Sugar cane mill, 17th century

Sugar cane mill, 17th century

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Credit: MIDDLE TEMPLE LIBRARY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Sugar cane mill. 17th-century artwork of slaves using cattle to power a mill on a sugar cane plantation in the Americas. The grinding mechanism includes cutting blades used to chop and shred sugar cane. The shredded canes will then be mixed with water and crushed between rollers to extract the sweet, sugary juices. Further refining is then carried out to produce the sugar. The peak in the extent and size of the slave-worked sugar plantations was reached in the Caribbean in the 18th century. Artwork from 'De medicina Brasiliensi libri quatuor' (Four books of Brazilian medicine, 1648) by Dutch physician and naturalist Willem Piso (1611-1678).

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