Free Virtual Public Lecture
Gabriela Soto Laveaga, Professor of the History of Science and Antonio Madero Professor for the Study of Mexico, Harvard University
Cochineal (Dactylopius coccus) is a small insect that produces a brilliant red pigment. Found in textiles, paintings, cosmetics, and many other objects that span the globe, cochineal is an integral part of world history. Cochineal pigment was used by Mesoamerican peoples long before the Spanish arrived in the sixteenth century. After being introduced to Europe, it quickly became a precious commodity and control over its global trade was a source of conflict and competition for over three centuries. In this lecture, Gabriela Soto Laveaga will trace the fascinating history of cochineal production and the many efforts to control its trade.