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  • During the 18th and 19th century, drastic changes occurred on the agricultural front, all over the world.
  • These changes were notable in three countries, namely, England, The U S A and India.
  • In England the Enclosure Movement brought about the change in the agricultural front.
  • During the sixteenth century, the countryside fields were open and it was not partitioned into enclosed lands in England.
  • The dividing and fencing–off, of the green common land by the rich framers was called the ‘Enclosure Movement’.
  • The reason for the Enclosure Movement during the early sixteenth century was to expand wool production to earn profit.
  • Enclosures became a necessity because farmers were willing to invest and toil in their land only if they were sure that they would be able to reap the harvest and enjoy the benefits.
  • Enclosures were now seen as a necessity to make long-term investments on land and plan crop rotations to improve the soil.
  • Enclosures put-up by the rich land owners resulted in the disappearance of the common land, hitherto used by the poor, for survival.
  • During the French war, prices of food grains were high and farmers expanded production vigorously.
  • To reduce the dependence on the labourers, they introduced the Threshing machine.
  • The threshing machine was a machine first invented by a Scottish mechanical engineer, Andrew Meikle, in 1784, for the separating the grain from stalks and husks.
  • Mechanization of this process took much of the drudgery out of farm labour.
  • An Agricultural Depression set in after the French war and the landowners had to reduce production which resulted in unemployment.
  • The unemployed poor tramped from village to village, and those with uncertain jobs lived in fear of loss of their livelihood.
  • The Captain Swing riots spread in the country side at this time.
  • The riots were dealt with very harshly. Nine of the rioters were hanged and a further 450 were transported to Australia.
  • When common fields were being enclosed in England, settled agriculture had not developed in America.
  • By the twentieth century America was the highest producer of agricultural products in the world.
  • After the American war of Independence from 1775 to 1783 and the formation of United States of America , the white Americans began to move westward.
  • As the natives retreated the White American settlers occupied the fertile Appalachian plateau.
  • In the late nineteenth century, there was a great expansion of wheat production in America.
  • With the introduction of mechanized farming jobs were difficult to find because mechanization had reduced the need for labour.
  • This created the Great Agrarian Depression of the 1930 that ruined the wheat farmers everywhere.
  • Ecological imbalance and over exploitation of the land brought about dust storms in America.
  • The principal crops in India during that time was Jute, wheat, sugarcane and cotton.
  • It was in the late 18th century that the English East India company was trading in tea and silks from China but it did not have anything to sell to China in return.
  • British searched for a commodity that they could sell in China and found that Opium was one such product.
  • The British made the Indian farmers grow opium for the Chinese market.

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