Industry and Empire, mid 18th to mid 19th Centuries

Due to cultural and ethical differences, it can be very difficult to communicate successfully in a global setting. The situation was even worse in antiquity, when commerce between various parts of the globe first began. This was due to the absence of a common language, as there is today, as well as a shared ethnic identification. Therefore, maintaining effective communication across larger regions was a difficult job. This task examines how cross-cultural interaction affected industry and empire in the middle of the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries. In this regard the areas that are given attention include market relations, industrial “revolution,” the rise of labor, globalized markets and relating them to cross cultural interactions. In looking at the cross-cultural interaction in the ancient time therefore can be said to be based on a theoretical approach that cultures are dynamic interrelated systems and not unitary monoliths. The implication of this theoretical approach is that cultural interactions continuously recreate during the generational human practice.

Market Relations in the mid 18th to mid 19th

18th century is identified as the period which Britain rose to great positions among the European empires and it became the top among the European trading empires as well as the very first Western Nation to industrialise. The economic change that took place between 1688 and 1815 can well be interpreted by looking at the social and economic conditions at home as well as the growth involving trade and empire at the start and completion of that period. In the mix was the cross cultural interactions that was central in the entire operation.

Agricultural work and production was the main activity in the internal economy of England and Wales in 1688. As a result there was a flourishing state of domestic industry as many of the workers having to pursue two occupations that were mainly seasonal in both industry and agriculture. The English society outperformed all the other competitors and it therefore provided a strong platform for business with other peoples including those far away in far-flung territories. The merchants at that time sent out trading ships to West Indies and North America where England had had established network of colonies since the permanent settlement in Virginia and the acquisition of Barbados in 1607 and 1625 respectively. The cross-cultural interaction between them was not a problem because they hailed from the same region. It only became a challenge when they went to other far-flung regions.

The colonies in 1686 alone are reported to have shipped goods of more than £1 million to London. In return, the exports that were taken back to the colonies were mainly woollen textile in exchange for tobacco and sugar among other tropical groceries that had increased demand. In addition to the situation there was the triangular slave trade that had begun the supply of free labour through the African slaves who were made to work on the plantations of rice, tobacco and sugar plantations among others. The cross-cultural interactions between the British empire and the outside world during this time could have gradually gotten better because of continuous interactions as they exchanged goods and introduced one another to their various cultural practices.

There was also trade in the Asian waters and was mainly based on the activities involving the East India Company. This was a large joint-stock based in London. The ships at this time in the region had their trade based on bullion, tea and textiles with Bengal. In the overseas, the carrying out of commerce was done within the mercantilist framework based on the Navigation Acts. This Act stipulated that every commodity trade was to take place in the British ships that were owned by the British Seamen and conducting trade between the British ports and the ones within the empire. Regardless of these developments the Britain remained to be vulnerable stakes competitor in the overseas colonies as well as trade. Her main rivals were the Spain, Netherlands and trading empire of France among others.

The growth of the empire

The end of the Napoleonic wars marked the transformation characterised by increased population which by 1815 totalled to 12 million. The factors that contributed to the growth and industrialization of the empire were proto industrialization, agricultural productivity, the arrival of factories and the growth of technologies in the working on minerals. At this point, the dual occupation had been overtaken by the art of specialization as well as regular working conditions. During wars, there was probably no essence for proper or cross-cultural interactions because the intention was not to foster long lasting relations with the people waging war. The approach maybe could have changed when the British had take over regions and therefore they needed to introduce the newly acquired people to have a productive relationship with them.

Colonisation and trade had also grown at that time. By 1700 Europe had still maintained conducting most of the foreign commerce during which time into 18th century the British overseas trade had been ‘Americanised’. The North America and the West Indies by 1798 were receiving over 55% of the British exports and in return supplied 32% of imports to the British.

Upon the rescind of monopoly of the Royal African Company in 1698, the British rose to be largest and efficient carriers of slaves into the new world. One of the wealthiest British colony in the British empire at the time was Jamaica. The years that followed saw the British possessing more land than their competitors, the French and the Dutch who rivalled Britain over international power and prestige.

The British Empire experienced a major blow when they lost the 13 colonies in the American mainland during the war of independence. The British however, recovered from this blow swiftly by acquiring additional territories in the process of the long war years that occurred with the France in the period of 1793 to 1815. The colonies that were newly acquired comprised of various Indian states, Tobago, Guyana, St. Lucia and Cape Colony among others.

By 1815, the British had acquired a global empire that was huge in both strength and scale stretching both in the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean as well as around their shores. The entire happening had taken place within the same protectionist trade network.

