Farmers have always been in touch with the natural world and often know when the weather is going to change before anyone else and the world's agricultural history is rich with trials and tribulations, and out of them have come some great innovations. One example is the Second Agricultural Revolution, which led to a fantastic increase in food productivity, leading to a breakthrough in the food scarcity cycles that defined a stage 1 society.
Who Started The Second Agricultural Revolution?
Historians trace the Second Agricultural Revolution back to the Dutch, but it was the British who took hold of the revolution. Still, the Second Agricultural Revolution was more of an evolution than a revolution, occurring between the late 1600s and lasting all the way to the end of the 1800s.
Throughout the Second Agricultural Revolution, new ideas sprung up, like selective breeding, fertilizing crops, and rotating crops. They also began reclaiming land, which made farming more intensive and efficient. Meanwhile, farmers during the Second Agricultural Revolution started to replace crops that yielded low harvests (such as rye) with crops that yielded highest harvests, such as the cereal grains of barley and wheat.
Additionally, the Second Agricultural Revolution led to the invention of new technologies that allows farmers to maintain their land without using as many people as they needed before. It wasn't long before machines, even simple machines, began to replace the need for many workers. That made farms more efficient, taking communal farms and privatizing them, moving people away from substance agriculture.
Farmers began to make more money, leading them to put up fences and enclose the farms that were once shares as farmland amongst a community. The government then began to reallocate land, helping wealthy farmers gain land and make more money and often leaving less powerful farmers with little to no land. The reallocation made some farms bigger, making them even more efficient, since the farmers had more fields to rotate crops on.
Suddenly, there were a handful of large farms where there used to be countless small farms, but these big farms could produce more, collectively than the small farms could in the past thanks to their improving processes and approaches as they gained more knowledge of agriculture and how it could be optimally implemented.
Where Did The Second Agricultural Revolution Happen?
As stated, the Second Agricultural Revolution was started by the Dutch when it started in the Netherlands. The revolution later made its way to England where it was further developed, but it then diffused from England and ended up spreading to North America and the whole of Europe.
Advancements continued to be made at a global scale as North America and other places took the revolution into the own hands as the 1700s and 1800s brought about new concepts and machinery.
What Caused the Second Agricultural Revolution?
Prior to the Second Agricultural Revolution, food scarcity was leading to rising food prices and that put farmers in an excellent position. With more money on hand, they were able to purchase new technologies. Of course, it's important to recognize what caused the rising food prices to begin with. It's likely attributed to England's rapid population growth and the new technologies were a result of the industrial revolution.
Railroads were the invention of the industrial revolution as they allowed farms to bring their crops into cities more easily and much more quickly, saving food from rotting. This allowed farmers to feed more people. However, the Second Agricultural Revolution really began when the Dutch introduced new ideas about helping farmers better manage their soil by rotating their crops.
This idea helped the British Empire, which was rapidly expanding, bring in more food to trade with the Americas and other colonies. Thus, this gave farmers even more variety in what they could plant and allowed them to make more money by selling their food product at the markets. Farmers began profiting more, moving them away from substance agriculture an allowing them to buy land, privatize farming, and buy machines that would make farms even more efficient.
What Was The Impact of the Second Agricultural Revolution?
When considering the impact the Second Agricultural Revolution had on the world, you have to realize that it was critical to humanity's development as a whole. The Second Agricultural Revolution brought England, and humans in general, into stage 2 from stage 1, which was a major demographic transition.
The natural increase rate began to increase, meaning civilizations began growing more quickly, as society's ability to produce food stabilized. There were fewer deaths and life expectancy began extending. That led to even more rapid population increases and cities continuing to grow. Farms replaced hands with machines, pushing workers into the cities and into factories.
Meanwhile, the growing cities saw more and more villagers migrating in and these giant cities, which became part of the industrial revolution, wouldn't be possible if people outside of the city weren't feeding the people inside the city. Moreover, the agricultural revolution helped fuel the industrial revolution. As consumers were better fed and had extra disposable income for other products, the English economy was booming because of the Second Agricultural Revolution.
This allowed Britain to become the biggest imperial super power the world had seen at that time. Cities continued to grow bigger still, and that meant it was easier for Britain to continue colonizing other areas like Australia. When the agricultural revolution then spread to create modern MDCs, other cities began industrializing and developing. The MDCs of the 19th century owe their success to the Second Agricultural Revolution.
The Drawbacks of the Second Agricultural Revolution
Obviously, nothing is perfect and the Second Agricultural Revolution is no exception. There are drawbacks associated with it, like poor tenants having lost their land and being forced into cities due to the privatization of farming and the advent of machinery.
More food also meant more people, and that meant rapid expansion and the problems associated with overpopulation. Meanwhile, the major derogation of the environment began happening as the economy shifted from sustainable farming to pollution-causing industries like manufacturing.