17th Century European planters displaced Island Caribs who had ventured northwards along the Lesser Antillean island chain and settled here. These new arrivals began to plant and harvest sugar cane using slave labour from West Africa. As with many islands in the region, a combination of the decline in the sugar industry and the end of the slave trade brought an end to prosperity for these European settlers, and a period of economic decline engulfed our island. Plantation buildings became ruins and the few liberated slaves who remained here survived on subsistence farming and fishing.
In 1958 there were only around 100 people still living in one small village on Mustique when it was purchased by a man called Colin Tennant. A revival in the island’s fortunes ensued culminating in the formation of the Mustique Company in 1968. Private investment in land and homes also brought about the construction of an airport, the enhancement of Lovell Village, the reconstruction and redevelopment of heritage sites such as the Cotton House, a desalination plant, medical facilities, schools and so on.
Princess Margaret was gifted land as a wedding present in the 1960s and constructed a palatial home called ‘Les Jolies Eaux’. She was followed by a succession of affluent and famous people who also invested in homes here. Still very fashionable as a celebrity retreat, Mustique also welcomes visitors looking for a beautiful and elegant Caribbean holiday destination.