Posted by Robert on June 04, 2003
In Reply to: Blue blood & indigo posted by TheFallen on May 29, 2003
: : : : I have always understood this term to refer to those of the finanacial/cultural elite and had recently been told that the origin is from the merchants of indigo from the "new world". Apparently, indigo was one of the many plants that were "discovered" in the Americas, (potatoes, tomatoes, etc.) and its exceptional blue dye qualities were highly desired, making its merchants extremely wealthy and figuratively "blue-blooded". It seems that this term may be older though.
: : : BLUE BLOOD - "An aristocrat or aristocratic person. During the centuries when the dark-skinned Moors ruled Spain, members of the old Castilian families were wont to say with pride that their blood had not been contaminated by Moorish or other foreign admixtures. The term they used was 'sangre azul,' which probably sprang from the fact that the veins of the fair-skinned are visibly blue." " From the "Dictionary of Cliches" by James Rogers (Ballantine Books, New York, 1985).
: : Friends of mine were in the diplomatic corps for a while. They adopted a baby girl in Guatemala. When they were assigned to a new post in Spain, they reported back that their daughter was shunned by other children because she has dark skin. I found that surprising.
: The vegetable dye indigo is predominantly found in the Indian subcontinent and also parts of Africa. It's one of the oldest dyes known to have been discovered, and has been used for at least 2,000 years, if not longer, so the "New World" theory is a little unlikely.
Yes, that part of the story didn't make sense to me. I thought that indigo was used long before Columbus' journeys. Thanks.