back to top
|excerpt from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cotton:
"During the American Civil War, American cotton exports slumped due to a Union blockade on Southern ports, also because of a strategic decision by the Confederate government to cut exports, hoping to force Britain to recognize the Confederacy or enter the war, prompting the main purchasers of cotton, Britain and France to turn to Egyptian cotton. British and French traders invested heavily in cotton plantations and the Egyptian government of Viceroy Isma'il took out substantial loans from European bankers and stock exchanges. After the American Civil War ended in 1865, British and French traders abandoned Egyptian cotton and returned to cheap American exports, sending Egypt into a deficit spiral that led to the country declaring bankruptcy in 1876, a key factor behind Egypt's annexation by the British Empire in 1882. During this time, cotton cultivation in the British Empire, especially India, greatly increased to replace the lost production of the American South. "