The cultivation of indigo eventually spread to the southern American British Colonies where it became one of the most profitable crops. In the 1700s, South Carolina became the colony which developed and produced the commercial indigo dye. Wild Paper handmade paper for printing, artists & gift wrap, Wild Colours - Exciting colours from Natural Dyes, Wild Colours natural dyes > indigo dye > indigo history. During this time, a chemist in the Netherlands named Drebble created a red dye using a mixture of tin and cochineal. In the history of dye, chemicals proved less expensive than the naturally sourced dyes and were more widely used. This Latin American species was cultivated for centuries by the indigenous Maya people of that region, and Spanish colonists began exporting indigo dye from Guatemala to Europe in the 1550s. [6] See “The Indigo Plant Described,” Gentleman’s Magazine 25 (May 1755): 201–3; and “On Manufacturing Indigo Into A Dye,” Gentleman’s Magazine 25 (June 1755): 256–59. 12) Turkey red and Prussian Blue 9- patch, ca 1825-45. Indigo production was phased out after the Revolution, and the slave labor used in its production was transferred to rice cultivation. “William Drayton’s Journal of a 1784 Tour of the South Carolina Backcountry.”, Payne, Jennifer. [6] Thomas Mellichamp received a reward from the South Carolina legislature in 1760 for his improvements in indigo production, which were then published in the local newspaper. 4 – Included both plants, cloth, dye in crock pot, Regina Spell The French Protestant (or Huguenot) immigrants who came to early South Carolina probably arrived with a greater familiarity with indigo than their English neighbors. While indigo traces its roots to India, the African slave trade made it exceedingly valuable on that continent. She tells her story in her book Indigo: In Search of the Color that Seduced the World. In the original lesson, the instructor evaluated students on participation and following directions. An early South Carolina planter named Robert Stevens (died 1720), for example, described the process of extracting the blue dye from the plant in the autumn of 1706. To my knowledge, there is no surviving evidence that the indigenous Native Americans of early South Carolina cultivated indigo, so the local Indians could not have introduced it to the early settlers, as they did with maize and tobacco elsewhere. The Chinese wrote about a wax-resistant dye called batik in the 700s. In Search of the Color That Seduced the World. Through many years as a dyer, I have found no difference between woad and indigo for dyeing linen. This derives from the ancient use of urine (which is produced copiously by the human body after drinking alcohol) in dyeing cloth blue with woad or indigo. The indigo plant originated in the Middle East, and was so scarce and valuable that the color indigo came to be associated with wealth and power. In mid-April 1746, the South Carolina legislature cancelled the bounty on indigo only, stating that so much of the blue dye had been produced recently that the continuation of the bounty was impractical.[3]. Some of South Carolina’s indigo might have been used to dye textiles locally, but, prior to the nineteenth century, we purchased the vast majority of our textiles directly from England, “dyed in the wool.”. hide caption. 14) 1825 Indigo monochrome on linen, China blue or copperplate would look similar to this roller print. "Statement of Use and Reproduction. Did Eliza Lucas Pinckney create the indigo industry in colonial South Carolina? In the history of dye, the main source for dye was still plants. After indigo production declined cases of yellow fever increased. Journal helped the students understand the value of the blue dye to South Carolina. I had to depend on the student’s honesty to identify his or her cloth. It originated in India and traveled through the Arab and African trading routes. We Insist: A Timeline Of Protest Music In 2020. In her surviving letterbook, which contains copies of her outgoing mail, Eliza mentioned that she spent countless hours reading in her father’s extensive library. After several hours of stillness, laborers drained away the remaining liquid to reveal a vat filled with a dark blue mud. Because of France’s traditional commercial ties with Spain, and France’s colonies in the Caribbean, it’s likely that some of the Huguenot settlers who established plantations in the Carolina Lowcountry, especially around Santee River delta, in the early 1700s might have been cultivating indigo for their own use. Since ancient times, Europeans had cultivated the woad plant (Isatis tinctoria) to produce a very similar blue dye for textiles, and woad farmers and dyers wanted to protect their traditional trade.

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