World's leading producer of lead
If in ancient times it was an important silver and lead producing center, no less important and interesting is mining in the 19th and 20th centuries, which finished modeling the landscape and constituted an exceptional industrial and ethnographic heritage. The growth of La Carolina as a city is due to this boost from mining, which is manifested even in architecture, the social stratification associated with neighborhoods and urban expansion.
The European countries that lead the Industrial Revolution demand a large amount of mineral raw materials, and once again set their sights on the old Linares-La Carolina district. The elimination of tobacconists and lead monopolies at the beginning of the 19th century had encouraged private initiative to work on old slag heaps, tunnels and mine shafts. Towards the middle of that century, small owner companies appeared in La Carolina, which were soon absorbed by the large mining companies that arrived in the second half of the 19th century (Los Guindos, Real Compañía Asturiana de Minas, Castilla la Vieja and Jaén,... etc.). The Mining Bases Law of 1868 favored the entry of capital and foreign investors, so that large mining consortiums were formed under the hands of the English, Germans, Belgians and French.
Towards the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, the Linares-La Carolina district remained the world's leading producer of lead, reaching all-time highs in population, in infrastructure development, in political influence, and in economic activity. All this at the cost of the health of the miner who was exposed to the fateful silicosis, to accidents and to very harsh and demanding working and living conditions, in a world-class mining district but where mechanization and extractive improvements in the interior they didn't arrive until the 1970s.
The second half of the 20th century will experience a continuous decline in activity due to falling prices relative to costs. So the concessions are being abandoned at the same time that there is a lot of unemployed workforce that has to emigrate to other industrial centers or to the big capitals. In 1985 the Pozo Guindo closed, and ended a period of splendor that profoundly transformed the landscape and the people of La Carolina, its festivals and customs.
The situation of helplessness was alleviated in part with the application of the Jaén Plan at the beginning of the 1960s, which involved the industrialization of the district, which has been its main economic activity until now.