really had enough and even the last, bravest people left the capital city to move elsewhere: many chose England as their destination and the population of Montserrat dropped from 12,000 to only 1,200 inhabitants.

# Plymouth became a ghost town and Brades became the “de facto” capital

This rapid desertification, however, did not cause the end of life on the island. Indeed, the area around the volcano was isolated – and it is still unaccessible – but life moved from Montserrat to another city, i.e. Brades. Today, there are about 5,200 inhabitants in Montserrat, while the most densely populated city is, indeed, Brades.

Although the de facto capital city is Brades, Plymouth remains the only official capital in the world to be a ghost town.

Map of Montserrat


(Original article by Rosita Giuliano)

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My name is Laura and I live in Italy with my husband, 2 gorgeous daughters and Spritz…our little dog…he is part of the family too :-) As a mum I try to be the best example for my daughters, we like to spend time together and we share a passion: we love playing the piano! They know I am always there for them and can talk about anything – this is one of things in my life I am so proud of. I am a very strong woman who works professionally with a positive approach and mindset and never gives up. I am also very detailed oriented (thanks also to my criminology degree back at the Uni) and like helping others and guide them to a more positive lifestyle-approach and support them through difficulties. I like challenges and I am always keen on learning and improve myself. I believe this is the reason why I am so excited about this new adventure with the group!