The Final Frontiers, 1880-1930: Settling the Southern Bottomlands

Synopsis

An examination of the settlement history of the alluvial bottomlands of the lower Mississippi Valley from 1880 to 1930, this study details how cotton-growers transformed the swamplands of northwestern Mississippi, northeastern Louisiana, northeastern Arkansas, and southern Missouri into cotton fields. Although these alluvial bottomlands contained the richest cotton soils in the American South, cotton-growers in the Southern bottomlands faced a host of environmental problems, including dense forests, seasonal floods, water-logged soils, poor transportation, malarial fevers and insect pests. This interdisciplinary approach uses primary and secondary sources from the fields of history, geography, sociology, agronomy, and ecology to fill an important gap in our knowledge of American environmental history.