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Consequently, the importation and use of indigo in Europe rose significantly.
Much European indigo from Asia arrived through ports in Portugal, the Netherlands, and England.
The leaves were soaked in water and fermented to convert the glycoside indican present in the plant to the blue dye indigotin.
The precipitate from the fermented leaf solution was mixed with a strong base such as lye, pressed into cakes, dried, and powdered.
Dyer's knotweed (Polygonum tinctorum) was the most important blue dye in East Asia until the arrival of the Indigofera species from the south, which yield more dye.Many indigo plantations were established by European powers in tropical climates.Spain imported the dye from its colonies in South America, and it was a major crop in Haiti and Jamaica, with much or all of the labor performed by enslaved Africans and African Americans.Indigo plantations also thrived in the Virgin Islands.However, France and Germany outlawed imported indigo in the 16th century to protect the local woad dye industry.Indigo was the foundation of centuries-old textile traditions throughout West Africa.