Wind-Powered Sugar Mills as Constructions of Control in the Plantation Landscapes of Montserrat, West Indies

Author(s): Miriam A. W. Rothenberg

Year: 2017

Summary

As James Delle recently argued, Caribbean plantation landscapes were built environments designed to mediate interactions between planters and enslaved labourers. In this paper, wind-powered sugar mills on the island of Montserrat are singled out as being prominent components of the plantation environment that were not only economically productive, but also served as markers of planter power and control. The mills’ distinctive shape and height renders them instantly identifiable, and their integral role in the sugar production process – and location in the heart of the plantation complex – makes them signifiers of that industry. Here, viewshed analysis is employed to demonstrate the visual ubiquity of Montserrat’s sugar mills before emancipation in 1834, emphasizing the affective power of these edifices even beyond the borders of the plantations they served. It is also argued that the windmills’ persistence as common and recognizable landscape features plays a role in the lasting colonial legacy on Montserrat.

Cite this Record

Wind-Powered Sugar Mills as Constructions of Control in the Plantation Landscapes of Montserrat, West Indies. Miriam A. W. Rothenberg. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Fort Worth, TX. 2017 ( tDAR id: 435423)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 361