Indigo Production, South Carolina, 1757

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Image Reference

William DeBrahm, A Map of South Carolina and a Part of Georgia . . . composed from surveys taken by . . . William Bull . . . Captain Gascoign, Hugh Bryan . . . and the author Wiliam De Brahm . . . London, published by Thomas Jeffreys, 1757. (Copy in Special Collections Department, University of Virginia Library; also Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division (G3910 1780.G3 Vault).

DeBrahm was the major "author" and surveyor of this map. This illustration on the map (located in the right hand lower corner) shows in the background two male slaves skimming off water from an indigo vat, leaving the remaining indigo to thicken into a paste that will be later removed and dried in blocks; in the foreground, a slave is dividing the indigo into blocks or cubes for shipment in barrels, also seen in the illustration. The same illustration was reprinted in London in 1780 in an up-dated version of this map, containing additional survey material and published by William Faden; the 1757 map is usually cataloged under DeBrahm, while the 1780 republication is cataloged under Faden. (Frederick Knight brought this illustration to our attention and assisted with some of the descriptive details; Susan Danforth, The John Carter Brown Library, helped with identification issues.)