Mustique, is a small private island that is one of the Grenadines, a chain of islands in the West Indies, and like most of these it is part of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The island is located within Grenadines Parish, an administrative area of the country.
The island covers 1,400 acres (5.7 km2; 2.2 sq mi) and it has several coral reefs. The land fauna includes tortoises, herons and many other species. Its year-round population of about 500 mostly live in the villages of Lovell, Britannia Bay, and Dover.
The history of the island of Mustique, and of the Grenadines in general, dates back to the 15th century, when Spanish sailors first sighted this more or less linear group of small rocky islands and named them "Los Pájaros" or "the birds", because they resembled a small flock of birds scattered across the sea in flight. During the 17th century the islands were renamed the Grenadines by pirates, who used the sheltered bays to hide their ships and treasure. The islands were later used by European planters to grow sugar cane. This lucrative industry lasted until the 19th century, when the extraction of sugar from European-grown sugar beet dramatically lessened the worldwide demand for tropical sugar.
Mustique's sugar plantations were abandoned and eventually swallowed up by scrub, leaving remnants such as the sugar mill at "Endeavor" and its "Cotton House".
Mustique was purchased in 1958 by Colin Tennant, 3rd Baron Glenconner, under whose guidance the island began to be developed. In 1960, Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, the sister of Queen Elizabeth II, accepted as a wedding present his gift of a 10-acre (40,000 m2) plot of land, where she built a residence called Les Jolies Eaux. In 1979, Mustique Island was transformed from a family estate into a private limited company.
The last fifty years has seen Mustique become one of the most sought after holiday destinations in the world, where homeowners frequently return and visitors repeatedly rent one of the many private villas that are available throughout the year. Such is the island’s allure that guests come back year after year to visit old friends and embrace the pure escape that Mustique represents – the quintessential private island paradise.
**Images, courstesy of Mustique-Island.com