The impact of the imperial trade to those involved

Cross-cultural interaction probably had taken a good course at the time when the British and the newly acquired territories had to make profit from their interactions. To the British economy, the revenues that were harvested from the slave trade filtered back in various indirect ways. Some of the ways are through investors, bankers and insurance specialists. There was increased productivity in the industries in Britain because of the increased demand from different parts of the world that the British Empire had colonies. As a result there was the need for increased technology to have the demands met. It is worth noting that the British economic growth in the Hanoverian period was of great impact. The British hegemony in trade and empire by 1815 had made it such that they rule the wave and were made possible by the strong support that was provided by the military and the Royal Navy.

In addition, there were a lot of warfare that accompanied the expansion of the British Empire. Primarily the war was against the France who was also powerful. The cross-cultural interaction between the British and the French therefore was not a healthy one but they could communicate because they had been involved in similar situations mostly fighting for prestige and power. The flourishing of the empire was also made possible as a result of the efforts made by the British. They were able to raise loans and taxes that they used in supporting the aggressive military policies perpetrated by the Hanoverian governments. In this case the expansion of the empire and the propagation of trade were carried out hand in hand to see the strength of the British Empire increasing.

The impact of trade in the European history was intense and was also referred as trade capitalism. The whole process was made possible by the encounter intellectual culture and material that resulted to mutual enrichment. The negative impacts as well were experience such as the transfer of diseases as well as death during the wars that were part of the concurring of new regions of the world by the British.

Industrial Revolution in mid 18th to mid 19th centuries and the rise of labour

The cross-cultural interaction in the early times of commercial engagements was one of the factors that led to the ancient civilization. Consequently, this led to innovations through interaction and experimentation ushering in industrial revolution. The concept of industrial revolution refers to the process of change from a handicraft and agrarian economy to one characterised with machine manufacturing and industry. The process begun in 18th century in Britain after which it spread to the rest of the world. Some of the main features characterising industrial revolution include cultural, socioeconomic and technology. In technological perspective, the changes involved were the utilization of new materials such as steel and iron; the invention of new machines such as the power loom and spinning jenny; utilization of new energy sources such as steam engine, petroleum, electricity and coal among others.

In addition there were organized working conditions termed as factory system; developed division of labour and an increased usage of science in industry. The use of technology generally had great changes and increased the use of natural resources consequently the mass production of the manufactured goods. The industrial revolution as well impacted positively on cross cultural interaction as it brought together different cultures and ethnic groups to work towards common goals and interests. The state of affairs therefore led to rise of labour with many people contributing in the manufacturing of goods as well as working in the industries. The cross-cultural interaction at this time was not a big issue as people had interacted and developed ways on how to communicate with one another.

Globalized markets

The industrial revolution and the cross-cultural interactions saw a lot of industrial goods being produced in addition to the following development s: firstly, improvement in agriculture that enhanced food production for bug non-agricultural population. Secondly, wider distribution of wealth as a result of economic that resulted in international trade. Thirdly, there were the political changes that reflected the shift of power in addition to new state policies that addressed the need for industrialized society. Fourthly, there was increased social changes for example the growth of cities, cropping up of movements such as working class as well as the emergence of patterns of authority.

The workers therefore acquired new skills leading to the shifting of their relationship with their tasks. For example, instead of them maintaining being craftsmen working on tools, they became machine operators who had to adhere to factory discipline. More importantly as a result of cross-cultural interaction and the acquisition of new skills, there occurred a psychological change. The characteristics that demonstrated this change were the improved confidence while using the different resources. With the spread of industrial revolution to other parts of the world, the aspect of human civilization also had a chance of spreading because it fostered the cross-cultural interactions in the various places that it reached.


In the above discussion on the cross-cultural interaction involving the industry and empire in mid 18th and mid 19th centuries, it is evident that cultural interaction gradually grew as a result of the interaction between the British Empire and the various regions that it came into contact with some of which it acquired and served as its colonial regions. Both market relations and industrial revolution have shown the gradual development of cross-cultural interaction because the parties involved in the two activities at the time were totally unknown to one another at the beginning of their interactions. But as they continued the relationship that was initially based on trade activities, they ended up interacting well but with time. This kind of gradual development of cross-cultural interaction affirms the theoretical approach that cultural interactions continuously recreate during the generational human practice.


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Hawken, Paul, Amory B. Lovins, and L. Hunter Lovins. Natural capitalism: The next industrial revolution. Routledge, 2013.

Morgan, Kenneth. 2017. "BBC - History - British History In Depth: Symbiosis: Trade And The British Empire". Bbc.Co.Uk.

Ulvydienė, Loreta. "Psychology of Translation in Cross-cultural Interaction." Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences 116 (2014): 217-226.

Walter, Rolf. "Economic Relations Between Europe and the World: Dependence and Interdependence." (2012).

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