Why Did the Industrial Revolution Begin in Britain?

Topics: Industrial Revolution, Steam engine, Factory Pages: 4 (1211 words) Published: May 5, 2013
Why did the Industrial Revolution begin in Britain? Before the 18th century, most people lived off of the land, as they had done so for many generations. But in the next 150 years, there was an explosion of new ideas and technological inventions that changed the way we work, live and play.1 This period of time was known as the Industrial Revolution, and it began in Britain. There are many reasons as to why this is so. Coal in Britain was plentiful, and had many applications, which was integral to the Industrial Revolution. Furthermore, its subsequent applications paved the way for technological advancements such as the steam engine. Beyond this, Britain had a form of government that supported industrialisation. Finally, capitalism, the new economic system in place, further stimulated Britain’s economy. All of these factors combined together allowed Britain to be the centre for the Industrial Revolution, and to eventually become the world’s industrial superpower. Coal was an essential mineral to the Industrial Revolution, as it was a powerful fuel source, and it was readily available for the British Empire. Coal was much more powerful than timber, the resource used at the time. 2 If Britain were to transition successfully into the Industrial Revolution, it would need a cheap, abundant fuel source to power its machines. Luckily for Britain, coal was both of those things. Coal deposits in Britain were shallow, making it easy to mine. 3Furthermore, the mines were located near the sea, which allowed Britain’s strong navy to carry the coal cheaply to the markets. This was in stark contrast to other countries at the time, where it was difficult to mine and expensive to transport. However, Britain did run into a problem with its coal extraction; deeper mines were prone to flooding. Whilst a horse drawn cart was able to pump out water, it could only do so up to a depth of about 30 metres. The need for more coal, and the applications of coal, spurred the mind of Thomas...

References: BBC. 2013. Why the Industrial Revolution happened in Britain. http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/0/20979973 (Accessed 9 April) Colville, C. 2013. The Industrial Revolution [Documentary] England: BBC Productions crashcourse. 2012. Coal, Steam and The Industrial Revolution. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhL5DCizj5c (Accessed 9 April) crashcourse. 2012. Capitalism and Socialism. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3u4EFTwprM (Accessed 18 April) Anderson M., Keese, O., Low, A., Harvey, K. 2012. Retroactive 9: Australian Curriculum for History. John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd. Australia. Pask, R. 2009. Heinemann Atlas: Fifth Edition. Pearson Australia, Australia
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