Cotton has played the principal part in the history of the Europeanization of economic life in the Near East. Clothing is one of man's principal needs, and accordingly the textile industry, 80 per cent. of which is concerned with cotton, has played a decisive part in economic history and is to this day one of the principal elements in world trade and industry. With the Oriental's liking for clothing and materials of fine quality and varied colours, the trader in piece goods and clothing has been the pioneer since the end of the eighteenth century in the economic transformation of the East. It was through the textile dealer that mass production first replaced individual production in native trade, through him that imports grew, and there with the need of capital, through him that trade began to take the place of barter, that a class of traders grew up and began systematically to exploit the opportunities of business.