The Boll Weevil: The Cotton Industry

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The entrance of the boll weevil to the cotton industry was definitely one to remember. It has been said that there was immense loss as well as gains throughout the decades of the weevil’s invasion. Throughout the first few decades of the 20th century, the Boll Weevil created not only confusion and anguish across the Southern United States, but also a very diversified effect on the agricultural practices used. Beginning in the early 19th century, the agricultural compass pointed to cotton. In the south, there were two types of land available. One was fertile, soft and packed with nutrients. The other, however, lacked these qualities and therefore was not sufficient for growing much. The introduction of fertilizers on a commercial scale made cotton farming possible everywhere. By the end of the 1800s, everybody everywhere was beginning to grow cotton. It had become a staple of society. You grew cotton to survive. Cotton became so important to the Southern US that it became a currency. Lenders would let people borrow money in return for cotton at the end of the growing season. It became a true way of life. One of the problems associated with this is the issue of tenancy. As early as 1910, the counties that make up southeastern Alabama had not only the highest percentage of cotton production, but also the highest rates of tenancy…show more content…
In 1894, scientists discovered this member of the beetle family from a specimen collected in Corpus Christi, Texas. This insect is completely dependent on cotton throughout the entirety of its lifetime. They live inside and around the cotton plant “devouring its lint and puncturing its squares.”(29) This causes the plant to become unable to produce the actual cotton on which this crop depends. From the time of it’s discovery and for the next 30 years, this insect swept the southeastern United States and did everything it could to wipe out the entire cotton industry. With this destruction, however, came

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