The origins of Sea Island cotton are uncertain, but it may have spread from the western slope of the Andes to the West Indies. Columbus was given samples when he arrived there 1492.
The plantation varieties of Sea Island cotton were developed on the Sea Islands of Georgia and South Carolina beginning in the 1780’s. Planters improved upon seed received from the West Indies. This type of cotton needs a long growing season of approximately 250 days! Stephen Yafa in the book Big Cotton described Sea Island cotton as the "cashmere of cotton."
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