V. The Modern Period, 1789–1914 > A. Global and Comparative Dimensions > 1. European Global Domination, 1800–1914 > d. Spread of Modern Industrialism
  PREVIOUS NEXT  
CONTENTS · SUBJECT INDEX · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
 
 
d. Spread of Modern Industrialism
 
The transformation of societies as a result of the INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION began in England in the 18th century. The industrialization of society spread from Great Britain to most of western Europe in the first half of the 19th century and then to the rest of Europe and, in differing ways, to much of the rest of the world by 1914. Industrialization developed along with increasing urbanization, growing commercial ties, and improvements in means of transportation and communication.  1
The IRON AND STEEL INDUSTRY was a key to the process of industrialization and reflects its spread and development in the 19th century. Although ironworking originated in ancient times, 18th century improvements in production processes of cast iron and wrought iron made iron a more important product for growing modern industries, and it became a key to modern industrialization. In 1820, world output of pig iron was about 1 million tons, whereas in 1910, it was almost 65 million tons. The industry was transformed by new production processes that created steel for many different uses. The BESSEMER PROCESS (1856) for steel production, developed by Henry Bessemer, was a key step in this process, followed by the development of open hearth furnaces by William and Frederick Siemens (1864–68) in Britain and the construction of the first furnaces for continuous steel production by Benjamin Talbot in Pennsylvania (1899). The modern iron and steel industry primarily developed in Great Britain, and the British industry dominated the world markets for many years, with British output of pig iron exceeding all of the rest of the world's until 1871. However, as global industrialization occurred, British production of pig iron was surpassed by the United States in 1890, Germany in 1904, and the Soviet Union in 1931. The greatcoal and iron ore resources of the United States allowed the American iron and steel industry to become the world's largest by the early 20th century. However, important steel industries had also begun to emerge by that time in Japan and China, and in India under the leadership of the TATA FAMILY.  2
TRANSPORTATION and COMMUNICATION developments were important aspects of the global processes of industrialization. RAILROADS made bulk transportation cheaper and easier, and railroad construction played an important role in industrialization. The first railroads were built in Great Britain in the first quarter of the 19th century, and the first railroad was built in France in 1828. By 1850, rail networks had been established across western Europe and in the eastern United States. The first railroads were built in India in the 1850s, and in China and Japan in the 1870s. Great transcontinental projects were developed late in the 19th century, beginning with the completion in 1869 of the Union Pacific–Central Pacific line crossing the United States, and in 1885 with the Canadian Pacific Line extending across the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific in Canada. Construction of the TRANS-SIBERIAN RAILROAD began in 1891, and the line from Moscow to Vladivostok was completed in 1916, making it the longest rail line in the world. Other major continental rail schemes were planned but only partially completed. The Berlin–Baghdad Railroad was an important scheme for the expansion of German economic influence in the Ottoman Empire, and much of it had been constructed by 1914. British imperial aspirations in Africa were expressed in the 1889 slogan “Cape-to-Cairo,” which suggested that a band of colonial possessions be linked by a great railroad system.  3
CANALS were also important in the transportation systems of emerging industrial societies; in fact, the construction of two major canals transformed the patterns of global maritime movements. The SUEZ CANAL, linking the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea (and ultimately the Indian Ocean) was completed in 1869 and reduced the need for west-east shipping to go around the African continent. It changed military and commercial shipping patterns and made Egypt a major global strategic location. The PANAMA CANAL was opened in 1914 and transformed strategic and commercial shipping in the Western Hemisphere. It joined the Atlantic and Pacific shipping routes in Central America, eliminating the need to go around South America (or through the Arctic regions).  4
URBANIZATION accompanied the industrialization of societies, and the proportion of populations living in cities grew as societies were transformed. At the end of the 18th century, throughout the world the overwhelming majority of all populations lived outside of cities. In Great Britain, the proportion of the population living in urban areas was 25 percent in 1831, became more than 50 percent in 1851, and had reached 77 percent by 1901. In Prussia, and then Germany, the transition period was longer, beginning with 26 percent in 1816 and becoming more than 50 percent in 1900, whereas France's population was still slightly below 50 percent urban at the end of the 19th century. In the later industrial powers, populations of both Japan and the United States became more than half urban around 1920, whereas Russia's population remained more rural, only 13 percent urban in 1900.  5
 
 
 
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

CONTENTS · SUBJECT INDEX · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  PREVIOUS NEXT