Credit: Imagno/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Historical Insights The Industrial Revolution in Southern Germany

The locomotive manufacturing industry also spread into southern Germany as the railroad expanded to transport goods. 1864, Munich, Bavaria, Germany. Credit: Imagno/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The Industrial Revolution in Southern Germany

Though its lack of unification caused the Industrial Revolution to arrive late, Germany was an industrial world leader by 1900.

Because Germany was made up of so many small states in the 19th century, industrialization was slow to arrive. The Industrial Revolution took off when trade barriers between the states were abolished in 1834, causing the demand for goods to rise. Cities, iron works and mills sprung up all over the country. The development of the railroad in the 1840s fueled the industrial fire even more as peasants moved into cities to find jobs at factories. In the southern region, natural resources were scarce, so the focus was on cottage, or home-based, industries such as wood carving, clock making, and weaving. As people continued to flood into cities, jobs became harder to find. Low wages, combined with the decline of older industries, pushed people to look overseas for a better life. Between 1862 and 1890, nearly 3 million Germans immigrated to the United States.