This Act provides for sale and lease of land, and any estate or interest therein, which is the subject of a settlement. “Settlement” signifies any act, deed, agreement, will or other instrument under or by virtue of which any land or any estate or interest in land stands limited to or in trust for any persons by way of succession. Settled estates may be sold or given in lease under authority of the High Court or by a tenant for life. The Court shall not authorise any lease, sale or other act beyond the extent to which in the opinion of the Court the same might have been authorised in and by the settlement by the settlor or settlors. The Act prescribes procedures and conditions for sale or lease of settled land. The Act also provides with rights with respect to timber on settled land, agricultural leases, rights of water and mineral extraction.
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English and Irish colonists from St. Kitts first settled on Montserrat in 1632; the first African slaves arrived three decades later. The British and French fought for possession of the island for most of the 18th century, but it finally was confirmed as a British possession in 1783. The island's sugar plantation economy was converted to small farm landholdings in the mid-19th century. Much of this island was devastated and two-thirds of the population fled abroad because of the eruption of the Soufriere Hills Volcano that began on 18 July 1995.