Why was Europe industrialized faster than the other continents?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I bet that your text has some answer you are supposed to know.  I say this because here is a lot of debate on this question and I imagine your book says something specific that you are supposed to know.

The basic reason is that Europe was so much more technologically advanced at the time.  Because they were ahead, technologically speaking, they industrialized quickly and conquered everyone else.  But why were they ahead?  There are two major ideas about this:

  • One idea is that European culture was more suited to industrialization than that of other continents.  So European culture was just better, at least in terms of making industry likely.
  • The other is that Europe was geographically luckier and that a variety of conditions made it easier for Europeans to become civilized and develop technology.
brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There could be a lot of right answers to this question, but in thinking about it, Europe was a continent that was almost constantly at war in one place or another.  Whether it was the tribes, peoples and nations within the continent or invasions from without, they were nearly always fighting someone somewhere.  Just like much of our technology today was first developed for war, and has been throughout our history in the US, so must it have been for Europe.

The Civil War, World War I, World War II and the Cold War all caused rapid advancements in technology in the US.  I can pretty easily argue that it had the same effect on Europe, and that it advanced more quickly than other continents because it was a more war torn continent.  Something to think about anyway.

dfenn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

European countries, particularly England, Germany and Belgium, had excellent natural resources--namely coal and other metals--needed to assure progress during the Industrial Revolution.  They had also experienced a second "agricultural revolution" which included improved farming methods and the enclosure movement which enlarged the size of farms and found many moving to cities to seek work.  Comparatively, these countries also had a skilled and educated population and the financial resources to invest in new business ventures.

sfstudent | Student

simply because they started industrializing before other countries, and they probably had more opportunities available from the start to industrialize.

krishna-agrawala | Student

Pace of industrialization has varied in different regions of the world at different periods. It is not as if pace of industrialization has been always fastest in Europe. In pre-industrial revolution era the pace of development of industrialization in Europe was not the fastest in the world. Also this has not remained like that ever after. For example, there have been times when the growth of industrialization has been higher in USA. Then In second half of twentieth century Japan led the world in industrial growth. Even today the rate of growth of industries in countries like China and India is higher than that in Europe.

However, perhaps the question is referring to the period when the rate of Industrialization was highest in Europe. This is the period of industrial revolution. One of the major contributor to this is the political domination of the world by Great Britain at that time which helped it to accumulate capital required for its industries, and also provided market for its product. Presence of large deposits of iron and coal also helped industrial growth of Great Britain. In addition It had easy access to cheap raw material from its colonies.

The growth of industry in Great Britain than provided encouragement to other western European countries also.

A second reason was the faster growth of science and technology in western European countries during this period. This growth had slowed down in countries that had earlier led the world in this field partly because of degeneration of their social system and partly because of political domination of European countries.

The social sustem such as the feudal system, and the guild system also contributed to the development of industry in Europe.