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The Industrial Revolution changed much of Europe’s silk industry.Due to innovations on spinning cotton, cotton became much cheaper to manufacture and therefore caused more expensive silk production to become less mainstream.Though silk was exported to foreign countries in great amounts, sericulture remained a secret that the Chinese carefully guarded.
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This probably occurred in the early 1st century AD.
The princess, refusing to go without the fabric that she loved, would finally break the imperial ban on silk-worm exportation.
As a result of the spread of sericulture, Chinese silk exports became less important, although they still maintained dominance over the luxury silk market.
The Crusades brought silk production to Western Europe, in particular to many Italian states, which saw an economic boom exporting silk to the rest of Europe.
An epidemic of several silkworm diseases caused production to fall, especially in France, where the industry never recovered.
In the 20th century Japan and China regained their earlier role in silk production, and China is now once again the world’s largest producer of silk.
Silk cultivation spread to Japan around 300 AD, and, by 522 AD, the Byzantines managed to obtain silkworm eggs and were able to begin silkworm cultivation.
The Arabs also began to manufacture silk during this same time.
The production of silk originates in China in the Neolithic (Yangshao culture, 4th millennium BC).