Class 8 - Term 1: The Industrial Revolution in Britain and Southern Africa from 1860 onwards (2023)

The Industrial Revolution shaped the societies we live in today, particularly in Britain and southern Africa. It brought not only technological changes, but also changes in the social structures of societies, production, transport and agriculture.

This lesson focuses on the changes that took place in Britain during the Industrial Revolution and the start of the Industrial Revolution in southern Africa which took place as a result of the discovery of diamonds and their mining, as well as Britain's increasing interest in southern Africa.

A section is dedicated to the slave trade, the economy of the Industrial Revolution, the social changes during the Industrial Revolution, the rise of power and wealth in Britain, and the economies of Western European countries.

The next section covers the state of southern Africa up to 1860 and indentured laborers from India working in Natal.

The last section examines diamond mining from 1867, the takeover of Griqualand West, the development of a monopoly and the founding of De Beers Consolidated Mining.

The Industrial Revolution took place from the 18th to the 19th centuries and was a period in which mainly agrarian-rural societies in Britain became industrial and urban. Before the Industrial Revolution, manufacturing was often done in people's homes using hand tools or simple manual machines. Industrialization marked a shift toward powered, specialized machinery, factories, and mass production. While industrialization brought with it a greater volume and variety of manufactured goods and improved living standards for some, it also resulted in often dismal conditions of employment and living for the poor and working class.

This lesson provides an overview of the changes that took place during the Industrial Revolution in Britain, the Southern African state circa 1860 and diamond mining in the Kimberley from 1867, as required by the CAPS syllabus.

What was the industrial revolution?

(Video) The Industrial Revolution (18-19th Century)

The Industrial Revolution is the name given to the period in the 18th and 19th centuries when Britain was transformed from a predominantly agricultural nation into the manufacturing workshop of the world. It was the result of the changes in economic and social organization beginning about 1760 in England and later in other countries, and chiefly by the replacement of hand tools by power-operated machines such as the electric loom and the steam engine, and by the concentration of industry in large works . Rapid scientific, technological, and commercial innovations, a growing population, improved transportation, and expanding domestic and international markets provided the context for the development of thousands of mills, factories, mines, and workshops. Mining, engineering, and manufacturing employed millions of people well into the 20th century.

Advances in agricultural techniques and practices led to an increased supply of food and raw materials, changes in industrial organization and new technologies led to increases in production, efficiency and profits, and the increase in trade at home and abroad were all conditions that the advent fostered the Industrial Revolution. Many of these states were so closely related that increased activity in one spurred increased activity in another. Moreover, this interdependence of conditions creates a problem when attempting to describe them for classroom analysis.

Changes during the industrial revolution in Britain

Factories during the Industrial Revolution Changes brought about by the Industrial Revolution led to advances and technological innovations that brought about growth in agricultural and industrial production, economic expansion, and changes in living conditions, while at the same time creating a new sense of national identity and civic pride. The most dramatic changes were seen in rural areas, where the provincial landscape often became urban and industrialized following advances in agriculture, industry, and shipping. During the 18th century, after a long period of enclosures, new farming systems led to an agricultural revolution that produced larger amounts of crops to feed the growing population. New tools, fertilizers and harvesting techniques were introduced, leading to increased productivity and agricultural prosperity

Class 8 - Term 1: The Industrial Revolution in Britain and Southern Africa from 1860 onwards (1) The creation and use of railways for transportation and to reach other citiesimage source

To feed a growing population, mass production was achieved by replacing water and animal power with steam power and by inventing new machinery and technology. The introduction of steam power was a catalyst for the industrial revolution. James Watt's improvements to the steam engine and his collaboration with Matthew Boulton in the development of the rotary engine were crucial to industrial production: machines could now function much faster, with rotary motion and without human effort. Coal became a key factor in the success of industrialization; It was used to generate the steam power that industry depended on. Improvements in mining technology meant that more coal could be mined to power factories and power railroad trains and steamboats.

