What is meant by protoindustrialisation?

Proto-industrialisation is referred to as the phase of industrialisation that existed even before factories began in England and Europe. There was a huge large-scale industrial production for an international market but not based on factories and completely handcrafted.

  • In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the merchants from Europe moved to the countryside, supplying money to peasants and artisans, and were requested to produce for an international market.
  • Merchants were restricted and stated that not to expand their production within towns because rulers granted different guilds the monopoly right to produce and trade in specific products.
  • In the countryside, poor peasants and artisans eagerly and happily agreed so that they could remain in the countryside and continue the cultivation in their small plots.
  • The Proto-industrial system was hence a part of a network of commercial exchanges which was controlled by merchants.
  • Even before factories began to start on the landscape of England and Europe, there was a large scale industrial production for an international market. But this was not based on factories or industries.
  • Many historians of that age consider this phase of industrialization as proto-industrialization or also as the precursor to industrialization.
  • During this period, most of the goods were hand-manufactured or hand made by the trained crafts-persons for the international market.

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