A Sugar Colony

by : Noorjahan DAUHOO


All these form part of the Sugar Colony:

Relationship between politics, science, society and economy in Mauritius. To understand this society which is based in the sugar economy. This is the plant which has dominated the island's agriculture. Since the early 19th century (as from the French period). We are joining other countries, for it need tropical climate also supportive of extensive sugar cane culture. We shares characteristics of these islands. Shares much in common, the Carribean and the pacific as well as the large sugar growing regions as Brazil, La Louisianne and the Natal in South South Africa. Queensland in Australia, St Domingue, Jamaica and Martinique.

When we look at the history of sugar to some historians the 'canneraie' symbolize a history of colonialism and coerced labour. As far as this topic is concerned there may be difference in where one is situated in the society. The history of producing and planting sugar cane have different basis.
-The Economy

It is the sucrose that interest us. It has played a major role in history more than coffee. There will be an increasing demand for sweeteners will encourage farmers to cultivate sugar cane. The creation of a particular method of production in order to maximize this sucrose a scientific affair. We cannot ignore that the part played by scientist in procuring and creating new kinds of canes. And to preserve cane culture and also how to preserve this society and relied on sugar plantation. The pattern of social organization more apt for a sugar economy. Overtime, people have put in effort to improve their yield. Planters and scientist have selected and altered the society always taking into consideration to political, the social and scientific objectives.

'The sugarcane plants have helped to shape the societies that tried to shape it'. Sugar Cane itself did not determine history, it was a sort of web, in which the cane was only one of the element which was propelled by and by political, society, economy and scientific and technological.

The Sugar Cane plant is a large long lasting grass of which this plant there are five species. Three of these cannot survive without cultivation, marking them dependent on human while the remaining two can grow wild.

The most common species is Saccharum Officianarum and this type originated from New Guinea. It is known as the noble cane. In the 18th and 19th century, most popular found in the European, colonial plantation because of its large size, high sucrose content and its relative ease of harvesting two other cultivated species, the S. Sinesense and the S. Barbers were found South East Asia and North India, less sucrose than 1st one grow more vigorously, suitable to more extreme climatic conditions. The two wild the S. Spontaneum and S. Robustum have never been planted commercially because of low sucrose but more vigorous of the L.S. Species the S. Spontanously more useful in hybridizing with the S. Saccharum Officianarum.

Therefore since the 1930's almost all canes in commercial cultivation have been hybrid crosses of the Noble Officianarum and Spontaneum. Hundred years ago cane cultivation and selection started in New Guinea. It was there where they grew sugarcane for chewing and ornamentation. From the observation of these people. From New Guinea people have learned how to propagate this S. Officianarrum. The cane was subjected to mutations through hybrids and change the characteristics of the Sugar cane for greater yield and that would grow faster and more. Cloning works well in the case of sugar, it consist of cutting a piece of cane planting in ground and went for it 'bouture'.

It could be kept for long see voyages in good shape without being spoiled . Polynesian travelers took advantage on these cane and brought it as far as the Pacific countries. It was a hardy and flexible cane. Today this variety is known as the Creole cane it is a hybrid cross between two unknown varieties of S. Officianarrum and S. Barberi. It comes from India and was propagated by 'bouture'. It spread from India to China and Persia in 600 A.D. Then to the Islamic world then the Crusade acquired a taste for sugar and they will initiate the early Mediterranean industry by planting the Creole in the New World. In 1420 Prince Henry the navigator, will also propagated to the Canary to Sao Thomes till the west coast of Africa. Christopher Columbus made on his second voyage introduced the Creole Cane in the 16th and 17th century Europe and throughout America. In 1737 in the Isle de France through Labourdonnais although in 1550 the Dutch had already into a noble variety in the isle the Oteiheite Cane. By the Mid-eighteen century the European explorers rely exclusively on the European variety except the Dutch in Java. The European created colonies as one of histories most repulsive history because it means coercive work and abusing of human being. However, as the cane, itself was a hybrid plat of cross-breeding would emerge a cross-bred society of cultural and racial inter-crossing.

