Ghost capital

The capital city of Montserrat, a British territory in the Caribbean, has exactly zero occupants. The city of Plymouth has been deserted since 1997.

Xb-70 at the English Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
The fact that Montserrat’s capital city was built on old lava deposits should have been a clue. The nearby Soufrière Hills volcano erupted in 1995. The four thousand residents were evacuated – they came back after the eruption, only to leave again when the volcano roared back into life a couple of years later.

The 1997 eruption was what sealed Plymouth’s fate. Pyroclastic flows and lava burned down buildings, and a 1.4-metre-thick layer of ash buried the city. It has been deserted ever since.

Many of the residents ended up leaving Monserrat entirely and settling in the United Kingdom. Plymouth remains the official capital city – but the remaining residents are building a new capital at Little Bay.

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