It is a product of Imperial and Colonial era cultivation across the globe, which were fueled by European investment. This variety of cotton was principally grown around the Nile basin in colonies and nations such as Egypt, which gives the cotton its name.
The British textile mills in late 19th and early 20th centuries were fed by Egyptian cotton, and were instrumental in mechanizing and finalizing the process of developing high-grade cotton cloth from yarns.
Back then, in the newly formed United States of America, many attempts were made to start the cultivation of cotton and manufacture clothes from it. One attempt was exceptionally successful, and the efforts were put in by the ingenious native Americans, immigrant Europeans, and United States farmers. This cotton was eventually used to make sheets.
Pima is a fine, long-staple (length of the individual fibers) cotton which is a parallel cotton brand to the conventional Egyptian cotton. The climate of southwestern coastal states of the United States is very much like that of Egypt, and Central and Deccan India. Both these regions have been the hubs of cotton cultivation for quite a long period of time.
Due to the climatic similarities and large availability of land, a widespread cultivation of cotton crop began in these coastal farming communities. The cultivation and production of the cotton crop was largely facilitated by the local community of Pima Indians, which gives the cotton brand its name.
Botanists have termed this cotton variety as a member of Gossypium barbadense species. This cotton is also produced in Peru and Australia.
A strong characteristic feature of Pima cotton is that it has an extra long-staple, which makes it convenient for the production of yarn and cloth. It also makes dense fiber. Such fibers are mostly used to produce towel sheets and clothing.
The North American fashion for common people is driven by two aspects: sports and corporate outfits. Pima cotton is used in both the fashion categories. The sheets are used for the manufacture of cotton socks, sweatshirts, and T-shirts.
The American world of sports has been a pioneer propagator of the use of Pima cotton clothes. Apart from sportswear, the cotton cloth has been found in several corporate fashions brands.
A huge cultivation area, large manpower that is situated in urban areas, and enormous cotton-producing cultivation land has proven beneficial for the agricultural and textile sector of the United States. This country effectively produces billions of Pima sheets every year, a substantial portion of which is exported.
The American economy with its well established cotton cultivation and textile sector, caters to the needs of cotton sheets of millions of customers throughout the world every year. The Egyptian cotton sheets may be smoother and softer than the Pima sheets; however, the widespread use of Pima sheets in the clothing industry is unbeatable.
Thus, the next time you buy Pima sheets, jersey, sweatshirt, or even a pair of socks, bear in mind that the cotton has traveled a long way from Southwestern fields to some mill, then to some manufacturing unit, and finally to the showroom.