Coal mining

The history of coal mining

histtezby.gifIt is the Ostrava region where archaeological evidence of coal utilization by prehistoric man was found. Perhaps it was the presence of this mineral that made him settle here and create an artistic gem of worldwide significance - the Venus of Landek.


However, systematic mining and utilization of this raw material is much more recent - even more recent than mining and processing of metal ores. Mass demand for coal emerged with the necessity of replacing wood as a source of energy at the beginning of the industrial revolution.


The first coal mining experiments and utilization of coal were carried out in England during the 17th century. The Austrian government started to support prospecting for deposits in the course of the 18th century and it did not leave out the Ostrava region either. The first person who made an attempt at purposeful mining was probably Count Václav Kořenský of Těrešov in 1753. However, regular mining didn't begin before the 19th century with the development of ironworks and railways. By the end of that century mining and related activities gradually concentrated into the hands of a few large concerns. At the same time, the face of the Ostrava region changed dramatically – the underdeveloped agricultural region became a densely populated industrial area.


The outbreak of the the First World War brought record-breaking output after a short-lived decrease in production, however, the whole district was militarized at the same time.


Following the formation of the first Czechoslovak republic the Hlučín region was attached to the district, which enabled the formation of Greater Ostrava in 1924 and consolidation of some mines. The development of mining as well as the social situation mirrored the inter-war economic development: after a short-lived reduction came a period of industrial boom, ended by the world economic crisis in 1929. The district did not start to recover until 1934 due to the preparations for the possible war.


In the course of the Second World War mining and related sectors were fully incorporated into the economy of the Third Reich. The Herman Goring Werke concern and other German companies exercised decisive influence in the region. The last days of the war saw an extensive devastation of local industry both in combat and as a result of systematic destruction by the retreating Germans.


Following the restoration of Czechoslovakia national administration was introduced to the mines, followed soon by the nationalization process.