Why was industrialization slower to develop on the European continent? What were obstacles to industrialization?

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thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Continental Europe, with the exception of Great Britain, took a longer time to get started on the process of industrialization. Europe’s capacity to industrialize was restricted because of the challenges discussed below:

By the early 1800s most of the land in Europe was still settled by peasants who were also resolute on practicing agriculture. The people who would have offered their services working in the industries were engaged in other activities and thus rendered the work force numbers insufficient for adequate industrialization.

Most regions in Europe lacked access to waterways, which were essential for internal and external trade. The regions had plenty of natural resources but they were inaccessible, which slowed their progress towards industrialization.

The financial systems and markets took a while to be developed and to stabilize. Britain was the only country with a national bank and a stock exchange by the early 1800s. These conditions in Europe did not instill confidence among investors and as a result the advancement toward industrialization was hampered.

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