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Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple
fiber Fiber or fibre (from la, fibra, links=no) is a natural Nature, in the broadest sense, is the natural, physical, material world or universe The universe ( la, universus) is all of space and time and their contents, including ...

fiber
that grows in a
boll Boll may refer to: *Boll (surname) *Scottish units#Dry volume, Boll, an obsolete Scottish measure of volume *BOLL, a protein in humans *7873 Böll, a main-belt asteroid *Boll case, a 1958 International Court of Justice case *Boll KG, Uwe Boll's pe ...
, or protective case, around the seeds of the cotton plants of the genus ''
Gossypium ''Gossypium'' () is a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of extant taxon, living and fossil organisms as well as Virus classification#ICTV classification, vir ...

Gossypium
'' in the mallow family
Malvaceae Malvaceae, or the mallows, is a family of flowering plants estimated to contain 244 genera with 4225 known species. Well-known members of economic importance include okra, cotton, Theobroma cacao, cacao and durian. There are also some genera conta ...

Malvaceae
. The fiber is almost pure
cellulose Cellulose is an organic compound with the chemical formula, formula , a polysaccharide consisting of a linear chain of several hundred to many thousands of glycosidic bond, β(1→4) linked glucose, D-glucose units. Cellulose is an important stru ...

cellulose
, and can contain minor percentages of waxes, fats, pectins, and water. Under natural conditions, the cotton bolls will increase the dispersal of the seeds. The plant is a
shrub A shrub (often called a bush) is a small- to medium-sized perennial A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic eukaryotes of the Kingdom (biology), kingdom Plantae. Historically, the p ...

shrub
native to tropical and subtropical regions around the world, including the Americas, Africa, Egypt and India. The greatest diversity of wild cotton species is found in Mexico, followed by Australia and Africa. Cotton was independently domesticated in the Old and New Worlds. The fiber is most often
spun ''Spun'' is a 2003 American black comedy Black comedy, also known as black humor, dark humor, dark comedy, morbid humor, or gallows humor, is a style of comedy Comedy (from the el, wikt:κωμῳδία, κωμῳδία, ''kōmōdía'') i ...
into
yarn Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibres, suitable for use in the production of textiles, sewing, crocheting, knitting, weaving, embroidery, or ropemaking. Thread (yarn), Thread is a type of yarn intended for sewing by hand or sewin ...
or thread and used to make a soft,
breathable Moisture vapor transmission rate (MVTR), also water vapor transmission rate (WVTR), is a measure of the passage of water vapor through a substance. It is a measure of the permeability for vapor barrier A vapor barrier (or vapour barrier) is any ...
, and durable
textile A textile is a flexible material made by creating an interlocking bundle of yarn Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibres, suitable for use in the production of textiles, sewing, crocheting, knitting, weaving, embroidery, ...

textile
. The use of cotton for fabric is known to date to prehistoric times; fragments of cotton fabric dated to the fifth millennium BC have been found in the
Indus Valley Civilization , c. 2500 BCE. Terracotta Terracotta, terra cotta, or terra-cotta (; Italian language, Italian: "baked earth", from the Latin ''terra cocta''), a type of earthenware, is a clay-based ceramic glaze, unglazed or glazed ceramic, where the ...

Indus Valley Civilization
, as well as fabric remnants dated back to 6000 BC in
Peru , , image_flag = Flag_of_Peru.svg , image_coat = Escudo_nacional_del_Perú.svg , other_symbol = Great Seal of the State , other_symbol_type = Seal (device), National seal , national_mott ...

Peru
. Although cultivated since antiquity, it was the invention of the
cotton gin A cotton gin – meaning "cotton engine" – is a machine that quickly and easily separates cotton Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective case, around the seeds of the cotton plants of the ge ...
that lowered the cost of production that led to its widespread use, and it is the most widely used
natural fiber Natural fibers or natural fibres (see spelling differences Despite the various English dialects Dialect The term dialect (from Latin , , from the Ancient Greek word , , "discourse", from , , "through" and , , "I speak") is used in two ...
cloth in clothing today. Current estimates for world production are about 25 million
tonne The tonne ( or ; symbol: t) is a metric unit of mass equal to 1,000 kilogram The kilogram (also kilogramme) is the base unit of mass Mass is the physical quantity, quantity of ''matter'' in a physical body. It is also a meas ...
s or 110 million bales annually, accounting for 2.5% of the world's arable land. India is the world's largest producer of cotton. The United States has been the largest exporter for many years.


Types

There are four commercially grown species of cotton, all domesticated in antiquity: *''
Gossypium hirsutum ''Gossypium hirsutum'', also known as upland cotton or Mexican cotton, is the most widely planted species of cotton in the world. Globally, about 90% of all cotton production is of cultivars derived from this species. In the United States ...

Gossypium hirsutum
'' – upland cotton, native to
Central America Central America ( es, América Central, , ''Centroamérica'' ) is a region of the Americas The Americas (also collectively called America) is a landmass comprising the totality of North North is one of the four compass points or ...

Central America
, Mexico, the Caribbean and southern Florida (90% of world production) *''
Gossypium barbadense ''Gossypium barbadense'' (''gos-SIP-pee-um bar-ba-DEN-see'') is one of several species of cotton. It is in the mallow family. It has been cultivated since antiquity, but has been especially prized since a form with particularly long fibers was d ...

Gossypium barbadense
'' – known as extra-long staple cotton, native to tropical South America (8% of world production) *''
Gossypium arboreum ''Gossypium arboreum'', commonly called tree cotton, is a species of cotton Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective case, around the seeds of the cotton plants of the genus '' Gossypium'' in the mallow f ...

Gossypium arboreum
'' – tree cotton, native to India and Pakistan (less than 2%) *''
Gossypium herbaceum ''Gossypium herbaceum'', commonly known as Levant cotton, is a species of Gossypium, cotton native to the semi-arid regions of sub-Saharan Africa and Arabia, where it still grows in the wild as a perennial plant, perennial shrub. Description ''G. ...

Gossypium herbaceum
'' – Levant cotton, native to southern Africa and the Arabian Peninsula (less than 2%) Hybrid varieties are also cultivated. The two New World cotton species account for the vast majority of modern cotton production, but the two Old World species were widely used before the 1900s. While cotton fibers occur naturally in colors of white, brown, pink and green, fears of contaminating the genetics of white cotton have led many cotton-growing locations to ban the growing of colored cotton varieties.


Etymology

The word "cotton" has Arabic origins, derived from the
Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region ...

Arabic
word ( or ). This was the usual word for cotton in medieval Arabic.A number of large dictionaries were written in Arabic during medieval times. Searchable copies of nearly all of the main medieval Arabic dictionaries are online a
Baheth.info
and/o
AlWaraq.net
One of the most esteemed of the dictionaries is
Ismail ibn Hammad al-JawhariAbu Nasr Isma'il ibn Hammad al-Jawhari () also spelled al-Jauhari (died 1002 or 1008) was a Turkic languages, Turkic lexicographer and the author of a notable Arabic dictionary ''al-Ṣiḥāḥ fī al-lughah'' (). He was born in the city of Farab ( ...
's ''"Al-Sihah"'' which is dated around and shortly after year 1000. The biggest is
Ibn Manzur Muhammad ibn Mukarram ibn Alī ibn Ahmad ibn Manzūr al-Ansārī al-Ifrīqī al-Misrī al-Khazrajī () also known as Ibn Manẓūr () (June–July 1233 – December 1311/January 1312) was an Arabs, Arab lexicographer of the Arabic language and aut ...
's ''"Lisan Al-Arab"'' which is dated 1290 but most of its contents were taken from a variety of earlier sources, including 9th- and 10th-century sources. Often Ibn Manzur names his source then quotes from it. Therefore, if the reader recognizes the name of Ibn Manzur's source, a date considerably earlier than 1290 can often be assigned to what is said. A list giving the year of death of a number of individuals who Ibn Manzur quotes from is i
Lane's ''Arabic-English Lexicon'', volume 1, page xxx
(year 1863). Lane's ''
Arabic-English Lexicon __NOTOC__ The ''Arabic–English Lexicon'' is an Arabic–English dictionary compiled by Edward William Lane Edward William Lane (17 September 1801 – 10 August 1876) was a British orientalist, translator and lexicographer Lexicography i ...

