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Coal mining was one of the most dangerous jobs on earth. It impacted not only miners, but their families. Many brave women raised big families all by themselves after losing their husbands in the mines. The miners` recollections of the disaster of 1979 in Glace Bay help reconstruct the grim reality of the mining industry.
The period between the two world wars saw the biggest uprising of the socialist movement in the region. The first unions were formed and they quickly gained power. Miners were dying not only in the mines, but during the strikes. It took many lives for the system to change. But even after the Company Houses were gone, the miners were still hungry and underpaid.
The French were the first to stumble upon the deposits of coal in Cape Breton. When British took over all the mines belonged to the Crown. But not for long. Given as a gift to one of the dukes, the mines with the miners were sold to the jewelry company to cover Duke`s debts, thus starting the long era of the Company Houses, known for its slavery conditions and the child labor.
Some of the most terrifying disasters happened in the latter part of the 20th century. With almost no safety regulations until the 50`s men were not safe. Some mines ran as deep as six miles down the ocean, some were only 30 inches high. It is comradery and humor that kept them going. And today the miners are sharing their stories.

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