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  • Print publication year: 2015
  • Online publication date: May 2015

15 - Decolonization and its legacy

from Part III - Politics


Technological change accelerated with the Industrial Revolution and extended to all processes on all continents from smelting and mining to power production, to transportation, agriculture, and housing, and to communications. This chapter focuses on the United States, Europe, and the former Soviet Union because these nations have been the major engines of technological change since the 1750s for economic reasons; political reasons; military concerns; and the competition between these states for resources and power. A crucial aspect of the Industrial Revolution, tied to the others, was the rise of steam power. Historians have had their differences over the social consequences of the Industrial Revolution, particularly its impacts upon living standards. Vietnam and other Southeast Asian nations have begun to tame the Mekong River delta with scores of hydroelectricity projects that raise questions of post-colonial oustees and environmental degradation. After 1750 a revolution in transportation changed the face of human interaction, commerce, military thinking, diet, leisure, and much else.

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