The earliest noted use of coal dates back to a geological treatise written by the Greek philosopher Theophrastus who lived between 371-287 B.C.E. Here this was mainly used as fuel for cooking, as Theophrastus noted, “…and, once set on fire, they burn like charcoal.” It wasn’t until much later, after the High Middle Ages (1000 or so BCE), that humans found a real use for coal in iron smelting and metal development, playing a more and more integral role in the development of Great Britain as a European power. Nearing the Industrial Revolution, it was certainly England that was leading the world in coal production and consumption.
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