The COTTON BELT is a region of the
Southern United States where
cotton was the predominant cash crop from the late 18th century into
the 20th century.
Before the invention of the cotton gin in 1793, cotton production was
limited to coastal plain areas of
South Carolina and Georgia , and,
on a smaller scale, along the lower
Mississippi River . The cotton
gin allowed profitable processing of short-staple cotton, which could
be grown in the upland regions of the Deep South. After 1793 the
Natchez District rapidly became the leading cotton-producing region in
Mississippi. Natchez planters developed new cotton plant hybrids and a
mechanized system that fueled the spread of the cotton plantation
system throughout the Old Southeast. The demand by European
Americans for land to develop for upland cotton drove the removal of
Native American tribes from the Southeast after 1830. The central part
of this area, extending into Texas, became known as the Black Belt for
the fertility of the soil and later the high proportion of slave
By the middle of the 19th century, the
Cotton Belt extended from
East Texas . The most intensive cotton production occurred
Mississippi , together
with parts of
Texas . High productivity
depended on the plantation system and slavery combined with fertile
soils and a favorable climate .
After the Civil War and the abolition of slavery, many freedman
families worked as sharecroppers rather than hire out as laborers;
this generally replaced slavery as the primary source of agricultural
Cotton production in the region declined in the 20th century
due to soil depletion, invasion by the boll weevil , development of
alternative markets, and social changes in the region as urban,
industrial areas developed.
Cotton is still grown in parts of the
region, but agricultural land in the region is now used primarily for
commodity crops such as corn , wheat , soybeans , and peanuts ;
livestock ; and commercial timber production. Rice has also become a
very valuable agricultural crop in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas.
Belt regions of the United States
* ^ A B C D
Cotton Belt, The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th
* ^ A B Meinig, D.W. (1993). The Shaping of America: A Geographical
Perspective on 500 Years of History, Volume 2: Continental America,
1800-1867. Yale University Press. pp. 286–288. ISBN 0-300-05658-3 .
* ^ Moore, John Hebron (1988). The emergence of the
in the Old Southwest: Mississippi, 1770-1860. LSU Press. pp. 4–13,
117, 286–287. ISBN 978-0-8071-1404-9 . Retrieved 23 March 2011.
* ^ A B C
Cotton Belt, Research Machines plc 2004
"Belt" regions of the United States
Coordinates : 32°N 83°W / 32°N 83°W / 32; -83
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