Please explain why Britian was the first nation to industrialize and how this was accomplished?

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saintfester eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Great Britain became the first nation to enter the industrial age somewhere between 1770 and 1820 depending on what historian you read.

There were many reasons for this. Britain had a history of invention and an economic system that rewarded free enterprise. The gradual change from an agriculture based on animal power to a mechanized agriculture resulted in many workers being able to leave the agriculture industry and seek employment in the rapidly swelling textile and iron industries.

There were also some factors that could only be described as “lucky coincidences” such as a series of good harvests in the early part of the 18th century that resulted in large amounts of disposable income just as mechanized farming equipment was coming on the market. This also led to a rise in the demand for consumer goods just as the textile industry experience a renaissances thanks to a series of happenstance inventions such as the flying shuttle and the water wheel.

This led to the creation of the factory system which allowed Britain to eventually out produce its competitors in almost every category, eventually leading to its push towards empire to secure markets for the goods it produced.