Scientific Revolution


The Decline of the Dutch

  • The whole situation of the Dutch decline is a perfect counterexample to the rise of the French and British fortunes

  • United Provinces are otherwise called the Dutch Netherlands

  • In the 17th century the were the greatest maritime power

  • After the wars of Louis XIV they were much weaker than what they were used to

  • Population of 2.5 million did not rise during the 18th century

  • The Dutch were no behind in power compared to their rivals (French and British)

  • They couldn’t even ensure the common defense of the realm

  • When the French and England merchants eliminated them as the middleman of maritime commerce because of the fact that their industry failed to complete effectively, the Dutch Economy suffered poorly

  • Heavy indirect taxes on goods and high wage demanded by the Dutch artisans made the price of Dutch products rise

  • Financial institutions still stood strong

  • Merchants moved away from traditional ventures and moved into credit and finance

  • Dutch were the first to perfect paper currency, a stock market, and a central bank

  • Dutch are now financial instead of trading brokers

The British and French Commercial Empires

  • Great Britain is beginning its rise of dominance of the seas

  • France was it’s serious competitor because they had a large army and navy

  • This rivalry consisted in 4 regions

  • The West Indies, both France and Britain colonized several sugar producing islands

  • This economy depended on slave producing West Africa

  • The North American Continent, the 13 colonies became a center for settlement, primary trading area

  • They also had powerful companies for trade with India and other Asian Islands

  • While French absolutism had a centralized structure of control, Britains North American colonies remained independent from each other

  • Both Britain and France had similar problems and achieved the same results

  • They both applied Mercantilist principles to their trade

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  • Supported trade by the state in order to increase power against neighbors

  • Advocated a favorable balance of trade

  • Net flow of gold and silver

  • Colonies could produce a staple good for the parent country and provide protected markets

  • Europe wanted to use overseas colonies to benefit the mother countries

  • Merchants, manufacturers, and shipowners involved in colonial trade were mostly successful

  • This seaborne commerce needed a naval power

  • Merchant ships had to be protected, trading rivals excluded, and regulations enforced

  • Strategic ports needed to be established

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Explore the financial profits of the empire

  • Colonial commerce provided new products like sugar, and stimulated new consumer demand

  • The value of French commerce quadrupled during the eighteenth century

  • Commerce with their colonies accounted for one third of both British and French foreign trade

  • West Indies trade was the largest, it expanded greatly

  • Value of French imports from the West Indies increased significantly

  • Islands produced tobacco, cotton, indigo, and sugar

  • These islands could produce little else, so they relied heavily on Europe exports

  • Triangular trade was popular

  • Many variations of Triangular trade existed

  • Colonial commerce was superimposed on a complex pattern of European trade in which Atlantic states carried off the lion’s share of profits

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  • Global economic development depended on slaves and the favorable climate and good soil promoted this need for slavery.
  • Europe did not condemn slavery but instead embraced in by trading them and using them as a large source of profit.
  • This trade of slaves was called "The Atlantic Slave Trade"
  • The enslavement took place in the inner parts of Europe and prices were constantly being increased because of the competitive nature of slave trade.
  • Many black slaves did not survive their treatment long enough to reach the place they were being exported to.
  • Slavery was expensive and became not only an important commodity but a great source of labor for Europeans.

Colonial Conflict

  • The population of British North America was growing and had reached a population of 15 million by the end of the 18th century
  • Some colonists began to push westward while others crowded in large cities including Boston, New York, Philadelphia
  • All the while French colonists would continue prospering by fishing and fur trade
  • The Ohio Valley region was second focus of colonial rivalry in America
  • The French began assuming control over the wilderness while the British maintained power over the new colonies
  • Both sides sought alliance with the American Indians but French gained the upper hand
  • Some skirmishes between the French and British eventually leading to a full-fledged war called the French and Indian War

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Map of 18th century Europe above

The buildup and conclusion of the Great War for Empire


  • Both France and Britain were becoming great superpowers and it came to a point where one had to topple the other to continue growing

  • Mainly caused by issues of trading rights with conflicts in the Hudson River

  • Since British population greatly exceeded that of French in North America, Britain had to expand to the Ohio Valley

  • These overlapping territorial expansion caused conflicts

  • In Europe, King Louis XV faced off Prussian Frederick II and the British government that was aided by William Pitt


  • Britain became the main power after the Seven Years’ War

  • Britain gained various additional territories, especially in America at the expense of France’s territories

  • However, Britain did not allow its colonists to proceed any further into the territories it gained with the Proclamation of 1763

  • France and Britain both utilized the Native Americans in North America

  • France lost its place as a world power

  • This created opposition towards British from the colonists because Britain taxed its colonists exorbitantly

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Analyze the British foothold in India

  • The British foothold in India was mainly inspired by mercantilist policies

  • Since India was broken into multiple principalities, Britain allowed those principalities to weaken each other on their own, and then rule

  • Similarly, with French’s reducing influence in global power, Britain dominated India

  • First, Britain invaded India economically with the Dutch East India Company, allowing India to become a very significant asset to Britain

  • Afterwards, Britain influenced India politically and employed leaders that advocated for British rule such as Robert Clive

Video explaining the rule/treatment of Indians by British:

How The Dutch and British East India Company works