Industrialization led to population growth and urbanization as more and more people moved to urban centers in search of work. Some individuals became very wealthy, but not all shared the same fate as some lived in appalling conditions. Children were sent to work in factories, where they were exploited and abused; Women experienced significant changes in their lifestyles as they took jobs in the household and textile industries, left the farm labor force, and spent less time in the family home. A middle class also emerged during this period, enjoying the benefits of the new prosperity.

Class 8 - Term 1: The Industrial Revolution in Britain and Southern Africa from 1860 onwards (2) Child Labor during the Industrial Revolutionimage source

(Video) Grade 8 - Social Sciences | 20 July 2020 | The Industrial Revolution in Britain & Southern Africa

Start of the industrial revolution in South Africa

The discovery of minerals in the late nineteenth century - diamonds in 1867 and gold in 1886 - dramatically changed the economic and political structure of southern Africa. South Africa had an extremely valuable resource that attracted foreign capital and large-scale immigration. Gold and diamond discoveries in South Africa exceeded those in any other part of the world, and South Africa had invested more foreign capital than the rest of Africa combined. The diamond and especially the gold mining industry required an enormous amount of cheap labor to be profitable. To limit the ability of African workers to negotiate their wages and to ensure they endured grueling working conditions, the British conquered the still independent African states of southern Africa in the 1870s and 1880s, confiscating most of the land and confiscating imposed cash tax claims. In doing so, they ensured that men who had previously chosen to work in the mines on their own terms were now forced to do so on the employers' terms. In the new industrial cities, African workers faced a bewildering array of discriminatory laws and practices, all enforced to keep workers cheap and docile. At first the "rand" was covered by small claims, as in Kimberley, but men like Rhodes, Barnato and Beit, who had made their fortunes in the diamond mines, invested their profits in gold mining.

Due to the relatively poor quality of the ore, a great deal of digging was required to produce acceptable amounts of gold and this could only be achieved through the use of costly heavy machinery. That excluded most small miners, but other Europeans with access to capital invested in Rand gold mines, and the diamond moguls were never able to gain the level of control they had in Kimberley. By 1889, South Africa's gold mines were controlled by 124 companies organized into nine "groups" based on their sources of funding. African migrant workers - were first established during South Africa's industrial revolution.

Both mining regions faced the same labor problem - how to find enough workers and how to keep their costs low. In each case, at the urging of the mining companies, local governments passed laws restricting the right of black Africans to mine their own claims or to trade in their products. Ultimately, black Africans were relegated to manual labour, while whites got the skilled jobs or positions as labor foreman. Additionally, black workers were forbidden by law to live wherever they chose and were instead forced to remain in segregated neighborhoods or mining areas. Such was the political power of the mining companies that following the annexation of the Kimberley by the Cape Colony in 1880, it was only a decade before the diamond "Baron" Cecil Rhodes was elected Prime Minister of the Cape Colony.

Wealth from the slave trade

The main beneficiaries of the slave trade were Great Britain, America, Europe and Africa. Trade also created, maintained and relied on a large support network of shipping services, ports, finance and insurance companies employing thousands of people. The processing of raw materials harvested or extracted by the slaves created new industries where plantation owners benefited from the use of free labor. Sir John Hawkins (1532-1595) of Plymouth was the first Englishman to trade with Africans, making three trips to Sierra Leone and from 1562 bringing 1,200 residents to Hispaniola and St. Domingue (present-day Dominican Republic and Haiti). The British slave trade began to grow into a major enterprise in the 17th century when King James I established the first monopoly company to trade with Africa in 1618. Britain acquired colonies in America and the Caribbean, demanding slaves to process tobacco, rice, sugar, and other crops on plantations that grew. London was the center of this early trade. In 1698 the monopoly on trade with Africa was abolished, opening up a valuable opportunity for merchants from other ports such as Bristol and Liverpool. Riches from the direct slave trade and from the plantations came back to Britain and were invested in buildings that still stand today.

