The Histories


In 1909, the oil wells of Galicia, Austria-Hungary were the third largest producers of oil in the world.1 Galicia, a province in the northeast corner of the Hapsburg Empire, had the opportunity to exploit these oil resources and improve the impoverished condition of its populace. Socialist trade unions were promoted as a way to improve conditions for workers. Ethnic tensions grew and derailed these efforts. More powerful nationalist interests divided the socialist trade groups suppressing their constructive growth. The region was left little improved, the real oil wealth being made in Vienna, and beyond. Development of the Galician oil industry suffered from a lack of regulation, deep-rooted ethnic divisions, and the inability to break away from an agrarian mind-set.


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