Large scale capitalist enterprises.
These plantations were cruel places, code Noire etc., force labour and existence of a population that did not increase naturally, (the master controlled their lives). The integration of trade long distance network as far as trade is concerned that would emerged. Transformation on the ecological system. The cane plantation transformation of ecological system. The continent of Africa was decimated and the historical continuities in the land. Land was deforested to create space and the main focus of the European on the sugar isle. It is very difficult to retrace the beginning of the plantation of sugar cane in Mauritius and the first settlers did not consider that Mauritius was and ideal place for sugar cane production. The first mention of sugarcane in connection with Mauritius was in a December 12, 1641 letter of Antonio Van Diemen, a Dutch governor at Batavia informing the Directors of the VOC that it would not be a difficult matter to obtain slaves for agricultural development in Mauritius and he was thinking about the cultivation of rice, sugarcane, tobacco and indigo.

The Governor of Batavia sent a consignment of 'bouture' cuttings by THE WOLF which would arrive in Mauritius in July/August 1650. The first cane would grow well, but when crop reached maturity, rats would damage it almost entirely and would be the plague of the island under the Dutch. Rats were always serious cause of trouble but according to historians rats were given too much attention to rats.

One of the abandonment of cane productions in 1652, this view is widely held as a matter of fact.

1-Very little land open up by settlers salaried employees of VOC paid mainly for exploitation of ebony trees.
2-There was not much colonist to put sugarcane.
3-Even a few freemen and family given lots, lazy lots, they preferred to hunt and fish, draw upon the company supplies.
4-Meat and fish
5-Rice was scared and was replaced by sweet potatoes, they would wait for skips in small, inadequate quantities.

1652, firstly sugar cane had to reach adulthood. Distressed as far as food supplied was concerned. The GOA would come with supplies of rice and the commander not only rats were responsible for cultivation.

20 years after no one, Lamotius administered the colony (1677 -1692). Hubert Hugo attracted the VOC attention to the possibility of making Black sugar and distilling arrack from the cane Juice. He had alone nothing with these ideas. The plant had not disappeared from the first trial. The free men came in 1750 would extract juice with manual hand mills. A sweet white syrup was obtained which suggest the presence of sugar. The Company will receive their produce, however, large the quantity and at the price the VOC will pay them. No one has yet attempted to make sugar as no one knew how to make sugar. Under Deodati (1692 to September 25, 1700) under his governorship sugar reach the highest plantation. Yan Bolketbergh, a Chinese came to show how to make sugar. He was a doctor and knew how to prepare white and black sugar. They are going to send these sugar to the Cape to know if they could proceed with the production - It is to the credit of Deodati. The Lataniers palms became rare because these were used to make arrack. A severe drought in 1694 -1695 was followed by a violent hurricane on the 9th February 1695. This destroyed buildings and plantation. Fortunately the sugar machines were saved. In June 18, a sudden flood uprooted all canes and destroyed the cane mills in 1698 cyclones. The 1679 floods and 1699 hurricanes on the 2nd May 1702 a cyclone with violence accompanied by severe flood.

Other circumstances the 1st samples were not good enough. The cane juice for arrack for the men's - the quality were not in good conditions not clean enough. No longer depend on food supply from Cape of Good Hope to plant food crop again. In 1701 found the products bad quality can have these products from Batavia- Blow to newly emerged sugar industry. What more can the island produce? Fairly reasonable document support that sugarcane not completing abandoned for arrack for settlers. Labourdonnais has private sugar interest in the company. He never mentioned the cane. He started three sugar mills the first in Pamplemousses with its management at Villebague.

