• 1760-1830

    Innovations in transport and mining

  • 1765

    The steam engine improved

  • 1814

    The earliest locomotive

  • 1825

    The fist railway line

  • 1760-1820

    Indipendence for Britain’s 13 North American colonies

  • 1800

    Britain and Ireland united


Innovations in transport and mining

Innovations in transport and mining lead to the first ‘Industrial Revolution’ in Britain.

Transportation is improved through the building of canals to link navigable rivers; this means that heavy goods (e.g. coal and iron ore) can be carried over long distances.

Mining and the iron- and metal-working industries experience a heyday: more machinery can be built. Combining with inter-related inventions in various areas, these advancements generate synergic effects which expedite technical progress and spread to a wide range of industries.

In the textile industry, new mechanical devices speed up spinning. At first, these are driven by water power (a wheel driven by the water of a stream), so that the earliest factories are built alongside rivers and are called ‘mills’.


The steam engine improved

The steam engine was traditionally used to pump water out of mines only. James Watt improves it in such a way that it can drive wheels and, hence, power all sorts of machinery. This means factories can be built right across the country.

When some entrepreneurs start laying rails, heavy wheelcarts can be dragged along them by horses or oxen.


The earliest locomotive

The railway industry proper arises when George Stephenson further perfects Watt’s steam engine and assembles the earliest locomotive.


The fist railway line

The fist railway line on earth links coal mines to the coast and is used both for freight and passenger service.


Indipendence for Britain’s 13 North American colonies

King George III’s autocratic colonial policies lead to the loss of Britain’s 13 North American colonies, which fight for their independence and form the United States of America.

William Pitt the Younger adopts Walpole’s free trade policies and speaks in favour of religious freedom for Dissenters and Catholics, including the Irish.


Britain and Ireland united

The Act of Union (instigated by Pitt) unites Britain and Ireland into one country: the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

Guarda e rispondi


    Anglo-Saxon tribes were led by a king, who was helped by professional warriors (thanes) linked to him by a strong sense of loyalty. Whereas the Celtic clan system was based on kinship (blood relations), the basis of aristocracy and kingship is a personal tie between the warrior and his lord.

    The warriors that conquered the country were soon joined by groups of common people (ceorls) including peasants, women, and children.

    Unlike ceorls, thanes were warriors who had been given more land (up to 5 hides) as a reward for their services. In times of war, each family (owning a hide) provided a fully-armed man. As ceorls only fought in cases of need, while thanes specialized in fighting, a sharp class division arose between warriors and peasants. The thane offered defence in exchange for services, and local ceorls would either work for him or pay him a sort of rent ‘in kind’ (a part of their produce).

    The social structure of Britain was about to develop into a feudal system: the thane was about to become a feudal lord, while ceorls, bordars (those owning less than a hide) and cottars (who owned only a cot = small house, or hut) were becoming serfs. Besides ceorls and thanes, there was a third social class: the clergy, or class of priests.

    Being the only ones able to read and write, clergymen promoted civilisation and culture. Priests and monks were the earliest legal advisers, teaching kings how to draw up documents and charters and change the law of the country, which had always been based on custom only


    The Transition Period