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Encyclopedia > Great divergence

The Great Divergence is the period beginning in the mid 18th century in which the "West" (namely England, followed closely by the rest of Western Europe) clearly emerged as the most powerful region of the world. In the early-mid 1700's, Western Europe and East Asia were roughly similar materially, but coming up against Malthusian constraints to further growth. Due to many technological advancements that took place in Europe (including the invention of the steam engine by Thomas Newcomen) and the subsequent mechanization of many European industries, the wealth and power of the world shifted from Asia to Europe (specifically England). Many explanations have been offered for the Great Divergence. For example, Kenneth Pomeranz, in The Great Divergence (2000, Princeton University Press), emphasizes the proximity of coal deposits and the easily exploitable Americas. Other observers believe intrinsic features of European culture made it destined to surpass other regions, while Jared Diamond, in his book Guns, Germs and Steel, sees geography, with Europe's geographical layout promoting competition with led to greater technological advancement, as being the ultimate factor, as China's layout allowed it to become precociously united which led to the incentive to technological advancement disappear, also allowing China to become subject to a single emperor's arbitrary whim. Motto (French) God and my right Anthem God Save the King (Queen) England() – on the European continent() – in the United Kingdom() Capital (and largest city) London (de facto) Official languages English (de facto) Government Constitutional monarchy  -  Queen Queen Elizabeth II  -  Prime Minister Tony Blair MP Unification  -  by Athelstan 967  Area... World map showing the location of Europe. ... East Asia is a subregion of Asia that can be defined in either geographical or cultural terms. ... The Rev. ... // The term steam engine may also refer to an entire railroad steam locomotive. ... Thomas Newcomen (baptised 24 February 1664; died 5 August 1729) was an ironmonger by trade, and a Baptist lay preacher by calling. ...


 
 

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