Sombrero, Anguilla

Sombrero, Anguilla

Sombrero, Anguilla

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Sombrero, also known as Hat Island, is the northernmost island of the Lesser Antilles in position 18° 60'N, 63° 40'W. It lies north west of Anguilla across the Dog and Prickly Pear Passage. The distance to Dog Island, the closest island of Anguilla, is . Sombrero is long north-south, and wide. The land area is . Originally, when viewed from the sea, the island had the shape of a sombrero hat but mining operations have left the island with precipitous sides and a relatively flat top which is above sea level. The surface of the island is rough, and vegetation is sparse.

This mining operation yielded some 3000 tons of phosphate a year by 1870. By 1890, the phosphate reserves had been exhausted.


As a result of the Treaty of Utrecht in 1714, Sombrero passed into the hands of the British. Captain Warwick Lake of Recruit marooned an impressed seaman, Robert Jeffrey, there on 13 December 1807. As it turned out, Jeffrey survived, a passing American vessel having rescued him. Still, a court-martial dismissed Lake from the Royal Navy.

In 1814, and again in 1825, a British geologist surveyed the island and found that it abounded in phosphate of lime and reported this to the British government.

In 1856 the Americans claimed the island, and in a very short period of time quarried 100,000 tons of phosphate to resuscitate the exhausted lands of the Southern States. Uniquely, an important insurrection occurred when West Indian black workers revolted against the “slavery...
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