Did the Industrial Revolution have to begin in Northern Europe and did it have to occur at that point in time?
Discuss alternative "cultural hearths" for this complex of technology, economics, and culture.
Issues of time and place are problematic; however I believe that England had the most favorable circumstances for the advent of the Industrial Revolution. This included a stable government, large amounts of coal and iron deposits near the surface, a system of navigable waters which made transportation less difficult, and a large number of workers who were not dedicated to agricultural production. No other country had this peculiar combination of circumstances. At the time, the Dutch had built a large mercantile empire based on shipping and France was not politically stable. Other countries in the world had not reached the stage of development as had the British; so it was a matter of coincidence of time, place and opportunity that caused the Industrial Revolution to first appear there.