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Industrialization In Nineteenth Century Europe

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One of the most influential centuries during human history is the nineteenth century. During this century the world, especially Europe, experienced radical change--change that revolutionized the world, as everyone knew it to be. It was a century of war, of industrialization, of urbanization, and of nationalism. The major development of the nineteenth century was the Industrial Revolution. Every aspect of the nineteenth century is most likely directly influenced by the Industrial Revolution, from normal everyday life of commoners to the rulers of countries and major powers of Europe. The Industrial Revolution encompassed every area of nineteenth century Europe. Whether it was the technological marvels of the day that influenced European Imperialism, to the hard life of nineteenth century populace, or to the political and social philosophies of the day, the Industrial Revolution stamped its mark on society.

Throughout the nineteenth century, European imperialism dominated the world. "Europeans occupied or controlled thirty-five percent of the land surface of the world; by 1878 this figure had risen to sixty-seven percent, and by 1914 over eighty-four percent of the world's land area was European-dominated." One of the main reasonsÐ'--if not the main reasonÐ'--for European Imperialism during the nineteenth century was the Industrial Revolution. "The effects of technological change were experienced almost everywhere in [the] nineteenth century." The massive amounts of inventions and new technologies being formed brought about the ability to connect the continents, countries, and nations in ways that have never been seen before, but at the same time it allowed nations easier access to conquest for new territories. It is because of the Industrial Revolution that European conquest engulfs the nineteenth century world and Imperialism rules. With

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industry burning like an uncontrollable fire and Imperialism on the minds of every nation of the nineteenth century world, the changes experienced, especially in Europe, were up until that point unobserved by the world.

A major invention during the nineteenth century that aided Imperialism was the steamboat. "Few inventions of the nineteenth century were as important in the history of imperialism." With the introduction of the steamboat the ability to travel far distances with heavy loads of equipment became faster. The powerful steamboat could travel fast going upriver and downriver. Because of this, cities and countries that were connected by river could get products and equipment delivered with better efficiency. "By 1820 hundreds of steamboats plied the rivers and lakes of Europe, and a few were venturing out into the Mediterranean, the Channel, and the Irish Sea. From that point on, the history of the steam vessels took a new turn." Through the nineteenth century the steamboat's capabilities were being used for other means than just commercialism. The steamboat now had capabilities to become a warship. At this time, "no single piece of equipment is so closely associated with the idea of imperialism as is the armed shallow draft steamer, in other words, the gunboat." The gunboat was put to use when fighting broke out on shallow waters. For Britain, the gunboat was used for fights in the waters of the Black and Baltic seas. "The Opium War was the first event whose outcome was determined by specially built gunboats." The gunboat was an impressive ship, possessing all the qualities of the steamboat, yet it could be put to use in shallow water

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combat as well. The steamboat and the gunboat were technological marvels of their time, bringing about change in commercialism and warfare. Although these inventions where important tools for imperialism the "small river craft[s] became so common that they were taken for granted, as the attention turned to theÐ'...[massive] ocean-going steamships."

In order for European Imperialism to grow, there needed to be better ways to reach farther territories and colonies. The major invention of the efficient steamship changed the world. The wooden sailing ships of the time were both profitable and reliable, yet the early steamships did not turn a profit or offer reliability. In order for steamships to become the machines that we see today they needed several improvements. "These were the iron hull, the propeller, and the high-pressure engine." Once these improvements were implicated the steamships we know today began to be formed. The new iron ships beat their old wooden counterparts in many ways. Since iron is stronger than wood a smaller amount of iron could replace a larger amount of wood, this meant that the iron ships weighed less and could have more space for cargo. "The savings in the weight of the ship, and the additional cargo space, meant that sixty-five percent of the weight of a fully loaded iron ship could be cargo, compared with only fifty percent for a wooden ship. Its lightness also enabled an iron ship to go further on less energy, a major consideration for fuel-hungry steamers." These new ships brought about a new age of boating for commercialism and transportation, the "iron ships [were] not only more cost-

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effective than wooden ones, but [were] safer as well." The emergence of the efficient steamships brought about a communications revolution with the ability to travel across the entire world faster, safer, and more cost-effectively.

While the Industrial Revolution fueled European Imperialism, it also fueled urbanization. Since the Industrial Revolution the ways of old feudal agricultural hierarchy was gone and the modern city was beginning to be formed. Along with this modern era came harsh realizations of few or no jobs, ruthless working environments, unsanitary living conditions, polluted homes, unfair distribution of wealth, and false hopes--these were very hard times. In Charles Dickens classic novel Hard Times, Dickens paints for the reader a picture of urbanization in the nineteenth century, "Coketown lay shrouded in a haze of its own, which appeared impervious to the sun's rays. You only knew the town was there because you knew there could have been no such sulky blotch upon the prospect without a town. A blur of soot and smoke, now confusedly tending this way, now that way, now aspiring to the vault of Heaven, now murkily creeping along the earth, as the wind rose and fell, or changed its quarter: a dense formless jumble, with sheets of cross light in it, that showed nothing but masses of darknessÐ'--Coketown in the distance was suggestive of itself, though not a brick of it could be seen."

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