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For the overall country however, it meant an incremental desire for high productivity levels and an openness to new techniques (Wallace, 1989).
The colonies and the British fleet
Aside the status and movements within agriculture, another major part was played by the colonies. Great Britain had numerous colonies across the globe, meaning that it enjoyed not only labor force, but also financial and material contributions. England had fought countless battles and with every victory, their prize was more land. Aided by its geographic position, Great Britain controlled the trade handled by its colonies. The most remarkable examples are offered by its colonies in North America, which, by 1780, were the recipients of half of the entire English exports. In the immediate aftermath however, Great Britain turned its attention to the colonies in South America and India and soon came to control these regions as well. The income generated by the trade allowed the country to form a strong fleet, "the largest merchant marine in the world as well as a navy to protect this merchant marine fleet. […] England shot to the forefront of the new capitalist economy primarily through its navy" (Hooker, 1999).
The political climate represents yet another advantage as to why the Industrial Revolution was welcomed in Great Britain. The authorities of the day implemented the principles of Adam Smith and strived to direct the national market towards freedom. In other words, the intervention of the authorities was limited, which created a liberalized market that welcomed innovation. Another useful set of policies revolved around the liberalization of the banking sector. With fewer restrictions imposed, the entrepreneurs and farmers of those days had an increased access to financial resources. "Unlike France, England had an effective central bank and well-developed credit market. The English government allowed the domestic economy to function with few restrictions and encouraged both technological change and a free market" (Kreis, 2006).
Geographic characteristics and infrastructure
A fourth set of advantages is constituted by the geographical features of Great Britain. On the one hand, there was the already mentioned insular positioning which allowed it increased trade and traveling abilities. Aside this however, England enjoyed an abundance of natural resources, mainly relative to minerals. The country possessed large quantities of iron ore and coal, both pivotal within manufacturing processes.
Returning to the actual geographic conditions, it is important to state that the small size of the country made it easy for the population to travel from one location to the other. It also reduced any dissatisfaction that could be manifested by foreign trade partners. Then, another geographic feature is that the country is crossed by numerous rivers. Capitalizing on the large reserves of iron ore, the English monarchy invested in developing the infrastructure and built numerous roads and bridges (Spielvogel, 2008). These also supported the emergence of the Industrial Revolution.
When contemplating about the technologic advancements which impact our every day lives, it would be interesting to know how it all started. The most likely explanation is that it was all somehow linked to the Industrial Revolution. This occurred in Europe throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and changed the world forever by generating a series of shifts, such as a migration from rural to urban sites, the creation of the organization or by emphasizing the need for production mechanisms, techniques and technologies.
The Industrial Revolution emerged within Great Britain sometime in the decade 1780 and was mostly observable at three levels -- the iron sector, the textile industry and the creation of the steam engine. These three developments were soon integrated within other sectors, where they found constant applicability and further sustained development. In terms of the actual features which made England the most adequate initial destination of the Industrial Revolution, these include a favorable political and economic climate, a focus on agriculture and productivity, a developed infrastructure, an abundance of natural resources, alongside with other geographic conditions, as well as the possession of a strong fleet.
Hooker, R., 1999, the European Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution, Washington State University, http://www.wsu.edu/~dee/ENLIGHT/INDUSTRY.HTM last accessed on October 23, 2009
Knowles, L.C.A., the Industrial and Commercial Revolutions in Great Britain during the Nineteenth Century, Taylor and Francis, 2005
Kreis, S., the Origins of the Industrial Revolution in England, the History Guide, 2006, http://www.historyguide.org/intellect/lecture17a.html last accessed on October 23, 2009
Musson, a.E., Robinson, E., 1969, Science and Technology in the Industrial Revolution, Manchester University Press ND
Spielvogel, J.J. Western Civilization: Alternate Volume: Since 1300, 7th Edition, Cengage Learning, 2008
Wallace, I., the Global Economic System, Routledge, 1989
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