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For the railroad called "Cotton Belt," see St. Louis Southwestern Railway.
Cotton Belt is a term applied to 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 occurred only in coastal plain areas of South Carolinamarker and Georgiamarker. By the middle of the 1800s, the Cotton Belt extended from Virginiamarker to eastern Texasmarker. The most intensive cotton production occurred in Georgia, Alabamamarker, and Mississippimarker, together with parts of Floridamarker, Louisianamarker and Texas. High productivity depended on the plantation system and slavery combined with fertile soils and a favorable climate. After the Civil War, sharecropping replaced slavery as the primary source of labor. Cotton production in the region declined in the 20th century due to soil depletion, the boll weevil, and social changes in the region. Cotton is still grown in parts of the region, but agricultural land in the region is now used primarily for crops such as corn, wheat, soybeans, and peanuts; livestock; and commercial timber production.

See also




  1. Cotton Belt, The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed.
  2. Cotton Belt, Research Machines plc 2004

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