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A Study Of Cotton Trade And Trade In Africa

4583 words - 18 pages

A Study of Cotton Trade and Trade in Africa

History of Cotton

The word cotton is derived from the Arabic word ‘qutun’ or ‘kutun’ which is used to describe any textile that is very fine. Cotton is one of the oldest known fibers in the world, which has been found by archeologists during the course of excavating ancient civilizations. Traces of cotton fiber were found to exist over 5000 years ago, when archeologists were excavating a cite in Mohenjo Daro, which lies in the Indus Valley in West Pakistan. Alexander the great and his army brought cotton goods and material to Europe around 300BC. However, the price of these cotton goods was so expensive that only the rich could afford it.

The southern states of America started growing cotton in the early 17th century and also making cotton goods and materials out of it. The acquisition of colonies around the world by Great Britain, led to tremendous development of the cotton industry because most of Britain’s colonies were suitable for cotton growth. In the early 19th century the southern American states became the biggest single supplier of cotton to the now thriving English textile mills. In the early 1900s, United States was the producing more then 50% of the total world cotton.

Growing conditions for cotton

Cotton plants have a growth cycle of about 6 months from the time they germinate to the time they are picked. Cotton seeds are usually planted in spring or as soon as the soil temperature is warm enough to ensure satisfactory seed germination and crop establishment cotton plants grow well in areas that hot summers/dry spells with low humidity and long hours of sunshine. The plant usually requires about 150 days free from frost. Cotton plants also require higher than average temperatures in order for them to grow faster and develop faster. In order for the yield of cotton to be higher, cotton plant require a hotter and longer season. Water requirements for the cotton plant depend on the weather conditions, though a successful harvest requires at least 75 centimeters of rain or irrigation water on average.

More about cotton

Cotton is the shortest commercial textile fiber. The cotton plant that is grown commercially grows to a height of about 1.2 meters. The cotton plant is fairly drought tolerant, though it requires a regular and adequate moisture supply to produce profitable yields. Cotton is grown in over 90 countries over the world, out of this 90 countries, 75 of them are developing countries. Although cotton is grown in both hemispheres, a higher percentage of cotton is cultivated in the Northern hemisphere. The times for harvesting and planting cotton are reversed in both hemispheres i.e. when it is the time of planting cotton in the Northern hemisphere, it is time to harvest cotton in the Southern hemisphere. Cotton is mostly cultivated between 37º N and 32 º S; however, its cultivation has been extended to 45 º N in China. US paper currency isn't paper at all; it...

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