After reaching its peak in the late 1700s the production of sugar declined throughout the nineteenth century, nearly ceasing altogether on several occasions in the last hundred years. The growing of sugar beet in Europe, the emancipation of the slaves, and the increase in the number of countries growing sugarcane worldwide, all contributed to depress the industry on St. Kitts and to threaten the island’s entire economy. The Industry was saved from extinction in 1912 by the opening of the central sugar factory, capable of processing the whole of the island’s’ crop. This replaced the individual mills and boiling-houses on the various estates. It came into operation just in time for the revival in the price of sugar brought about by the First World War. The public opening of the factory took place on the 20th of February 1912, and it was ready to process its first crop on the 9th of March. Thus the factory was actually working within a year of the date on which the machinery was ordered. Three years after all the sugar estates were nationalized in 1974, the Government acquired the St. Kitts Sugar Factory. The Sugar Factory remains a national treasure and major heritage site.
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