Brilliant, informative essay. Here’s an excerpt:
“If coal was the key to prosperity for the people living in the Appalachian Mountain areas of West Virginia and Eastern Kentucky, then why–after 150 years of mining this natural resource–are these populations still some of the poorest in the entire country? This was always a false promise made by self-serving politicians and titans of industry who cared about nothing other than filling their own pockets with quick profits.”
Working as a miner has long been one of the most perilous occupations on the planet. As the ancient Romans famously conquered lands near and far, they sentenced the slaves they took prisoner to a life of back-breaking labor in their mines. The hardships of such labor were famously portrayed in the Hollywood production of Spartacus, the story of a slave who worked in the mines, refused to submit to the torture of his captors and eventually led a rebellion against Roman tyranny.
Fast forward to mid-18th century Britain, when the mining of coal produced the energy needed to power factories and run transport networks bringing about what would later be known as the Industrial Revolution. As knowledge of new industrial technologies spread across Western Europe and then on to the Americas, countries rich in this relatively inexpensive resource developed into industrial powerhouses.
The advent of industrialization sparked an…
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