Return to Assignments Page

Cotton Panoramas 

    The growth of cotton propelled the settlement of the Cotton South from the 1790s with the invention of the cotton gin to the 1890s when the boll weevil began to devastate cotton yields. Today cotton is still a major crop in the South and in California's irrigated Central Valley where the panoramas below were taken.

    As you view the panoramas and accompanying images, identify the interlinked ecological, social, and economic factors that made cotton a dominant factor in the development of the South in the nineteenth century, those which continue to foster its success today, and the ecological consequences of cotton production on the land. Use the Cotton South quotations to assist you in your interpretation.

Quicktime VR 

If your browser does not automatically start loading panoramas after you click on these image links, please download Quicktime here.

Cotton Field Panorama - Gustine, California


Harvested Cotton Panorama - Gustine, California


Cotton Gin Panorama - Gustine, California

Credits: Photographs by Carolyn Merchant; panorama assembly and web page by Rob Weinberg.