Italian Sulphur Mines: Chronology

Figure 1.-- This photo shows children working in open-air in a Sicilian sulfur mine. We can date the photo in the 1960s by the clothing style, but also because everybody are clothed and shod.

The sulpher mines on Sicily have been worked since ancient times. Miners were often slaves and condemned crimilals. We are not sure when the practice of renting boys began. We suscpect that the demand for suphur increased during the medieval era with the introduction of gunpowder from China to Europe. The Europeans begann employing it in warfare (14th century). We assume this practice of using boys originated in medieval times. Situations like this persisted longer on Sicily than the Italian mainland. We note boys working in quaries even after World War II. An example is a Sardinian quary after the War. This probably reflects the aftermath of World War II which devestated Italy, although Sardinia was a poor area of Italy and a very traditional place where it took some time for the modern economy and child labor laws to become effective.


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Created: 8:28 PM 8/27/2011
Last updated: 8:28 PM 8/27/2011