Life prior to the 18th century was obliterated by an enormous revolution into the modern civilisation in which we reside today. A poor-conditioned environment engulfed in beliefs of utmost Christian dogma vanished into a world pursuing exploration of advanced technology along with a vast economical uprise known as the industrial revolution. Although modern civilisation expanded across the large continent of Europe, Britain was where this 18th-century revolution commenced. Why did this revolution suddenly develop first in Britain, not any other European country?
Prior to the utilisation of coal, timber was the main source of fuel which was deemed to be no more than three times less efficient than coal. As timber was extracted from trees, trees were chopped down, and strenuous work by hand was obliged to be applied to transporting the wood across vast spaces of land. A major advantage which caused Britain to rise was the island’s natural abundance of coal as a natural resource. Coal mines lay underground to be extracted, and was valued at four times cheaper than timbre. However, once all the surface coal had been extracted, a critical problem barricaded the mining of coal. Water tables emerged into sight following the extraction of surface coal. Under the water tables were still massive amounts of coal which had been flooded. It was vital to extract the flooded mines of coal, but also to also pump water out in order to suppress the chance of flooding for future extractions. This problem was initially attempted to be solved with horses wheeling around vast stable wheels adhered by rope to buckets, but this method was rather ineffective in comparison to the marvellous creations of steam engines. Thomas Newcomen, a famous engineer from the south west of England, invented a steam engine for simultaneously extracting coal and pumping water out in 1712, which was the first ever steam-powered machine. Although utilising coal as an energy source for machinery was an enormous technological breakthrough, even the Newcomen steam engine became ineffective for solving the problem of flooded coal mines as many complex enhancements to this machine’s invention sprung into life. The Watt steam engine invented by James Watt and Matthew Boulton in partnership in 1758 was the most notable invention that was Newcomen’s model improved upon. Coal as a cheaper and more effective source of energy was powering machinery that was only then was based on extracting more coal. Other than powering inventions to solve the problem of coal lying under water tables, coal played a vital role as a new energy source in all factories, locomotives, ships which all combined together to strikingly enhance Britain’s everyday transport.
The gigantic continent of Europe strictly lay in the arms of the Christian dogma until the industrial enlightment unleashed. The industrial enlightment was an intellectual perspective that abruptly conquered Britain where the concept of scientific explanations and proven principles of nature came about, sabotaging the world ordained by orthodox views of religious affiliations. Associating the concept of science, men gathered together in vast groups on a daily basis to discuss and unravel thoughts on both scientific breakthroughs and designing machinery that could perhaps influence on simplying arduous work. There were nevertheless a number of men who remained individual to explore an environment away from strict rules of religious dogma. Erasmus Darwin, for instance, sketched a diagram of a possible way to measure the volume of air a person could breathe using an animal’s bladder. Britain was ruled by parliamentary monarchy, meaning that the laws in the government were passed on by the parliament, not the King. This governmental system allowed every man of society to freely contribute an infinite amount of ideas during the discussions. Alongside each meeting of intellect, an overloading amount of practical approaches were attempted which drove people out of their homes to work in factories of production. As the daily practice of these meetings transforming into development continued over decades, technology rapidly advanced. France in contrast, was ruled by absolute monarchy. Despite the fact that scientific breakthroughs and inventions were what France hunted after as well, the laws were passed out from a King who did not permit people to the free exchange of thoughts, as each member was obliged to contribute an equal amount of ideas. WATT AND BOULTON
Capitalism was also legislated by the parliamentary monarchy, trailing to Britain’s ability to obtain material goods from around the world. The parliamentary government encouraged entrepreneurship where private owners were permitted to set foot across the globe for trade. Across the Atlantic Ocean from Britain, the Carribean islands were the first to endure Britain’s invasion. Britain’s Royal Navy was constructed by a fortune and protected hundreds of ships that set foot to the Carribean to capture slaves. Slave trade was extremely prominent to the development of the industrial revolution. Under the vast conquest of the British, the Carribean slaves endured their lives engulfed in excruciating conditions; day in and day out, they carried out unbearably arduous work on their native sugar canes for the British. As the sugar canes were then imported back to Britain, wealth commenced to plunge into the European island as the resource was invested into developing more advanced technology. Slave trade under Britain then expanded across the world, and the main resources obtained other than sugar from the Carribean include tobacco from North America, cotton and textiles from India and tea from China which were all invested for further development to influence Britain’s wealth. The system of government was the same reason as to why France was unable to conquer the West Indies as the absolute monarchy firmly gripped the way in which business flourished, and refused the idea of private ownership. Although the French government did attempt to set forward number of ships to the Carribean, the English had taken advantage of their conquest over the island of Antigua that comprised of highlands and deep water; a perfect strategical area. Fords with cannons were constructed at Antigua’s coastlines to rebel the French ships.
Similar to the abundance of coal, Britain was also born with geographical fortune. Britain is surrounded by sea, and consists of many rivers emanating through the lands. The huge city of London was the centre of Britain’s industry as all material goods were exported to today’s capital of Britain. Linking back to the extraction of coal, the extracted mines were thrust onto ships to be exported along the coastlines of the island to London. The existence of the coasts continued to reduce the cost of coal. Routes for travelling were absolutely vital, as materials goods were transported to factories and products to the markets. At first, the resources were transported by horse on land where stability was crucial, and many of the goods fell off the horses and were smashed to bits, influencing on the remains of the goods to rise in price. The British then attained the intelligent idea of shaping the rivers into canals with the use of hand, picks, shovels and blasting powder. Steam-powered ships were laid on the canals to transport the materials in a safer, faster and therefore cheaper method across Britain.
It is evidently proved that 18th-century Britain comprised of many crucial advantages that drastically influenced on the island’s development of technology and uprise in wealth. The industrial enlightenment occurred due to powerful motivation of the people and their minds, nevertheless it would not have emitted into life without the parliamentary government in place. Obtaining materials to invest from across the world through slave trade was easier in Britain than any other European nation also due to the parliamentary system again. Britain was geologically fortunate to contain abundant supplies of coal to power steam engines and water to transport materials around.