Arabic-English Lexicon
'' contains much of the main contents of the medieval Arabic dictionaries in English translation. At AlWaraq.net, in addition to searchable copies of medieval Arabic dictionaries, there are searchable copies of a large number of medieval Arabic texts on various subjects.
Marco Polo in chapter 2 in his book, describes a province he calls Khotan in Turkestan, today’s Xinjiang, where cotton was grown in abundance. The word entered the
Romance languages The Romance languages, less commonly Latin or Neo-Latin languages, are the modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin Vulgar Latin, also known as Popular or Colloquial Latin, is non-literary Literature broadly is any collection of w ...

Romance languages
in the mid-12th century,More details a
''CNRTL.fr Etymologie''
in French language. Centre national de ressources textuelles et lexicales (CNRTL) is a division of the
French National Centre for Scientific Research The French National Centre for Scientific Research (french: link=no, Centre national de la recherche scientifique, CNRS) is the French state research organisation and is the largest fundamental science Basic research, also called pure research or ...
.
and English a century later. Cotton fabric was known to the ancient
Romans Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, ...

Romans
as an import but cotton was rare in the Romance-speaking lands until imports from the Arabic-speaking lands in the later medieval era at transformatively lower prices.


History


Early history


South Asia

The earliest evidence of the use of cotton in the
Old World The Old World consists of Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% o ...
, dated to 5500 BC and preserved in copper beads, has been found at the
Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is t ...
site of
Mehrgarh Mehrgarh (; ur, ) is a Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human his ...

Mehrgarh
, at the foot of the
Bolan Pass The Bolān Pass ( ur, ) is a mountain pass through the Toba Kakar range of Balochistan (Pakistan), Balochistan province in western Pakistan, from the Afghanistan border. The pass is an stretch of the Bolan river valley from Dhadar, Rindli in the ...
in
Balochistan Balochistan (; bal, بلوچِستان; also romanised as Baluchistan) is an arid A region is arid when it is characterized by a severe lack of available water, to the extent of hindering or preventing the growth and development Development ...

Balochistan
,
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a popul ...

Pakistan
. Quote: "One of the funerary chambers, dating to around 5500 BC, had contained an adult male lying on his side with legs flexed backward and a young child, approximately one or two years old, at his feet. Next to the adult's left wrist were eight copper beads which had once formed a bracelet. As such metal beads were only found in one other Neolithic burial at Mehrgarh, he must have been an extraordinarily wealthy and important person. Microscopic analysis showed that each bead had been made by beating and heating copper ore into a thin sheet which had then been rolled around a narrow rod. Substantial corrosion prevented a detailed technological study of the beads; yet this turned out to be a blessing as the corrosion had led to the preservation of something quite remarkable inside one of the beads – a piece of cotton. ... After further microscopic study, the fibres were unquestionably identified as cotton; it was, in fact, a bundle of both unripe and ripe fibres that had been wound together to make a thread, these being differentiated by the thickness of their cell walls. As such, this copper bead contained the earliest known use of cotton in the world by at least a thousand years. The next earliest was also found at Mehrgarh: a collection of cotton seeds discovered amidst charred wheat and barley grains outside one of its mud-brick rooms." Fragments of cotton textiles have been found at
Mohenjo-daro Mohenjo-daro (; sd, موئن جو دڙو'', ''meaning 'Mound of the Dead Men';
and other sites of the
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the Three-age sys ...
Indus Valley Civilization , c. 2500 BCE. Terracotta Terracotta, terra cotta, or terra-cotta (; Italian language, Italian: "baked earth", from the Latin ''terra cocta''), a type of earthenware, is a clay-based ceramic glaze, unglazed or glazed ceramic, where the ...

Indus Valley Civilization
, and cotton may have been an important export from it.


Americas

Cotton bolls discovered in a cave near Tehuacán,
Mexico Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organi ...

Mexico
, have been dated to as early as 5500 BC, but this date has been challenged. More securely dated is the domestication of ''
Gossypium hirsutum ''Gossypium hirsutum'', also known as upland cotton or Mexican cotton, is the most widely planted species of cotton in the world. Globally, about 90% of all cotton production is of cultivars derived from this species. In the United States ...

Gossypium hirsutum
'' in Mexico between around 3400 and 2300 BC. During this time, people between the Río Santiago and the Río Balsas grew, spun, wove, dyed, and sewed cotton. What they didn't use themselves, they sent to their Aztec rulers as tribute, on the scale of ~116 million pounds annually. In
Peru , , image_flag = Flag_of_Peru.svg , image_coat = Escudo_nacional_del_Perú.svg , other_symbol = Great Seal of the State , other_symbol_type = Seal (device), National seal , national_mott ...

Peru
, cultivation of the indigenous cotton species ''
Gossypium barbadense ''Gossypium barbadense'' (''gos-SIP-pee-um bar-ba-DEN-see'') is one of several species of cotton. It is in the mallow family. It has been cultivated since antiquity, but has been especially prized since a form with particularly long fibers was d ...

Gossypium barbadense
'' has been dated, from a find in Ancon, to c. 4200 BC, and was the backbone of the development of coastal cultures such as the Norte Chico, Moche, and
Nazca Nazca (; sometimes spelled Nasca; Quechuan languages, Quechua: Naska) is a city and system of valleys on the southern coast of Peru. It is also the name of the largest existing town in the Nazca Province. The name is derived from the Nazca culture ...
. Cotton was grown upriver, made into nets, and traded with fishing villages along the coast for large supplies of fish. The Spanish who came to Mexico and Peru in the early 16th century found the people growing cotton and wearing clothing made of it.


Arabia

The Greeks and the Arabs were not familiar with cotton until the
Wars of Alexander the Great The wars of Alexander the Great were a series of wars, fought over a span of thirteen years (from 336-323 BC), that were carried out by King Alexander the Great, Alexander III of Macedon (his moniker being Alexander "The Great"). The wars bega ...
, as his contemporary
Megasthenes Megasthenes ( ; grc, Μεγασθένης, c. 350BCE– c. 290 BCE) was an ancient Greek historian, diplomat and Indian ethnographer and explorer in the Hellenistic period The Hellenistic period covers the period of Mediterranean history b ...
told
Seleucus I Nicator Seleucus I Nicator (; ; grc-gre, Σέλευκος Νικάτωρ, Séleukos Nikátōr, Seleucus the Victorious) was a Ancient Macedonians, Macedonian Greek general, a Diadochi of Alexander the Great and ultimately king who fought for control over ...
of "there being trees on which wool grows" in "Indica". This may be a reference to "tree cotton",
Gossypium arboreum ''Gossypium arboreum'', commonly called tree cotton, is a species of cotton Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective case, around the seeds of the cotton plants of the genus '' Gossypium'' in the mallow f ...

Gossypium arboreum
, which is a native of the Indian subcontinent. According to the ''
Columbia Encyclopedia The ''Columbia Encyclopedia'' is a one-volume encyclopedia An encyclopedia or encyclopaedia (British English) is a reference work or compendium providing summaries of knowledge either from all branches or from a particular field or discip ...
'':"cotton"
in ''The Columbia Encyclopedia'', Sixth Edition. 2001–07.


Iran

In Iran (
Persia Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Tu ...

Persia
), the history of cotton dates back to the
Achaemenid The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient Iranian empire An empire is a sovereign state consisting of several territories and peoples subj ...
era (5th century BC); however, there are few sources about the planting of cotton in pre-Islamic Iran. Cotton cultivation was common in
Merv Merv ( tk, Merw, ''Мерв'', مرو; fa, مرو, ''Marv''), also known as the Merve Oasis, formerly known as Alexandria ( el, Ἀλεξάνδρεια), Antiochia in Margiana ( el, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐν τῇ Μαργιανῇ) and ...

Merv
,
Ray Ray may refer to: Science and mathematics * Ray (geometry), half of a line proceeding from an initial point * Ray (graph theory), an infinite sequence of vertices such that each vertex appears at most once in the sequence and each two consecutive ...
and
Pars Pars may refer to: * Fars Province Fars Province (; fa, استان فارس, , ), also known as Pars (, ) as well as Persis and Persia, is one of the thirty-one provinces of Iran Iran is subdivided into thirty-one province, provinces ( f ...
. In
Persian Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran, historically called ''Persia'' in the English language ** Persians, Persian people, the majority ethnic group in Iran, not to be conflated with the Iranian peoples ** Persian language, an Iranian ...
poems, especially
Ferdowsi , image = File:Statue of Ferdowsi in Tus, Iran 3 (cropped2).jpg , image_size = , caption = Statue of Ferdowsi in Tus by Abolhassan Sadighi Abolhassan Sadighi ( fa, ابوالحسن صدیقی) (5 October 1894 – 11 December 1995) was an ...

