Why Did the Industrial Revolution Begin in Great Britain

Updated March 7, 2010

The Industrial Revolution spanned a large period of time, however by 1850 it transformed Great Britain into the wealthiest country in the world. With the help of the Agricultural Revolution, the mass supply of capital, and the support of the government along with several other factors, Great Britain was able to establish themselves as a global superpower.

During the Agricultural Revolution, several new forms of farming and animal breeding allowed for an increase in food production. Agriculture fed more people at lower costs, thus allowing people to finally save money to buy food or supplies. Consequently, with the rising population came a large pool of surplus labor for new factories in the emerging industry.

The vast amount of capital flowing steadily into the economy allowed Great Britain to purchase more machinery and factories to house them. Also, they established a banking system that allowed for extended credit. Included in the large amounts of capital in Great Britain were the investments of the entrepreneurs. If there was a chance for a return investment, entrepreneurs were the first to cease the opportunity. The British were enamored with wealth and power, and a particular progressive group held the key, favoring innovation in economic matters. Thus, the obsession with economic gain was a sustained idea. There were, however, losses to be faced by both entrepreneurs and sole proprietorships, however the risks hardly stopped investors from potential gains. Consequently, the government provided a stable government for these early investors, protecting their private property, therefore there was great freedom in public enterprise.

Finally, Great Britain had an ample supply of minerals including iron and coal that were needed during manufacturing. Also, being that Great Britain was so small, it made transportation of goods non problematic. They had no custom barriers to hinder trade. The uses of markets gave industrialists a venue to showcase and sell their products. Not only that, they had a well developed merchant marine transport that enabled them to ship all over the world. Britain’s well developed textile products were received well in the Americas, Africa, and the East where people wanted inexpensive and durable items. Great Britain met that need.

Simply, there was increasing demand for new markets and Britain’s entrepreneurs filled the void. They used a series of inventions to produce products that were low cost and high quality, therefore meeting the demand of the entire world. This, in and of itself, sparked the Industrial Revolution.