CONSEQUENCES OF THE (FIRST) INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION


Introduction of new crops like potato and new production processes ended the period of constant famine. Although cultivation of potato in large scale fed the most part of Western Europe in some parts of Europe could not be produced enough potato to feed all population. For such areas was essential for additional food supply improved transport and especially improved roads and canals.

In countryside most of the people lived from agriculture but were also engaged in crafts and weaving. After the industrial progress many rural craftsman which went out of business and peasants without land were forced to find employment in new factories. Migration from rural to urban areas as a consequence of the Industrial Revolution on the one hand reduced the overpopulation on countryside and had a great impact on growth of cities on the other. Constant migration from rural to urban areas caused the enlargement of cities in 18th century. The city population in 18th century almost doubled, while London and Paris had already 1 million inhabitants around 1800. Numerous small towns developed into large industrial, mining and mercantile centers but also completely new large cities with 100,000 inhabitants arisen first in Great Britain. Later was soon followed by Belgium, the Ruhr Area and elsewhere. The fastest growth of population occurred in Northern America, Europe, China, Japan and India. By 1815 world population reached 900 million. The most densely were populated industrial areas in Great Britain and European cities and port cities: London, Paris, St Petersburg, Liverpool, Bordeaux, Marseilles and Hamburg. Besides European cities only New York had over 100,000 inhabitants. In industrial states soon more people lived in cities than on countryside. Industrialization and large migrations from rural to urban areas completely changed the image of countryside and cities. Quiet, peaceful and idyllic countryside witnessed a rapid change. Near mines new cities grew or old towns rapid developed into industrial centers with numerous factories, warehouses, chimneys, railways and with lots of noise and dirt. The image of ugly and dirty cities was accompanied by poor workers neighbourhoods which had bad roads and were usually without canalization and were overpopulated. Overpopulation in cities soon began to cause problems with:

- supply with daily needs like food and drinking water,
- bad infrastructure without canalization,
- public traffic could not satisfy the needs of growing population,
- schools were at first only for the wealthy classes,
- hospitals were out of reach for the poor population
- and city administration had difficulties in solving the mentioned problems.

Of course there were also beautiful parts of urban area. In business centers were built magnificent business and bank buildings, theaters, opera houses,... and villas in rich neighbourhoods.

The Industrial Revolution had also great impact on social changes and fundamental transformation of feudal society. The feudal system declined and eventually emerged the modern industrial society. On the one hand emerged the influential middle class of industrialists and businessmen and on the other hand lower social class of industrial workers also known as the proletariat.