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The cultivation of sugar cane was introduced to Belize by the Maya and Mestizo refugees who fled from Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula as a result of the 1848 Guerra de Las Castas. During and after the American Civil War (1861-1865), Americans living in the Southern United States migrated to Belize. These immigrants settled initially in the Cowpen area of the Toledo District then migrated to different areas, primarily in southern Belize investing large amounts of capital in sugar estates. During the 18th century and early 19th-century numerous small sugar mills were established throughout southern Belize.
Two steam-powered mills owned by the Serpon and Regalia Sugar Estates were established in 1863 marking the arrival of the industrial era to Belize. By the turn of the century sugar production was found to be more profitable in the Corozal and Orange Walk Districts, and the Serpon and Regalia mills were eventually abandoned in 1910.
Belize Sugar Mills Video Transcript
Hi, my name is Esmoraldo Coh.
I’m a park warden at the Institute of Archaeology and these are some of the remains of the factory that was established in 1867.
This machine was called the main crusher, that was brought from Scotland. They have to steam engine on this side one. The main crushers came from Scotland and Richmond Virginia in the United States. These machines would crush the sugar. Along, the site was planted between 400 to 500 acres of sugarcane. They provided 17 cubics tons per month or 1700 pounds of raw sugar per month.
The boilers would provide the steam to all engines, as well as the pump that would provide the water from City River. Then after it’s been crushed, it’s passed to the furnace to be cooked but not to be cooked to a boiling point. then it would be passed to the dryer then it would be passed into a wall so it can be cold. then they transfer the sugar that’s been called now syrup into the dryer. After it’s been dried, it’s either put into bricks are into barrels to be shipped to Europe. In eighteenth-century Belize did not have any refineries to refine the sugar. After it’s been refined in Europe, it’s sold to neighboring countries for a high price