Energy has always been a major driver of economic and social changes. It is perhaps along the foremost factors that sparked progress throughout the history of mankind. The discovery of fire changed the life of our ancestors dramatically. It allowed tribes to migrate over long distances to colder continents, which led to a rapid geographical expansion. On the other hand, it also helped humans to ensure transition from nomadic life to a life of settlement by offering protection against predators and by altering house construction techniques. The ancient Greeks invented the water wheel and were, along with the Romans, the first to use it for irrigation and milling purposes. Energy was also a key factor to the industrial revolution. The invention of steam-powered machines accelerated the industrialisation process and prompted mass production. Finally, energy lies at the origins of the European Union. The aim of the ECSC was to create a common market for coal and steel in order to prevent wars and ensure peace in Europe. The European Atomic Energy Community was set up to cover nuclear power.
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