The Industrial Revolution took place between the 18th century and the 19th century. It was a period when the rural and agrarian societies in America and Europe turned into urban and industrial economies.
The First Industrial Revolution actually started in the late 1700s in Britain when the process of manufacturing was usually carried out in the homes of people with basic machines or hand tools. With the advent of industrialization, the world began to witness powered tools, mass production, and special-purpose machinery for the first time.
The development of the steam engine in addition to the textile and iron industries played integral roles during the industrial revolution too.
The First Industrial Revolution also saw improved systems of communication, banking, and transportation. The First Industrial Revolution also brought with it an increased variety and volume of manufactured goods as well as for some people; it even brought an enhanced standard of living.
That said, it was not all good for the working or poor classes as they often found themselves in grim living and working conditions.
Industrial Revolution in Europe
Talking about the industrial revolution in Europe, this is one thing that did not take place overnight but spread throughout the continent in a very gradual fashion. One of the main elements of the industrial revolution in Europe was the sudden boom in the population that generated a massive reservoir of workers.
Great Britain was able to exploit this situation to their advantage in two major ways – an astonishing group of creative inventors as well as an incredibly wealthy and productive agricultural system. This is precisely why we can say today that the United Kingdom essentially dictated the entire rhythm of the Industrial Revolution to remaining Europe from the year 1750 onwards going strong to the next century or so.
Contrary to common belief, the industrial revolution was in no way restricted to Great Britain alone. The British enacted legislation that banned/prohibited the export of their skilled workers as well as their technology.
That said, they did not see a lot of success in this regard. As was expected, industrialization spread like wildfire from the United Kingdom to many European countries such as France, Germany, and Belgium.
It even reached the United States so much so that by the middle of the 19th century, industrialization had been well-established properly across the northeastern region of America and the western region of Europe.
By the early 20th century, America had attained the status of the leading industrial nation of the world.
European countries that led to the Industrial Revolution
When it comes to the industrial revolution, different countries throughout the world responded differently to the sudden onslaught of technology in their midst. In a similar manner, Europe showcased a set of very diverse features when the industrial revolution hit some of its countries.
Belgium is considered to be one of the very first industrialized countries in Europe. This European country drew on some pretty abundant coal and iron ore resources at that time in addition to textile manufacturing.
Only because of this reason, the industrial revolution trajectory and its growth in Belgium mimicked that of Great Britain.
Structural development began at a rather early stage in Switzerland too, though in a distinct manner. There was an immense scarcity of raw materials at that time, and this lack was compensated by specializing in some niche products such as cotton processing, silk weaving, and engineering and clock making.
Although the Balkan countries, Greece and Spain are located at the edge of the continent, they were also able to increase the export of raw materials and agrarian products in the country. Yet they struggled to come to the forefront of industrial production for a good number of years.
France did pretty well in this regard and can easily be known to lead the industrial revolution in Europe, being at par with Great Britain. Even though the country had relatively lower reserves of iron and coal, the country took up the entire concept and zest of the industrial revolution like no other European region.
French manufacturers at that time concentrated mostly on the finished goods, and as early as the start of the 18th century, textile industries saw an increased supply of cotton (five times quicker than the British Isles). It was not long before the focus of the country slowly but surely started shifting to industrial production from the agrarian sector.
Story of some other European countries during the Industrial Revolution
The Netherlands saw the effects of the industrial revolution quite late around 1860. The country possessed very few natural resources and was also covered in waterways.
As a result, these two elements made it pretty challenging to construct railway connections or build heavy industries.
Germany suffered a similar state as at that time; it was divided into countless small states. Yet, the country had super high standards of training as well as high reserves of capital that allowed Germany to take a leading role in the electro-technical and chemical industries of that time.
It cannot be denied that the First Industrial Revolution was the benchmark of the innovations and developments to come in the future. This critical event in the history of the world was a significant milestone that introduced the concept of consumerism and heavy industries as well as factories like no other revolution.
It not just lent a lot of countries throughout the world added resources to lead more comfortable lives but also laid a solid foundation for the developments to come. We have come a long way from the first industrial revolution.
Still, a lot more is yet to be revealed in this industrial and digital age.