Changing sugar technology and the labour nexus: the Caribbean, 1750-1900

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    Authors & editors

    Boomgaard, Peter [Author]
    Oostindie, Gert [Author]

    Publisher New West Indian Guide/ Nieuwe West-Indische Gids, Leiden
    Year of publication 1989 63 no: 1/2, Leiden, 3-22

    Medium Digital

    Food (non-cereal) processes > Sugar


    Scope & contentBetween 1750 and 1900 revolutionary changes took place in the agricultural and processing technologies of cane growing and sugar production in the Caribbean.

    The innovations that altered the entire processing structure are fairly well documented: the application of steam power, better cylinders, vacuüm pans, centrifuges, doublé to quintuple effect evaporation, and - regarding the scale of operations rather than their nature - 'usines centrales'.

    Important changes are also to be found in the sector that bridges the gap between cultivation and processing, i.e. transportation: movable rails, fixed rails often combined with steam traction, and conveyer belts. Finally, somewhat less well documented, we find a number of modifications in the agricultural sphere: new cane varieties; more (or less) ratooning, alterations in planting distances, ploughs, better drainage and irrigation, and the application of manure and fertilizer.

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