Child Labor during the Industrial Revolution

(Video) Grade 8 - Social Sciences | 23 July 2020 | The Industrial Revolution in Britiain and Southern Africa

Child labor, the practice of employing young children in factories and other industries, was a common means of providing employers with mass, low-cost labor during the American Industrial Revolution. Employers forced young workers into dangerous, labour-intensive jobs that caused significant social, psychological and, in some cases, physical harm. Children performed a variety of tasks that were helpful to their parents but vital to the family economy. Children who lived on farms worked with the animals or in the fields, planting seeds, weeding and picking the ripe crops. Boys tended the draft animals, cattle and sheep, while girls milked the cows and tended the chickens. Children who worked in homes were apprentices, chimney sweeps, domestic servants or helpers in the family business. As apprentices, the children lived and worked with their master, who set up a workshop in his house or attached to the back of his hut. Instead of wages, the children received manual training. As soon as they became reasonably adept at the craft, they became journeymen.

By the age of twenty-one, most were able to start their own businesses because they had become highly skilled masters. The notorious chimney sweeps, on the other hand, considered apprenticeships to be particularly harmful and exploitative. Boys as young as four worked for a sweeper who would send them down the narrow chimneys of British homes to scrape the soot off the sides. Around the age of twelve, many girls left home to become domestic servants in the homes of artisans, merchants, shopkeepers, and manufacturers. They received low wages and room and board in exchange for doing housework.

Child labor began to decline as labor and reform movements grew and labor standards in general began to improve, increasing the political power of working people and other social reformers to demand legislation to regulate child labor. Union organizing and child labor reform have often been intertwined, and joint initiatives have been undertaken by organizations led by working women and middle-class consumers, such as: B. State consumer organizations and professional women's societies. These organizations formed the National Consumers' League in 1899 and the National Child Labor Committee in 1904, which had common goals to combat child labor, including through anti-sweatshop campaigns and labeling programs.

economy before the industrial revolution

In the early 18th century, agriculture was the main livelihood in England, with at least 75% of the population earning their living from the land. Cottage industry was developed to take advantage of farmers' free time and use it to produce high-quality textiles at a reasonable price. To begin the process, a city cloth merchant needed enough money to travel to the country and buy a shipment of wool from a sheep station. He then distributed the raw materials for the production of fabrics to several peasant households. The preparation of the wool was a task in which the whole family was involved. Women and girls first washed the wool to remove dirt and natural oils, then dyed it to their liking. They also carded the wool, which meant combing it between two balls of nails until the fibers were all pointing in the same direction. The wool was then spun into yarn using a spinning wheel and wound onto a bobbin. The actual weaving of the thread into cloth was done with a loom operated by hand and foot; it was physically demanding work and therefore a man's job. The merchant would return periodically during the season to collect the finished cloth, which he would then bring back to town for sale or export and to drop off a new batch of wool for processing.

Cottage industry helped prepare the country for the Industrial Revolution, boosting the English economy through the increase in trade that occurred as the country became known abroad for its quality, low-cost exports. Previously, craftsmen had done all the manufacturing themselves, so the idea of ​​subcontracting was new and attractive. Cottage industry was also a good resource for rural folk. However, many farming families became dependent on the company; As industrialization and the Agricultural Revolution reduced the need for farm workers, many were forced to leave their homes and move to the city.

Southern Africa around 1860

Native Americans were brought to the British colony of Natal in 1860 as indentured laborers, coolies, on five-year contracts to work mainly on sugar plantations, where they lived under very harsh and cruel conditions. After five years they had the option to extend their contract, return to India or become self-employed. To persuade the coolies to second terms, the colonial government of Natal promised land grants after the treaties expired. But the colony did not honor this agreement, and only about fifty people received plots. Nevertheless, many chose freedom and became smallholders, gardeners, fishermen, domestic workers, waiters or miners. Some left the colony. In the 1870s, free Indians explored opportunities in Cape Colony, the Orange Free State, and the South African Republic (Transvaal). Those who wanted to make their fortunes in the diamond and gold fields were denied mining rights and became traders, peddlers and labourers.

