Factors that favored cotton growing in the Southern United States (U.S.A) include:
- Favorable Climatic Conditions: The Southern U.S.A. had a climate that was conducive to cotton growing. The region experienced a wet season during the early growing period, providing the necessary moisture for germination and initial growth. The sunny weather conditions during the harvesting period facilitated the drying and harvesting of the cotton crop.
- Fertile Soils: The presence of fertile soils, particularly the alluvial soils found in the Mississippi flood plains, provided ideal conditions for cotton cultivation. These fertile soils were rich in nutrients and well-suited for supporting the growth and development of cotton plants.
- Cheap Labor Supply: The availability of a large labor force, including enslaved African Americans and later, sharecroppers, provided a cheap source of labor for cotton cultivation. The labor-intensive nature of cotton farming, especially during planting and harvesting, made the availability of cheap labor crucial for its economic viability.
- Absence of Strong Winds: The Southern U.S.A. generally experienced less destructive winds compared to other regions. This absence of strong winds reduced the risk of damage to the cotton bolls before they matured and could be harvested.
- Technological Advancements: The use of high technology, such as irrigation systems, helped overcome the scarcity of rainfall in some areas, ensuring continuous cotton production throughout the year. The application of modern farming machinery also improved efficiency in planting, cultivating, and harvesting cotton.
- Arid Conditions and Pest Control: Some areas in the Southern U.S.A., such as parts of California, had arid conditions that were less favorable for the multiplication of pests and diseases that could harm cotton crops. This contributed to lower pest pressure, reducing the need for extensive pest control measures.
- Market Potential: The Southern U.S.A. had a wide market potential for cotton, both domestically and internationally. The demand for cotton products created incentives for many farmers to grow cotton and benefit from the profitable market.
- Sharecropping System: The sharecropping system played a significant role in the success of cotton growing in the Southern U.S.A. Landlords provided the necessary resources, including land, machinery, seeds, and housing, while tenants (sharecroppers) contributed their labor. This arrangement allowed cotton cultivation to expand, with landlords receiving a share of the produce as compensation.
- Introduction of Modern Machinery: After the abolition of slavery, the introduction of modern machinery, such as cotton gins, improved the efficiency of cotton processing. This further supported the growth and success of cotton farming in the region.
- Availability of Vast Land: The Southern U.S.A. had a vast expanse of land available for agricultural activities, including extensive cotton farming. This allowed for large-scale cultivation and contributed to the expansion of cotton production in the region.
These factors combined to create favorable conditions for cotton growing in the Southern U.S.A., leading to its prominence as a major cotton-producing region.