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By Jeff Hornibrook

Jeff Hornibrook offers a different, microcosmic examine the method of industrialization in a single chinese language neighborhood on the flip of the 20 th century. Industrialization got here past due to China, yet used to be eventually embraced and hastened to assist the state's strategic and armed forces pursuits. In Pingxiang County within the highlands of Jiangxi Province, coalmining was once seasonal paintings; peasants rented mines from lineage leaders to paintings after the harvest. those traditions replaced in 1896 whilst the court docket determined that the county's mines have been crucial for industrialization. international engineers and chinese language officers arrived to set up the recent social and financial order required for mechanized mining, one who may swap issues for individuals from all degrees of society. The outsiders built a Westernized manufacturing unit city that sat uneasily in the present neighborhood. Mistreatment of the neighborhood inhabitants, together with the pressured buy of gentry-held homes and the mixing of peasants into factory-style hard work schemes, sparked a chain of rebellions that wounded the empire and tore on the cloth of the group. utilizing tales present in memoirs of elite chinese language and overseas engineers, correspondence among gentry and strong officers, travelogues of yank missionaries and engineers, in addition to different resources, Hornibrook bargains a desirable historical past of the social and political results of industrialization in Pingxiang County.

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Extra info for A Great Undertaking: Mechanization and Social Change in a Late Imperial Chinese Coalmining Community

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86 In simple numbers, the total available coal in the three provinces surrounding the Yangzi region was approximately 677,000,000 tons. 89 Moreover, given the previous discussion of the mines in Pingxiang County alone, it is obvious that this figure could have gone higher if the market demand had been sufficient. Second, Pomeranz assumes that Shanghai enjoyed no alternative sources of fuel besides the nearby provinces and mining towns of the Jiangnan region. 90 Shanghai’s imports totaled more than 110,000 tons of coal annually in the early 1860s, an amount roughly equal to that estimated by Richthofen for Hunan Province.

Over generations, such a community came to assume that the workable options for production and consumption were available when they needed them. A sense of a bond between the natural environment and the human-made community developed that each individual and each individual family counted on for survival throughout their lifetimes. 31 Even still, the deposits of high-grade bituminous coal were by far the most significant and abundant source of family-required resources and dependable byemployment in the county.

However, some of the mines were dug deeper to extract the higher-grade bituminous coal. This coal was softer and lower in phosphorous and sulfur and, though it was high in ash, it was still a better-quality coal than the top-layer deposits. In any case, the deeper the miners descended, the more dangerous the task. And once they arrived at the spot they intended to work, the seams were often narrow and undulating, forcing the worker to move about under the rock following the natural contours of the deposit.

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