This old Sugar Mill is on the island of St. Croix. For a time in the mid-to-late 1700s, St. Croix, under Danish rule, was one of the richest sugar islands in all of the Caribbean with more than 200 sugar plantations. By the mid-nineteenth century, the island’s economy was in a slump as slavery was abolished and sugar beets began to supply Europe with sugar. Today many of these old mills still stand scattered across the island.
Most of these old sugar mills were built in the 1700 hundreds. They look like windmills from Holland. The Dutch were the ones who introduced the sugar cane industry to the islands and the old sugar mills they are indeed a Dutch type of mill. They originally had a dome at the top, and four canvas sails just as the Dutch wind mills. Today none of the tops or sails survive unless they have been reconstructed.
Inside the sugar mill was machinery, with three upright iron-plated rollers. The middle one, which turned the other two by cogs, was attached by a central pole to the sail and axle mechanism at the top of the mill. The nearly constant trade winds would blow the sails with a strong enough force to turn the works below as cane stalks were fed through the rollers. Juices extracted by the grinding ran downhill to factory buildings where enslaved laborers produced brown sugar, white sugar, molasses, and rum for export. Nothing was wasted — dried out leftover cane stalks became fuel for fires under copper pots used to boil the cane juice.
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Nikon D40X on manual focus