agricultural revolution originated from the scientific revolution and the enlightenment. The former paid attention to reality, gave birth to a large number of new knowledge about animals and plants, and then applied to agricultural production in the 18th century; The latter encourages people to explore and experiment with the idea of “rational utilization of energy into material benefits”.
medieval agricultural production activities in Duke Berry’s prayer.
agricultural revolution has brought a new look to planting and animal husbandry. At the beginning of the 18th century, most Europeans were engaged in agricultural production. In addition to the Netherlands, more than 80% of Europeans work on land. The more they go to the east of the European continent, the higher the proportion.
farming methods in the 18th century are almost the same as those hundreds of years ago. A large number of farmers farm on the land, but they can only get a meager income. Floods and droughts often occur, with low land yield and no crops. Once floods and droughts occur, famine often follows. The land is open land without enclosure, and is divided into long and narrow strips of land for collective cultivation. What has the final say to what the seed is and what time to harvest is the whole village. This open land system means that farmers can basically achieve food and clothing, but it greatly reduces the efficiency, so as to shut out other forms of agricultural production. In addition, soil depletion is also a major problem. Like their medieval ancestors, 18th century farmers took turns growing crops on the land, leaving a field fallow every other year or three years. Although this practice can protect the soil, the area of arable land is reduced by 33% to 50% every year. Every village has public land, grassland or pasturage, on which various livestock are raised, often owned by farmers.
farmland in the Netherlands.
agricultural revolution originated in the Netherlands.
this farming mode is almost common in Europe, and only the Netherlands is different from it. Due to the pressure of small space and large population, as well as the need of experiment, the Netherlands has adopted intensive cultivation technology, which has greatly improved the efficiency. For example, they are good at farmland drainage technology and apply it to growing crops. At the same time, introduce new crops, rotate old crops and circle the land. Britain is a loyal supporter of the agricultural revolution. At the beginning of the agricultural revolution, it was very keen to follow the practice of the Netherlands and finally achieved success.
to a large extent, the agricultural revolution was born out of the scientific revolution and the enlightenment. The former paid attention to reality, gave birth to a large number of new knowledge about animals and plants, and then applied to agricultural production in the 18th century; The latter encourages people to explore and experiment with the idea of “rational utilization of energy into material benefits”. Early romanticism also contributed. By the mid-18th century, there were more and more wealthy landowners. They regained their love for nature and gave up urban life for rural real estate. They became squires, engaged in agricultural experiments, and were responsible for the rational development and utilization of their own property.
perhaps, the driving force of interests is the biggest stimulus in agricultural reform. Since at least 1740, the prices of agricultural products, especially grain, have been rising, which has greatly encouraged growers and increased production. For growers, new and effective ways to grow crops can increase crop yields, which means market expansion and profits. The agricultural revolution included several interlocking parts. Expanding cultivated land is one of the important characteristics. Many swamps and wetlands are scattered in the countryside of England. They are drained and filled by people. As early as the mid-17th century, Dutch engineers reclaimed 40000 acres of land in Cambridge County; By the 18th century, the native British continued and accelerated this reclamation process.
the relics of the enclosure wall in Britain
the remarkable achievements brought about by the agricultural revolution
more importantly, the introduction of crop rotation method, rotation and fallow together. This time, Britain followed the example of the Netherlands, with the same effect. Food crops usually consume soil, so they need to rest for a period of time, i.e. fallow, in order to restore the soil. In order to avoid fallow, the Netherlands began to grow nitrogen storage crops, such as peas, pods, turnips, potatoes and clovers, which helped to repair the soil, and soon began to be planted in Britain. The important benefits of nitrogen storage crops have become increasingly prominent: no longer fallow, the arable land has increased by 33% to 50% every year. In addition, many new crops can provide food, which increases the food calories consumed by farmers and enhances nutrition. If farmers do not eat these grains, they can also feed livestock. With more feed for livestock, there will be enough food during the winter months to prevent livestock from starving and having to kill them in winter. As a result, the number of livestock has also increased. This not only means that people will have more meat on the table, but also means more fertilizer and healthier and more fertile soil. The end result of good soil is another part of the agricultural revolution – higher unit yield per mu.
the agricultural revolution has not only witnessed the increase in the number of livestock. With better breeding methods, the quality of these livestock has also been greatly improved, which is also part of the agricultural revolution. Between 1710 and 1795, the average weight of livestock sold at London’s Smithfield market doubled. With more and better quality livestock, ordinary people have more meat on the table. The cultivation of new crops is also an important part of the agricultural revolution. In particular, the extensive cultivation of potatoes. Potato was introduced into Europe from the new world, and gradually the whole of Europe began to cultivate this crop. In fact, potatoes can be found almost everywhere on the European continent. Whether in Ireland or Russia, potatoes have quickly become the daily staple food of poor Europeans. Historian Samuel B. clough wrote in European history in a world perspective: “there is no crop per acre