Ferdowsi
's
Shahname The ''Shahnameh'' or ''Shahnama'' ( fa, شاهنامه, Šāhnāme ; ) is a long epic poem written by the Persian literature, Persian poet Ferdowsi for Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni between c. 977 and 1010 CE and is the national epic of Greater Iran ...
, there are references to cotton ("panbe" in
Persian Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran, historically called ''Persia'' in the English language ** Persians, Persian people, the majority ethnic group in Iran, not to be conflated with the Iranian peoples ** Persian language, an Iranian ...
).
Marco Polo Marco Polo (, , ; September 15, 1254January 8, 1324) was a merchant, explorer, and writer who travelled through Asia along the between 1271 and 1295. His travels are recorded in ' (also known as ''Book of the Marvels of the World '' and '' ...

Marco Polo
(13th century) refers to the major products of Persia, including cotton.
John Chardin Jean Chardin (16 November 1643 – 5 January 1713), born Jean-Baptiste Chardin, and also known as Sir John Chardin, was a French jeweller and traveller whose ten-volume book ''The Travels of Sir John Chardin'' is regarded as one of the finest w ...
, a French traveler of the 17th century who visited
Safavid Persia Safavid Iran or Safavid Persia (), also referred to as the Safavid Empire, '. was one of the greatest Persian Empire, Iranian empires after the 7th-century Muslim conquest of Persia, ruled from 1501 to 1736 by the Safavid dynasty. It is often co ...
, spoke approvingly of the vast cotton farms of Persia.


Kingdom of Kush

Cotton (''Gossypium herbaceum'' Linnaeus) may have been domesticated 5000 BC in eastern
Sudan Sudan ( or ; ar, السودان, as-Sūdān), officially the Republic of the Sudan ( ar, جمهورية السودان, link=no, Jumhūriyyat as-Sūdān), is a country in Northeast Africa. It borders the countries of Central African Republ ...

Sudan
near the Middle Nile Basin region, where cotton cloth was being produced. Around the 4th century BC, the cultivation of cotton and the knowledge of its spinning and weaving in
Meroë Meroë (; also spelled ''Meroe''; Meroitic or ; ar, مرواه, translit=Meruwah and ar, مروي, translit=Meruwi, label=none; grc, Μερόη, translit=Meróē) was an ancient city on the east bank of the Nile The Nile ( ar, الني ...
reached a high level. The export of textiles was one of the sources of wealth for Meroë.
Aksumite The Kingdom of Aksum ( gez, መንግሥተ አኵስም), also known as the Kingdom of Axum or the Aksumite Empire, was an ancient kingdom, from the 2nd to the 10th century, with its capital at the city of Axum Aksum or Axum (; ti, ኣኽ ...

Aksumite
King
Ezana Ezana ( gez, ዒዛና ''‘Ezana'', unvocalized ዐዘነ ''‘zn''; also spelled Aezana or Aizan) was ruler of the Kingdom of Axum The Kingdom of Aksum ( gez, መንግሥተ አክሱም), also known as the Kingdom of Axum or the Aksumite E ...

Ezana
boasted in his inscription that he destroyed large cotton plantations in Meroë during his conquest of the region.


China

During the
Han dynasty#REDIRECT Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu Bang and ruled by the House of Liu. Preceded by the short-lived Qin dynas ...

Han dynasty
(207 BC - 220 AD), cotton was grown by Chinese peoples in the southern Chinese province of
Yunnan Yunnan () is a landlocked Provinces of China, province in Southwest China, the southwest of the People's Republic of China. The province spans approximately and has a population of 48.3 million (as of 2018). The capital of the province is Ku ...

Yunnan
.


Middle Ages


Eastern world

Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identi ...

Egypt
ians grew and spun cotton in the first seven centuries of the Christian era. Handheld roller
cotton gin A cotton gin – meaning "cotton engine" – is a machine that quickly and easily separates cotton Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective case, around the seeds of the cotton plants of the ge ...
s had been used in India since the 6th century, and was then introduced to other countries from there. Between the 12th and 14th centuries, dual-roller gins appeared in India and China. The Indian version of the dual-roller gin was prevalent throughout the Mediterranean cotton trade by the 16th century. This mechanical device was, in some areas, driven by water power.Baber, Zaheer (1996). ''The Science of Empire: Scientific Knowledge, Civilization, and Colonial Rule in India''. Albany: State University of New York Press. p. 57. . The earliest clear illustrations of the
spinning wheel A spinning wheel is a device for spinning Spin or spinning may refer to: Businesses * SPIN (cable system) SPIN (or South Pacific Island Network) was a submarine communications cable, submarine communications cable system that would connec ...

spinning wheel
come from the
Islamic world The terms Muslim world and Islamic world commonly refer to the Islamic Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodne ...

Islamic world
in the eleventh century. The earliest unambiguous reference to a spinning wheel in India is dated to 1350, suggesting that the spinning wheel was likely introduced from Iran to India during the
Delhi Sultanate The Delhi Sultanate was an Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", "ah gawd"; see int ...
.


Europe

During the late medieval period, cotton became known as an imported fiber in northern Europe, without any knowledge of how it was derived, other than that it was a plant. Because
Herodotus Herodotus ( ; grc, Ἡρόδοτος, Hēródotos, ; BC) was an Classical Greece, ancient Greek writer, geographer, and historian born in the Greek city of Halicarnassus, part of the Achaemenid Empire, Persian Empire (now Bodrum, Turkey). He ...
had written in his ''
Histories Histories or, in Latin, Historiae may refer to: * the plural of history * Histories (Herodotus), ''Histories'' (Herodotus), by Herodotus * ''The Histories'', by Timaeus (historian), Timaeus * The Histories (Polybius), ''The Histories'' (Polybius), ...
'', Book III, 106, that in India trees grew in the wild producing wool, it was assumed that the plant was a tree, rather than a shrub. This aspect is retained in the name for cotton in several Germanic languages, such as German '' Baumwolle'', which translates as "tree wool" (''Baum'' means "tree"; ''Wolle'' means "wool"). Noting its similarities to wool, people in the region could only imagine that cotton must be produced by plant-borne sheep.
John Mandeville Sir John Mandeville is the supposed author of ''The Travels of Sir John Mandeville'', a travel memoir which first circulated between 1357 and 1371. The earliest surviving text is in French. By aid of translations into many other languages, the w ...
, writing in 1350, stated as fact that "There grew there
ndia Ndia or NDIA may refer to: * Ndia Constituency, Kirinyaga District, Central Province, Kenya *Alternative name for the Southern Kirinyaga dialect of the Kikuyu language Kikuyu or Gikuyu ( ki, Gĩkũyũ ) is a Bantu language spoken by the (''Ag ...
a wonderful tree which bore tiny lambs on the endes of its branches. These branches were so pliable that they bent down to allow the lambs to feed when they are hungry." (See
Vegetable Lamb of Tartary The Vegetable Lamb of Tartary (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the pow ...
.) Cotton manufacture was introduced to Europe during the Muslim conquest of the Iberian Peninsula and Sicily. The knowledge of cotton weaving was spread to northern Italy in the 12th century, when Sicily was conquered by the Normans, and consequently to the rest of Europe. The
spinning wheel A spinning wheel is a device for spinning Spin or spinning may refer to: Businesses * SPIN (cable system) SPIN (or South Pacific Island Network) was a submarine communications cable, submarine communications cable system that would connec ...

spinning wheel
, introduced to Europe circa 1350, improved the speed of cotton spinning. By the 15th century,
Venice Venice ( ; it, Venezia ; vec, Venesia or ) is a city in northeastern Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of delimited by the and surrounding ...

Venice
,
Antwerp Antwerp (; nl, Antwerpen ; french: Anvers ) is a city in Belgium and the capital of Antwerp (province), Antwerp province in the Flemish Region. With a population of 520,504,
Antwerp
, and
Haarlem Haarlem (; predecessor of ''Harlem'' in ) is a and in the . It is the of the of . Haarlem is situated at the northern edge of the , one of the s in Europe; it is also part of the . Haarlem had a population of in . Haarlem was granted cit ...

Haarlem
were important ports for cotton trade, and the sale and transportation of cotton fabrics had become very profitable.


