Cotton used to be grown on Curaçao, but only in small quantities. In the 1680s a hundred spinning wheels were shipped from the Netherlands to the island, because Curaçao had top-quality cotton. It was the intention to develop the cotton culture, but a few years later caterpillars destroyed the entire crop. Subsequently, the culture was abandoned.
In 1791, a report once again stated the good quality of Curaçao cotton. According to the report its culture wasn’t worth mentioning. Still, in 1816 Jan Thiel plantation’s inventory mentioned ‘15 bags of cotton beans’. In the late 1820s the agricultural expert Teenstra observed that two types of cotton were planted on the island, mainly for private use. It was also seen growing in the wild.
That changed when Governor Van Raders (1836-1845) intended to promote cotton growing. He imported drought tolerant seeds from Barbados which were sown on Plantersrust. A year later the first bales of cotton could be shipped. Private plantations such as Siberie and Savonet followed.
But nature in the form of caterpillars put a spoke in the wheels. Complete cotton fields were eaten, and the cotton culture on Plantersrust was discontinued after only four years.