The first group of Indians arrived in the British colony of Natal in 1860. About 150 contract workers arrived in Port Natal aboard the ship Truro. When the sugar industry was established in Natal, local Zulu laborers were recruited to work on the sugar plantations. However, the colonial authorities of Natal were initially unaware that Zulu men considered agricultural work a female occupation. Traditionally, the Zulu males were involved in grazing cattle and defending the tribe against foreign attacks. The high turnover forced the colonial authorities to look for Indian labour, which was already being used successfully in other British colonies. The contract workers received a monthly stipend of two pounds sterling. They also received food and their health needs were taken care of. Their earnings as contract workers were significantly higher than in India. Therefore, future deliveries of contract workers have been very successful. At the end of the original three-year contract, the contract workers received a free return trip to India or received agricultural land equivalent to the value of a return trip to India. Owning land was an unlikely occurrence in their native India and it is understandable that the majority preferred to remain in South Africa.

(Video) Grade 8 - Social Sciences | 03 July 2020 | The Industrial Revolution in Britain

Class 8 - Term 1: The Industrial Revolution in Britain and Southern Africa from 1860 onwards (3) Contract laborers working on a sugar plantation in South Africa.image source

The working conditions of the contract workers were harsh. The plantation owners demanded long working hours in Natal's oppressively humid climate. Workers who could not keep up with the heavy workload were severely punished. Their problems were compounded by living in a foreign country with a foreign culture and struggling with many foreign languages. Not all were up to the high demands. But those who did became landowning free Indians, considered prosperous by the standards of their former homeland. In 1869 a new wave of traders emigrated from the west coast, mainly from Gujerat. They were referred to as "passenger" Indians as distinct from Indentured Indians. The new immigrants, mostly Muslims, were attracted by the rich trading opportunities that Natal offered. The Gujerati-speaking traders were later joined by some Urdu-speaking Muslims from the United Province and some Marathi-speaking Kokince Muslims.

Diamantenabbau in Kimberley ab 1867

Formed billions of years ago, diamonds are extremely rare because few can survive the arduous journey from the pits to the surface. Of the diamonds mined today, only about 50 percent are of good enough quality to be sold in the diamond market. Many seasoned experts will handle a diamond before it reaches the one who desires such a gem. The history of diamonds in South Africa begins between December 1866 and February 1867 when 15-year-old Erasmus Jacobs found a clear stone on his father's farm on the south bank of the Orange River. Suddenly, both the Boers and the British were interested in sovereignty over the area. The area soon attracted a large number of white adventurers. In the next few years, South Africa yielded more diamonds than India did in over 2,000 years.

Class 8 - Term 1: The Industrial Revolution in Britain and Southern Africa from 1860 onwards (4) Diamond mining in South Africaimage source

In the 1870s and 1880s, Kimberley, which comprised the mines that produced 95% of the world's diamonds, was home to great wealth and bitter rivalries, most notably between Cecil John Rhodes and Barney Barnato. In 1848 the British annexed the whole area between the Orange and Vaal rivers, which included the Griqualand area, and named it the Orange River sovereignty with a magistrate at Bloemfontein flying the Union Jack. Due to the high costs and low yields, the British should withdraw from the area thanks to the Bloemfontein Convention. It didn't help the British that they were about to embark on the Crimean War, so they sought imperial adventure for now. In 1854 the Orange Free State was formed and by 1860 the Transvaal was slowly forming. This also meant that Griqualand West was technically independent but had to fend off incursions from Boers or other interested groups. Official British interest in Griqualand was purely opportunistic. Rich diamond mines were discovered in the early 1870s. Since Griqualand West bordered the Transvaal and the Cape Colony, both colonies would claim an interest. The Boers and the British were antagonistic and hostile to one another; Each colony did not want the other to take control of such a rich resource.

Class 8 - Term 1: The Industrial Revolution in Britain and Southern Africa from 1860 onwards (5) Cecil Rhodes (left) and Alfred Beitimage source

Rhodes, sensing he had ventured into an untapped market, bought up diamond fields, including one owned by two brothers named "de Beer". In 1880 he bought the claims of his fellow entrepreneur and rival Barney Barnato to form the De Beers Mining Company. The trend in diamond mining is to combine with smaller groups to form larger ones. Individuals in need of shared infrastructure form dredging committees, and small claimants wanting more land merge into large claimants. It was only a few years before De Beers became the owner of practically all South African diamond mines.


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