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Secondary II • 1yr.


Why was the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain?

Thank you ! :)


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Explanations (1)

  • Explanation from Alloprof

    Explanation from Alloprof

    This Explanation was submitted by a member of the Alloprof team.

    Team Alloprof • 1yr.


    Thank you for your question! :)

    There are several reasons or factors as to why the Industrial Revolution took place and why it took place in Great Britain rather than elsewhere. The six main factors are:

    • Presence of capital (money): Because of colonial trade, British businessmen had accumulated a lot of money. Indeed, they got richer by exploiting the resources of the colonies and transporting them to Great Britain to transform them into finished products and reselling these manufactured goods at a higher price to the colonies and elsewhere in the world. To make even more money from the value-added work of factories, these wealthy businessmen united and formed modern banks. They then invested in various factories in order to make even more profits. Later, the stock market will come to support the industrial development of the country by making it possible to raise capital, which will be invested in the means of production in order to generate profits.
    • The importance of the colonies: As mentioned earlier, Britain had several colonies. They supplied the factories of the metropolis with natural resources in addition to being important markets where British goods were sold for profit.
    • New technologies: In order to help pump water out of mines to avoid drowning miners, the British James Watt invented the steam engine which was patented in 1769. This invention was then reinvested in various fields. In the field of transportation (steamboat and steam locomotive), the steam engine helped transport more resources more quickly, which reduced the costs of transporting goods and allowed for more profit. In the fields of textiles and metallurgy, the steam engine will create the steam hammer (metallurgy industry) and mule-jenny (textile industry), making it possible to manufacture more products, more quickly, at lower costs and sometimes with better quality.
    • The presence of coal: James Watt's steam engine works with the heat produced by the combustion of coal which boils water. The steam thus created activates various mechanisms and movements. In 1709, the coal purification method made it possible to obtain pure carbon, making the blast furnaces hotter and making it possible to produce more energy. Britain had significant amounts of coal mines in its own territory. This proximity to the main source of energy at the time allowed the country to be very autonomous and to supply its factories with energy to produce more and more quickly. Moreover, the first areas to industrialize in Great Britain are located near the main coal deposits!
    • A more efficient agriculture: Several innovations in the field of agriculture (crop rotation, technical innovations - mechanical threshing machine, use of fertilizer, etc.) have enabled Great Britain to improve its agricultural performance and, thus, better feed its people and livestock. Therefore, the country had a healthier and more abundant population, but also needed less workers. The laws of enclosure, for their part, were then forcing farmers to buy land for them to cultivate. All these conditions, together, force the peasants to leave the countryside (phenomenon of rural exodus) to find a job in the city, which leads to the development of cities (phenomenon of urbanization). This situation leads us directly to the 6th factor of importance which favored the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain : The availability and abundance of the workforce.
    • The availability and abundance of the workforce : At the time,there was a demographic growth and a massive influx of peasants to cities looking for a job. Factories therefore had no trouble finding workers to produce. Also, these city dwellers were no longer self-sufficient like the peasants. They worked in exchange for a salary and used that salary to pay for manufactured goods instead of producing them in an artisanal way. Therefore, they offered a large market for selling the manufactured products.

    If you want more details on the factors favorable to the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain, I invite you to consult our fact sheet on this subject.

    Do not hesitate to write to us if you have any other questions! :)