Early modern period


Mughal India

Under the
Mughal Empire The Mughal, Mogul, or Moghul Empire was an early modern The early modern period of modern history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's past. It is understood through archaeology, anthropology, ge ...
, which ruled in the Indian subcontinent from the early 16th century to the early 18th century, Indian cotton production increased, in terms of both raw cotton and cotton textiles. The Mughals introduced
agrarian reformAgrarian reform can refer either, narrowly, to government-initiated or government-backed redistribution of agricultural land Agricultural land is typically land ''devoted to'' agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of culti ...
s such as a new revenue system that was biased in favour of higher value cash crops such as cotton and
indigo InterGlobe Aviation Ltd d/b/a IndiGo is an Indian low-cost airline headquartered in Gurgaon, Haryana, India. It is the largest List of airlines of India, airline in India by passengers carried and fleet size, with a 57% domestic market shar ...

indigo
, providing state incentives to grow cash crops, in addition to rising market demand. John F. Richards (1995)
''The Mughal Empire'', page 190
,
Cambridge University Press Cambridge University Press (CUP) is the publishing business of the University of Cambridge , mottoeng = Literal: From here, light and sacred draughts. Non literal: From this place, we gain enlightenment and precious knowled ...
The largest
manufacturing Manufacturing is the creation or Production (economics), production of goods with the help of equipment, Work (human activity), labor, machines, tools, and chemical or biological processing or formulation. It is the essence of secondary sector ...
industry in the Mughal Empire was cotton
textile manufacturing Textile manufacturing is a major industry Industry may refer to: Economics * Industry (economics) In macroeconomics, an industry is a branch of an economy that produces a closely related set of raw materials, goods, or services. For ...
, which included the production of piece goods,
calico Calico (; in British usage since 1505) is a plain-woven textile A textile is a flexible material made by creating an interlocking bundle of yarn Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibres, suitable for use in the product ...

calico
s, and
muslin Muslin () is a cotton fabric A textile is a flexible material made by creating an interlocking network of yarn Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibres, suitable for use in the production of textiles, sewing, crochetin ...
s, available unbleached and in a variety of colours. The cotton
textile industry The textile industry is primarily concerned with the design, production and distribution of yarn Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibres, suitable for use in the production of textiles, sewing, crocheting, knitting, weaving, ...
was responsible for a large part of the empire's international trade.Karl J. Schmidt (2015)
''An Atlas and Survey of South Asian History'', page 100
,
Routledge Routledge () is a British multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational state, a so ...
India had a 25% share of the global textile trade in the early 18th century. Indian cotton
textile A textile is a flexible material made by creating an interlocking bundle of yarn Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibres, suitable for use in the production of textiles, sewing, crocheting, knitting, weaving, embroidery, ...

textile
s were the most important
manufactured goods Manufacturing is the creation or production of goods In economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with value; in particular, the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distr ...
in world trade in the 18th century, consumed across the world from the
Americas The Americas (also collectively called America) is a landmass comprising the totality of North America, North and South America. The Americas make up most of the land in Earth's Western Hemisphere and comprise the New World. Along with th ...

Americas
to
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an in ...

Japan
. The most important center of cotton production was the
Bengal Subah The Bengal Subah (also known as Mughal Bengal) was the largest subdivision Subdivision may refer to: Arts and entertainment * Subdivision (metre), in music * Subdivision (film), ''Subdivision'' (film), 2009 * "Subdivision", an episode of Priso ...
province, particularly around its capital city of
Dhaka Dhaka ( or ; bn, ঢাকা, Ḍhākā, ), List of renamed places in Bangladesh, formerly known as Dacca, is the Capital city, capital and the largest city of Bangladesh, as well as the largest city in the Bengal region. It is the eight ...

Dhaka
.Richard Maxwell Eaton (1996)
''The Rise of Islam and the Bengal Frontier, 1204-1760'', page 202
,
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The
worm gear A worm drive is a gear arrangement in which a worm (which is a gear in the form of a screw A screw and a bolt Bolt or bolts may refer to: Implements and technology * Bolt (fastener), similar to a screw, used with a nut * Bolt (climbing), ...

worm gear
roller
cotton gin A cotton gin – meaning "cotton engine" – is a machine that quickly and easily separates cotton Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective case, around the seeds of the cotton plants of the ge ...
, which was invented in India during the early
Delhi Sultanate The Delhi Sultanate was an Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", "ah gawd"; see int ...
era of the 13th–14th centuries, came into use in the Mughal Empire some time around the 16th century, and is still used in India through to the present day. Another innovation, the incorporation of the
crank Crank may refer to: Mechanisms * Crank (mechanism) A crank is an arm attached at a right angle to a rotating shaft by which circular motion is imparted to or received from the shaft. When combined with a connecting rod, it can be used to conv ...
handle in the cotton gin, first appeared in India some time during the late Delhi Sultanate or the early Mughal Empire. The production of cotton, which may have largely been spun in the villages and then taken to towns in the form of yarn to be woven into cloth textiles, was advanced by the diffusion of the
spinning wheel A spinning wheel is a device for spinning Spin or spinning may refer to: Businesses * SPIN (cable system) SPIN (or South Pacific Island Network) was a submarine communications cable, submarine communications cable system that would connec ...

spinning wheel
across India shortly before the Mughal era, lowering the costs of yarn and helping to increase demand for cotton. The diffusion of the spinning wheel, and the incorporation of the worm gear and crank handle into the roller cotton gin, led to greatly expanded Indian cotton textile production during the Mughal era. It was reported that, with an Indian cotton gin, which is half machine and half tool, one man and one woman could clean 28 pounds of cotton per day. With a modified Forbes version, one man and a boy could produce 250 pounds per day. If oxen were used to power 16 of these machines, and a few people's labour was used to feed them, they could produce as much work as 750 people did formerly.


Egypt

In the early 19th century, a Frenchman named M. Jumel proposed to the great ruler of
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identi ...

Egypt
, Mohamed Ali Pasha, that he could earn a substantial income by growing an extra-long staple Maho (''
Gossypium barbadense ''Gossypium barbadense'' (''gos-SIP-pee-um bar-ba-DEN-see'') is one of several species of cotton. It is in the mallow family. It has been cultivated since antiquity, but has been especially prized since a form with particularly long fibers was d ...

Gossypium barbadense
'') cotton, in
Lower Egypt , the Red Crown of Lower Egypt Image:Lower Egypt Nomes 01.png, 350px, Map of Lower Egypt with its historical nomes Lower Egypt ( ar, مصر السفلى '; ''Tsakhet'') is the northernmost region In geography, regions are areas that are ...
, for the French market. Mohamed Ali Pasha accepted the proposition and granted himself the monopoly on the sale and export of cotton in Egypt; and later dictated cotton should be grown in preference to other crops. Egypt under Muhammad Ali in the early 19th century had the fifth most productive cotton industry in the world, in terms of the number of Spindle (textiles), spindles per capita. The industry was initially driven by machinery that relied on traditional energy sources, such as animal power, water wheels, and windmills, which were also the principal energy sources in Western Europe up until around 1870. It was under Muhammad Ali in the early 19th century that steam engines were introduced to the Egyptian cotton industry. By the time of the American Civil war annual exports had reached $16 million (120,000 bales), which rose to $56 million by 1864, primarily due to the loss of the Confederate supply on the world market. Exports continued to grow even after the reintroduction of US cotton, produced now by a paid workforce, and Egyptian exports reached 1.2 million bales a year by 1903.


