What period is Poldark set in, what happened in 18th century Cornwall and why did the mining industry struggle?

POLDARK has made history sexy and is returning for it's fifth and final series.

Let’s take a look at when the show, which is based on a series of novels, is set.

When is Poldark set?

Author Winston Graham set his novels in Cornwall in the late 18th Century.

The story’s main character Ross Poldark returns from fighting in the American War of Independence to his Cornish home to take over his father’s estate.

What happened in 18th Century Cornwall?

Cornwall, along with the rest of Britain, was rocked economically by the US War of Independence in the late-1800s.

However, the remote area on England’s south west coast was seen as distinct from the rest of the country.

While the Cornish language had all but died out – the last native speaker Dolly Pentreath died in 1777 – the locals still revelled in their arcane traditions such as folk singing and dancing.

Cornwall was also known for its innovations such as the passenger steam engine developed because of the need to further excavate the region’s tin and copper mines, reports History Extra.

The area’s bustling ports were also a gateway to faraway lands and exotic imports.

Was the mining industry in decline?

In Poldark novels and TV series, the titular character runs tin mines he inherited from his late-father.

Copper and tin mining had been the traditional economic backbone of Cornwall in the 18th Century.

However by the late 1790s the industry had been impacted by the war in the US which had also rocked domestic and international economies.

The prices of the metals were further depressed by ruthless smelting companies who were attempting to monopolise the trade, reports History Extra.

But despite the economic uncertainty, the mining industries were still a massive employer in Cornwall with an estimated 40,000 men working underground on any given day.

Miners faced dangerous conditions such as mining-related diseases and collapsing shafts.

More on Poldark

DARK DAYS How did Poldark end last series? A recap of what happened in season four

ONE EL OF A GIRL The lowdown on Eleanor Tomlinson who is back on TV in Poldark

POLDARK AND HANDSOME Here's what you need to know about Poldark star Aidan Turner

What time is Poldark on this Sunday?

Poldark series 5 begins THIS SUNDAY (July 14, 2019) at 9pm on BBC1.

Yes, the hunky captain is returning for eight episodes to keep us all entertained on Sunday evenings.

Once each episode has aired you'll be able to also catch it on the BBC iPlayer.



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