What was Eliza Lucas Pinckney's age when she started working with indigo plants?

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linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Elizabeth Lucas Pinkney is given credit for establishing indigo as an important Southern cash crop. She was born in 1722 on the British West Indies island of Antigua. In 1738, because of her mother's ailing health, the family emigrated to South Carolina, where Elizabeth's father had inherited three plantations. When she was 16, her father returned to Antigua to serve as lieutenant governor, and he gave her the responsibility of managing one of the South Carolina plantations by herself and supervising the overseers of the other two.

Her father sent her seeds from Antigua to experiment with on the plantations. In 1740, he sent her some indigo seeds. Since she was born in 1722, in 1740, she would have been only 18 years old when she began experimenting with the indigo plant.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The quick answer to your question is that Eliza Lucas Pinckney (who at that point was not married and still using her maiden name) started experimenting with indigo plants when she was 17.

She was born in Antigua in the Caribbean in 1722.  Her parents soon moved to South Carolina where they ran a plantation.  When her father (a military officer) was sent back to the Caribbean, she began to have more of a hand in running their plantation.

She realized that there was a great deal of money to be made from making dyes.  It was at that point that she started working with indigo.

Her work with indigo heavily influenced the Southern economy.  In addition, she gave birth to two men who were signers of the Declaration of Independence.

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