Britain


East India Company

The English East India Company (EIC) introduced the British to cheap Calico (textile), calico and chintz cloth on the restoration of the monarchy in the 1660s. Initially imported as a novelty side line, from its spice trading posts in Asia, the cheap colourful cloth proved popular and overtook the EIC's spice trade by value in the late 17th century. The EIC embraced the demand, particularly for Calico (textile), calico, by expanding its factories in Asia and producing and importing cloth in bulk, creating competition for domestic woollen and linen textile producers. The impacted weavers, spinners, dyers, shepherds and farmers objected and the calico question became one of the major issues of National politics between the 1680s and the 1730s. Parliament began to see a decline in domestic textile sales, and an increase in imported textiles from places like China and India. Seeing the East India Company and their textile importation as a threat to domestic textile businesses, Parliament passed the 1700 Calico Act, blocking the importation of cotton cloth. As there was no punishment for continuing to sell cotton cloth, smuggling of the popular material became commonplace. In 1721, dissatisfied with the results of the first act, Parliament passed a stricter addition, this time prohibiting the sale of most cottons, imported and domestic (exempting only thread Fustian and raw cotton). The exemption of raw cotton from the prohibition initially saw 2 thousand bales of cotton imported annually, to become the basis of a new indigenous industry, initially producing Fustian for the domestic market, though more importantly triggering the development of a series of mechanised spinning and weaving technologies, to process the material. This mechanised production was concentrated in new cotton mills, which slowly expanded till by the beginning of the 1770s seven thousand bales of cotton were imported annually, and pressure was put on Parliament, by the new mill owners, to remove the prohibition on the production and sale of pure cotton cloth, as they could easily compete with anything the EIC could import. The acts were repealed in 1774, triggering a wave of investment in mill based cotton spinning and production, doubling the demand for raw cotton within a couple of years, and doubling it again every decade, into the 1840s Indian cotton textiles, particularly those from Bengal Subah, Bengal, continued to maintain a competitive advantage up until the 19th century. In order to compete with India, Britain invested in labour-saving technical progress, while implementing protectionist policies such as bans and tariffs to restrict Indian imports. At the same time, the East India Company's Company rule in India, rule in India contributed to its deindustrialization, opening up a new market for British goods, while the capital amassed from Bengal after its Battle of Plassey, 1757 conquest was used to invest in British industries such as textile manufacturing and greatly increase British wealth.Junie T. Tong (2016)
''Finance and Society in 21st Century China: Chinese Culture Versus Western Markets'', page 151
CRC Press
John L. Esposito (2004)
''The Islamic World: Past and Present 3-Volume Set'', page 190
, Oxford University Press
British colonization also forced open the large Indian market to British goods, which could be sold in India without tariffs or Duty (economics), duties, compared to local Indian producers who were heavily taxed, while raw cotton was imported from India without tariffs to British factories which manufactured textiles from Indian cotton, giving Britain a monopoly over India's large market and cotton resources. India served as both a significant supplier of raw goods to British manufacturers and a large captive market for British manufactured goods. Britain eventually surpassed India as the world's leading cotton textile manufacturer in the 19th century. India's cotton-processing sector changed during EIC expansion in India in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. From focusing on supplying the British market to supplying East Asia with raw cotton. As the Artisan produced textiles were no longer competitive with those produced Industrially, and Europe preferring the cheaper slave produced, long staple American, and Egyptian cottons, for its own materials.


Industrial Revolution

The advent of the Industrial Revolution in Britain provided a great boost to cotton manufacture, as textiles emerged as Britain's leading export. In 1738, Lewis Paul and John Wyatt (inventor), John Wyatt, of Birmingham, England, patented the roller spinning machine, as well as the flyer-and-bobbin system for drawing cotton to a more even thickness using two sets of rollers that traveled at different speeds. Later, the invention of the James Hargreaves' spinning jenny in 1764, Richard Arkwright's spinning frame in 1769 and Samuel Crompton's spinning mule in 1775 enabled British spinners to produce cotton yarn at much higher rates. From the late 18th century on, the British city of Manchester acquired the nickname ''"Cottonopolis"'' due to the cotton industry's omnipresence within the city, and Manchester's role as the heart of the global cotton trade. Production capacity in Britain and the United States was improved by the invention of the modern
cotton gin A cotton gin – meaning "cotton engine" – is a machine that quickly and easily separates cotton Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective case, around the seeds of the cotton plants of the ge ...
by the American Eli Whitney in 1793. Before the development of cotton gins, the cotton fibers had to be pulled from the seeds tediously by hand. By the late 1700s, a number of crude ginning machines had been developed. However, to produce a bale of cotton required over 600 hours of human labor, making large-scale production uneconomical in the United States, even with the use of humans as slave labor. The gin that Whitney manufactured (the Holmes design) reduced the hours down to just a dozen or so per bale. Although Whitney patented his own design for a cotton gin, he manufactured a prior design from Henry Odgen Holmes, for which Holmes filed a patent in 1796. Improving technology and increasing control of world markets allowed British traders to develop a commercial chain in which raw cotton fibers were (at first) purchased from British Empire, colonial plantations, processed into cotton cloth in the mills of Lancashire, and then exported on British ships to captive colonial markets in British West Africa, West Africa, British Raj, India, and China (via Shanghai and Hong Kong). By the 1840s, India was no longer capable of supplying the vast quantities of cotton fibers needed by mechanized British factories, while shipping bulky, low-price cotton from India to Britain was time-consuming and expensive. This, coupled with the emergence of American cotton as a superior type (due to the longer, stronger fibers of the two domesticated native American species, ''
Gossypium hirsutum ''Gossypium hirsutum'', also known as upland cotton or Mexican cotton, is the most widely planted species of cotton in the world. Globally, about 90% of all cotton production is of cultivars derived from this species. In the United States ...

Gossypium hirsutum
'' and ''
Gossypium barbadense ''Gossypium barbadense'' (''gos-SIP-pee-um bar-ba-DEN-see'') is one of several species of cotton. It is in the mallow family. It has been cultivated since antiquity, but has been especially prized since a form with particularly long fibers was d ...

Gossypium barbadense
''), encouraged British traders to purchase cotton from Plantations in the American South, plantations in the United States and in the Caribbean. By the mid-19th century, "King Cotton" had become the backbone of the antebellum South, southern American economy. In the United States, cultivating and harvesting cotton became the leading occupation of Slavery in the United States, slaves. During the American Civil War, American cotton exports slumped due to a Union (American Civil War), Union blockade on Confederate States of America, Southern ports, and also because of a strategic decision by the Confederate States of America, Confederate government to cut exports, hoping to force Britain to recognize the Confederacy or enter the war. The Lancashire Cotton Famine prompted the main purchasers of cotton, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Britain and France, to turn to
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identi ...

Egypt
ian cotton. British and French traders invested heavily in cotton plantations. The Egyptian government of Isma'il Pasha, Viceroy Isma'il took out substantial loans from European bankers and stock exchanges. After the American Civil War ended in 1865, British and French traders abandoned Egyptian cotton and returned to cheap American exports, sending Egypt into a deficit spiral that led to the country declaring bankruptcy in 1876, a key factor behind Egypt's History of Egypt under the British, occupation by the British Empire in 1882. During this time, cotton cultivation in the British Empire, especially Australia and India, greatly increased to replace the lost production of the American South. Through tariffs and other restrictions, the British government discouraged the production of cotton cloth in India; rather, the raw fiber was sent to England for processing. The Indian Gandhi, Mohandas K., Mahatma Gandhi described the process: #English people buy Indian cotton in the field, picked by Indian labor at seven cents a day, through an optional monopoly. #This cotton is shipped on British ships, a three-week journey across the Indian Ocean, down the Red Sea, across the Mediterranean, through Gibraltar, across the Bay of Biscay and the Atlantic Ocean to London. One hundred per cent profit on this freight is regarded as small. #The cotton is turned into cloth in Lancashire. You pay shilling wages instead of Indian pennies to your workers. The English worker not only has the advantage of better wages, but the steel companies of England get the profit of building the factories and machines. Wages; profits; all these are spent in England. #The finished product is sent back to India at European shipping rates, once again on British ships. The captains, officers, sailors of these ships, whose wages must be paid, are English. The only Indians who profit are a few lascars who do the dirty work on the boats for a few cents a day. #The cloth is finally sold back to the kings and landlords of India who got the money to buy this expensive cloth out of the poor peasants of India who worked at seven cents a day.


United States

In the United States, growing Southern cotton generated significant wealth and capital for the antebellum South, as well as raw material for Northern textile industries. Before 1865 the cotton was largely produced through the labor of enslaved African Americans. It enriched both the Southern landowners and the new textile industries of the Northeastern United States and northwestern Europe. In 1860 the slogan "King Cotton, Cotton is king" characterized the attitude of Southern leaders toward this monocrop in that Europe would support an independent Confederate states of America, Confederate States of America in 1861 in order to protect the supply of cotton it needed for its very large textile industry. Russell Griffin of California was a farmer who farmed one of the biggest cotton operations. He produced over sixty thousand bales. Cotton remained a key crop in the Southern economy after slavery ended in 1865. Across the South, sharecropping evolved, in which landless farmers worked land owned by others in return for a share of the profits. Some farmers rented the land and bore the production costs themselves. Until mechanical cotton pickers were developed, cotton farmers needed additional labor to hand-pick cotton. Picking cotton was a source of income for families across the South. Rural and small town school systems had split vacations so children could work in the fields during "cotton-picking." During the middle 20th century, employment in cotton farming fell, as machines began to replace laborers and the South's rural labor force dwindled during the World Wars. Cotton remains a major export of the United States, with large farms in California, Arizona and the Deep South.


The Moon

China's Chang'e 4 brought cotton seeds to the Far side of the Moon, Moon's far side. On 15 January 2019, China announced that a cotton seed sprouted, the first "truly otherworldly plant in history". Inside the Von Kármán (lunar crater), Von Kármán Crater, the capsule and seeds sit inside the Chang'e 4 lander.


