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World economy and a commodity: indigo. commodities reveal changes in world economy indigo shows: (1) hierarchies between Economy-Worlds; (2) impact of explorations; (3) shifting production markets; (4) follow-up on final markets; (5) results of industrialization.

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world economy and a commodity indigo
World economy and a commodity: indigo
  • commodities reveal changes in world economy
  • indigo shows:

(1) hierarchies between Economy-Worlds; (2) impact of explorations; (3) shifting production markets; (4) follow-up on final markets; (5) results of industrialization

world economy and a commodity indigo1
World economy and a commodity: indigo

indigo: the “substance from india”

obtaining a dyestuff/colourant from indigo

colorable goods with indigo

indigo before the age of explorations
Indigo before the Age of Explorations

indigo during Islam’s “Golden Age” 9th-12th century

a profitable trade from India

the biological transfer to the Middle East

an extremely valuable good

indigo before the age of explorations1
Indigo before the Age of Explorations

indigo shows that Europe is peripheral

crusaders discover blue “tiraz” cotton fabrics

indigo for frescos, cosmetics …

… importing blue fabrics

indigo and the age of explorations indian ocean
Indigo and the Age of Explorations: Indian Ocean

Europeans in Asia: a new network of indigo trade develops

Portugal the first mover: 20% of shipments deal with indigo (end of 16th century)

indigo’s high price/weight ratio, more than pepper and cloves

indigo and the age of explorations indian ocean1
Indigo and the Age of Explorations: Indian Ocean

1630:Dutch competition in trade (India), and production (Java)

England’s share: by 1620 E.I. Co. 100 tons of indigo per year

indigo trade profits up to 400% of capital invested

indigo and the age of explorations indian ocean2
Indigo and the Age of Explorations: Indian Ocean

1630: Dutch competition in trading with India …

… and in production: transfer of indigo cultivation in Java

indigo trade profits up to 400% of capital invested

indigo and the age of explorations indian ocean3
Indigo and the Age of Explorations: Indian Ocean

England’s share: by 1620 East India Co. imports 100 tons of indigo per year

a trade based on production by small scale Asian farmers

Bombay’s “Blue warehouse”: 600 tons per year (end 17th c.)

indigo after the age of explorations america
Indigo after the Age of Explorations: America

before 1730s a relatively small scale production

Spanish cultivation in Salvador

shipments of 150-200 tons of “Guatemalan indigo” per year

using native forced labor

indigo after the age of explorations america1
Indigo after the Age of Explorations: America

French production: Haiti, and the Mississipi delta

British production in Jamaica: 25 tons per year (end of 17th c.)

in America: linking indigo with slavery

deep blue vs pale blue the impact of indigo in europe
Deep blue vs pale blue: the impact of Indigo in Europe

Europe’s imperfect substitute: traditional dyeing with woad

the spread of prohibitions against indigo: 16th-17th c.

the calico “craze” of late 17° c.

1730s: calico secret unveiled

deep blue vs pale blue the impact on production americas
Deep blue vs pale blue: the impact on production (Americas)

from 1730s European demand for indigo increases

plantation system is applied to American production

Haiti’s boom: 1,000 tons a year

the crises determined by the French Revolution

deep blue vs pale blue the impact on production americas1
Deep blue vs pale blue: the impact on production (Americas)

indigo plantations in S. Carolina

500 tons per year around 1750s

crises of exports determined by USA Revolution

indigo production in Brazil: 180 tons (during the Revolutions)

indigo networks of trade around the world africa
Indigo networks of trade around the World: Africa

Islamic networks and the “blue men” of Sahara: Tuareg

Indian cotton fabrics in East Africa 16th-17th century

West Africa: indigo and blue textiles for slaves

the impact of the industrial revolution
The impact of the Industrial Revolution

1750: Indian textiles are still 60% of East India Co. imports

Industrial Revolution: massive production of blue cloths in Britain

The need for more indigo, when American supply is declining

the impact of the industrial revolution1
The impact of the Industrial Revolution

India: a new boom of indigo after 18th c. decline

importing skills and technology

1805-14: 2,800 tons of indigo exported every year

1830s: half of the value of exports from Calicut is indigo

the impact of the industrial revolution2
The impact of the Industrial Revolution

lack of silver: indigo as a mean for paying British in India

small scale farming replaced by English controlled production

1850s revolts against indigo forced cultivation

Ghandi’s call for undyed cloths

the chemical revolution and the end of indigo
The Chemical Revolution and the end of indigo

Germany woad industry collapse

the revenge of synthetic dyes: 1859 chemical purple

1878: synthetic blue by von Bayer

end of 19th c. BASF large scale blue colourant production

the chemical revolution and the end of indigo1
The Chemical Revolution and the end of indigo

1914: BASF producing 80% of world synthetic colourants

1895-1914: exports from India drop from 187,000 to 11,000 tons

WW I: the lack of blue fabrics and the French soldier slaughter

the chemical revolution and the end of indigo2
The Chemical Revolution and the end of indigo

blue: a successful story

indigo “blue collars” and blue synthetic uniforms

Levi Strauss and indigo: from Genoa (jeans) to Nimes (denim)

1920: 1 billion pairs of blue jeans artificially dyed