Iron is the fourth most abundant element in the Earth's crust, and is found as an ore called Magnetite. Iron is crucial for creating steel, which is required for countries which are undergoing industrialization.
While we humans mine a lot of sophisticated metals like Aluminum and Titanium, Iron forms the skeleton of modern infrastructure.
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Iron has been collected, mined and processed into its metallic form since 1200 BCE. Large scale production only started in 1750, at the start of the Industrial Revolution.
Steel, an alloy of Iron and Carbon is known for its purity and strength, and was patented by British inventor Sir Henry Bessemer in 1857. Steel helped humanity make stronger and larger tools, paving the way for industrialized progress.
Scaling up of iron production in Great Britain, the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, led to a dramatic increase in the demand for wood. The creation of steel takes its toll on forests, with the requirement of charcoal, a residue of wood, to smelt iron and carbon.
Charcoal production, leading to demand for wood, has since then led to widespread deforestation with thousands of square kilometers of forests cut annually.
We live in a fossil fuel society. But while they proved to be extremely valuable, the catastrophic climate change they are creating now threatens to derail that society. Two centuries ago we reached the limits of what agriculture could do, now global warming is imposing a limit on what fossil fuels can safely do.
It has created the greatest challenge human society has ever faced - moving back to relying on the daily influx of energy from the Sun to meet the huge energy needs of eight billion people and counting.
In 1459, Gutenberg opened a small printing shop in Bamberg (Bavaria), where he continued printing the Bible.
Six years later, Prince Archbishop of Mainz recognized Gutenberg's accomplishments and named him a gentleman of the court - meaning he could live on the court's large annual stipend.