More investment

The Company’s own shareholders and officials also bought plantations and pursued their own economic interests, for example investing in the necessary shipping, the rising land prices and the offices created by the Company which were needed to run the colony.

Especially after the acquisition of St. Croix in 1733 the Company’s monopoly of sugar sales created a disparity between the Company’s management and the majority of the plantation owners. From 1733 until the takeover of the entire colony by the Crown in 1754, investment and debt rose, but so did profits. From 1754 until 1820 profits were at their highest.

From the outset the monarchy was strongly involved in the colony as a shareholder and plantation owner. From 1734 until 1751 Christian VI and after him Frederik V owned the colony’s largest plantation, Bethlehem, located on the island’s most fertile land in the middle of St. Croix. In 1751 the Crown sold Bethlehem to the brothers Heyliger who remained large landowners and entrepreneurs throughout the colony’s history.

In 1744 Frederick V inherited the throne, but he was an alcoholic and in fact left most matters of state to the Lord Chamberlain Count A.G. Moltke.

In 1750 A.G. Moltke was on the board of the Company and contributed to the decision that the Crown would acquire all of the Company’s assets. On the recommendation of Count A.G. Moltke the Crown bought all the shares at par and all liabilities were taken over at face value. The planters were happy with the new situation and there were large-scale reinvestments. Many years passed before the recovery of the planters’ debts was systematized.

Ownership of the enslaved Africans was transferred from the Company to the King and from 1754 until 1763 the King owned the four largest plantations, and thus a large number of the enslaved.

In 1766 the State owed 1 million rigsdaler/dollars as a result of the acquisition, but  subsequently it proved a great investment for the state.

By 1763 all the state assets had been sold to the King’s Minister of Finance Heinrich Carl Schimmelmann for 400,000 rigsdaler/dollars. The assets consisted of the sugar refinery at Christianshavn and four large plantations in the colony, including La Grande Princesse near Christiansted and La Grange at Frederiksted on St. Croix. This was a bargain for Schimmelmann, who now built up a lucrative trade triangle taking Danish-manufactured arms and other goods from Denmark to trade for slaves in Africa and sell them in the West Indies, producing and transporting sugar to Copenhagen and refining sugar for consumption there.