ABSTRACT This paper is focused on the “paths of human history” in relation to the geological occurrence patterns of the following natural resources: stone, copper, tin, iron, gold, and coal. The abundant occurrence of flint in the Near East has influenced toolmaking and maybe the moment when early men discovered how to control fire. The scarcity of tin stimulated an early long distance trade during the Bronze Age. The abundant occurrence of iron, on the other hand, offered tools for everyday agriculture and “democratized” weaponry. The scarcity of gold, plus its durability, made it perfect for money, and therefore mining of gold strongly influenced economic history. The use of coal revolutionized the use of energy and industrialization. From making knives to controlling fire, from developing world trade to stimulating agriculture and war, from creating a global economy to increasing, as well as highlighting, the great differences between haves and have nots, from forming societies to destroying environments, the role of ores and their occurrences were essential.

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