Cultivation

Successful cultivation of cotton requires a long frost-free period, plenty of sunshine, and a moderate rainfall, usually from . Soils usually need to be fairly Soil morphology#Porosity, heavy, although the level of nutrients does not need to be exceptional. In general, these conditions are met within the seasonally dry tropics and subtropics in the Northern and Southern hemispheres, but a large proportion of the cotton grown today is cultivated in areas with less rainfall that obtain the water from irrigation. Production of the crop for a given year usually starts soon after harvesting the preceding autumn. Cotton is naturally a perennial but is grown as an annual to help control pests. Planting time in spring in the Northern hemisphere varies from the beginning of February to the beginning of June. The area of the United States known as the South Plains is the largest Geographic contiguity, contiguous cotton-growing region in the world. While Dryland farming, dryland (non-irrigated) cotton is successfully grown in this region, consistent yields are only produced with heavy reliance on irrigation water drawn from the Ogallala Aquifer. Since cotton is somewhat salt and drought tolerant, this makes it an attractive crop for arid and semiarid regions. As water resources get tighter around the world, economies that rely on it face difficulties and conflict, as well as potential environmental problems. For example, improper cropping and irrigation practices have led to desertification in areas of Uzbekistan, where cotton is a major export. In the days of the Soviet Union, the Aral Sea was tapped for agricultural irrigation, largely of cotton, and now salination is widespread. Cotton can also be cultivated to have colors other than the yellowish off-white typical of modern commercial cotton fibers. Naturally colored cotton can come in red, green, and several shades of brown.


Water footprint

The water footprint of cotton fibers is substantially larger than for most other plant fibers. Cotton is also known as a thirsty crop; on average, globally, cotton requires 8000-10000 liters of water for one kilogram of cotton, and in dry areas, it may require even more such as in some areas of India, it may need 22500 liters also.


Genetic modification

Genetic engineering, Genetically modified (GM) cotton was developed to reduce the heavy reliance on pesticides. The bacterium ''Bacillus thuringiensis'' (Bt) naturally produces a chemical harmful only to a small fraction of insects, most notably the larvae of Lepidoptera, moths and butterflies, Coleoptera, beetles, and Diptera, flies, and harmless to other forms of life. The gene coding for Bt toxin has been inserted into cotton, causing cotton, called Bt cotton, to produce this natural insecticide in its tissues. In many regions, the main pests in commercial cotton are lepidopteran larvae, which are killed by the Bt protein in the transgenic cotton they eat. This eliminates the need to use large amounts of broad-spectrum insecticides to kill lepidopteran pests (some of which have developed pyrethroid resistance). This spares natural insect predators in the farm ecology and further contributes to noninsecticide pest management. However, Bt cotton is ineffective against many cotton pests, such as plant bugs, Halyomorpha halys, stink bugs, and aphids; depending on circumstances it may still be desirable to use insecticides against these. A 2006 study done by Cornell researchers, the Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy and the Chinese Academy of Science on Bt cotton farming in China found that after seven years these secondary pests that were normally controlled by pesticide had increased, necessitating the use of pesticides at similar levels to non-Bt cotton and causing less profit for farmers because of the extra expense of GM seeds. However, a 2009 study by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Stanford University and Rutgers University refuted this. They concluded that the GM cotton effectively controlled bollworm. The secondary pests were mostly miridae (plant bugs) whose increase was related to local temperature and rainfall and only continued to increase in half the villages studied. Moreover, the increase in insecticide use for the control of these secondary insects was far smaller than the reduction in total insecticide use due to Bt cotton adoption. A 2012 Chinese study concluded that Bt cotton halved the use of pesticides and doubled the level of ladybirds, lacewings and spiders.Carrington, Damien (13 June 2012
GM crops good for environment, study finds
The Guardian, Retrieved 16 June 2012
The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) said that, worldwide, GM cotton was planted on an area of 25 million hectares in 2011. This was 69% of the worldwide total area planted in cotton. GM cotton acreage in India grew at a rapid rate, increasing from 50,000 hectares in 2002 to 10.6 million hectares in 2011. The total cotton area in India was 12.1 million hectares in 2011, so GM cotton was grown on 88% of the cotton area. This made India the country with the largest area of GM cotton in the world.ISAAA Brief 43-2011: Executive Summary Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops: 2011
. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
A long-term study on the economic impacts of Bt cotton in India, published in the Journal PNAS in 2012, showed that Bt cotton has increased yields, profits, and living standards of smallholding, smallholder farmers. The U.S. GM cotton crop was 4.0 million hectares in 2011 the second largest area in the world, the Chinese GM cotton crop was third largest by area with 3.9 million hectares and Pakistan had the fourth largest GM cotton crop area of 2.6 million hectares in 2011. The initial introduction of GM cotton proved to be a success in Australia – the yields were equivalent to the non-transgenic varieties and the crop used much less pesticide to produce (85% reduction). The subsequent introduction of a second variety of GM cotton led to increases in GM cotton production until 95% of the Australian cotton crop was GM in 2009Genetically modified plants: Global Cultivation Area Cotton
GMO Compass, 29 March 2010. Retrieved 7 August 2010.
making Australia the country with the fifth largest GM cotton crop in the world. Other GM cotton growing countries in 2011 were Argentina, Myanmar, Burkina Faso, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, South Africa and Costa Rica. Cotton has been genetically modified for resistance to glyphosate a broad-spectrum herbicide discovered by Monsanto which also sells some of the Bt cotton seeds to farmers. There are also a number of other cotton seed companies selling GM cotton around the world. About 62% of the GM cotton grown from 1996 to 2011 was insect resistant, 24% Gene stacked event, stacked product and 14% herbicide resistant. Cotton has gossypol, a toxin that makes it inedible. However, scientists have silenced the gene that produces the toxin, making it a potential food crop. On 17 October 2018, the USDA deregulated Genetic Engineering, GE low-gossypol cotton.


Organic production

Organic cotton is generally understood as cotton from plants not Transgenic plant, genetically modified and that is certified to be grown without the use of any synthetic agricultural chemicals, such as fertilizers or pesticides. Its production also promotes and enhances biodiversity and biological cycles. In the United States, organic cotton plantations are required to enforce the National Organic Program (NOP). This institution determines the allowed practices for pest control, growing, fertilizing, and handling of organic crops. As of 2007, 265,517 bales of organic cotton were produced in 24 countries, and worldwide production was growing at a rate of more than 50% per year.Organic Cotton Facts
Organic Trade Association.
Organic cotton products are now available for purchase at limited locations. These are popular for baby clothes and diapers; natural cotton products are known to be both sustainable and hypoallergenic.


Pests and weeds

The cotton industry relies heavily on chemicals, such as fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides, although a very small number of farmers are moving toward an Organic farming, organic model of production. Under most definitions, organic products do not use genetic engineering, transgenic ''Bacillus thuringiensis, Bt'' cotton which contains a bacterial gene that codes for a plant-produced protein that is toxic to a number of pests especially the bollworms. For most producers, ''Bt'' cotton has allowed a substantial reduction in the use of synthetic insecticides, although in the long term Pesticide resistance#B. thuringiensis, resistance may become problematic.


Global pest problems

Significant global pests of cotton include various species of bollworm, such as ''Pectinophora gossypiella''. Sucking pests include Dysdercus, cotton stainers, the chili thrips, ''Scirtothrips dorsalis''; the cotton seed bug, ''Oxycarenus hyalinipennis''. Defoliators include the fall armyworm, ''Spodoptera frugiperda''.


North American insect pests

Historically, in North America, one of the most economically destructive pests in cotton production has been the boll weevil. Boll weevils are beetles who ate cotton in the 1950s, that slowed the production of the cotton industry drastically. “This bone pile of short budgets, loss of market share, failing prices, abandoned farms, and the new immunity of boll weevils generated a feeling of helplessness” Due to the US Department of Agriculture's highly successful Boll Weevil Eradication Program (BWEP), this pest has been eliminated from cotton in most of the United States. This program, along with the introduction of genetically engineered Bacillus thuringiensis, Bt cotton, has improved the management of a number of pests such as cotton bollworm (American), cotton bollworm and pink bollworm). Sucking pests include the cotton stainer, ''Dysdercus suturellus'' and the tarnish plant bug, ''Lygus lineolaris''. A significant cotton disease is caused by ''Xanthomonas citri subsp. malvacearum''.


