AROUND 3,500 BCE
Often credited as being the reason the Bronze Age came about, tin is looked at as having no value in comparison to its metal counterparts. A necessity in the creation of bronze, tin has many other properties that still make it just as valuable a material as any other. Tin is a soft and pliable metal, with a high polish and a resistance to corrosion, which is why it would often be used as a coating for other metallic objects.
Tin deposits were scattered around the world during ancient times, and as a relatively rare element, many countries had no access to them. Due to their importance in the creation of bronze, tin trade played an all-important role in the development of many cultures throughout ancient times. Europe’s earliest tin mining district dates back to 2,500 BCE, and was located in Erzgebirge, on the border between Germany and the Czech Republic. From there, tin was believed to be traded north to the Baltic Sea and south to the Mediterranean. As the knowledge of the importance of tin grew, more European settlements began to mine for their own tin, including areas such as Brittany in France, and Devon and Cornwall in England, around 2,000 BCE. In the Far East, the tin belt stretches from Yunnanin China to the Malay Peninsula. Large amounts of tin were also discovered in the East Asian tin belt, which stretched all the way from China through Thailand and Laos, to Malaysia and Indonesia.
Tin was also crucial in the creation of the tin can, which paved the way for food storage in the early 19th century. in the early 19th century. With the creation of the tin can, food was able to be transported over longer distances, and also reduced the amount of food wastage as food could be kept longer. Furthermore, this meant farmers could keep the left-over crops to survive the winter or for seasons when crops did not grow well.