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Windmills In Mauritius

Apart from the hundreds of sugar mills that existed, there were also a few windmills. Discover the remaining windmills in Mauritius, and learn their history.
Windmills in Mauritius

Mauritius has a long and illustrious history in the sugar industry. We had over 200 sugar mills and aloe fiber mills, but there were also a few windmills that existed and served their purpose. The primary function of a windmill is to convert wind energy into rotational energy. The majority of windmills in Mauritius were used for agricultural purposes.

After documenting all the remaining sugar mills’ chimneys in Mauritius, I decided to pursue this work on windmills. Unfortunately, several windmills were demolished many years ago, for example, Riche-Terre, which will be discussed further. Below are the eight remaining windmills in Mauritius. All of them are ruins, except the one at Port-Louis, which has been converted into a museum since 1999.

Windmill Museum

Windmill Museum
This windmill is located in Caudan and was built in 1736 as a flour mill. Its primary function was to supply flour to the dockers at the harbor. That was the reign of Mahé de Labourdonnais. Since 1999, the windmill has been a museum and can be visited.

Labourdonnais Windmill

Labourdonnais Windmill
Unfortunately, we have extremely little information regarding the Labourdonnais windmill. However, an elephant brought here by Adrien D'Epinay used to live beside the mill for many decades. And we know this windmill dated since the 1830s.

Roche-Terre Windmill

Roche-Terre Windmill
The Roche Terre windmill was a sugar mill that closed in the early 1830s. The photo above shows the actual stone ruin of the windmill building. There was also a chimney nearby that had been destroyed several years ago. It also served as a steam mill.

Petit Pacquet (Saint-François)

Petit Pacquet (Saint-François)
A stone structure can be seen on the left side of the road leading to Saint-François. The Petit Pacquet windmill is a national heritage. This location was the Belle Rive sugar estate. The windmill tower stands approximately 20 feet tall and has a base diameter of 22 feet. It was constructed between the 1830s and the 1860s.

Belle Rive (Petit Raffray)

Belle Rive (Petit Raffray)
There is very little information available on this beautiful windmill in Petit Raffray, another national heritage site. Unfortunately, it is in a bad state. The windmill was used to provide energy to a sugar mill. The tower has a base diameter of 29 feet and a height of 29 feet. It was most likely constructed in the 1830s.

Mon Loisir Rouillard

Mon Loisir Rouillard (Goodlands By-Pass)
This well-known windmill is located at Endemika, Petit-Raffray, the same location as the Mon Loisir Rouillard sugar mill, which was founded in the 1830s and closed in 1872. The windmill is also known as the Goodlands By-pass windmill. Its primary function was to transport water to a nearby sugar mill.

Forbach

Forbach
In 1818, Joseph Staub established the Forbach sugar estate. It was one of the most active in the North. After his death, Nicholas Staub was appointed owner, and Aristide Aubin was in charge between 1842 and 1875. He was responsible for many innovations, including the construction of the windmill in 1852.

Belle Vue Hannong

Belle Vue Hannong
A stone tower can be seen on the way to Cascavelle or Médine. It is the Belle Vue Hanong windmill, which was built between the 1850s and 1860s by Ignace de Hannong. On some documents, the Belle Vue Hannong estate was referred to as Belle Vue Rivière Dragon. Médine purchased the estate in the 1890s.

Other Windmills Which Have Been Disappeared

Riche-Terre once had a windmill tower, which no longer exists. It has even been designated as a national heritage since the 1950s. Another former sugar mill received energy from the windmill tower. In the early 1800s, the sugar mill existed. However, there was no sugar mill when John Jacob Wiehe purchased the estate in 1815. It is clear that both the sugar mill and the windmill had already been demolished at that time. The question now is why, in 1951, the authority designated the windmill as a national heritage when it did not even exist? A thought to ponder!

In the book The Mauritius Register compiled by Palmer and Bradshaw in 1859, they stated while visiting the Villebague village, there was a square tower in a dilapidated state, and a windmill existed to crush the sugarcanes.

At Triolet, precisely in the east region of 7th Mile, there was a windmill in the fields. The ruin still existed in the 1990s, but has been disappeared since some years ago.

There was a windmill look-alike tower near the Asile forest. Part of the ruin is still present, but there is no evidence the structure was a windmill. At Bois-Chéri, on the main road, there is a windmill structure however, it is not a real one. It is just a replica.

Our History, Our Identity

I will end this article with a quote from a US historian:

"History is not the past but a map of the past, drawn from a particular point of view, to be useful to the modern traveller."
Henry Glassie

If we do not teach our youngsters history, this country will lose its identity!

Author & References

Ali Jareehag

Author: Ali J | Date Published: February 5, 2023 | Last Updated: NA

References: Guy Rouillard (Histoire des domaines Sucriers de l’Ile Maurice), Jean Marie Chelin (TABLISMAN – Histoire de l’industrie sucrière de l’Ile Maurice), Alexander Descubes (The Island Of Mauritius Map 1880), Palmer & Bradshaw (The Mauritius Register, 1859), Aapravasi Ghat Trust Fund (The History Of Forbach Sugar Estate), Nivriti Sewtohul (L’Histoire Du Village De Triolet).

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