During Week 4 we have talked about various topics including: The industrialization of the Rhineland in Germany, Bombay and Jaffa’s growth, and we read about the race war of the Philippine/American War. The talks and readings allowed us to gain insight into why these areas grew in industry and population, and how their roles in society helped shape the world we see today. For example, the coal and iron ore found in the Rhineland were perfect for such growth. I found these topics all pretty interesting, and while many lectures showed the shining improvements made on industry and expansion, there was still a lot of underlying instability in Europe at the time.
However, one topic in particular stuck out to me. The lecture on Bombay left me fascinated with the British’s investment in India. They poured an immense amount of money into the cotton market simply because their main supplier of cotton (the American South) was besieged and mainly incapacitated by the Civil War. Granted, these investors were already inwoven within the Bombay community, but the amount of loans given to farmers and investments made for harvesting and production tools is still on a very grand scale. While cotton was the main thing the British needed from this investment, they ended up changing a lot more in the process. The rapid growth of cotton mills in India changed up the scenery Bombay completely. It went from being a relatively unimportant city to having over 100 mills and a completely new system of labor. There was also urbanization and railroads that followed soon after. Simply put, it became a shiny, new metropolis in no time. This allowed Bombay to enter the global market of trade, and access new materials and trade routes via the Suez canal in 1869. While the British were selfishly in it for themselves, the region ultimately ended up being a center of trade because of this.