Sugar was the catalyst of the development St. Kitts and Nevis. It drove the first land-owners and made lots of money for the British. At one point (per a guide, so take it with a grain of salt) sugar drove 1/4 of the British GDP.
Both islands were given over almost completely to sugar production. It also drove the slave trade to the Caribbean, including St. Kitts and Nevis. The natives were all killed after the European explorers "discovered" the west Indies.
The sugar riches faded away after the discover of sugar beet production in Europe and the anti-slavery movement in the early 1800s (in Britain). But they continued to have a (very) few sugar plantations in some form until the 1950s.
|The site with the tower and aqueduct.
One day on St. Kitts, Ed and I took a tour of the island. One place we stopped was an old sugar mill, now a history park. It was very cool.
The tower is where they cooked the sugar out of the crushed cane. The water aqueduct powered a the mill that crushed the cain first. It was cool.
If you look at the picture above, you can see a large metal bowl. These were cast in Scotland and were used to cook the sugar by-product into Rum.