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Powerful Industrial Framework

La Carolina was founded at a time when, in other European countries, such as England, the Industrial Revolution was well under way. Right from the start Pablo de Olavides, taking note of this phenomenon, sought to incorporate industry to the job of founding the “New Settlements”, though agriculture still constituted the fundamental base.

A silk factory was already in operation in La Carolina in the year 1775 and during that same decade more factories were opened producing fine cloth, felt, velvet, hats and socks, pins and needles, flints, pottery and even silversmiths.

At the beginning of the eighteenth century, after this flourishing start, industry began to decline and virtually disappeared. Factories were dismantled or abandoned by the settlers, leading to the disentailment of 1835.

By the mid-nineteenth century, circa 1846, the picture had not changed much. However, with the beginnings of the mining industry visible on the horizon, La Carolina began to see the future with some optimism. The famous textile mills, though badly damaged, were still in use; there were only three looms for towels and capes, products which had acquired an excellent reputation in previous decades. Output from these mills was sold almost entirely on the local market.

During the first half of the nineteenth century the munitions factory opened, exporting its products to other parts of Spain and two lead smelters were also built.

Industrialisation continued on through the second half of the nineteenth century.There were substantial fluctuations in the growth rate, which was, however, always on the increase due to the mining industry. In the first decades of the twentieth century La Carolina already had nine oil factories, four brickworks, four sawmills, three soap factories, two sausage factories, and so on.

During the twentieth century mining was a major factor in shaping the city. When the first foreign companies began to settle in La Carolina, city life took a 180 degree turn., with agriculture giving way to mining.

As from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries foreign investment (English, French, Belgian, etc.) was not only limited to searching for new mineral deposits, but also to occupying those mines which had been abandoned due to high maintenance costs and out-of-date machines. The use of new machinery meant faster mineral extraction, making the mines more profitable and attracting the attention of new companies.This splendid period for the mining industry had its consequences in the population.

Thus, by the late nineteenth century the population was five times larger than it had been at the beginning of the same century. Until the 1940¨s the number of inhabitants remained constant. This was mainly due to the development and exploitation of mineral wealth, which attracted not only immigrants to the town but also a significant number of agricultural workers from the surrounding areas, thus alleviating the problems of unemployment due to the seasonal nature of local agriculture.

The gradual closure of the mines resulted in waves of emigration, especially from 1950 onwards. Mining activity had reduced drastically and the last two companies closed down in the early 1960s.

From the 60's onwards, La Carolina, lacking in agricultural land, has been able to carry out a constant process of industrialization, thanks to the various government programmes to promote business. The number of companies which have set up in the city has been steadily increasing, with various fluctuations, since then until the present day.


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