A world of copper: Globalizing the Industrial Revolution, 1830-70

Chris Evans, Olivia Saunders

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    1 Citation (Scopus)

    Abstract

    For most of human history the smelting of metallic ores has been performed immediately adjacent to the ore body. In the 1830s the copper industry that was centred on Swansea in the UK departed abruptly from that ancient pattern: Swansea smelters shipped in ores from very distant locations, including sites in Australasia, Latin America, and southern Africa. Swansea became the hub of a globally integrated heavy industry, one that deployed capital on a very large scale, implanted British industrial technologies in some very diverse settings, and mobilized a transnational workforce that included British-born 'labour aristocrats', Chinese indentured servants, and African slaves. This paper explores the World of Copper between its inception c.1830 and its demise in the aftermath of the American Civil War. It asks what the experience of this precociously globalized industry can contribute to some current concerns in global history.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3-26
    Number of pages24
    JournalJournal of Global History
    Volume10
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 18 Feb 2015

    Keywords

    • Australia
    • Britain
    • copper
    • Industrial Revolution
    • Latin America
    • nineteenth century

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