A Virtual presentation from the National Museum of Industrial History
JANUARY 23 @ 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM
While the rise and fall of Bethlehem Steel is well-documented, the Corporation’s global impact particularly from places where they sourced raw materials is less well-known. From 1913 until 1971, the Bethlehem Steel Corporation operated iron mines in Chile, shipping ore to the US through the Panama Canal. Chilean iron ore was essential to Bethlehem Steel’s World War II production, cementing the ties between Latin America and the Lehigh Valley.
While the histories of Mexican and Puerto Rican workers illustrate Bethlehem Steel’s labor linkages, this talk provides a new perspective on the Lehigh Valley’s long-standing relationship with Latin America by illuminating Bethlehem Steel’s mining operations in Chile. Various engineers, geologists, and Bethlehem Steel executives worked on the Chilean mining projects, and many brought families and built lives in the mining towns or surrounding areas near La Serena, Chile. Through these connections Chileans also came to study, work and live in the Lehigh Valley in the 20th century.
This virtual talk explores the history of Bethlehem Steel’s iron mining operations in Chile, the transnational flows of raw materials and people and Bethlehem Steel’s legacy in Latin America.
The goal of this project is to research the history of Bethlehem Steel’s iron ore mining operations in Latin America, with a plan to present findings in academic journals, museum exhibits, public lectures, and/or documentaries. Some of the core questions that guide this project are: What role did iron ore extracted from Latin America play in Bethlehem Steel’s production processes? And, how did the Bethlehem Steel Corporation (& its subsidiaries) impact the regions where they had mining operations?
If you have memories, photos, documents, or contacts that you are interested in sharing with the project, we would love to hear from you. Please visit https://forms.gle/ch6q41eMfbQjksm68 with whatever information you are able to share, and we will be in touch.
PLEASE REGISTER TO RECEIVE A ZOOM LINK TO THIS EVENT.