Case 4 map with sugar mills marked on it >

St. Croix Map with Sugar Mills

Jens Michelsen Beck Tilforladelig kort over eylandet St. Croix udi America 1754

This detailed map of St. Croix, a Danish sugar colony, was published in Copenhagen in 1754, the year the Danish West India and Guinea Company sold the island to the Danish crown. The first large-scale printed map of the island, it shows individual properties and locations of windmills, a common source of power for sugar mills where the topography of the land allowed access to steady winds. It was officially updated in 1767 with hand notations giving the names of all property owners and the locations of sugar mills added since the original publication. Sugar cane needed to be milled, and the juice extracted, soon after it was cut, so each plantation typically had its mill, and an exceptionally productive plantation might have more than one. Hence, the distribution of sugar mills over the island is an indication of how much of the land was producing sugar. The annotations show that between the two dates the number of mills tripled; in the same period the island's sugar exports increased by nearly 1000%, giving us a dramatic picture of the growth of sugar production in the mid-eighteenth century.