Mayreau was originally occupied by Indians migrating northwards from South America who probably survived on fish and crustaceans that they harvested from the shallow reef formations off the windward coast.
In the 1700s French settlers arrived bringing with them slaves from West Africa who were put to work in cotton fields. Though many islands of the Lesser Antilles changed ownership as a result of the Anglo-French wars of the 1700s and 1800s, Mayreau remained a privately-owned French island throughout and, as a result, became predominantly Roman Catholic. A small stone church was constructed at the top of Station Hill which still stands today.
Following the abolition of slavery in the 1800s, our island’s inhabitants took to fishing and subsistence farming. Today the people of Mayreau earn a living in a similar fashion though the arrival of tourism has presented some new opportunities. Ownership of the island is varied with most of it in private hands and some areas of land, notably the village, owned by the state. Roman Catholicism is still the primary religion on Mayreau.