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CONSERVING NATURE'S LITTLE SECRETS SINCE 1961

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Mount Healthy National Park

Tortola, British Virgin Islands

History

This 18th century windmill was once used for grinding the sugarcane, farmed from the steep slopes on the north shore of Tortola.

It was part of a thriving 250-acre plantation where enslaved Africans cultivated the sugarcane on the terraced slopes and processed it into sugar, which was then shipped to Britain for sale. Across the road from the windmill lie the ruins of the mill round, which was powered by animals, the factory with boiling house, the distiller, hospital and living quarters.

Mount Healthy windmill is the last remaining windmill in the BVI and was constructed from field rubble. The large arched apertures are accented by cut stone blocks. These functional openings were used for carrying the sugar cane into the mill for grinding and the crushed cane (bagasse) out. The circular walls of the windmill were often six or more feet at the base, tapering up to three feet at the top to a truncated cone.

Following the abolition of enslavement in 1834, workers from the Mt. Healthy estate could buy land to cultivate themselves. However the sugar industry deteriorated after a series of disastrous hurricanes in the 1830s and drought in the1850s, resulting in the windmill becoming a relic from the past.  

Park Information

Established: 1983

Area: 1 acres

Photos

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