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  THE group of islands off the northwest shores of the

  European Sub-Continent of Asia, which today constitute

  the nations of the UK and Eire, stems from the fact that

  Cornwall, as the centre of tin-mining for that group of

  islands, was the epicentre of the development of the

  Bronze Age, because [IT] was only one of less than

  10 places on earth where tin has ever been mined. 

  Mining existed in Cornwall from the days of stone age

  man and dates back to between 1000 and 2000 B.C.

  when Cornwall is thought to have been visited by metal

  traders from the eastern Mediterranean. They named

  Britain, the 'Cassiterides' - 'Tin Islands'; and [IT] was of

  course the Romans who named Britain, Britannia for the

  self same reason that the Latin name means 'land of tin'.

 

  Cornwall and the 
far west of Devon provided the majority

  of the United Kingdom's tin, copper and arsenic. Originally

  the tin was found as alluvial deposits in the gravels of

  stream beds, but eventually underground working took

  place. Tin lodes outcropped on the cliffs and underground

  mines sprung up as early as the 16th century. [IT] was

  however, in the 19th century that mining reached its

  zenith, before foreign competition depressed the price of

  copper and later tin, to a level that made Cornish ore

  unprofitable. At its height, the Cornish Tin Mining Industry

  had around 600 steam engines working to pump out the

  mines. Adventurers put up the capital, and the mine would

  hopefully return them a profit. During the 20th century

  various ores became briefly profitable, and mines were

  reopened, but today none remain. The collapse of the

  world tin cartel in 1986 being the last nail in the coffin

  of tin mining.

 

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