Energy and natural resource dependency in Europe, 1600–1900
in History, historians and development policy

This chapter revisits the nature of early economic growth, with two case studies of natural resource use from the early modern era. The first case is the Netherlands, which some would argue to have been 'the first modern economy'. In the case of England, reassessment of historic growth rates has played down or eliminated the special character of the Industrial Revolution, making the very process of development appear to be more incremental in character and less closely related to the employment of particular technologies or energy sources. The early modern period saw a dramatic relocation of industry, above all energy-intense industry towards coalmining districts. The three centuries after 1600 saw a huge redistribution of the national population towards the coal counties and London, which had become a coal-based city from an early date through imports from the northeast that occupied a very considerable proportion of the nation's merchant marine.

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