Harvesting

Most cotton in the United States, Europe and Australia is harvested mechanically, either by a cotton picker, a machine that removes the cotton from the boll without damaging the cotton plant, or by a cotton stripper, which strips the entire boll off the plant. Cotton strippers are used in regions where it is too windy to grow picker varieties of cotton, and usually after application of a chemical defoliant or the natural defoliation that occurs after a freeze. Cotton is a perennial crop in the tropics, and without defoliation or freezing, the plant will continue to grow. Cotton continues to be picked by hand in developing country, developing countries and in Xinjiang, China, by Xinjiang internment camps, forced labor. Xinjiang produces over 20% of the world's cotton.


Competition from synthetic fibers

The era of manufactured fibers began with the development of rayon in France in the 1890s. Rayon is derived from a natural cellulose and cannot be considered synthetic, but requires extensive processing in a manufacturing process, and led the less expensive replacement of more naturally derived materials. A succession of new synthetic fibers were introduced by the chemicals industry in the following decades. Cellulose acetate, Acetate in fiber form was developed in 1924. Nylon, the first fiber synthesized entirely from petrochemicals, was introduced as a sewing thread by DuPont in 1936, followed by DuPont's acrylic fiber, acrylic in 1944. Some garments were created from fabrics based on these fibers, such as women's hosiery from nylon, but it was not until the introduction of polyester into the fiber marketplace in the early 1950s that the market for cotton came under threat. The rapid uptake of polyester garments in the 1960s caused economic hardship in cotton-exporting economies, especially in Central American countries, such as Nicaragua, where cotton production had boomed tenfold between 1950 and 1965 with the advent of cheap chemical pesticides. Cotton production recovered in the 1970s, but crashed to pre-1960 levels in the early 1990s.


Uses

Cotton is used to make a number of textile products. These include terrycloth for highly absorbent bath towels and robes; denim for Jeans, blue jeans; cambric, popularly used in the manufacture of blue work shirts (from which we get the term "blue-collar"); and corduroy, seersucker, and cotton twill. Socks, underwear, and most T-shirts are made from cotton. Bed sheets often are made from cotton. It is a preferred material for sheets as it is hypoallergenic, easy to maintain and non-irritant to the skin. Cotton also is used to make yarn used in crochet and knitting. Fabric also can be made from recycled or recovered cotton that otherwise would be thrown away during the spinning, weaving, or cutting process. While many fabrics are made completely of cotton, some materials blend cotton with other fibers, including rayon and synthetic fibers such as polyester. It can either be used in knitted or woven fabrics, as it can be blended with elastine to make a stretchier thread for knitted fabrics, and apparel such as stretch jeans. Cotton can be blended also with linen producing fabrics with the benefits of both materials. Linen-cotton blends are wrinkle resistant and retain heat more effectively than only linen, and are thinner, stronger and lighter than only cotton. In addition to the
textile industry The textile industry is primarily concerned with the design, production and distribution of yarn Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibres, suitable for use in the production of textiles, sewing, crocheting, knitting, weaving, ...
, cotton is used in fishing nets, coffee filters, tents, explosives manufacture (see nitrocellulose), cotton paper, and in bookbinding. Fire hoses were once made of cotton. The cottonseed which remains after the cotton is ginned is used to produce cottonseed oil, which, after refining, can be consumed by humans like any other vegetable oil. The cottonseed meal that is left generally is fed to ruminant livestock; the gossypol remaining in the meal is toxic to monogastric animals. Cottonseed hulls can be added to dairy cattle rations for roughage. During the American slavery period, cotton root bark was used in folk remedies as an abortifacient, that is, to induce a miscarriage. Gossypol was one of the many substances found in all parts of the cotton plant and it was described by the scientists as 'poisonous pigment'. It also appears to inhibit the development of sperm or even restrict the mobility of the sperm. Also, it is thought to interfere with the menstrual cycle by restricting the release of certain hormones. Cotton linters are fine, silky fibers which adhere to the seeds of the cotton plant after ginning. These curly fibers typically are less than long. The term also may apply to the longer textile fiber staple lint as well as the shorter fuzzy fibers from some upland species. Linters are traditionally used in the manufacture of paper and as a raw material in the manufacture of
cellulose Cellulose is an organic compound with the chemical formula, formula , a polysaccharide consisting of a linear chain of several hundred to many thousands of glycosidic bond, β(1→4) linked glucose, D-glucose units. Cellulose is an important stru ...

cellulose
. In the UK, linters are referred to as "cotton wool". A less technical use of the term "cotton wool", in the UK and Ireland, is for the refined product known as "absorbent cotton" (or, often, just "cotton") in U.S. usage: fluffy cotton in sheets or balls used for medical, Cosmetics, cosmetic, protective packaging, and many other practical purposes. The first medical use of cotton wool was by Sampson Gamgee at the Queen's Hospital (later the General Hospital) in Birmingham, England. Long staple (LS cotton) is cotton of a longer fibre length and therefore of higher quality, while Gossypium barbadense, Extra-long staple cotton (ELS cotton) has longer fibre length still and of even higher quality. The name "Egyptian cotton" is broadly associated high quality cottons and is often an LS or (less often) an ELS cotton. Nowadays the name "Egyptian cotton" refers more to the way cotton is treated and threads produced rather than the location where it is grown. The American cotton variety ''Pima'' cotton is often compared to Egyptian cotton, as both are used in high quality bed sheets and other cotton products. While Pima cotton is often grown in the American southwest, the Pima name is now used by cotton-producing nations such as Peru, Australia and Israel. Not all products bearing the Pima name are made with the finest cotton: American-grown ELS Pima cotton is trademarked as ''Supima'' cotton. "Kasturi" cotton is a brand-building initiative for Indian long staple cotton by the Ministry of Textiles, Indian government. The Press Information Bureau, PIB issued a press release announcing the same. Cottons have been grown as ornamentals or novelties due to their showy flowers and snowball-like fruit. For example, Gossypium barbadense#jumels, Jumel's cotton, once an important source of fiber in Egypt, started as an ornamental. However, agricultural authorities such as the Boll Weevil Eradication Program in the United States discourage using cotton as an ornamental, due to concerns about these plants harboring pests injurious to crops. Cotton lisle, or fil d'Ecosse cotton, is a finely-spun, tightly twisted type of cotton that is noted for being strong and durable. Lisle is composed of two strands that have each been twisted an extra twist per inch than ordinary yarns and combined to create a single thread. The yarn is spun so that it is compact and solid. This cotton is used mainly for underwear, stockings, and gloves. Colors applied to this yarn are noted for being more brilliant than colors applied to softer yarn. This type of thread was first made in the city of Lisle, France (now Lille), hence its name.


International trade

The largest producers of cotton, as of 2017, are India and China, with annual production of about 18.53 million tonnes and 17.14 million tonnes, respectively; most of this production is consumed by their respective textile industries. The largest exporters of raw cotton are the United States, with sales of $4.9 billion, and Africa, with sales of $2.1 billion. The total international trade is estimated to be $12 billion. Africa's share of the cotton trade has doubled since 1980. Neither area has a significant domestic textile industry, textile manufacturing having moved to developing nations in Eastern and South Asia such as India and China. In Africa, cotton is grown by numerous small holders. Dunavant Enterprises, based in Memphis, Tennessee, is the leading cotton broker in Africa, with hundreds of purchasing agents. It operates
cotton gin A cotton gin – meaning "cotton engine" – is a machine that quickly and easily separates cotton Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective case, around the seeds of the cotton plants of the ge ...
s in Uganda, Mozambique, and Zambia. In Zambia, it often offers loans for seed and expenses to the 180,000 small farmers who grow cotton for it, as well as advice on farming methods. Cargill also purchases cotton in Africa for export. The 25,000 cotton growers in the United States are heavily subsidy, subsidized at the rate of $2 billion per year although China now provides the highest overall level of cotton sector support. The future of these subsidies is uncertain and has led to anticipatory expansion of cotton brokers' operations in Africa. Dunavant expanded in Africa by buying out local operations. This is only possible in former British colonies and Mozambique; former French colonies continue to maintain tight monopolies, inherited from their former colonialist masters, on cotton purchases at low fixed prices. To encourage trade and organize discussion about cotton, World Cotton Day is celebrated every October 7th.


Leading producer countries

The five leading exporters of cotton in 2019 are (1) India, (2) the United States, (3) China, (4) Brazil, and (5)
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a popul ...

Pakistan
. In India, the states of Maharashtra (26.63%), Gujarat (17.96%) and Andhra Pradesh (13.75%) and also Madhya Pradesh are the leading cotton producing states, these states have a predominantly tropical wet and dry climate. In the United States, the state of Texas led in total production as of 2004, while the state of California had the highest Crop yield, yield per acre.