Labourdonais gives the impression that Labourdonnais introduced sugar cane from India. He never did anything of this kind encourage colonist to make sugar - why possibility might have taken place - no evidence sugar cane completely disappeared? Why introduced from Java when existed in small quantity's in courtyard of houses in Bourbon. Couldn't have failed to see the sugar cane on visits to Bourbon isle. In his correspondence does not mention sugar cane or sugar industry. He did everything to start sugar cane plantation in isle de France. Why this silence? Didn't want to give publicity to the matter because he had a large private interest in that industry in the last two factories to be created. He had the legal rights to engage in private businesses. He had 'Primitive' factories. He had the necessary machinery come from France. He had the management of Villebague. This fact sold in 1747 to two brothers, Vgourex. Where former captain of ships in the service of the Compagnie des Indes. They bought the factory in 1737, 12 years later it was bought by Rene Magon. The factory was created by the Dutch turned by water. It was expected to crush the 1st canes in the last quarter of the 1744. the cauldrons would have arrived by August by the St Geran but te ship wreck. Commercial scale in 1742 started. The Villebague enterprise was the only success of its kind. Coarse sugar quite disgusting. Sugar was employed for arrack to cover houses in the Italian manner. Sugar with chalk form a kind of mastiche spread on planks become as hard as a pavement.

By 1950 sugar factories were giving the F.E.I.C a 60,000 pounds turn around annual profit. Sugar industry was generating references. After Magon this industry almost complete decadence. It remain in a sort of stage, unstable situation, ? of the century. Later that the sugar industry would develop.

06/ 11/ 06

Economic history about sugar Industry as from English Period

What are the things needed?

Mauritius experienced a sense of profound changed when the British took in terms f the social and economic . The socio-economic transformation occurred because it had become a British colony.

Before 1810, we found that during the French administration the economic development of Mascarenes was governed by ............
All these policies made by Labourdonnais would be used under the Royal government. In 1767 control of the Isle De France and Bourbon from F.E.I.C to Royal Government. In 1772 Pierre Poivre encourage on a large scale the production of tropical commodities. These items to turn the island into a plantation economy. There was competition from established production of these commodities. They were faced with the same disaster , natural disaster destroy crops. The lure of much more profitable maritime activities were the two reasons was that the potential development of Mauritius as a 'bastion' of plantation agriculture. The abrogation of the Compagnies Des Indes' monopoly of French Asian trade in 1969. when the monopoly of the F.E.I.C was stopped and all French were able to trade at Port Louis. The isle became an increasingly important entrepot of Asia in this part of the Indian Ocean. In 1784 the growing part of grant of trading rights to America. Port Louis became a Freeport three years later in 1787 a free port opened to all foreigners. In Port Louis status as a free port will also complied with the islands tradition of privateering. During the Anglo-French conflicts privateering became the island's tradition. This brought the riches to Isle De France and created a trading activities. The new number merchants and trader residing in Port Louis from 103 in 1776 to 365 in 1808. While the number of vessels arriving in the port rose from 78 in 1769 to a record high of 347 in 1803. the scale of this activities and its report upon the colonial economy is suggested that between 193 to 1810 the Mauritian privateers and the French naval squadron captured more than 500 British and allied prizes and there were worth at least 80 million gold Francs. But with the formal in cooperation of Mauritius in British Empire would bring an end to the island's role of an important entrepot. They would instaure the protectionist policies in adopting the navigation acts of 1915.

Rivalry of Port Louis with Cape of Good Hope which is a real good stop over. The economy which was based on Maritime activities will be left with few options but sugar cane production and agricultural commodities for the imperial market. The only thing that would interest the British was sugar cane. Arrack would introduce sugar industry. There would be a change in strategy. As from 1810 island had 9000 to 10000 acres of land under sugar cane this surface increased during the first year of British rule not until late 1920's sugar dominate isle's economy. Land, labour and capital would be the principal factors would shape the sugar isle. In 1810 - 1814 treaty of Paris, the British the British wold have permanent control over the isle De France. The British would use Port Louis as a trading post as French have done. Return and harbourless Reunion to French made minor changes to Mauritian political system but completely transform the economic. If the Franco had continued they could have develop a diversified economy. But the British rule was unable to support a diversified economy. The navigation law prohibited British colonies from trading with foreign merchants. Elimination of free trade would lead to the downfall of Port Louis. If Mauritius wanted to develop under the British rule had to produce commodities to be able to satisfy guarantee currencies to buy manufactured goods and slaves. The colonist knew that sugar cane could stand cyclones more than any other plants. Cane growing was privilege had become extensive towards end of French administration when navigation laws transform foreign trade colonists invest inland and sugar melting equipment. One of the main problem was that in 1825 when the East Indian Sugar placed on the same footing as the west Indians sugar - Mauritian sugar would become more competitive on the market - slave labour shifted from port to plantation. Between 1816 and 1826 increased five folds. 4148 to 21 244 Metric Tons. It continued to climbed in the years to following until it reached 100 000 Millions trunks in 1854 and reached 150 480 Metric Tons in 1862.

