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A cotton gin is a machine that separates cotton fibers from their seeds, allowing for much greater productivity than manual cotton separation.
Although simple handheld roller gins have been used in India andother countries since at least 500 AD, the first modern mechanical cottongin was created by American inventor Eli Whitney in 1793, and patented in1794. Whitney's gin revolutionised the cotton industry in the United States, but also led to the growth of slavery in the American South as the needfor cotton workers rapidly increased. The invention has thus has been identified as a contributing factor to the outbreak of the American Civil War.