The cotton plant is a shrub native to tropical and subtropical regions around the world, including the Americas, Africa, Egypt and India. Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective case. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. 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.
"King Cotton" is the slogan that summarizes the strategy by pro-secessionists in the southern states (the future Confederate States of America) to claim the feasibility of secession and to prove there was no need to fear a war with the northern states.Arizona Cotton
by Paul Sager
, on Flickr
China is the world's largest producer of cotton, but most of their crop is used domestically. The United States has been the largest exporter for many years. Current estimates for world production are about 25 million tonnes or 110 million bales annually, accounting for 2.5% of the world's arable land.
The slogan, King Cotton, was widely believed throughout the American South, helping to mobilizing support for secession. By February 1861, the seven states whose economies were based on cotton plantations had all seceded and formed the Confederacy. Meanwhile, the other eight slave states, with little or no cotton production, remained in the Union.Arizona Cotton
Successful cultivation of cotton requires a long frost-free period, plenty of sunshine, and a moderate rainfall, usually from 25- to 50-inches.
The American South is known for its long, hot summers, and rich soils in river valleys, making it an ideal location for growing cotton. The many southern seaports and riverside docks allowed shipping cotton to remote destinations. By 1860, Southern plantations supplied 75% of the world's cotton, with shipments from ports in Houston, New Orleans, Charleston, Mobile, Savannah, and others.Georgia Cotton
Production of the cotton 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.
Senator James Henry Hammond of South Carolina boasted in 1858, "Without firing a gun, without drawing a sword, should they make war on us, we could bring the whole world to our feet ... What would happen if no cotton was furnished for three years? ... England would topple headlong and carry the whole civilized world with her save the South. No, you dare not to make war on cotton. No power on the earth dares to make war upon it. Cotton is king."Georgia Cotton
In the United States, Texas leads in total production, it is the state's leading cash crop. The California cotton industry generates revenues in excess of $3.5 billion annually, and provides more than 20,000 jobs.
Immediately after fighting started, the Union Navy blockaded every major Confederate port and shut down over 95% of exports. Since the British mills had large stockpiles of cotton, they suffered no immediate injury from the embargo. About one-fourth of Britain's food supplies also came from the United States, of much more importance than cotton. None of the European Powers intervened on behalf of the Confederacy during the war.Arizona Cotton
As Union armies moved into cotton regions of the South in 1862, the U.S. acquired all the cotton available, and sent it to Northern textile mills or sold it to Europe. Meanwhile, the cotton production increased in India by 70% and also increased in Egypt. Between 1860 and 1870, Brazilian annual cotton exports rose 400%, from 12,000 to 60,000 tonnes. In the end, "King Cotton" proved to be a delusion that misled the Confederacy into a hopeless war that it ended up losing.
The images are sized to fill your wide-screen display. Try using <F11> to maximize your browser window for the full effect. If the images overshoot your display, such as a laptop, just click on the image or the URL link and they'll resize to your screen from the host Flickr site. You can click a bit further into the image details on the Flickr page, if desired. EXIF data is available from the host Flickr pages as well. On the Flickr site, use your <L>key for Large and the <F11> for the full-screen.
If the images are not filling your widescreen display due to recent UHH changes, follow this link and update your UHH profile: https://www.uglyhedgehog.com/t-572300-1.html