If it weren't for America's mining resources, America
would not have as many different cultures today. Why? Because some
people who had heard about all of the gold strikes, and other minerals found,
decided to come here to make a better life for themselves and their
would build and own whole towns, and then bring in whole towns of people from
another country to work for them. A lot of times, the towns weren't in
very good condition.
Click on the photo to see a larger image.
Mining Town Map and Coal Miner's Home
Library of Congress Prints
Photographs Division Washington, DC 20540 USA
During this time, there
weren't any laws to protect workers in the United States from the greed of the
companies who hired them. Work days were a lot longer. The places they had to
work were frequently dangerous. If they tried to stand up for themselves, they
got fired, or Pinkertons ( armed "detectives") would come in
to get the workers to do what the companies wanted. If they didn't, that meant
their families might starve. Even children worked long and hard hours. And
there was no weekend off, either. Small children would pick through the coal
waste piles to get every last piece of coal for less than a dollar a day,
cutting up their fingers, and breathing the coal dust.
These people were more than
workers, they were families who brought their traditions, religions and cultures with them.
now a country with different religions, races, songs, and languages, because of
mining. Here are some people who came here, became American citizens, and
helped create our colorful country.
in this country was part of the culture that grew with mining. Click
Here to listen their music!
The U.S. has a lot of choices when it comes to food
because of immigration. Click
here for recipes!
family emigrate to the U.S. to work in the mining industry? If so, we
want to hear from YOU! Send us your family's story and photos. We'll post them
for our readers! Click here, now!
As the Westward colonization grew
with every strike, Native Americans were
forced off their lands onto small reservations. Making things even worse for
the Native Americans were the diseases the settlers brought with them. Native
Americans' had never been exposed to them before. "...the task of
colonization was made easier by the large-scale deaths of native peoples who
had no resistance to the diseases imported by the colonizers. "
In 1850, there were about two hundred
Chinese people in America. When the Gold Rush occurred, the white workers in
the West left
their jobs to mine gold, drawing many Chinese to
America. Their main goal of coming was to make enough money here to have a
more comfortable life when they went back to China. By 1880, there were over
100,000 Chinese here.
The mining caused a big demand for city growth. The Chinese were a
huge part of building these cities in the West, because they would work
more cheaply than anyone else.
In the 1830's and 40's, Cornish miners came to
America to mine the lead they had heard of in the hills of the Wisconsin
Territory. The Cornish miners were from Cornwall, and were very good at using
blasting powder, and other mining tools. They picked up where other miners
stopped, and dug deeper underground. They soon started their own colony in a
neighborhood called Pendarvis.
A coal mine in Osage County, Kansas
brought many immigrants in the late 1800's. The French were some of them. When
the mining industry in Kansas diminished, they moved to other areas, like
Lexington, Missouri, Henryetta, Oklahoma, and Crawford County.
With high food prices throughout
Europe, Germans saw America as a land where
they could make a better living for themselves. They emigrated by the
thousands in the 19th century to many locations here, including Texas. You can
still go to towns all around the U.S. where German food and architecture make
you feel as though you're really in Germany!
In the 19th century, mining brought many to places in the
U.S. that hadn't been colonized before. But, many of the Irish would have
starved to death if they had stayed in their country. At that time,the Irish
had depended on the potato for a major part of their diets. But, after 1845, a
fungus destroyed the potato crops of Ireland, which caused the starvation and
sickness deaths of over 1,000,000. This was called The Great Famine.
Italy, during the 1800's, incredible food prices, and diseases like
Pallagra and Malaria were causing the
deaths of up to 2,000,000 Italians every year! By the late 19th
century, over 1,000,000 Italians had emigrated to the U.S.
One of the most famous Scots to
immigrate to the U.S. in the 19th century was Andrew Carnegie and his family.
Coming to make a better life (like many other Scots), his parents brought the
family to America. Although Carnegie was very poor as a child, he grew up to
be one of the richest people in the world. He made his fortune in the steel
industry. To read more about Carnegie, click here.
The Swedes, because of the rocky soil
in Sweden, also depended on the potato crops. When their crops failed in the
late 1800's due to weather, over 60,000 Swedes emigrated to the U.S. By
1900, one fifth of all Swedes lived in the U.S.
These people came to America to mine
coal, and among other things. Bringing their families to coal mining towns in
Pennsylvania, they brought their language, culture, and food, with them.