Sugar Plantations

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

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The plantations, which ranged from hundreds to thousands of acres, featured cane fields known as “cane pieces,” pastureland and woodland for fuel, and self-contained villages. These villages included the infrastructure of sugar production: a mill, boiling and curing houses, often a rum distillery, and sheds and barns for the bagasse, or cane leavings, and for supplies, equipment, and livestock. There were homes for the overseer, chemist, and other white employees. The planter’s “great house” loomed over the slave quarters, built either as barracks or as rows of thatched-roof shacks. Many plantations contained gardens or “provision grounds” for their slaves to grow their own food, instead of providing food for them. See plantations, sugar.