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Subject History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405189224.2011.x


A leading feature of modern European, indeed global, development has been a series of fundamental changes not only in the means of transportation available for people and goods but also in the ways through which information is disseminated. This dual revolution in communications has impacted, for example, on the scale and pace of social interactions, the conduct of economic and commercial affairs, the flows of migration , the nature of political organization and governmental control, and the handling of warfare , as well as transforming everyday attitudes towards constraints of space and time. At the start of the modern period land transport was still largely reliant on the use of horses or other animal power, while most movement along the major rivers and particularly at sea continued to depend on wind and sail. Between the 1770s and the 1830s Britain's pioneering contribution to industrialization was assisted by enlargement of a canal system that eventually provided, most densely across England, a network of inland waterways for easier carriage of heavy loads. However, this kind of development — reflected to some degree in northern France, Belgium, and the Netherlands – was soon overshadowed in significance by the spread of railways. In the first years of the nineteenth century these emerged most typically within the limited context of horse-or steam-powered haulage over short ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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