Cornwall, a county of natural beauty, rich history and metal deposits
Natural beauty and history
Cornwall is the southwestern part of England, rich in natural beauty, history with many megalithic sites and a tradition with its own language called Cornish (It is a very complex, originally Celtic language. The last person speaking this language died in 1987 and even has a memorial plaque at his birthplace).
Thanks to the warm Gulf Stream, which washes the shores of Cornwall, the local climate has an average annual temperature of 12.5 °C.
You will suddenly find yourself almost on the Mediterranean coast and you can walk under the crowns of palm trees and photograph subtropical vegetation, or go for a ride on the sea and watch whales and dolphins. It is no coincidence that Cornwall was chosen to build the aforementioned botanical garden.
In this article, I will focus on one very famous stage in the history of Cornwall, which has practically influenced the modern history of the world and set the direction we are taking to this day.
If you look at a geological map of the British Isles, you will find that Cornwall and neighboring Devon County are made up of igneous rocks, especially granite. And where there are igneous rocks, there are minerals, and where there are minerals, there are metals. The composition of local granite is ideal for this. It is primarily a tin oxide mineral, SnO2, professionally called Cassiterite. We will return to this name later. Next, it is mainly copper in its pure state. The accompanying metals are here – silver, lead, zinc mineral (ZnS called Sphalerite) and others. Extraction of these raw materials is documented as early as the Bronze Age (2150 BC).
Alloy – a strategic raw material
It was an extraordinarily big leap forward in human development when someone noticed that it was enough to add only 5% -20% tin to molten copper and bronze was formed. An alloy much harder than raw iron, which casts well in molds, polishes well and, like the icing on the cake, is like gold. An alloy made for weapons. From our point of view today, it was a “strategic raw material” and was the subject of lively trade. Here and there a report flashes in the newspapers that a shipwreck from ancient times with tin or copper rods has been found off the coast of south-west England. The most famous report of a sunken ship with tin rods from Cornwall comes from the coast of Haifa near Israel.
Source: Lomy a těžba