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The History of Mining: The events, technology and people involved in the industry that forged the modern world by Michael Coulson

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4. Russia’s Gold

Gold rushes in the Anglo Saxon world were in spirit and development very much mirrors of the entrepreneurial, free market system that the Industrial Revolution had unleashed. In autocratic Russia, the government had also begun to encourage the private gold prospector in May 1812 when it allowed Russians to search for and mine gold subject to a state royalty. This was interesting timing, as within a month the French began their ultimately disastrous invasion of Russia.

Before that, gold mining was the monopoly of the state and in addition there were only limited numbers of free men to work in mines, as so many of the population were indentured serfs largely working on the land. Indeed before Peter the Great travelled to Europe ...

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