According to well-known facts of the history of cotton, this fiber was first used as fine lightweight clothes on the territories with tropical climate and was known as egyptian cotton. It is evident that people in India, Egypt and South America independently domesticated different sorts of cotton thousands of years ago.
As the history of cotton says, the earliest reference to this fiber was written in Rig Veda (India, 600 B.C). Indian cotton had been grown there for more than three thousand years (about 2500 B.C). Thus, the Indians used cotton for clothing, towels and sheets. Some cotton was also grown in ancient Egypt. But it had never been very important there. In 200 A.D, by the Guptan period, the Indians began making good business through selling cotton as a luxury to the Chineses (to the east) and the Parthians (to the west). Further away the Romans believed that cotton was the same expensive luxury as silk. So, they had to buy it from Parthians or neighboring Arabic traders.
Soon afterwards the history of cotton gives us a picture of the 500`s A.D, when the Sassanians were also growing cotton in their eastern colonial possessions (particularly in the city of Mery).
A great push to cotton industry development was given in the late 600`s A.D with the establishment of the Islamic Empire. This push was later spread to Spain and North Africa. By the 700`s A.D or so the Eastern Roman Empire also started to grow cotton. In Northern Africa and West Asia people got used to wearing cotton clothing. But, according to the history of cotton, cotton was still considered in Europe to be an unusual and expensive luxury. It hadn`t been grown in Europe then.
Thus, during a medieval period of history cotton became known as a fiber imported to the Northern Europe. People in this region knew nothing about cotton, except that it was a plant, because the majority of them were acquainted and familiar only with animal fibers, for example, sheep wool. Europeans could only imagine that cotton was the fiber produced by plant-borne sheep.
By the end of the 16th century, cotton was grown and cultivated through such warm regions as Eurasia, Africa and Americas. It`s worth admitting that in the United States of America cotton was historically one of the leading occupations of the slaves.
The history of cotton claims the first cotton was spun by machinery in 1730 in England. Later the industrial revolution in England and invention of the cotton gin by Eli Whitney (in the USA) paved the successful way for the important place cotton is holding in the world nowadays.
Today cotton is grown and produced in many countries of the world located in Asia, Europe, Australia and Africa. These continents use selectively bred cotton plants, so that every plant is able to give farmers more fiber. In 2004 the cotton farmland amounted approximately 330 thousand square kilometers.