Between 1810 and 1840 the acres cultivated in sugar cane increased from 4000 to 25 000 Hectares. By the 1816 there were about 52, 000 Hectares under cane plantation. The number of factories from 10 in 1798 to 157. In 1823, the number kept increased to 303 in 1863. To meet the British demand Mauritian producers invested considerable amount of money in improving of their culture to maximum profit. The local planters could not dictate the British parliament MP's. The French colonist had to go to British to lobby for Mauritius sugar industry. Why was the Governor in Mauritius reluctant to enforce the slavery abolition law? The Governor had to rely on sugar revenues to govern the isle. They sent Adrien D'Epinay. Pour des pourparler. On the constitutional point the stake owners were in the counsel of the government.

In February 1835 the British of Mauritius were compelled to adopt the act 20 million pound to about state slaves owners into the entire British colonies. The Mauritian share 2 112, 632 which compensated for ? the value of 66 343 slaves liberated in Mauritius. Large slaves owners got more compensation decline in sugar industry. Therefore all invested in the estates and commercial houses that invested went bankrupt. Parliament compensated. Most slaves owners interpreted apprenticeship scheme as slave labour. In 1819 began to replace vertical cane crushers . In 1822 will introduce steam power to source mills in 1863, 62 factories drawn by animals, 88 by water and 7 by steam. By 1848 there were no longer any animal powered factories.

- 4 by wind
- 45 by waters
- 195 by steam.

The factories will also increase their specialized evaporated and vacuum pans for boiling sown cane juice appeared. These unable to extraction of sucrose from cane which begin to rinse from 6% to 7.1% between 1820 to 1840. Technical improvement allowed fact to expand capacities so ...........owners of sugar cane factory improve in factories rather than in fields only Charles Telfair took a strong interest in natural history and agronomy. Import the Belonguet cane variety from Java and secondly will revive 'La Societe d'Emulation' . In 1829 Telfair will establish the royal Society of Arts and Sciences. Important legacy of Charles Telfair Scientific research on agriculture most of the holdings in the secure patronage and financial support of colonial government. So that members could offer prizes. Conduct research in National history ....etc. Activities of Roayal society of Arts and Science. The island's intellectuals could make important contribution to agronomy and agriculture. Their interest in science was one of the factors of making sugar cane in early years of sugar boom. Planters provided knowledge British provided capital. Descendant of French residers continued the production. Between 1810-1829 sugar prices became relatively high British invest risk them values in Mauritian sugar.

Many Franco-Mauritian own large tracks of land shifted to cane monoculture, sell their sugar to Britain. Merchants commercial houses in Port Louis inventing in sugar estate encourage speculation.

So long as industry remain prosperous individual owners mortgaged their properties to a dozen separate individual by 1828 are inevitable glut.

-The role of the British in the South Atlantic slave trade.
-Attack on British protectionism.

The term of capitulation between British abolished slave trade in 1807 the incident of monoculture changed the island. Before sugar boom. Slave owners transferred, sold or rented as assets labour value. It was very hard and hazardous. The slavery object merchandiser. The blockage has production and labour shortage and they tried to convinced the new governor Farquhar to resume slave trade, and he did turn a blank eye on 60 000 slaves in the isle. The majority member arrived between 1811 and 1821 the government that suppliers landed 30 000 slaves while the British patrols intercepted only 19% of it. Still not known how many slaves ....... Mauritius prevented and met a population decline.

Activist for abolition of slavery growing upper land in British politics. In 1823 adopted the slave amelioration bill:
1-Prepare slave for freedom

Colonial office take measures of entire slave population. Planters evade system . The Franco-Mauritian dominated the sugar industry could protect themselves locally but not on British Market.