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Zonguldak Coalfield and the Past and Future of Turkish Coal-mining Communities

Chapter
Part of the Identity Studies in the Social Sciences book series (IDS)

Abstract

Zonguldak, a province of 620,000 people on the western Black Sea coast in Turkey, was once an industrial powerhouse attracting migrants from various parts of the country.1 The city and the surrounding coalmining basin emerged as the single most important mining centre in the Ottoman Empire. Before 1848, when coal production began in the surrounding area, Zonguldak was a neighbourhood in a small village. In a matter of decades, it had emerged as an important Ottoman town and became one of the ‘workshop’ cities of the Turkish Republic, which was established in 1923. In Ottoman and early Republican times, the region was called the Ereğli coal basin, because the port town of Ereğli was an older settlement and was socially and economically more important to the region than Zonguldak. As Zonguldak grew in size and in importance, the region came to be called the Zonguldak coal basin. The transformation deeply affected the lives of the inhabitants of the region. While the local villagers began to work in underground jobs on a rotational basis, a largely immigrant workforce employed permanently in the above-ground tasks also emerged. In the Ottoman and early Republican periods, despite attempts at regulation and improvement, miners worked under extremely difficult conditions and delays in wage payments, arbitrary fines, work-related diseases and accidents were common.

Keywords

Coal Mining Coal Basin Mining Sector Underground Worker Spatial Division 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© H. Tarık Şengül and E. Attila Aytekin 2012

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