252 years ago (in 1765), the estate was created in the south-western part of the island, when several plots of up to 200 acres were conceded to Sir Simon Reminiac and Sir Claude de la Roche Ronzet. The land was used to grow sugar cane and, in 1802, a sugar mill was built. It was sold to the famous botanist Charles Telfair in 1816.
Under the influence of this visionary man of science and humanist, the whole estate and region experienced a tremendous growth. Charles Telfair was also known for improving the lot of his workmen. He also introduced innovative techniques to plough the fields and imported seeds from Europe and other places to enrich the regional flora.
In 1910, the Compagnie Sucrière de Bel Ombre was created by a group of people. They acquire the Beau-Champ and Sainte Marie estates, then the lands of Frederica in 1914, Bon Courage in 1934, Chamarel and Case Noyale in 1951, turning Bel Ombre into the largest sugar estate on the island. Back in 1951, the land and forests used for livestock farming and game hunting covered a total area of 10,000 acres.
The sugar production held a major place for decades, but was eventually discontinued in 1999. Since then, most of the cane grown in the region is transported to Medine. The economic activity today mainly rests on tourism and real estate development.
© « Bel Ombre, entre mer et montagne », Jean Pierre Lenoir, Editions du Corsaire, 2010.