Wolfram

   Deposits of the mineral wolfram or tungsten ore are found in central and northern Portugal. Essential for the war industry, for hardening steel in aircraft, tanks, small arms, artillery, and ammunition, wolfram played an unexpectedly important part in Portugal's economy and society during World War II when the belligerents sought large supplies of it. Nazi Germany had its principal supplies of wolfram in Asia, until its invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941 cut off these supply routes. Thereafter, Germany sought to acquire wolfram in Spain and Portugal, which between them possessed the largest wolfram deposits in Europe.
   Wolfram had been mined in Portugal since 1900, in the mountainous Beira Alta province. As of 3 September 1939, when Portugal declared its neutrality, most of the wolfram mines were owned by British and American firms, but the post-1941 wartime demand for it had an impact on Portugal's economy, finance, and neutrality. Although the Allies could obtain most of their tungsten ore in North America, Germany came to depend on exports from wolfram mines in Portugal and Spain. To obtain more wolfram supplies, Germany arranged to purchase wolfram mines, as well as to purchase and import wolfram from mines owned by Portuguese investors. To thwart the German wolfram program, the British and Americans launched an extensive wolfram preemption program that cost more than $US1 billion during the period from 1942 to 1944.
   The booming wolfram industry had a significant, if brief, impact on the poor, rural regions where the mines were located, and there was increased income and employment. Wolfram revenues for Portugal also affected its position as a debtor to ally Britain and, by the end of the war, Britain owed Portugal more than 90 million pounds for war-related products and services. After the war, this windfall enabled Portugal to upgrade its merchant marine fleet. Complex diplomatic negotiations between Portugal and both sets of belligerents ensued, and "the wolfram question" represented a foreign policy nightmare for Prime Minister Antônio de Oliveira Salazar. On 6 June 1944, Salazar came to a controversial decision about wolfram. In what was hoped to be perceived as an even-handed new policy, to satisfy both the Allies and the Axis, Portugal decreed a halt to the wolfram industry for the remainder of the war. Thus, within a few weeks, the wolfram mines were closed, and all mining, sales, and export of the mineral ceased. It was not until the 1950s that wolfram mines reopened. However, the industry gradually declined and, at present, wolfram mining and production is relatively small.
   See also Foreign policy.

Historical dictionary of Portugal 3rd ed.. . 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • wolfram — WÓLFRAM s.n. Element chimic, metal dur, cenuşiu deschis (în stare compactă) sau cenuşiu închis (sub formă de pulbere), lucios, folosit la fabricarea oţelurilor speciale şi a filamentelor pentru becuri electrice; tungsten. – Din germ. Wolfram, fr …   Dicționar Român

  • wolfram — [ vɔlfram ] n. m. • 1759; mot all. (XVIe), probablt de Wolf « loup » et Rahm « crème » ♦ Principal minerai de tungstène, tungstate naturel de fer et de manganèse, noirâtre. Mines de wolfram. On dit aussi WOLFRAMITE n. f. , 1892 . ● wolfram nom… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Wolfram — may refer to:*the element Tungsten, called wolfram in German and a majority of languages **Wolframite, an iron manganese tungstate mineral *Wolfram Research, a software company in headquartered in Champaign, Illinois *Wolfram syndrome, a rare… …   Wikipedia

  • Wolfram Ax — (* 9. Dezember 1944 in Falkensee bei Berlin) ist ein deutscher Altphilologe. Leben Nach seinem Abitur (1964 in Hildesheim) begann er 1964–70 ein Studium der Klassischen Philologie und Germanistik an den Universitäten in …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Wolfram [1] — Wolfram W, Atomgew. 184,0. Stahlgraues, schwer schmelzbares, sprödes Metall von 19,129 spez. Gew.; Schmelzpunkt 2800–2850°; verbrennt bei hoher Temperatur an der Luft zu Wolframsäureanhydrid WO3, und wird durch Reduktion der Wolframsäure mit …   Lexikon der gesamten Technik

  • wólfram — wolfram (del germ. «wolfram»; pronunc. [bólfram]) m. Forma internacional del nombre «wolframio». * * * wólfram. m. wolframio …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Wolfram [2] — Wolfram (Scheel), chemisches Zeichen W, Äquivalent 92 (H = 1) od. 1150 (O = 100), Metall, wurde 1785 von den Gebrüdern d Elhuyart zuerst dargestellt, nachdem 1781 Scheele in dem schwedischen Tungstein eine eigenthümliche Säure entdeckt hatte,… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Wolfram [2] — Wolfram (Scheelium, Scheel, Katzenzinn) W, Metall, findet sich nicht gediegen, mit Sauerstoff verbunden als Wolframsäureanhydrid (Wolframocker), ferner als wolframsaurer Kalk (Scheelit, Tungstein), als wolframsaures Blei (Wolframbleierz, Stolzit) …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Wolfram [2] — Wolfram, W, Atomgew. 184,0, spez. Gew. 19,1, diamanthart, Schmelzpunkt bei etwa 3100°, der höchste von allen Metallen [1]. Die wichtigsten, sicher bekannten Sauerstoffverbindungen sind das braune Wolframdioxyd WO2 und das rein gelbe… …   Lexikon der gesamten Technik

  • Wolfram — m German: from an old Germanic personal name composed of the elements wolf wolf + hramn raven. The name was borne in the Middle Ages by the poet Wolfram von Eschenbach (c.1170–c.1220) …   First names dictionary

  • Wolfram — Smn (Mineral, Metall) per. Wortschatz fach. (16. Jh.) Stammwort. Das Mineral wird im 16. Jh. im Erzgebirge entdeckt und als wolffram bezeichnet, älter wolfschaum (übersetzt als l. spūma lupi f., nfrz. écume de loup f.). Der zweite Bestandteil ist …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

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