Mining Tycoons in the Age of Empire, 1870–1945: Entrepreneurship, High Finance, Politics and Territorial Expansion, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Mining Tycoons in the Age of Empire, 1870–1945

Entrepreneurship, High Finance, Politics and Territorial Expansion, 1st Edition

Edited by Raymond E. Dumett


276 pages

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The years of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, aptly described by Mark Twain as the 'Gilded Age' witnessed an unprecedented level of technological change, material excess, untrammled pursuit of profit and imperial expansion. Within this dynamic and often ruthless environment many colorful characters strode across the world stage, among them the great mining tycoons, who with the thousands of prospectors, diggers, shift bosses, timbermen, 'blastmen' and 'muckers' in mining enterprise constituted one of the major spearheads of global capitalistic expansion and colonial exploitation. This volume, which carries the epic story to the mid-twentieth century provides a truly international perspective on the role of mining entrepreneurs, investors and engineers in shaping the economic and political map of the globe, in testing management techniques and in setting a vogue for extravagant displays of wealth among the world's rich. Each chapter is loosely focussed on a biographical account of a particular mining tycoon that allows for broad and comparative accounts to be made about the individuals, their business interests, the technologies they employed and the national and international political considerations under which they operated. Furthermore, this structure also allows for consideration of the effect that these tycoons had on the countries and territories in which they worked, particularly the often long-lasting impact on indigenous populations, the environment, transport links and economic development. By approaching the subject matter through this stimulating mix of cultural, social, economic, business and colonial history, many intriguing and thought provoking conclusions are reached that will reward any scholars with an interest late nineteenth and early twentieth century history.


’As the editor of this welcome collection of essays makes clear in his introduction, the history of mining development weaves together numerous important themes, political, economic, and social. … Scholars in a number of fields will find much interest in these essays, covering mining history in all its forms, but also business- government relations and the connections between mining development and territorial expansion. Revisiting some old debates, they also open fresh and intriguing avenues for future research.’ Enterprise & Society ’For those interested in the Gilded Era of the United States or the expansion of the British Empire in the nineteenth century or, more broadly, the emergence of the modern international corporation in the mining sector, this volume has much to offer.’ Itinerario ’Overall this book contains a well-chosen collection of interesting histories that are pulled together in fine fashion by the introduction, in a well-presented and well finished volume.’ Journal of Australian Mining History

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction, Raymond E. Dumett; The rise and fall of Horace Tabor, 'Colorado's silver king', Duane A. Smith; Edwin Cade and Frederick Gordon: British imperialism and the foundations of the Ashanti Goldfields Corporation, West Africa, Raymond E. Dumett; Cecil Rhodes, De Beers and mining finance in South Africa: the business of entrepreneurship and imperialism, Colin Newbury; John T. North, the nitrate king and Chile's lost future, Michael Monteon; Whitaker Wright, speculative finance and the London mining boom of the 1890s, Jeremy Mouat; Frank Morrill Murphy, 1854-1917: mining and railroad mogul and developer of the American Southwest, Robert L. Spude; Claude Albo de Bernales - wizard of Australia's golden West, Melville Davies; Copper kings of the Americas - the Guggenheim brothers, Thomas O'Brien; Alfred Chester Beatty: mining engineer, financier and entrepreneur, 1898-1950, John Phillips; Select bibliography; Indexes.

About the Editor

Raymond E. Dumett is a Professor in the Department of History at Purdue University, USA.

About the Series

Modern Economic and Social History

Modern Economic and Social History
Modern Economic and Social History encourages the publication of scholarly monographs on aspects of modern economic and social history. While emphasis is placed on works embodying original research, the series also provides studies of a more general and thematic nature which offer a reappraisal or critical analysis of major issues of debate. Economic and social history has been a flourishing subject of scholarly study during recent decades. Not only has the volume of literature increased enormously but the range of interest in time, space and subject matter has broadened considerably so that today there are many sub-branches of the subject which have developed considerable status in their own right.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General