18 February 2015
The History of Cotton
Cotton was used in the Old World at least 7,000 years ago (5th millennium BC).
Evidence of cotton use has been found at the site of Mehrgarh,
where early cotton threads have been preserved in copper beads.
Cotton cultivation became more widespread during the Indus Valley Civilization, w
hich covered parts of modern eastern Pakistan and northwestern India.
The Indus cotton industry was well developed and some methods used in cotton spinning and fabrication continued to be used until the industrialization of India.
Between 2000 and 1000 BC cotton became widespread across much of India.
For example, it has been found at the site of Hallus in Karnataka dating from around 1000 BC.
Cotton fabrics discovered in a cave near Tehuacán, Mexico have been dated to around 5800 BC,
although it is difficult to know for certain due to fiber decay.
Other sources date the domestication of cotton in Mexico to approximately 5000 to 3000 BC.
The Greeks and the Arabs were not familiar with cotton until the Wars of Alexander the Great,
as his contemporary Megasthenes told Seleucus I Nicator of "there being trees on which wool grows" in "Indica".
This might actually be a reference to the 'tree cotton', Gossypium arboreum, which is a native of the Indian subcontinent.
According to the Columbia Encyclopedia:
Cotton has been spun, woven, and dyed since prehistoric times.
It clothed the people of ancient India, Egypt, and China.
Hundreds of years before the Christian era,
cotton textiles were woven in India with matchless skill,
and their use spread to the Mediterranean countries.
Picking Cotton in Oklahoma, USA, in the 1890's.