Archaeological evidence indicates that copper was used as far back as 10,000 years ago in western Asia. During the prehistoric Chalcolithic Period, societies discovered how to extract and use copper to produce ornaments and implements. As early as the 3rd-4th Millennium BC, copper was actively extracted from Spain’s Huelva region. Around 2500 BC, the discovery of useful properties of copper-tin alloys led to the Bronze Age.
It has been documented that Israel’s Timna Valley provided copper for the Pharaohs. Papyrus records from ancient Egypt reveal that copper was used to treat infections and sterilize water. The island of Cyprus is known to have supplied much of the copper needed for the empires of ancient Phoenicia, Greece, and Rome. Since copper was principally mined on Cyprus, hence the origin of the name of the metal as Cyprium, “metal of Cyprus”, later shortened to Cuprum.
The discoveries and inventions in the late 18th and early 19th Centuries by Ampere, Faraday, and Ohm propelled copper into a new era. Demonstrating excellent electrical conducting and heat transfer characteristics, copper played a pivotal role in launching the Industrial Revolution.