Coal In The Age Of Empires Analysis

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Dr. Shellen Wu’s article, titled The Search for Coal in the Age of Empires: Ferdinand von Richtofen’s Odyssey in China, 1860-1920, is about the movement from wood to coal as the leading fuel source all over the world in the late nineteenth century, and how geologist, Ferdinand von Richthofen, played a huge role in this discovery of coal as an abundant source of energy in China. The second sentence of the article clearly sums up Dr. Wu’s thesis. She states, “On the basis of his [Richthofen’s] travels over the next four years and seven expeditions, Richthofen coined the term Seidenstrasse (Silk Road); correctly hypothesized the origin of loess, the yellowish silt-like material covering much of North China; and described to the outside world vast deposits of coal in the Chinese interior.” Dr. Wu’s article goes along with the theme that we’ve discussed in class all semester, which is, “how have technological advancements throughout history…show more content…
Shellen Wu, discusses Ferdinand von Richthofen and how he, as a German geologist, was the first person to create a geological map out China, making almost a treasure map of the coal under the feet of the Chinese people. Dr. Wu earned both of her degrees at very prestigious universities, and on top of that, her interest and focus on Chinese history makes her and her article credible sources of information. This article of Dr. Wu’s, as well as the other readings in our history class, have all linked back to one theme, and that is “how have technological advancements throughout history changed the world?” Ferdinand von Richthofen, like many before him, is a pioneer of science, and without him, who knows when China might have discovered their massive amounts of coal? Without these pioneers in science, many of the things we have today may have never been discovered, or invented, and life might be so much different than what it

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