Fair trade

Cotton is an enormously important commodity throughout the world. It provides livelihoods for up to 1 billion people, including 100 million smallholder farmers who cultivate cotton. However, many farmers in developing countries receive a low price for their produce, or find it difficult to compete with developed countries. This has led to an international dispute (see Brazil–United States cotton dispute):
On 27 September 2002, Brazil requested consultations with the US regarding prohibited and actionable subsidies provided to US producers, users and/or exporters of upland cotton, as well as legislation, regulations, statutory instruments and amendments thereto providing such subsidies (including export credits), grants, and any other assistance to the US producers, users and exporters of upland cotton. On 8 September 2004, the Panel Report recommended that the United States "withdraw" export credit guarantees and payments to domestic users and exporters, and "take appropriate steps to remove the adverse effects or withdraw" the mandatory price-contingent subsidy measures.
While Brazil was fighting the US through the WTO's Dispute Settlement Mechanism against a heavily subsidized cotton industry, a group of four least-developed African countries – Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, and Mali – also known as "Cotton-4" have been the leading protagonist for the reduction of US cotton subsidies through negotiations. The four introduced a "Sectoral Initiative in Favour of Cotton", presented by Burkina Faso's President Blaise Compaoré during the Trade Negotiations Committee on 10 June 2003. In addition to concerns over subsidies, the cotton industries of some countries are criticized for employing child labor and damaging workers' health by exposure to pesticides used in production. The Environmental Justice Foundation has campaigned against the prevalent use of forced child and adult labor in cotton production in Uzbekistan, the world's third largest cotton exporter. The international production and trade situation has led to "fair trade" cotton clothing and footwear, joining a rapidly growing market for organic clothing, fair fashion or "ethical fashion". The fair trade system was initiated in 2005 with producers from Cameroon, Mali and Senegal, with the Association Max Havelaar France playing a lead role in the establishment of this segment of the fair trade system in conjunction with Fairtrade International and the French organisation :fr:Dagris, Dagris (''Développement des Agro-Industries du Sud'').


Trade

Cotton is bought and sold by investors and price speculators as a tradable commodity on 2 different commodity exchanges in the United States of America. *Cotton No. 2 futures contracts are traded on the New York Board of Trade (NYBOT) under the ticker symbol CT. They are delivered every year in March, May, July, October, and December. *Cotton futures contracts are traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) under the ticker symbol TT. They are delivered every year in March, May, July, October, and December.


Critical temperatures

*Favorable travel temperature range: below *Optimum travel temperature: *Glow temperature: *Fire point: *Autoignition temperature: - *Autoignition temperature (for oily cotton): A temperature range of is the optimal range for mold development. At temperatures below , rotting of wet cotton stops. Damaged cotton is sometimes stored at these temperatures to prevent further deterioration. Egypt has a unique climatic temperature that the soil and the temperature provide an exceptional environment for cotton to grow rapidly.


British standard yarn measures

*1 thread = *1 skein or rap = 80 threads () *1 hank = 7 skeins () *1 spindle = 18 hanks ()


Fiber properties

Depending upon the origin, the chemical composition of cotton is as follows: *Cellulose 91.00% *Water 7.85% *Protoplasm, pectins 0.55% *Waxes, fatty substances 0.40% *Mineral salts 0.20%


Morphology

Cotton has a more complex structure among the other crops. A Cotton Maturity, matured cotton fiber is a single, elongated complete dried multilayer cell that develops in the surface layer of cottonseed. It has the following parts. # The cuticle is the outer most layer. It is a waxy layer that contains pectins and proteinaceos materials. # The primary wall is the original thin cell wall. Primary wall is mainly
cellulose Cellulose is an organic compound with the chemical formula, formula , a polysaccharide consisting of a linear chain of several hundred to many thousands of glycosidic bond, β(1→4) linked glucose, D-glucose units. Cellulose is an important stru ...

cellulose
, it is made up of a network of fine fibrils (small strands of cellulose). # The winding layer is the first layer of secondary thickening it is also called the S1 layer . It is different in structure from both the primary wall and the remainder of the secondary wall. It consists of fibrils aligned at 40 to 70-degree angles to the fiber axis in an open netting type of pattern. # The secondary wall consists of concentric layers of cellulose it is also called the S2 layer, that constitute the main portion of the cotton fiber. After the fiber has attained its maximum diameter, new layers of cellulose are added to form the secondary wall. The fibrils are deposited at 70 to 80-degree angles to the fiber axis, reversing angle at points along the length of the fiber. # The lumen is the hollow canal that runs the length of the fiber. It is filled with living protoplast during the growth period. After the fiber matures and the boll opens, the protoplast dries up, and the lumen naturally collapses, leaving a central void, or pore space, in each fiber. It separates the secondary wall from the lumen and appears to be more resistant to certain reagents than the secondary wall layers. The lumen wall also called the S3 layer.


Genome

There is a public effort to sequence the genome of cotton. It was started in 2007 by a consortium of public researchers. Their aim is to sequence the genome of cultivated, tetraploid cotton. "Tetraploid" means that its nucleus has two separate genomes, called A and D. The consortium agreed to first sequence the D-genome wild relative of cultivated cotton (''G. raimondii'', a Central American species) because it is small and has few repetitive elements. It has nearly one-third of the bases of tetraploid cotton, and each chromosome occurs only once. Then, the A genome of ''G. arboreum'' would be sequenced. Its genome is roughly twice that of ''G. raimondii''. Part of the difference in size is due to the amplification of ''retrotransposons'' (GORGE). After both diploid genomes are assembled, they would be used as models for sequencing the genomes of tetraploid cultivated species. Without knowing the diploid genomes, the euchromatic DNA sequences of AD genomes would co-assemble, and their repetitive elements would assemble independently into A and D sequences respectively. There would be no way to untangle the mess of AD sequences without comparing them to their diploid counterparts. The public sector effort continues with the goal to create a high-quality, draft genome sequence from reads generated by all sources. The effort has generated Sanger reads of BACs, fosmids, and plasmids, as well as 454 reads. These later types of reads will be instrumental in assembling an initial draft of the D genome. In 2010, the companies Monsanto and Illumina (company), Illumina completed enough Illumina sequencing to cover the D genome of ''G. raimondii'' about 50x. They announced that they would donate their raw reads to the public. This public relations effort gave them some recognition for sequencing the cotton genome. Once the D genome is assembled from all of this raw material, it will undoubtedly assist in the assembly of the AD genomes of cultivated varieties of cotton, but much work remains. As of 2014, at least one assembled cotton genome had been reported.


See also

*Cotton Belt *Carding, Cotton carding *Cotton gin *Cotton mill *Cotton recycling *Diplomacy of the American Civil War#Cotton and the British economy *Environmental impact of fashion *International Cotton Advisory Committee *Ceiba pentandra, Java cotton (kapok) *King Cotton *Madapollam *Mercerized cotton *Sea Island Cotton *The Cotton Museum *Cotton candy


References


Further reading

* Beckert, Sven. ''Empire of Cotton: A Global History.'' New York: Knopf, 2014. * Brown, D. Clayton. ''King Cotton: A Cultural, Political, and Economic History since 1945'' (University Press of Mississippi, 2011) 440 pp. * Ensminger, Audrey H. and Konlande, James E. ''Foods and Nutrition Encyclopedia'', (2nd ed. CRC Press, 1993).
USDA – Cotton Trade
* William G. Moseley, Moseley, W.G. and L.C. Gray (eds). ''Hanging by a Thread: Cotton, Globalization and Poverty in Africa'' (Ohio University Press and Nordic Africa Press, 2008). * Riello, Giorgio. ''Cotton: The Fabric that Made the Modern World'' (2013
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* Smith, C. Wayne and Joe Tom Cothren. ''Cotton: origin, history, technology, and production'' (1999) 850 pages * True, Alfred Charles. ''The cotton plant: its history, botany, chemistry, culture, enemies, and uses'' (U.S. Office of Experiment Stations, 1896
online edition
* Stephen Yafa, Yafa, Stephen H. ''Big Cotton: How A Humble Fiber Created Fortunes, Wrecked Civilizations, and Put America on the Map'' (2004
excerpt and text search
also published as ''Cotton: The Biography of a Revolutionary Fiber.'' New York: Penguin USA, 2006
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External links


International Cotton AssociationNational Cotton Council News and Current Events
* * * * * {{Authority control Cotton, Biodegradable materials Cellulose Crops Abortifacients