Occurred from the Eighteenth
The Industrial Revolution, which occurred during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, was a period during which predominantly agrarian, rural societies in Europe and America became modern and urban. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, which began in Britain in the late 1700s, manufacturing was often done in people’s homes, using hand tools or basic machinery. Industrialization marked a shift to powered, special-purpose machinery, factories, and large-scale production. The iron and textile industries, along with the development of the steam engine, played central roles in the Industrial Revolution. Multiple factors contributed to Britain’s role as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.
For one, it had great reserves of coal and iron ore, which were critical for industrialization. Additionally, Britain was not only a politically stable society, but also the world’s leading colonial power. This meant its colonies could serve as a source for raw materials, and as a marketplace for manufactured goods. As demand for British goods increased, merchants needed more efficient methods of production, which led to the rise of mechanization and the factory system.
How it works
From 1760 to 1830, the Industrial Revolution was largely confined to Britain. Aware of their head start, the British prohibited the export of machinery, skilled workers, and manufacturing processes. However, the British monopoly couldn’t last forever, especially since some Britons recognized profitable industrial opportunities abroad, while continental European businessmen sought to bring British know-how to their countries. Two Englishmen, William and John Cockerill, brought the Industrial Revolution to Belgium by establishing machine shops at Liege. Consequently, Belgium became the first country in continental Europe to be economically transformed. Like its British predecessor, the Belgian Industrial Revolution centered on iron, coal, and textiles.