When the Spaniards discovered Curaçao, dyewood grew in the wild all over the island. It was used to make a red dye for textiles. To that end the wood was shipped to Europe. In Amsterdam, inmates of a detention center used to rasp the wood to a powder. This powder was turned into the dye named Brasil.
For quite some time the Amsterdam detention center had the monopoly of rasping dyewood. Because of this activity, it was even nicknamed the Rasp House.
Curaçao had less brasilwood than the neighboring island of Bonaire. Besides, the trees grew far from the coast, so they had to be transported over long distances. Nevertheless, in the first one and a half years of Dutch occupation no less than twenty ships with dyewood left for the Netherlands.
Since neither the Spanish nor the Dutch colonizers bothered to replant the chopped trees, the quantity of brasilwood declined rapidly. By the end of the 17th century trade in dyewood from Curaçao was as good as over.
In the 19th century, however, there was a revival. Since in the previous century hardly any dyewood had been chopped, the amount of timber had grown back. So dyewood was once again chopped on a few plantations, especially in Bándabou. In the 1880s the plantation of Savonet was an important supplier of dyewood. By the start of the 20th century demand for dyewood decreased.