For a company like Branobel, the infrastructure of society is crucial. The new legislation on exploration permits in 1873 created completely new conditions for commercial oil extraction. The building of the extensive Trans-Siberian Railway is another example. Nobel also contributed to the building of schools, day nurseries, churches and hospitals.

“Nationalisation is a beautiful word for a very ugly thing.”

During the tumultuous years following the Russian Revolution, the power of the communist regime rapidly spread as far as Baku. In 1920, nationalisation was the beginning of the end for Branobel. Emanuel Nobel stated that “Nationalisation is a beautiful word for a very ugly thing.” But international companies soon started doing business with the new owners.

The pivotal role of Azerbaijan oil and Baku

As early as the 15th century, Baku was an important international trading centre for merchants travelling between the East and Europe. Caravans of camels and merchant ships transported oil, salt, madder and saffron. In the 19th century, the rapid growth of the oil industry caused a total modernization. By the turn of the 20th century, Baku was one of the biggest industrial cities of the world.

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