Why was there is a demand for Indian Indigo ?
The demand for Indian indigo increased with the rise of cotton textile maufacturing in Europe. Indigo produces a very bright and rich blue dye that could be used to apply colour to textile. Earlier, a plant called woad was used to make such dye. But the dye from indigo was of a superior quality.
The indigo plant grows primarily in the tropics.India indigo was being used by cloth manufacturers in Italy, Franceand Britain to dye cloth. Only small amount of Indian indigo reached the European market andits price was very high. The substitute for indigo was identified by the Europeans i.e. the plantcalled woad to make violet and blue dyes. But the dye from woad was pale and dull and not rich blue like indigo. Indigo plantations also came up in many parts of North America aswell as in Brazil, France, Jamaica, etc. Between 1783 and 1789 the production of indigo in the world fell byhalf. Cloth dyers in Britain now desperately looked for new sources ofindigo supply.