The indigo plant (Indigofera tinctoria) was used as a source of blue dye for textiles. The plants were introduced by the Dutch, and its culture probably started as early as 1651 when the first Jewish settlers arrived on the island. Using local stones and imported yellow ijsselsteentjes (bricks), they built indigo basins in which the indigo leaves were soaked to reach fermentation . Subsequently the indigo was moved to two lower lying basins. The result was a colored liquid that was dried and packed. The unpleasant smell of the process forced the plantation owners to place the indigo basins as far from the main house as possible.

Especially in the 18th century the indigo culture was widespread. In 1803 the inventory of St. Nicolaas plantation mentioned tools of the indigo culture, but it is unclear whether indigo was still cultivated there at the time. 

It has been established, though, that after 1816 the indigo culture on the island was of little account. Because the English had actively stimulated the culture in British India, market prices plummeted. Growing indigo proved no longer profitable for the small Curaçao producers, and the indigo culture dwindled.

The indigo plant still grows in the wild on the island, and remnants of the culture can be found on several (former) plantations. So far, the Archeological Study Group, popularly referred to as the “Detectives” (Speurneuzen), have found 23 sets of indigo basins on 16 former plantations.